Saturday, December 21, 2013

Psycho-Pass


Set in the year 2113, a crime-free, peaceful society is maintained through a rigorous assessment of a person's Psycho-Pass. The psycho-pass indicates the individual's mental state, making it easier to distinguish which ones have a high crime coefficient (probability of committing crimes), separating those subject for therapy or elimination. These deviants are pursued by an elite crime investigation unit, the Unit One of the Public Safety that uses Enforcers. These enforcers are people with high crime coefficients and are called latent criminals. They are managed by an Inspector, an individual with a normal psycho-pass. The psycho-pass is monitored by the Sibyl System, a mysterious machine no one knows about.


The series begins with a scene of two men about to commence fighting. The next episodes show what led to that confrontation. Viewers are introduced to a brilliant young woman, Tsunemori Akane, a new inspector. The other inspector Ginoza Nobuchika explains to her her role as a guide for the enforcers whom he describes as animals. These inspectors have their own specialty and were hired because they were needed to think like criminals, making it easier to predict, track, and apprehend/destroy them. Notable among the enforcers is the former inspector Kogami Shinya; the other members are Masaoka Tomomi, Kagari Shusei, Kunizuka Yayoi, Karanomori Shion. They use a specialized gun called the Dominator which automatically monitors the person's psycho-pass by sending the data to the Sybil system.  However, it can only be used to fire on people who are mentally unstable. 

During the course of their investigations, Kogami noticed that the criminals seemed to have had help from someone else. Later he was convinced that everything was orchestrated by one man; a man he had long sought but could never identify. Unit One is about to meet its most challenging enemy, a man whose psycho-pass remains normal even when committing a crime, thus making it impossible to use the Dominators.


It is established right away that the society is too dependent on machines. People no longer contemplate about what makes them happy because something provides it for them. Their foremost priority is to maintain their psycho-pass and no longer the values on which a crime-free society was founded. However, so many questions come to mind. What constitutes a stable mental state if Unit One is pursuing an enemy whose psycho-pass is normal? What is the criteria used to measure that mental state? What is the Sybil system? There are also situations when a victim's psycho-pass becomes unstable. Does this mean that strong emotions like frustration and helplessness can conclusively make a person a possible criminal?

In the later part of the series, the feeling of being just a pawn in a bigger puzzle is stronger. Unit One realized that their enemy probably isn't just the guy behind the orchestrated crimes, but also the system. The guy's actions are intended to question the system that is maintaining peace and passing judgement on people --- the Sybil system. What's more, most people do not understand what it feels to become victims of crimes because they have no idea what hurting other people is like. Their mysterious enemy probably thinks that a crime-free society is not possible unless its opposite is understood.


I got hooked on the first episode right away. It's one of those series that's mentally stimulating and emotionally disturbing. The characters are memorable and easy to like, plus a strong antagonist is also a bonus. The antagonist isn't just mentally gifted but also physically strong. There are plenty of action scenes as well.  For the most part of the series, the inspectors and enforcers have to deal with criminals connected to the guy Kogami has been searching, while the the last part promises a more exciting season two.


Rating: 10 out of 10

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