25 CommentsPsycho Pass / By Scamp /

Psycho Pass episode 11 – The unofficial 13 day

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_20.32_[2012.12.22_17.48.59]Psycho Pass is so moe, right guys!

…guys?

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_04.09_[2012.12.22_17.37.37]

A few notes before we get to the part of the episode everyone wants to talk about. Firstly, for a man whose body has been optimised through cybernetics, the hunting CEO sure does seem to have crappy aim. It wasn’t even like Kougami was much further than 10 metres away from him whenever he took a shot, and yet all he could do was severely injure a couple of walls. Secondly, I like how the first time Kougami is shot is when he was too busy posing dramatically after shooting the robo-dog. He probably couldn’t move as fast after pulling that pose. I had a go, and I’m pretty flexible, and I can see how leaping into that position would more than likely pull a muscle in his thigh. Finally, I enjoyed Kougami getting headbutted. It’s such a refreshingly no-nonsense way of getting him to stay put.

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_14.18_[2012.12.22_17.41.43]

Been struggling to work out where on earth to start with this post, so I’m going to rewind back to the very centre of what Psycho Pass is about. Psycho Pass does the standard cyberpunk trick of introducing a new technology into society that changes the way we think about something very fundamental to our being. In Ghost in the Shell (ooh look at me, comparing Psycho Pass to GITS again), the introduction of cybernetics tackles the idea of identity. For Psycho Pass, the Sibyl system choosing how we should act tackles the idea of self-determination. Or ‘free-will’ as I should probably call it, but I feel self-determination covers the ideas of choosing your career and your own life, rather than being an emotionless robot that saying you lack ‘free-will’ implies.

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_17.10_[2012.12.22_17.44.59]

I can see why the promo material focuses on the Dominator so much now. It removes the burden of responsibility from the person shooting it. It’s the first time in the show I’ve felt having the gun make people ESPLODE feel justified. The contrast between the cops being unfazed by ESPLOSHUNS and how utterly broken Akane is by the idea of actually shooting someone by her own design is quite stark. When you think about the way the policing system is laid out, it’s done precisely to remove all sense of responsibility towards the victims on the part of the police. They quite literally hire criminals to do their thinking for them so they don’t have to dirty their minds with the grimy parts.

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_17.40_[2012.12.22_17.45.33]This is what the villain, Maikishima, was trying to get out of this experiment. For Akane to apprehend a criminal by her own choice rather than leave it up to the gun to decide, therefore absolve her of the responsibility. When you take a step back and look at the differences between the two guns, one might injure him or possibly kill him, while the other would make him ESPLOOODE! But it’s the fact that she has to make the choice that is what frightens her so much. If she shoots him without approval from the Dominator, she is officially a criminal under the Sibyl system. The story has been beating us with the idea that getting into the heads of criminals and criminology disrupts your hue, but this is a tangible example of that at work. It’s interesting how Sibyl can tell the difference between you shooting a Dominator versus a normal gun. That may be built into its systems already, but I’d say there’s a feedback loop at play too. Because Sibyl approves of shooting the Dominator, the person doesn’t feel like they’re doing anything wrong.

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_19.00_[2012.12.22_17.46.55]Even taking a step back from the actual themes at play here, the way the entire scene was shot was utterly fantastic. Makishima’s hue’s number dropping in inverse proportion to Akane’s mental fortitude gave the whole sequence this bum-tightening spiral of tension. I’d said in an earlier post that I didn’t want the Sibyl system to have an anomaly and be proved wrong, but the way it was used in this episode means I’m more than happy to let them go in this direction since it seems like they know full well what they’re doing. Even simple things, like having Makishima occupy higher ground than Akane, really helped the composition of the scene. Plus it didn’t pull any punches. Right at the moment it mattered most, Psycho Pass knew it was the right time to really hit us. If he didn’t slit the throat of Akane’s friend at that time, it would have essentially ruined the entire point of the scene. It’s about Akane’s feeling of utter uselessness without the Dominator making the decision for her.

[CR] Psycho-Pass - 11 [1280x720].mkv_snapshot_20.12_[2012.12.22_17.48.35]It was one of those perfect moments of ramping tension where I only realised once it had ended that I hadn’t breathed for the entire thing. The point where he slit her throat made my entire body wince and contract. In a year where most of my favourite anime have been the more comedic and ridiculous types, it’s refreshing, in that ice-cold shower way, to have someone capable of writing something this grimdark in such a compelling fashion. I’d already written all my 12 days posts by the time I saw this, so I couldn’t give it a rightful spot. So it will have to settle for the unofficial 13th day.

Merry Christmas from Gen Urabochi

Butcher Gen wishes you a Merry Christmas.

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25 Comments

  1. kai
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Makishima covered his arse while testing Akane. Using a shotgun to shoot someone standing behind a hostage would be difficult for a great marksman. It would be a miracle for an inexperienced person using an unfamiliar weapon with an unknown load to hit Makishima without hitting Yuki as well. If Akane took the shot she would probably have to deal with killing her own friend too. Damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.
    Dead girls and psychological scarring, thanks Gen just what I wanted.

    • shengar
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Not inexperienced, but no experience to be exact. This is really shows us the product of Sybil system, Yuki included.

      The Sybil system held really deep premises for setting a dystopia society. I really hoped Urobuchi really fleshed that out, like what other impact that Sybil system have made to human society.

    • kai
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      I’m just a pragmatist. I leave the deep thinking to the deep thinkers. For me the scene was to reveal some of Makishima’s ideology and his ability to avoid getting caught by the system (and Gen doing what he always does to his main characters).

    • Scamp
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, it was kinda funny to see her wildly shoot the shotgun when it could have gone anywhere. Quite possibly could have still shot Makishima or her friend by accident, which would have been shocking in its own way

      • Himari
        Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, anyone who’s seen Once Upon a Time in the West knows what missing that shot could have meant for Akane. I thought that’s where they were going there for a while.

  2. Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    As soon as I saw this episode, I had to immediately change my own Psycho Pass 12 Days post just so I could describe everything I liked about it, as well as what made the scene work.

  3. Clinton
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Remember that the Dominator does may not just kill someone. If the rating is not too high it just stuns them. Unless they are really really crazy and dangerous it does not make them explode. Still it’s the gun’s choice to make them explode or not so your point still stands

    • shytende
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes, there are a double deresponsabilization when you use the dominator. The Sybil judge if the target should be shot or not, depending on i=his criminal rating and the criminal choose not to repent and to continue his madness. The Dominator’s user is just the one who allow the Sybil judgement. A robot could do the same thing, because at no point is he supposed to exerce any thought on the situation.

      There’s also a deshumanization in this system. First, the explosion have a Video Game aspect. It’s like in a FPS Doom-like. And the explosion doesn’t let any trace of the body itself and is so cartoony over-the-top that it doesn’t feel like a true killing. Once you push the trigger, the criminal cess to be a human and is just a dangerous beast that should be eliminated.

      So, as Makishima put it, the only time in this system when you truly use your “free-will” is when you are a criminal.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      Under the Sibyl system, what should happen for someone like Makishima is he should have a hue of over 9000, so that’s why I just mentioned esploding.

      Interesting point about the video game removal of body thing, although I’m not sure I buy it. If the person was vaporised, then yes I’d say your theory makes sense, but they really do explode in quite dramatic fashion and it does often leave a pair of disembodied legs or something similar. There is something de-humanising about it, but it’s still graphic as all hell. I’d still say it’s more the system making them not flinch at the graphic explosion rather than the opposite way around

  4. Fumoffu!!
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    There I was, uselessly shouting (in my mind) at Akane, willing her to shoot him even though I knew deep down that she wouldn’t, and her friend would die. It was terrible to watch, and utterly demoralizing.

    So on the whole, a good episode.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      “Shoot him, just shooot him, pick up an iron bar or something oh god she won’t, will she because that would be her own choice oh god nooooooo fuck you butch gen nooooo”

  5. Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m not talking about Psycho-Pass in my 12 Days posts, but this scene in particular is a great moment in anime this year.

    Also, Santa hat Akane too moe. Stahp it. Stahhhhp.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Don’t Akane’s dead eyes just scream Merry Christmas~!

  6. Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Am I really the only one who didn’t care about this? Or, well, I guess I did, because I was annoyed at Akane.
    The same goes for the sculptures in earlier episodes. They weren’t creepy, in fact, almost silly. Edgy for the sake of being edgy.

    • Scamp
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      As we have established before, you have terrible taste. In fact, I am utterly amazed at how consistently terrible your taste is. It’s like anti-taste in its reliableness.

      • Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        I’m not really sure what there’s to like. The characters are dull. The setting is fine, but never really used besides telling used. The plot is… something. The DEEP talk is everywhere.

      • Scamp
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

        Look, we already understand that your taste is terrible. You don’t need to keep proving it

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 5:08 am | Permalink

        Thinks Psycho-Pass is terrible > Likes Kokoro Connect, which has the EXACT same problems you described above > mfw

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Kokoro Connect 6/10.

  7. blackice85
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad this is turning out well, I was worried it was going to flop like No. 6 did.

  8. Himari
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    JoJo could pull off a dramatic pose and still dodge bullets. Just sayin.

    I love this show. Only weird thing is that Makishima is just naturally hue-free. So really he didn’t choose to have free will, he just was lucky. I kind of hoped he’d be some zen master with a disciplined mind that doesn’t get worked up over death. But, nope, he’s just lucky. If Akane gets a will of her own after all this crap, it will be through a lot of hard work. Then she will own Makishima.

    BTW I’m a complete Makishima fangirl. So cruel.

    • iamjagman
      Posted December 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Actually, if I had to guess, I’d say that, from a young age, he believed that someone wasn’t human unless they had free will, and if you don’t realize you’re killing someone, your crime coefficient wouldn’t go up. It could even be said that he is making Akane more human by either giving her a chance to make her own decision, so that could be the reason for his coefficient going down throughout the scene.

  9. Inushinde
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    It really is amazing that the police are useless when not given the go-ahead by a computer that measures a state of mental health in a way that applies to most people, but not those who know how to game it.

    Ordinarily, I’d be irritated with this kind of scene, but it’s pulled off way too well for me to think “if I were in your situation things would be far better!”

  10. Erif
    Posted January 6, 2013 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    I think Akane hesitates not only because she fears being categorized as a “criminal,” but also because she’s too weak to truly take the life of another. It’s important to note how Makishima constantly reminds Akane that to kill him, she must do so of her volition, rather than the volition of her Dominator. The scene is pretty telling of Akane’s true character, who I’ve thought to be pretty bland up to this point, and I love how Makishima basically turns her inside out. It will be interesting see where Gen takes her character from this point on.

    Also, thank for pointing out the contrast between actually shooting someone and making someone explode, I completely missed that.

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