Posted by psgels on 24 March 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass belongs in the category of series that base themselves on a futuristic world that center around a basic premise. Take for example Kaiba, in which people’s minds can be extracted from their bodies, Real Drive, with its evolution of the Internet or Himitsu, where people can download the memories of dead people. In Psycho Pass, it’s all about creating the perfect society without crime. Everyone is monitored and has their own “Psycho Pass”, and as soon as your mind starts to think criminal thoughts, you’re arrested. With that as a building block, it makes its story.

The story is set to explore this setting. I won’t spoil exactly how, but I will say that over its course, it shows many different opinions about this setting. And it doesn’t just try to answer whether the setting is wrong or right, but it goes more in-depth. Every character has some good or bad points to make, and every one of those points is open to interpretations. It’s a show that aims to make you think, and even the things it just spells out for you have a lot of depth behind them. This goes on for 22 episodes and I have to say that after Guilty Crown, this has really shown how a 2-cours Noitamina series should be done.

Especially at the end of the series everything comes together, and the build-up for the story really pays off. At the beginning of the series though, this series loses some points for focusing on the same things for a bit too long. The big problem is that it focuses too much on one particular aspect of the setting, so that it has to rush to get everything else in in its second half. It manages to do this somehow, but the transition could have gone smoother.

On the technical terms, Production IG delivered some really good choreography and camera angles that really make their impact when they need to. The soundtrack for this series also is really good, and it doesn’t just have one style. It just makes use of whatever track it thinks fits the best to the scene, whether this is classical music or techno. Oh, and that’s another thing that this series loves to do: quote some famous literary works. Call it pretentious. I call it interesting if it contributes to the story. Which to me, it did.

The characters in this series are perhaps not its most memorable parts, but even they have something to write home about. It’s got an excellent villain in the form of Makishima Shougo, who for once actually has some good and interesting motivation to back himself up. Akane also might seem out of place when you first see her, but she really shines in her character-development. The rest of the side-characters also manage to have their impact, even though this series does not have the “Let’s devote all our time to the backstory of this side-character”-episodes. Instead their depth is subtly woven into the story. If you like serious series and believe that anime is too cute nowadays, then this is one series that you shouldn’t pass up.

Note: I’m going to experiment a bit more with this review format, simply because of making the Storytelling, characters, production-values, setting”-list got a bit too annoying to write down every time.
One-sentence Review: Psycho Pass explores its unique sci-fi setting really well with thought-provoking dialogue, characters and a great plot, and mostly keeps true to its promise that there would be no moe included.
Himitsu The Revelation
RD Sennou Chousashitsu

43 Responses

  1. gurdlo says:

    I’m glad you’re changing the review format since I think it’s not all that far to but setting, characters, story and production value all on the same level. Some have higher priority than others

  2. Tulip says:

    How do you come up with the numbers then? lol

  3. geagea says:

    phantom > blassreiter > f/z > madoka (fuck you Shinbo!) >>>>>> Naruto >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> PP

  4. Cytl says:

    I wasn’t too sure I was going to like the ending but at the end I think it was great. Akane ended up as the more complete character of all the series (miles ahead of Kogami and Shogo). The conclusion of Gino’s parental issues was also very good. At the end not everything is solved; Akane is the only one who knows about Sybil’s truth (just imagine that kind of weight in her shoulders), Gino embraced his kinda tragic destiny, the world is not saved, the real antagonist is still functioning.
    Even if it would be a major risk for the integrity of the series, I honestly would like a second season; of course this is not gonna happen, though.

    • Halfman says:

      Interesting, I found Akane to be one of the least developed characters. From the first episode (when she stuns Kogami) it’s established she has her own view of justice – a combination of the new (Sibyl) way and the old (atone for your crime) way. Sure, she wrestles with this view various times throughout the series (death of her friend, truth about Sibyl) but her view doesn’t actually change… I just found her to be hypocritical and annoying…

      • Cytl says:

        At first she wasn’t even able to define her role in society as she did at the end of the series (Kogami and Shogo on the other hand are pretty much one track minded during the whole series). She went from simply accepting things to question them. Also, I don’t see how she is hypocrite, she ends up as the only inside-opposition against the Sybil system: she doesn’t vehemently goes against it but still she shows that she cares the most about people.

        • Halfman says:

          Perhaps I’m a little bit biased because I really do dislike people like Akane in real life and even more so in fiction.

          I just can’t respect her as a character… I hate characters that are on the fence about everything… they’re annoying brats that want everything their own way.

          • Cytl says:

            All major characters in this series do things their own way. Only Gino and Akane compromise at the very end. In her case, she doesn’t throw a tantrum and instead she openly decides to destroy the system from inside, even if it means suppressing her desires for the moment.
            Even so, I understand there are times a character just doesn’t sit well with our personalities.

  5. Rena says:

    Even though a part of me wished for lots of explosions and plot twists. I think Gen did a good job. It’s like Real Drive so I think in that, the ending was good. It wasn’t too dramatic and went for a sensible ending.

  6. says:

    The show as good but the ending was fucking boring. I mean like–just plain old boring. Nothing I haven’t seen before. This show was typical from the start, but oh well. A waste of time for the most part. I expected more.

    • jonas says:

      Psycho Pass is ultimately a cop show, and in cop shows victories are always small.

      • TheUltimateReaper says:

        Yeah I guess. This is one case I really wish the story could have taken up a little more originality. We could have had a brilliant ending. Why go softcore? I mean… even if there was an S2 this is just weak… and the exposition was really… lame.

  7. someloser says:

    and it ends, what a twist, gino never needed glasses in the first place.

    also kasai taking to saiga

    also new inspector being the chick from the all girls school

    s2 when?

    • boa_sting says:

      wut I thought I was paying attention. I totally missed that the new Inspector at the end was a character from way back earlier in the series.

  8. Smurfy says:

    I agree with TheUltimateRea…
    “The show as good but the ending was fucking boring…”

    I would have posted in the last episode thread, but this one seems fresher.

    Well as the series as now ended, the best part was the beginning, then all of a sudden it takes a tangent downwards.

    Psycho pass had solid characters all the way through. I will just pick Makishima for the sake of argument, as the series was almost reaching its conclusion, I actually wanted him to succeed ( I don’t know what that says about me) I saw him as a necessary evil, in the so called perfect society.

    Maybe its just me, I don’t get it why stories usually build up such characters like Makishimas who are to an extent formidable/god like all of a sudden, their downfall is hubris. Seriously!!! Haven’t we seen this too many times – the pride before the fall.

    Makima was always one step ahead of every one, even when he put himself in compromising positions he still came out tops. I didn’t like the way the focus on him was suddenly changed. Let me explain I have always liked Villains that take the back role and do their bidding through indirect connections, which was how the series started then suddenly Makishima started to become personally involved.
    The writings were all up on the wall from the endings of previous episodes.. Calling – Kougami after his breakout escape.

    What I didn’t like the most was the penultimate episode ending were he was laughing to himself while walking across the grain fields to the facility. To me, that scene just seemed out of character. Even carrying out the plan HIMSELF.

    Sure Choe Gu-Sung was dead, it is not hard to assume given from the way Maxima had been portrayed he was now unable to round up a replacement or even goons to do his bidding. This was someone who was robbing shoulders with Senguji Toyohisa in the earlier episodes… So What the hell happened ?

    • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

      On the contrary I found Makishima far more interesting once the focus changed.
      “I have always liked Villains that take the back role and do their bidding through indirect connections, which was how the series started then suddenly Makishima started to become personally involved.”
      See that’s the problem. The villain working through indirect connections is the standard. Off the top of my head I could name numerous criminal masterminds who did so. That’s what made Makishima boring. He became more interesting when he started being human. Making mistakes and getting personal.
      Really take a look at what you said. When you look at it I don’t think Makishima even intended to succeed. He almost deliberately sabotaged himself. In the end his goal was achieved. He became someone who can’t be replaced.

      • FreshSushi says:

        I’m surprised everyone found Makishima to be so interesting. I found that his character developement was rather lacking and he was pretty one-dimensional to begin with. He wasn’t as much as a character as a force of nature that forced the rest of the cast to adapt.

        The most interesting developements by far was Akane and Gino. I suspected from the start that Gino was just going to be a grump old boss that yelled at everyone but he turned out to be much more complicated as he began to question the system that he trusted for so long. However he was still unable to make a decision unlike Akane therefore had to put up with the system despite having his doubts (a nice foil to Akane’s developement imo). In the end he fell into the pitfall he had desperately tried to avoid but accepted his destiny and dealt with his parent issue that plagued him the entire series, a rather nice way to end things.

        • jonas says:

          I agree, Shogo defeating the only real police officer in the unit (Masaoka), was a really cheap way to keep the story going.

      • Halfman says:

        It’s weird… I wanted Makishima to “win” and bring destruction to the Sybil System — but at the same time he really did deserve to die.

        Despite the shows best effort to ruin his character (the 2nd half/end), I really liked Makishima. It was easy to picture him as the hero of his own story, like if the story was told from his POV he would be a similar antihero/antivillain to characters like Light, Lelouch or V (from V for Vendetta).

    • TheUltimateReaper says:

      I really expected the Villain to actually succeed and bring down Sybil. Sure he coulda died, but had he gone out with a bang… My goodness! Why did I ever have my hopes up!? ake;jteu3u

      • Puran says:

        Yeah… I have to agree. I don’t want to start another real debate on Psycho-Pass, but I found it had a ton of problems:

        It failed to convey the essence of its setting. It “SAID” that people were living in a society where there is peace and everything is decided for them, but it never showed us that. Show, don’t tell.

        The plot was very straightforward and that’s… fine. But everything was so much by the book that it kind of started giving me the feeling of been-there-done-that very soon. The ending was the biggest offender of this. Sure, it did conclude the main plot, in that sense it’s a succesful ending. But I hate Life Goes On endings in plot-driven series. After all that stuff, nothing really changed, nothing really happened. Nothing was accomplished. I guess it was deliberate, but I didn’t like it.

        The characters… Akane just changed at a point. I don’t count that as development. Makishima had only one side to him. Shogo was a tad developed. And the supporting chars were all one-sided and… unnesecary? I was expecting that lesbian musician girl to have some impact on the plot, but she didn’t. Was she even needed to be there?

        In conclusion, Psycho-Pass is… fine. It’s never terrible, but I also don’t think it ever hit any big highs. It’s fine, but I didn’t like it.

  9. Halfman says:

    My biggest gripe with Psycho-Pass was it failed to create a conceivable dystopia. The whole Judge Dredd meets Minority Report meets Ghost in the Shell thing was incredibly undeveloped… what should have been its greatest strength, was its greatest weakness… okay, maybe second greatest weakness after character development :)

    • boa_sting says:

      I kind of liked how it wasn’t even really much of a dystopia and then furthermore how it wasn’t wiped out or even really changed in the end. I have more respect for the show because of the ending that didn’t really end things.

      Sure, the premise wasn’t too original, and there were plenty of other weaknesses in the setting and how the system was explained. And I’m still not sure how Akane suddenly flipped the switch between clueless and super-detective mode.

      Seeing as some of the arcs in the beginning took a bit of time, there were a couple episodes in the middle where not too much happened with the main narrative (also that one for Yayoi), and how the character development for some of the characters wasn’t that hot anyway, I’m kind of wondering if this could have been better if condensed into a single cour, 11-13 episodes. I don’t mean to just hack stuff out and rush other things, but to just focus on the important idea and themes, redo the scenario and structure.

      • Halfman says:

        Perhaps you’re not too familiar with the dystopian genre, because Psycho-Pass is textbook dystopia — and a rather interesting one at that. It just fails to make proper use of its setting…

        • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

          I don’t know about that. Most dystopian I have seen is completely totalitarian. Psycho Pass on the other offers degrees of freedom and expression. Unlike 1984 which took every freedom a person had.
          I also didn’t really have trouble imagining how a system like psycho passes works. So I found the dystopian at least feasible.

          • Halfman says:

            Well, totalitarianism is just one characteristic of a dystopian society, and while 1984 does indeed take things to the extreme, Psycho-Pass is clearly totalitarian in nature as well.

            1984 had Big Brother, Psycho-Pass has the Sibyl System. Both worlds rely extensively on surveillance to control its citizens even to the point where even certain thoughts can carry a death sentence (thoughtcrimes). Do I really need to go on?

            If you can’t clearly see that Psycho-Pass is a totalitarian dystopia, then you must be a North Korean who has been indoctrinated since birth to think 2+2=5


          • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

            However there is still freedom of expression on the internet as people can even express controversial idea’s without consequence. Also hideouts for people to play whatever music they want instead of Sibil approved music. People are recommended jobs but have the freedom to choose should they have high enough marks. (As Akane did. She wasn’t forced to become an enforcer, she chose to be one.) I don’t think there was examples of thought-crime here. Sure there were points were a dangerous crime coefficient can get you apprehended but that was related to crime, not rebelling or speaking out against the system. And while when you enter that prison the chances of you getting out are slim to none, there seem to be examples of people who can recover their psycho pass. As the woman in the first episode did. The surveillance looks to be not prefect either as many got away with making psycho shrines in there rooms without the system noticing. Meaning they are not watched all the time. It has blind spots too.

          • boa_sting says:

            Hm, dystopia is probably the right word I guess. Maybe I was really talking about the slider on the totaliarian scale.

            As kind of pointed out above, it’s no 1984, Brave New World, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, etc.

            They limit certain forms of expression and lock up latent criminals. Maybe most importantly, this isolates people from each other, especially those that Sibyl can’t judge and those whose Psycho Pass are too, but the majority of the general populace?

            The depiction of CID and the students at the school (and some of the others too) were dark at times but not bleak.

          • Halfman says:

            AidanAK47, the world of Pyscho-Pass has the ILLUSION of freedom. IIRC the internet is cut off from the rest of the world along with the country itself, the arts are considered “dangerous” and require Sibyl’s blessing… how isn’t that oppressive?

            You also seem to think that a dystopia needs to be perfect, you are mistaken. Dystopias are ALWAYS flawed, because if they weren’t they would be utopias.

            Makishima exposes many of these flaws throughout the series, and many more are exposed as the audience learns more about the world of Psycho-Pass.

          • AidanAK47 AidanAK47 says:

            Halfman, silly fool. Current society also has that same illusion of freedom.

    • SpicedMagnolia says:

      This is an instance where the line between utopia and dystopia becomes fuzzy.

      Sybil allowed a society of carefree, stress-free life, but at the same time robbed the populace of the little conflicts that typically encompass a “real” life.

      It wasn’t supposed to be perceived as a dystopia; furthermore, I think it was actually supposed to be perceived as a utopia. Only after seeing through Makishima’s eyes do we finally realize how dystopian a life it really is.

      • Chase says:

        This is the difference between 1984-like dystopias and psycho pass. The society in psycho pass isn’t intended to be a dystopia, and the majority of the residents of the society might not think it is a dystopia, but by design it limits freedoms, locks up latent criminals for the “greater good” and is controlled by Sybil with the illusion of democracy.

  10. StaleBread says:

    All in all a nice tied up end.
    Akane, Kogami, and Makishima all got a warped version of what they wanted, and partially what they deserved.

    Stability, Justice, Freedom
    Slavery, Exile, Death

    Also seeing Sibyl using Akane as template to create its own perfect Brave New World. Hence the brains keeping her around. Everyone will be stable, productive, and obedient all the time, despite sadness, pain, and moral misgivings.

    Funny how out of the whole show, the two characters who invoked the most feelings out of me are Masaoka and Choe. Maybe because they didn’t grow up in the Sibyl system, which made all the younger characters, to me, more remote.

  11. Aniuxa says:

    Well, I think since ep 17 nothing good comes. It was like an amazing series with a bad 5 eps ending. Even the graphs felt kind of bad. Or was it only me who felt it?. Makishima was a incredible character that ended bad. I remind me to what happen with death not L. Do you think is going to be a second season?

  12. Aniuxa says:

    *Death Note. Sorry my english is not my native language

  13. RR says:

    The anime is hardly original. It has its strong points but sadly it is just a rehash of the excellent short story “The Minority Report” by Philip K. Dick. Honestly, very few anime are good these days. This one is OK, not bad but nothing fantastic either.

    • Halfman says:

      I agree with you, for the most part, but you seem to think originality actually exists… when it doesn’t.

      “There is nothing new under the sun” – one of the very few things the Bible says that I agree with. Perhaps ironic considering the Bible is arguably the greatest example of stealing from others…

  14. RR says:

    May I also add that it borrows plot points from the movie “Equilibrium” specially the banning of the arts part. Now I think its a collage of borrowed ideas from different futuristic sci-fi movies, noels and short stories including other manga and anime

    • Halfman says:

      While what you say is indeed true, please don’t use a derivative work such as Equilibrium to make your point. That’s like saying Apple invented the tablet computer (iPad)…

  15. well says:

    the show had potential. it just went down south in my opinion. it could have been so much better. things were not described in a clear fashion. i got what they were trying to do but i dont feel like they succeeded.

  16. Cam says:

    I’ve just pre-ordered the complete first season premuim box set with a discount. I can’t wait for it to arrive. Amazon needs to ship this out fast :P

  17. Jedman says:

    Yeah I think this show peaked around half way to two thirds of the way through, when I was thinking to myself, this could turn out to be one of the best Anime’s iv’e ever seen. but then it kind of tailed off toward the end. Still rate it very highly though. Would give it a 9 out of 10.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:45 AM)
    It takes a true magnificence to propose such a grand question as: What dot life?!
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:42 AM)
    @Kaiser: the show does vary in quality, but for the first season they generally crank up the insanity with every episode until a very remarkable season finale where Xavier faces his worst enemy.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Bam: Oh in symphogears case, I certainly laughed but I wasn’t supposed to.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:39 AM)
    @Bam: While it didn’t always work, that first episode of renegade angel was amusing, I particularly liked the part where he went on about Aids being invented.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:22 AM)
    and don’t be fooled by the simple graphics, the crudeness is completely intentional.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:21 AM)
    @Kaiser: as far as Xavier goes I implore you to download and watch the first episode to get the gist of it. That show is the pinnacle of absurdist and meta humor. It’s strangely adored within the animation circles, getting very high praise from the industry, but it’s very dense and bizarre so people either love or hate it. If you’re anything like me it might become one of your most beloved shows.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 05:17 AM)
    @kaiser: If Symphogear gets as bad as Valvrave then we’re talkin. Few companies make entertaining trash like Sunrise does.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:54 AM)
    *At first I thought it would be like nanoha
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:49 AM)
    I read a comment stating that season 3 of symphogear got so bad that it came off as along the lines of “worse than a Mari Okada melodrama”.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Nov 28. 2015 04:36 AM)
    @Bam: That renegade angel thing looks off the wall, haven’t seen an episode but my thoughts from looking up the show is “I’m not quite sure if this is a good/bad thing lol”

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