Apologies for the lack of non-Psycho Pass posts from myself recently. It was that time of year with a bajillion deadlines, but they’re all past now so I should be able to stretch my reviewing muscles with posts on Full Metal Panic, Mardock Scramble and Cat Returns soon-ish. In the meantime, I have been appearing on Bakacast recently, so give that a listen if you want to hear my smexy Irish accent.
Let’s not pretend there’s anything else I want to talk about this week and jump straight to this scene. The one where the guy walks into the medical lab was fine. Camera’s only work on psycho pass identification, so nobody has any reason to believe this guy has anything wrong with him. That is, until he stabs someone in the face. Faced with that, suddenly the nurse descends into shock and fear as her world collapses around her as the man walks towards her. What she doesn’t do is take out a form and ask him to fill it in. That’s because she’s not an idiot and knows a murder when she sees one. However, when a man starts beating a woman to death in the street, suddenly everyone’s brains fall out and they forget what a murder is.
I’d heard of the Bystander Effect before, but since I was really struggling with this episode, I went out and did a bit more reading on it. The idea is, as presented here, someone is clearly in distress but nobody helps them for whatever psychological reason. The three main ideas behind it are the inability to notice the danger happening, the inability to interpret the situation as dangerous, or the reluctance to take responsibility. It’s not that the people didn’t notice that there was an attack going on, because they all started circling around the attack and taking pictures. It’s not that they didn’t want to take responsibility, since they didn’t seem to be able to interpret that it was something they even should intervene in.
Nah, Psycho Pass is pretty blatant about portraying it as them not being able to interpret the situation as something they should be intervening in. I get the point they’re trying to make here too. That people have become so reliant on Sibyl to tell them what’s right and wrong that they can no longer tell that for themselves when it occurs in front of them. Pretty classic bystander effect. Nobody around them is interpreting the attack as a problem, and they all get their societal cues from Sibyl.
At the same time though, COME ON! If they just walked by, that might be a different story, but they stood there and fucking watched, incapable of working out why there was suddenly a load of strawberry jam spilling out of her head. You don’t have to have a high psycho pass number to know that bleeding from the head is a Bad Thing, and that perhaps you might figure out the correlation between the bat being swung and her head being caved in. Surely part of being a good person and having a good hue is helping other people when they’re in trouble. Whether he’s doing something wrong is one thing, but to stare as a woman lies on the ground bleeding to death is different. You, as a person, no matter how long you’ve been under Sibyl, should know a dead body when you fucking see one. Sibyl doesn’t prevent death, or bleeding, or injuries.
Gyargh, fuck that scene. It’s fucking dumb. Don’t feel like talking about anything else.