Posted by: AceRailgun | February 9, 2013

Psycho Pass – The good and the bad

I’m sure you already know this but the systems presented in Psycho Pass are great and all sit together well. The Sybil System and Dominator among other things are all clearly explained from the get go and it isn’t convoluted or hard to understand in the slightest. What makes it work is that all the facts are given to us quickly with one simple explanation. Anything that isn’t said with words is shown through action and by the end of the first episode you’ve seen everything the universe has to offer.  The reason this is a good thing is that the rules can’t change half way to accommodation poor writing, everything conforms to the in universe rules and that means nothing is ever hidden from the viewer.  When these rules are broken both the viewer and the character question this in the same manner which helps immersion.

 

Sadly the immersion is constantly broken by gimmicks of the genre that feel very out of place. You have two glaring issues tainting an otherwise great idea. The first is the obvious comically useless police force which consists of 90% “Kawaii” robots which haven’t once taken down a single criminal and prove as nothing but eye candy. A serious villain in this society laughs at the robots and moves on without any sense of them hindering him whatsoever. The second issue is the lack of creativity in the villainous behavior and the acts of criminals (Excluding the main villain) let me give you some examples of this. A girl with daddy issues is driven to murder to create art…. A cyborg man hunts for fun. Both these reasons lack depth but aren’t the sole reason the alarm bells are ringing for me. I like dark themes just fine but I don’t want to see the following: Lady bashed on street for two minutes with a crowd of onlookers recording it on their phones, A man brutally bashed with fire extinguisher and a lady doused in fuel and set ablaze. All of these acts were committed without motivation and it sickens me to think that the writer could write this crap and think it’s going to be entertaining to the viewer because it’s not. Hook me in with clever criminals which take effort to take down not this rioting bullshit.

 

Makishima, The main villain contrasts this crap so well that you’d think his parts of the story were written by someone else entirely which redeem the entire anime. His grand scheme is highly secretive and his motivations seem real so when he is placed in the same room as common thugs I feel his frustrations. Maybe it’s just the mysterious demeanor he has going for him but there is that aspect about him which makes you curious and keeps you coming back for more.

 

Am I crazy and thinking too much into this or is there a serious problem with the way this anime is trying to cater for an audience that likes kawaii things and a different audience which likes hyper violence? It’s doing both poorly and should probably not stop and focus on it’s main genre which is action/mystery.


Responses

  1. I do agree with you about the first half of the anime and the lack of depth within those first crimes. Because of that, I found it pretty boring at first. But now that the focus is mainly on Makishima, all those cutesy things don’t seem so conspicuous. I really liked the build up and where it led, so I guess I could overlook those things.

    • I’m happy to overlook all those things too since the Makishima plot is interesting but don’t you think it would have been even better if there was no “things” to overlook in the first place. I’m not sure how they’d do it but the first half of the anime needed something special like Makishima to make it even better.

      • Oh yess definitely. I feel you. I just can’t help but appreciate the build up even though it was pretty slow. It’s like, all this time input was worth it in the end, you know? Although, if it began with something good, another villain like Makishima, as you say it would have def been more epic. Sigh. lol

  2. Is the contrast between kawaii and moe (Akane,robots) and violence is that big? Here’s my explanation why the robots are cute: they are created to have nice appearance because they must sidetrack people from the crimes and it’s brutality so their psycho-pass won’t get high. But that doesn’t justify why the police in this anime is so useless. As for Makishima- he really fails as a villain for me, I wouldn’t rate Psycho-Pass higher because of him.

    • Care to elaborate on why Makishima fails as a villian. I’m curious as to your explaination because I feel like he give the plot an end goal and without him it would have just be a series of random crimes.

      As for the cuteness aspect I can understand where you are coming from and your right, it certainly doesn’t explain why the police are so useless. With good police crime becomes harder which would in turn lower psycho-pass readings because people would be less inclined to commit crime if they knew their success rate would be low.

      • I doubt that Makishima will be the main topic in the end of anime. It will centre of Sybil. I would even say he will die soon.
        Maybe I’m so disappointed about Makishima because I was expecting an other type of villain in this kind of anime. You said Psycho-Pass lacks depth and I was expecting that depth from Makishima. I would like to see a villain that demur Sybil System for greater good, because that isn’t the way humans should live. Instead of that Makishima seems like a guy who is evill because he is bored and he find it interesting how humans would react in various situation.

  3. A reliable blogger commented on how this show is a pretty good action show. Unless something comes up in Spring or I don’t change plans like I did in Winter, this one will be marathoned by the Overlord along with Shin Sekai yori, Btoom! and other Summer/Fall shows I’ve missed. I better finish as many as I can before the Summer season. Summer will be MY SEASON based on some of the shows that will premiere then…if they will anyway.

    • Marathoning this along with Shin Sekai Yori would be a wonderful thing to do. Both are great and would benefit from being watch one episode after another instead of one episode a week. Idon’t too much care for Btoom! But maybe it’s more your style then it is mine. The trailer and the random gifs I’ve seen of it aren’t really helping it’s case.

      • Btoom! will be entirely curiosity based. The other two will be the first pair of mainstream otaku sweetheart shows I’ll have picked up in quite some time.

  4. I think you’re spot on with what Psycho Pass is doing wrong. Most of the crimes lack motivation and the series as a whole seems to lack direction. A perfect example is when they went into the past of the girl enforcer, but then completely forgets about her and kills off one of the other enforcers, someone who we know absolutely nothing about and could care less for.

  5. Hi,
    I dont agree with your arguments. The purpose of the robots appearing semi-cute is not to cater to the ever kawaii-needy public. The use of the word “moe” is even banned in thr studio – PSYCHO-PASS by no means seeks to satisfy the kawaii lover in any aspect. These drones have holos of cartoon characters because the Safety Bureau (technically the Sibyl System) decided that seeing cartoon characters instead of drones would have a less detrimental affect on the stress levels and Psycho-Pass of the citizens around drones.

    Also, PSYCHO-PASS’s main focus isnt to cater to those who enjoy hyper-violence either. In the riot episodes, we werent supposed to be thrilled or entertained by the violence. We were supposed to be completely horrified, to understand the extent of fear felt by people who have such poor understanding of the reality of violence. Dont forget, most of the citizens in this show literally live in a bubble. I also really hated seeing all those people staring as a woman was bludgeoned to death, but it is a devastatingly clever way to show Makishima’s wit and complete disregard for evil and the most perfect way to show the flaws of the Sibyl System so that the Bureau has no way of covering it up.

    Lastly, the incapacity of the Bureau isnt because of poor writing. Its intentional. In this world, the Sibyl System only needs the Bureau to detain criminals. It never foresaw a riot such like this because it didnt consider it possible. Until Makishima came, such a riot was not possible because those who could pull it off, like Touma, didnt have the wit to pull it off.

    As for the lack of depth… isnt that precisely why Makishima killed them? He gave them all the tools they needed to pull off headline worthy crimes but they all failed him because they lack imagination. Theyre short-sighted

    • In terms of the anime itself all the things you say are 100% correct but from the perspective of a viewer; a regular person who has knowledge of entertainment and society all those things can be potentially viewed as ridiculous.

      Lets start with the hyper violence first then. Hyper violence caters only to a niche audience and to most sane people is disgusting. I’m certain Psycho-Pass has zero intention to cater for fans of hyper violence which is why I question the inclusion of it in the first place. It was absolutely unnecessary and did nothing in the story’s favor that couldn’t have been achieved with regular violence.

      This moves onto the second point about the Kawaii moe robots and lets face it those things are suppose to be moe whether you like it or not. The word “moe” may be banned in their studio but I’m sure they all knew that they intentionally included the moe robots which in reality didn’t need to be there. As for the story aspect of the robots,sure they are there to cotton ball the society to keep the psycho pass levels down but why make the cities authority figures kawaii instead of just opening a few stuffed animal shops or hanging some cute posters here and there. By taking the seriousness from authority you end up with an unconvincing society build on a joke which as a viewer removes a level of immersion for me.

      Lastly I believe Makishima killing the people he had do his dirty work really went against his character and undermined what had been set up to that point. He had that strict no killing thing going at that point so for him to kill a bunch of nobodies which he must have known could never live up to his high expectations was a bit of a cheap shock. Maybe it did build his character but not very well.


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