“The law doesn’t protect people. People protect the law. People have always detested evil and sought out a righteous way of living. Their feelings, the accumulation of those people’s feelings are the law. They’re neither the provisions, nor the system. They’re the fragile and irreplaceable feelings that everyone carries in their hearts.” -Akane Tsunemori Here’s the first opening of the anime! The name of the song is Abnormalize. Feel free to listen to this song while reading this column.
In Psycho-Pass, government-issued robots scan people’s brains on the streets and assign a Psycho-Pass that measures one’s mental state along with their Crime Coefficient, the probability of a person committing a crime in society. That assessment also determines whether or not a person’s Crime Coefficient is high enough for apprehending. A person’s Crime Coefficient can increase under many factors, such as how sane or stressful a person is. The government — or Sibyl system — analyzes a person’s psycho-pass and determines certain jobs suitable for that person. Many live a stress-free life, with the Sibyl system deciding everything for them. In other words, everyone’s future is decided by the government.
Public Safety Bureau officers, or Inspectors, carry a gun called the Dominator to judge and “administer justice” to those with a Crime Coefficient of 300 or above. These guns scan the wielder’s eyes to determine if the wielder has permission to use it. Inspectors work with latent criminals, or Enforcers, who also wield dominators. Usually Inspectors stand by and watch while the Enforcers do all the work, but the female protagonist, Akane Tsunemori, takes it upon herself to help out her team of Enforcers and treat them like actual people instead of criminals.
This action-packed anime has two seasons — the first with 22 episodes, the second with 11. Someone who can commit crimes without clouding his Psycho-Pass (so Dominators can’t judge him) appears. Another becomes so set on tracking down this person to the point where he gets demoted from Inspector to Enforcer.
The first season introduces many characters: Akane Tsunemori, Shinya Kogami, Nobuchika Ginoza, Tomomi Masaoka, and Shogo Makishima.
Akane Tsunemori decides to become an Inspector at the Public Safety Bureau, because she was one of the lucky few to get chosen after scoring a near perfect score on her employment exams. She also wanted to find her purpose in life. Her ability to stay calm and comprehend events in a different perspective helps her keep a remarkably low and clear Psycho-Pass. She works in Division One, with Nobuchika Ginoza as her partner.
Shinya Kogami, a former Inspector and Nobuchika Ginoza’s ex-partner, now works as an Enforcer under Nobuchika Ginoza. Kogami becomes a latent criminal from delving too much into a case concerning Shogo Makishima, the person who kills one of Kogami’s Enforcers with his Psycho-Pass staying completely clear.
Nobuchika Ginoza, an Inspector, is serious about his job and concerned about Tsunemori’s Psycho-Pass getting clouded like Kogami, especially when she decides to get involved in the Shogo Makishima case. Unlike Tsunemori, Ginoza has trouble keeping his Psycho-Pass clear.
Shogo Makishima is known as the “criminally asymptomatic” person who must be stopped. He tries to put an end to the Sibyl System because he claims that humans depend on the system too much. Since Makishima is criminally asymptomatic, the Sibyl System cannot recognize him. This allows Makishima to do anything he wants. He can even attack someone in public and scanners will see the victim as the one who is in the wrong if that victim’s Crime Coefficient rises above the normal level.
Mika Shimotsuki appears in season two. She joins Division One as an Inspector and Tsunemori’s new partner. She disapproves of Tsunemori’s actions and even wants to see her demoted.
The character developments in season one were one of the most solid out of all the anime I’ve ever watched. None of the characters were perfect in every way, but were vigilant and did their best. I loved how Akane Tsunemori followed her own path and refused to let the Sybil System control her future. She managed to establish close bonds with everyone in Division One, which I really admired. However in season two, Mika Shimotsuki starts working under Tsunemori as her new partner, because Ginoza is demoted to Enforcer. Mika Shimotsuki disapproves of how Tsunemori goes so far trying to lower other criminals’ Crime Coefficient by talking some sense into them — as it can put others in danger. Shimotsuki also tells Tsunemori that she should just sit back and let the Enforcers do all the work, since an Inspector’s job is to watch the Enforcers. Shimotsuki is inexperienced and nosy as well, with her trying to send in reports about Tsunomori’s behavior and looking through other people’s files.
With Kogami gone from Division One in season two, Tsunemori becomes more independent. Sometimes I wish that Tsunemori didn’t try to take everything upon herself. I also expected Ginoza to be by Tsunemori’s side when things got worse, but he dismissed her problems as hallucinations from overworking. Season two really got me frustrated because of these Shimotsuki and Ginoza. Overall, I enjoyed season one a lot more than season two.
Words by Jeanette Mui,