After coming out of university and doing what everyone who gets an arts degree does and ask myself “what the hell am I supposed to do with this”, I decided to try become a journalist (this does relate to Psycho Pass, trust me, I’m going somewhere with this). I’m still a trainee, but the most eye-opening experiences so far have been my trips to court. There’s this little back and forth between the judge and the barrister to predict how likely this criminal is to re-offend. The barrister tries to convince the judge that no really, he’s a nice guy. What’s that, he has 20 previous convictions? You just don’t understand your honour, he’s turned over a new leaf. Basically the back and forth is to judge whether this guy is a menace to society or whether this was one transgression and should just serve the minimum sentence for his crime.
Imagine how much easier it would be if your just had a machine that did that for you, eh?
So yes, Psycho Pass determines the criminality of a character. Goes too high up, and you paralyse the guy and bring them in for rehabilitation, which is essentially what prisons have been moving closer towards for years now. Repeat offenders are rampant, so you should ‘fix’ them in custody before releasing them again. That is, unless they’ve gone too far and are clearly just a terrible person who will never contribute anything to society ever again. At that stage, you should just smoke them. Or make them explode in a stupidly gratuitous fashion. Whatever works for you.
I burst out laughing at this scene, especially when compared to how grimdark everything else in the episode was. Moe Sucks said it was reminiscent of Akira, but I’d have to disagree. Asides from a purely visual standpoint, the goopy baby explosion in Akira was the gradual decay of one teenager’s mind as he slowly morphed into this grotesque nightmare. This scene in Psycho Pass felt more like the hyperviolent terribad early 90’s OVAs like MD Geist or BAOH where the intent is to show how fucking hardcore they are by saying “did you see that! That dude just fookin’ esploded everywhere!!!”.
That was my only major complaint about the episode though. The rape felt gratuitous, but rape scenes always feel gratuitous. Besides, if we’re comparing Urabochi rape stories, Saya no Uta makes Psycho Pass rape seem like a Clannad holding-of-hands scene. Also the resolution to that story was really striking. It was essentially saying that treating rape victims as mentally scared criminals who need to be locked up is really fucked up. Seems obvious when you spell it out like that, but with the prevalence of blaming the victim in rape cases, seems a fairly astute point to make.
I suppose since I’m being incredibly nitpicky, it’s also overly wordy with its exposition. I get why they had to do it. They really want to get this morality in our heads right from the very start. But for gods sake, having the guy say “oh so you were top of your class in police academy so would obviously know what this gun that dominates every aspect of society does, but I’m going to explain it to you all anyway” was really dumb. But the morality they’re setting up is genuinely interesting. It’s the first anime in a long time that takes itself this seriously but actually has the depth to justify that seriousness and allow me to watch it with a straight face.
Finally, as a side note, the director came out recently and said that their crew was not allowed to use the term ‘moe’ when making this anime. Which is cool and all, but he then went onto say they had a very laddish, Playboy-magazine reader approach to the story, which comes with its whole other set of problems. He also said that they weren’t going to include any other modern anime trends and not directly appeal to a female audience, which comes off as incredibly silly when your promo art proudly displays beautiful men with unbuttoned shirts. I’ve also seen people use the fact it has a female lead voiced by HanaKana to bash him with too, but that one isn’t really relevant at all. She’s a newbie police officer reacting to her first time at a brutal crime scene. How were you expecting her to act? She was hardly a HanaKana dunce moeblob like that other Noitamina anime where the director came out and said that it would have no moe or typical anime cliches and then proceeded to have both of those things and was completely shit. Now what was that one called again?