HA! Told you I was going to get to Psycho-Pass sooner or later…….
Well, as I said before in previous reviews, I have recently become very interested in the works of one Gen Urobuchi and for the most part, some of the shows he’s written for does have these very dark and mature themes (well, with the little exception of Gargantia), showing how what we think might be conventional could be out of the blue very fast and it doesn’t go too in over your head or being too pretentious at it goes and going into this show, it does feel like a police procedural being in anime form but hopefully, I know it’s not just going to be that.
The plot focuses on Akane Tsunemori, a new Inspector of Unit One, and a police unit from the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division. As an Inspector, she hunts criminals alongside a special team of so-called latent criminals called Enforcers. Both Enforcers and Inspectors use large handguns called “Dominators”, special weapons designed to fire only on those with a higher-than-acceptable Crime Coefficient. Even though Akane is ashamed of shooting the Enforcer Shinya Kogami during her first mission to protect a latent criminal, Kogami thanks her for stopping him from becoming a murderer which convinces Akane to stay. During some of Akane’s first investigations, the group learns of a mastermind behind multiple crimes, Shogo Makishima. Being Criminally Asymptomatic (免罪体質, Menzai Taishitsu?), Makishima’s criminal psychology yields a low Crime Coefficient, thus rendering him safe from the Dominator.
I got to say…….it didn’t felt like a police procedural at all, at least until most episodes go by but the first few episodes does set up the main plotline (being that a slow build-up works it up instead of being too rapid) plus it does turn into a different shell of its own and that’s when it hit me. This show is quite reminiscent of Production I.G’s flagship series, Ghost in the Shell, as the show does have some similarities with the cyberpunk and dystopian elements intact and there is the concept of law and order being played into the show (and for the record, I’m not calling it a clone). Questions like what if the law doesn’t work in your favor? What if you felt like even with the law, you aren’t always protected? Should you obey the law or defy them in order to protect yourself? It is something that many of us question to this very day, it’s something that remains very relevant and vital up to this day and showing that when some of that does get to you at the end of the day. Plus, it does help that the writing quality is top-notch and it does handle those subject carefully.
Characters are also good in quality albeit most of the supporting characters don’t have much screen time (aside from a standalone episode about Yayoi and that’s about it) but they are developed as multi-dimensional characters and they never come off as being morally black or white, just morally in-between grey, especially the main character Akane Tsunemori, who might be that character that got me interested as being the rookie who’s learning her way around as an Inspector and it wasn’t going to be an easy one, especially when it gets to the latter half and the way the former transitions to that half, I got a little emotional towards some parts especially at what happens at Episode 11 and man…..Episode 11…..Holy shit. (DAMN YOU, UROBUCHI!!! YOU MASTERFUL MOTHER–) Shogo Makishima is that mastermind villain that shows that he isn’t that fucked up in the head when his cynical but impartial views about the law and order concept are anatomically correct and Kogami is also another well-developed character, and like the show, does have his choice to either bring justice either by the law or his own hand.
Animation-wise, I got to give props at the guys and girls at Production I.G. as the show does look slick, dark, stylish and gorgeous. The character designs aren’t too anime-typical and does have the feel of a live-action show translated into animated form. The CG didn’t feel out of place especially with the Dominator scenes and I will say this as a precaution, there is some over-the-top gore during those Dominator scenes but there isn’t like an uncontrollable amount of it so it isn’t that excessive with it. I can say I can see why his next project Gargantia was toned down on the gore, blood and death.
Musically, the OP and ED songs are quite listenable, while I do like the 2nd OP more than the first one and for the ED song, I like the 1st one better than the 2nd, although those two are very fast-paced openers/enders while the 1st OP/2nd ED was more slow-paced and there’s nothing wrong with that as they do need a contrast between each other, depending how the episode ends.
The FUNimation dub was passable, it gave out some good performances especially from the leads which I have never noticed in their other dub roles and some other performances were OK but it didn’t completely win me over or give any attention to myself. Robert McCollum does bring a good performance as Kogami and I’m pleased with Kate Oxley as Akane and the newcomer of the game, Alex Organ as Makishima delivers a decent job in the dub.
FINAL VERDICT: When it comes to this show and comparing it to other Urobuchi-written shows, I would put this above Gargantia but below Fate/Zero and Madoka Magica. Is this a good show? Yeah. It’s a great show that has a good amount of action, something that make us think about our ideals about law and order, some moments where you do feel some emotion and it doesn’t hold back but isn’t too excessive with itself. If you’re somebody that likes cyberpunk shows like GiTS, you might enjoy this one.
Does Psycho-Pass dominate a place in being a good show?
PLANET TYRO RATING: HIGH Solid B.
PSYCHO-PASS is available to own on DVD & Blu-ray via FUNimation Entertainment. Streaming options are available on Hulu and FUNimation.com thru their EVS Service. As of the time of this review, a second season of PSYCHO-PASS is scheduled to air in Fall 2014 and a movie version of the show is coming soon as well.
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the elements in one format.
PSYCHO-PASS – animated by Production I.G. / distributed by FUNimation Entertainment