When this first aired, I thought it had a very interesting and unique premise so I knew it was going to be a good show. I’ll say this from the start: it’s very similar to the movie Minority Report in the sense that premeditated crimes are prevented by a special police force. However, unlike Minority Report where people are arrested before crimes are committed and whose crimes are predicted by a clairvoyant machine, Psycho-pass introduces the concept of latent criminality. An arbitrary number decides how likely you are to commit a crime, the higher it is the worse it is for that person. Scanners are placed all throughout town and its recorded whenever you are in public. Either it becomes high through emotional instability or committing a non-premeditated crime, then an alarm goes off and that person is apprehended. That’s the basics, now to get into really into it.
TL;DR at the end!
Tsunemori Akane is a new detective that just got high scores on her aptitude test administered by the Sybil System, which is also the system that scans people for the Crime Coefficient, a person’s criminal latency. This system basically rules everyone’s everyday life and it decides how many and what jobs are available to you and whether or not you’ll be arrested or even executed for having a high Crime Coefficient.
This show is really serious and brings in a lot of dark themes but its very appropriate for the plot. Despite this, Akane still managed to be very moe and she is also voiced by the goddess seiyuu Hanazawa Kana. GG. I mean, just look at her, and listen to her voice. Anyhow, Akane is just getting into being a detective because it is thought of a well-to-do government job, a real honor. She gets introduced to her subordinates who are called Enforcers and are latent criminals that are put to work instead of being arrested or executed. They are kept on a leash by weapons that detectives carry called Dominators which scan a person’s Crime Coefficient and determines which method to secure the objective: either paralyze mode to capture the target or eliminator mode to kill the target.
This bamf right here is Kougami Shinya, an Enforcer that works under Akane. Despite his rough and criminal nature, he is actually very intelligent. He’s often at odds with Akane but its made clear that he has ulterior motives. The other Enforcers are just plot devices and not that important.
While Akane nonchalantly stares at Kougami’s crotch, she gradually gets used to her job. Her solving cases involves her taking her Enforcers to the scene of the crime with Dominators in hand, ready to perform Sybil’s judgment. Eventually, after a few episodic arcs to get the feel of the show and a little character development, the overlying story finally appears in the form of an unsolved case. It brings in deeper themes that question the fabric of reality. Serious.
This show doesn’t give you an opportunity to get bored because it attracts you with an intriguing plot, deep characters and sinister themes. Are people with high Crime Coefficients not worthy of living in society? Are they just victims of circumstance? What about people with low Crime Coefficients that are unstable? Is the Sybil System really that effective? While these questions are running through your head, more mysteries appear and the world is expanded and all of a sudden you get thrown into something that just becomes bigger and bigger as the show progresses.
The story direction is top-notch, however at times it feels like it’s a little slow. No spoilers, but toward the end, one of the revelations is kinda ridiculous, but still acceptable. The original storyboards were written by Urobuchi Gen, so at first I was kinda skeptical because of Fate/Zero and Madoka, but it turned out a lot better than I thought. I was really impressed. Instead of just being plain depressing, it was dark with a lot of intrigue.
Also, Production IG, GJ. Art style very appropriate for the story. No complaints here. Just seeing how everything looks make it seem like shits about to go down.
Since this is a two-cour show, sometimes shows get multiple songs, which this does. Its two openings are “abnormalize” by Ling Tosite Sigure and “Out of Control” by Nothing’s Carved in Stone. I’ll admit I really enjoyed both of these songs and they make you pumped right before the action begins. They are also great car ride songs. Nothing beats blasting Out of Control while en route. The endings are “Namae no nai Kaibutsu (名前のない怪物)” by EGOIST and “All Alone With You” by EGOIST. I have to say, I’m a sucker for really nice, slow songs and especially if they are done by supercell (EGOIST is the band supercell with two new vocalists), and even though its not Yanagi Nagi anymore, her voice is really beautiful in these songs, so I really enjoyed it. It kinda gives a feel of the impending doom and sorrow that comes with the revelation of the plot.
Overall, I think Psycho-Pass was so well done, the only reason to not like it is if you just don’t like dark stories. The plot was gripping, the characters are realistic and each development keeps you wanting more. The struggles that Akane goes through as she figures out more truth about how the world works is interesting. The tragedies that befall many people are grimacing and give more seriousness to the show. And the final arc could be worthy of Gen’s quote, “his masterpiece.” Although, the only thing keeping this from a perfect score, is: the pacing a little odd, sometimes it rushes, sometimes it spends too much time on one thing; a couple very important plot points aren’t explained thoroughly enough but still acceptable. So this show gets a 9 out of 10 for me.
TL;DR this show gets a 9 out of 10 for its brilliance, seriousness and realistic near-future setting.