Psycho-Pass: Episode 3

Recap: The group investigates a mysterious death at a drone plant closed off from the system.

Iro’s Thoughts:
Psycho-Pass continues to be a fairly basic sci-fi program while it hints at the larger plot threads. Kogami seems to have a shrine of hate towards the white-haired-guy-whose-name-I-don’t-remember who we saw in the prologue of episode 1, and Akane’s superior seems to have a very personal stake in making sure the Sibyl System is followed unquestioningly. It’s all rather straightforward, which may put off some of the people who are expecting something more subversive from Urobuchi, although it remains to be seen whether things will get crazier as the show progresses.

Yet more attention is brought to the Dominators this episode – they are apparently crucial to the job, being the main method by which the Enforcers and Inspectors examine their suspects. While we saw in episode 1 that their power varies between “stun” and “violently murder”, the guns ramp up to frankly ludicrous levels when Kogami fights the drones, shooting man-sized lasers that melt massive holes in the bots. They still work inexplicably slowly, though – does it have to play the “User Accepted blah blah blah” sound bite every time someone picks it up?

Gee’s Thoughts:

This episode was pretty straightforward, and from a narrative standpoint, really just more world building. Honestly it reminds me a lot of Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex. A lot of its episodes were dedicated to standalone stories that simply fleshed out the world and its inhabitants. While Psycho Pass isn’t doing it as well as GitS, it’s still enough to keep me interested. We get to see our heroes in action though, which sheds some light on them. For example, Akane’s superior is kind of a dick. Maybe he has reasons we’ll discover later? But I definitely side with cool old guy at this point. I’m still a little confused about the actual capabilities of the Dominators, which seem awfully inconsistent at this point. If they have a built in safety that prevents them from firing at innocent humans, how the hell can they shoot robots which don’t even have emotions? And why don’t they shoot massive robot melting lasers all the time? That’s fucking awesome.

Lifesong’s Thoughts:
For me this anime is suffering from poor perspective. There is a vital flaw in watching this world unfold through Akane’s eye for me. Everything is far too obvious. The implications about the flaws in this dystopian system are so incredibly obvious it is impossible for me to wear the shoes of someone who doesn’t get it, and that is exactly the role Akane fills. Now let me be clear, the reason I am saying “for me” is because I get it. I can tell exactly where this show is coming from, and if this entire anime were from Shinya’s perspective instead I would probably be loving this early world building phase we seem to be stuck in, but it’s not, and I don’t.

Forgive me while I get a bit pretentious here, but I think I have this whole show figured out. Also, let me be clear that is not why I am not enjoying it. I consume more fiction in a year than most people probably do in ten, and as a result I think I am pretty good at dissecting stories. If being able to do that ruined stuff for me I would have given up on fiction years ago. The problem I have with Psycho-Pass is entirely in the execution.

In my opinion the best stories ever written will make someone ask questions, and ponder new things. Psycho-Pass is doing that so I should love it right? I want too, but it’s not making me think. Ten years ago this anime may have been something I thought was brilliant. The problem I have here is that the message behind the madness is shining so brightly that it is blinding.

Psycho-Pass is preaching a message to the choir that is so ingrained in my head I don’t want to hear it anymore. It’s is no longer thought provoking, but instead something I could sleep to. That said, now that I understand this I am actually pretty excited to see the later bits of this anime. Even in this episode once we get past the awful setup, the realization of Shinya’s nature becomes a pretty exciting thing to watch. Basically I expect to fall in love with this anime as soon as the world building is finished, and to continue dreading it until then. If I’m in the choir for this message like I think I am things should get fun once we start singing right? So I hope at least.

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