34 CommentsPsycho Pass / By Scamp /

Psycho Pass episode 15 – Society collapse

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 15 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.58_[2013.02.01_21.20.29]Taking a break from posting pictures of Akane looking moe because I have a new candidate for that position. That girl in the back with blonde curly hair. Who is she? She looks cool, I want an anime about her. I bet her name is ‘Moe’, so in the office they could only refer to her as ‘She Who Must Not Be Named’.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 15 [720p].mkv_snapshot_02.52_[2013.02.01_20.52.12]In August 2011, police shot and killed a 29 year old man in London called Mark Duggan. This caused a small riot against the police in London. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, this spiralled into widespread rioting and looting across major cities in England. Its reasoning left many people utterly baffled, since clearly it had little to do with the killing of Mark Duggan anymore. It wasn’t overtly politically fuelled either. You could blame it on poverty, but when the riots were co-ordinated using Blackberries, that’s a bit hard to swallow. It wasn’t race-fuelled, as the rioters were a fairly mixed race bunch. The way the rioters answered explained their reasoning in police investigation interviews seemed to be mostly along the lines of “I heard there was going to be rioting, so I went along to get a new TV”.

I’m using the London riots as an example because they’re the ones I know, having lived in the country as it was happening. But I gather this is a pretty common reason why looting begins in the first place. What is considered to be socially acceptable boundaries to behaviour are suddenly turned off because the populace decides that to be the case. There’s a spark, such as the shooting of a local, or even something as dumb as a hockey game. But what happens is what’s considered morally acceptable is broken and people just go nuts. It’s a pretty common thing in warzones too.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 15 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.43_[2013.02.01_21.18.48]In Psycho Pass, this moral line is an actual thing preventing them from doing these actions. The idea that there’s an actual mental moral barrier has been replaced with Sibyl telling them what’s moral and what’s not. The know what actions will raise their hue and therefore shouldn’t do (which is another reason why the scene from the last episode was so dumb, because people know that thing shouldn’t be done). When Sibyl is no longer telling them what is right and wrong, there is no more morality. Morality is a weird thing anyway, since what is considered immoral and not is arbitrary, which we only learn through social constructs. I particularly liked the scene where the one dude said it was totally OK to beat this man to death because it was in self-defence, same way it’s totally OK to shoot a person in your garden because he’s a trespasser and you’re therefore just protecting yourself.

[HorribleSubs] PSYCHO-PASS - 15 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.35_[2013.02.01_21.24.42]Which explains why everyone just dropped everything when the police wandered in. I thought the scene was a bit strange at first, but it turns out the police still have enough authority that when they throw grenades at you and say “yo bitches calm the fuck down”, they do so. It’s a little different to how riots and looting work in the real world, but that’s because the real world breakdown in social boundaries is specifically because they’ve decided to ignore police. I loved that the scrolling nico-esque comments had people panic and try to get weapons of their own. It was rather reminiscent of the very American mentality of checking where your gun is when there’s a disaster and you’re expecting a breakdown in that moral code.

The episode did make me wonder why they didn’t bring the army in? OK, the police chief did say that they were still planning counter-measures, but do they really not have a backup plan should Sibyl collapse? I suppose they’re faith in Sibyl is so wilfully blind that any counter measure probably amounts to no more than getting Sibyl running again. The idea that Sibyl would be rendered useless was something they consciously decided not to plan for. Plus, being in the army probably isn’t the best occupation for your hue, and the world has become demilitarised. All military hardware had to be transported onto giant carriers and sent out to sea and all military activities amount to little more than harmless hobbyists. Yes, I am saying that Psycho Pass takes place in the same world as Girls und Panzer.

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34 Comments

  1. Shadow
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    That last picture…god damn Akane XD…

    I hated the fact how easily Kogami figured out Makishima’s plan. But this has been a trend going since episode 1, so i’m used to it.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, he’s been doing that for a while now. Both Makishima and Kougami have been reading the script

  2. Fumoffu!!
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    The thing that got me thinking was that the way in which Makishima and the other guy were talking about “this town” implied that this Sibyl system setup is actually fairly unique, and that this is just one isolated town which is like this. There may be others sure, but it seems as if it’s not even a country wide thing. I’m not really sure how much of this inferring is accurate, but it does seem to give that impression, right?

    Also, I saw blonde moe girl and picked her out as well, though she just looks like Akane in a wig.

    Lastly, I’m now waiting for Makishima to be taken down by the Panzer vor members. That would be an ending that no one would forget, EVER.

    • Scamp
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Her face isn’t quite as droopy as Akane’s, which is Akane’s most moe feature.

      I’ve been wondering about how large the Sibyl system spread is. It seems strange that people wouldn’t leave the city if their hue is high. Makishima’s buddy said he was a foreigner, so there’s definitely an outside-Sibyl world. Not sure, maybe it’s THE FUTURE and the world is kinda fucked on the outside. A more likely scenario is that, once their hue is high, they are legally a criminal and therefore no country will give them asylum. They could only escape using illegal measures, which is probably beyond most people

  3. Lazy
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    “There’s an actual mental moral barrier has been replaced with Sibyl telling them what’s moral and what’s not … (which is another reason why the scene from the last episode was so dumb, because people know that thing shouldn’t be done)”

    Still persisting with that?
    Then allow me to reiterate, how were they supposed to react if their collective moral barrier doesn’t signal them that there’s anything wrong with this brutal murder in the middle of the street?
    The street scanner doesn’t react, the drone doesn’t react, there’s no police officer in sight trying to stop it, then in the eyes of the bystanders a real murder couldn’t possibly be happening in front of them. They were more curious about this “street performance” than concerned about the lady’s well being.

    This is further proven by those niconico-esque comments we see at the start of this episode:
    “This doesn’t make sense!”
    “This isn’t a setup, is it?”
    “You moron, this isn’t real LOL”
    “There’s no murder in this world, right?”
    I had hoped those would make you understand why the bystanders acted as they did.

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Because they’re human beings before machines! I think you give too little credit to the basic comprehension abilities of your average individual. If we were so susceptible to outside factors completely overwriting our base impulses of self-preservation, we would have died out tens of thousands of years ago.

    • Lazy
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      This isn’t about self-preservation instinct, we’ve been clearly shown they are still in effect (the pharmacist lady is clearly afraid after her co-worker is killed, the “normal” citizens don’t let themselves get slaughtered by the masked group and strike back) it’s about conditioning.

      It’s reasonable to say that a large percentage of the population has been living under the supervision of the Sybil system for as long as they can remember, they lived their whole life under the assumption that Sybil keeps the streets perfectly safe. You can’t blame for reacting like they did or call it stupid writing.

      I think you give too much credit to the comprehension abilities of the individuals of the PP universe, they’ve been portrayed as sheeple who blindly follow Sybil’s judgment for everything: their job, their entertainment (TV/art/ect…), their safety (no keys, only scanner locked doors) they’ve entrusted Sybil with everything.

      Their first reaction to the murder isn’t doubting Sybil, it’s doubting the reality of the murder itself!
      Later when everyone realise Sybil isn’t 100% reliable anymore we’ve got riots and anarchy all over the city.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

        The issue is that both conditioning & self-preservation are two issues connected by the human psyche and are intrinsically linked. Most of the scenes in this episode make perfect sense in relation to the points you’re making, including the online discussions on the attack; however, the rt response to the assault on that woman really does not! Conditioning could cause them to ignore the attack, avoiding the scene in front of them as something foreign. It could also (as we have seen throughout history from wars, to idol-singers) make the crowd view the attacker as less than human, or somehow deserving of her fate. It could even cause indifference to an extent.

        It cannot make them look straight at the event in question & not be able to process or comprehend the violence straight on. Whether 40 or 400 years after Sibyl, that is far more than conditioning will allow; the ability to recognise pain & suffering is a behavioural instinct hardwired into our DNA, & taught through trail & error with every knock & bump a toddler receives. Unless Sybil has somehow found a way to prevent every child ever scraping their knee on a playing field, the argument of conditioning just cannot make sense for that scene. What you describe would require drug-instilled hypnosis, which is not the same as conditioning, or what Psycho-Pass is about. If deep-rooted psychological behaviour was modified to that extent, the events of this episode would have never even take place.

      • Lazy
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Conditioning caused them to because curious at the scene in front of them as something foreign.
        And I’m quite sure that 40 years of Sybil can easily make such a violent display of public violence hard to process at first.

        I’m not doubting the bystander’s ability to recognise pain and suffering, I’m doubting their ability to react to it when Sybil doesn’t signal them something is wrong.
        They didn’t react because of a double bystander effect:
        -they’re waiting for someone else inside the crowd to take responsability to help the woman
        -more importantly they’re waiting for Sybil (by way of the scanners, drones, inspectors and enforcers) to react and take responsability

        In my eyes, the bystanders reaction felt incredibly logic and human-like when you take the setting in consideration.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        While I still don’t see that as an excuse for the crowd’s complete lack of cognitive reaction, I do quite like the idea that they were waiting for someone with a higher overall authority to deliver any form of judgement on the situation. Still, if that was the message the scene was trying to convey, it did a pretty awful job at presenting it.

      • Lazy
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        I felt like most viewers were too quick at dismissing what happened as bad writing because the bystanders didn’t behave like we would expect using real-world standards (even if the bystander effect is a VERY real thing)

        Which is even more strange for me because I find that PP is quite heavy handed and not subtle in the way it delivers its messages: how obviously flawed the Sybil system is and what nasty side effects it had on society as a whole.

        The show really took its time “holding the hand” of the viewer with the early episodic cases, seeing so many people miss the message of scenes like that is perhaps why I start giving too little credit to the basic comprehension abilities of your average individual.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

        Even if I’m able to readily accept your theory (& currently, I’m only able to see it as that), I don’t buy that scene was merely a case of being too deep for the average viewer. There’s showing something in a vague, opening ended & multi-faceted manner, & there’s botching the presentation so that it appears to represent something entirely different. If this was a show like GiTS, I would possibly concede that I didn’t quite get it, but given the clunkiness and somewhat blatant nature of the messages, I still think the problem is inherent to the show. It’s not a crippling issue, but an annoyance nonetheless.

      • Lazy
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        I’m okay with you considering my interpretation as a theory (so far the show isn’t disproving it or contradicting its internal logic) because I don’t think Urobuchi is immune to bad writing or plot holes.

        While it’s unfair to compare GiTS and PP in terms of complexity I still think PP requires a bit of critical thinking and extrapolation even if the show is pretty staight forward with its presentation.

        I can’t force you to reflect back on what you thought was illogical or clunky and try to think about a resonable way to explain it in context of the show, but I do believe there’s is a greater pleasure in doing that (it’s pretty satisfying when the show confirms your explanation in a later episode) it’s pretty rare too, original anime stories that are interesting enough to provide food for thought aren’t legion.

  4. fathomlessblue
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I felt Makishima’s plan seemed a bit too methodically scripted, & operated perfectly according to this projections. I guess that’s just the action-movie side of the show rearing its head but considering the unpredictability & chaos that emerges from base human emotions, it seems a bit far-fetched that everything moves along perfectly to his whims. Apparently there is a zero margin of error in this universe. Whatever, I did like what the show was saying, even if it was stretching itself a bit to get there.

    I still don’t buy that no real backup system exists in case of a flaw or collapse, in regards to Sybil. I can just about buy that the entire populace can accept technology entirely governing their lives in a mere 40 years, but not that no contingency plans exist. One of the basics of technology is that nothing is deemed 100% secure or safe, no matter how advanced it is. I just can’t believe a think-tank or the like was never set up to discuss protocol for even the lowest risk scenario. I’m not just talking terrorism, or someone accidentally discovering a flaw in the system; we could be talking about solar flares (err, wrong show) or even something crazy like a meteor impact. I’m pretty sure tsunamis & earthquakes are still a pretty big thing in Japan. I don’t know, perhaps the entire system is super-duper-uper protected, even along out of reach coastal areas? Sounds like the kind of excuse this show would expect me to accept.

    I suspect there is no army, police, navy in this universe, or if there are then they will completely written out of the show. Without even broaching the absurdity of having zero military powers, I don’t accept that no police would exist in only 40 years, & that 15-20 detectives/enforcers are the only human element of law in Tokyo. It’s psychologically proven that people feel safer & comforted around human members of authority, & I just can’t imagine that a mindset so hardwired in our psyche would be completely done away in such a short time. Even in the rare case of natural disaster or unrest, this ep shows the benefits of the human face of law.

    Ultimately, us humans are still the same frightened, jittery mammals we were pre-evolution, it’s just that the likes of scare-stories in newspapers or online gossip has replaced our early warning systems of constantly looking behind our back to see if a cheetah’s about to pounce on our ass! For a system to be created in order to control the base unpredictably of mankind, nobody seems to have given any thought about how that unpredictably, the fear behind the creation of Sybil, could somehow find a way to discover flaws, deliberately or by accident. That’s artificial logic, but Sybil didn’t create itself; we did!

    As much as I enjoy Psycho-Pass, the way it constantly follows a direct & intelligent path of logic, only to throw it aside the next instant, has been a constant hindrance to the show. This could be the contrary reactions of the group of bystanders last episode, or that no real mass-riot protocol exists, despite dealing with hundreds of ‘anarchists’ in the band flashback. My personal favourite is still Shinya not recognising Akane’s digital voice, right after taking her to see this mentor, an expert in voice & body language recognition.

    I don’t know man, I can’t tell if this is Gen just half-assing it on his research, or if he’s butchering (hyuk) the finesse of his own story for it to flow smoothly; all I know is (unfair comparison aside), GiTS never made me feel smarter than the show. Then again, as you yourself noted, this is Section 9 on a shoestring budget. Two grenades only, please!

    • Scamp
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      Saying “it’s psychologically proven” is dumb because the entire point PP is making is that their psychology has changed. Referencing real world psychology doesn’t apply.

      As for why there was no backup plan, their backup plans probably amounted to little more than getting Sibyl running properly. Their faith in Sibyl is very intentionally blind. Saying “what if Sibyl crashed” is like saying “what if all the money we thought to have stopped existing”. We didn’t exactly have a great comeback to that either. They should have had a backup plan, but government and organisations should do a lot of things

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I find it hard to separate rl word thinking & psychology from shows like this, seeing as they essentially exist as a “What if?” scenario for the future. I get what the show is saying, and while I still accept the change in mentality on a surface level, & even deeper to an extent, I still don’t see 40 years as enough to completely do away with a human touch, creating some sort of Jetsons type image of the future, where man & machine go hand in hand. People are often ready to embrace change, but not so quick to completely do away with misgivings, even within a lifetime. I just don’t see forty years being enough to do away with the emotional support of a living being over a machine, in the street, no matter how pleasant it has been programmed to appear.

        As for the banking analogy; I think blindness stemming from greed & blindness stemming from fear, aren’t necessarily the same thing, or would create the same response.

        I don’t know man; maybe I should take a step back from this & see Psycho-Pass as a tv show & not a Philip K. Dick novel. Still; show me a rabbit hole, & I’ll dive right in!

  5. Anca
    Posted February 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Just a thought that came to me this episode – they never said that the whole world is like this. In fact, they keep saying what a ‘special town’ Tokyo is.

    I really wonder what, say, New York is like.

    • fathomlessblue
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I thought about that too, but in a way that would make even less sense. Is Tokyo a city walled off from the rest of the world? If so, you would think that would be a pretty big plot point? Is Tokyo not cut-off, but the rest of Japan is far more lax, or has no Sybil system? If so, how could two separate methods of governing exist within one country, & how would someone in Tokyo be able to handle the system if they know an alternative method exists outside, & vice-versa? Is it just the country itself that’s affected? If so, we’ve seen no evidence of jingoism or state-regulation of the outside world, even online!

      This is another big issue with Psycho-Pass: it leaves too much vague or unexplained. Traditionally, I like that sort of approach, but in a show like this, you really this information to help form your overall opinion on Sybil & the choices the character make.

    • Cirith
      Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      I assumed that it was all of Japan. Otherwise people with a bad psycho pass would just have to get out of the city.

      • fathomlessblue
        Posted February 2, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        The problem is in not knowing for sure. Many shows live & die by their characters, but dystopian cyber-punk tends to chiefly rely on its environment. Detail tend to be key, & knowing how the system affects all elements of society, even outside of its reach, is essentially to making a well-informed overall assessment. Hell, even series as shoddily executed as No-6 or Fractale, knew the importance of giving the viewer a peek at the other side of the veil!

  6. Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Aliens incoming.

    Trust me.

    • Stef
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      More probably brains in jars. But that’s equally terrible. Or maybe Psycho Pass will surprise me.

      • Posted February 4, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

        Psychic aquatic mammals. Just wait and see.

  7. Billish
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    “as dumb as a hockey game.” was that a jab at Canada? THAT WAS A JAB AT CANADA.

    Beleaf!

  8. Duelit
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I have to say, your posts on Psycho Pass are the main reason I can enjoy the show. You bring up valid topics and connect them to real world situations and that’s awesome!

    Btw, these days I’m reading your sites articles on gReader, so I can see them on the go. I feel bad for not having posted in a while, but this makes it so that I never miss an article. Hope you are doing well :3

    • Scamp
      Posted February 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Why thank you, I do try

      • Jeremiah Wilderson
        Posted February 6, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Well this is interesting. Because of your picture, that comment was really moe. Like shy cute girl graciously accepting an unexpected compliment while averting eye contact kind of moe.

        Scamp is actually moe…oh God

  9. Kiseki
    Posted February 3, 2013 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  10. Matthew
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    1. I’m pretty sure that when discussing the system, the hacker dude was saying that Sibyl’s signals are sent around the country.

    2. When discussing bringing in the military, what the commissioner lady said was that the “border drones” were being equipped with non-lethal weaponry. By which I assume that the military is basically all drones and maybe a few guys sitting in a building somewhere giving them high level remote commands. (This is actually fairly realistic as far as where military technology seems to be going these days.)

  11. nazaren
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    To address the post above mine… yeah, they did mention “this country”, so I’d assume Sybil is only *centered* in that town. Still, that may imply other countries don’t have Sybil… and Japan’s border guards are drones. Maybe there’s world peace?

    Anyway, I still can’t buy that they had zero contingency plan in place. Apart from natural disasters, pandemics and the like that could cause wide-spread panic and rioting… at least one higher-up already knew the Sybil system was flawed. I get wanting to preserve the public image of infallibility, but to not even address that flaw in secret is grossly negligent.

    Then again, something seems off with leader-lady, anyway…

    • Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Well, IMO, if they do indeed have some secret contingency interior army, in the instance that such an army is needed and seen by the Sibyl-believing public, all matter of trust in Sibyl would be broken and hard to be earned again. I mean, what better way to show that this perfect life-governing system is flawed by having a secret agency ‘usurping’ this infallible system?

  12. danilo07
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Since apparently very big number of people seem to think that a complete change in nations mentality in 4 decades is impossible.I would like to give an example of it actually happening.Before the birth of communist Yugoslavia,there was large ethnic hatred between nations that Yugoslavia consisted of.
    But when the communists came to power,the hatred and the thought of war was reduced to abstract concept.This has happened because A) communists replaced all of the nationalism with the focus on Marxism B)There was secret service of UDBA which removed quite efficiently anyone who ever showed any nationalistic tendencies C)There was a belief that if you believed anything Communist party said you would be granted economic stability and growth(which actually happened). All of these factors are included in a world O PP,so no it is not real stretch to say that you can change mentality of entire nation in 4 decades.

  13. Posted February 4, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    PP has up to this point hand-waved away the most crucial details of how this world works and relied on Action Movie logic to move along some of the biggest plot points as of late, which runs counter to its attempt to paint itself as an insightful intellectual work about human society. Thus, Psycho-Pass has written itself into a corner where much of its credibility hinges on the presumed big reveal next episode. Will the full brilliance of the author’s foresight come through, or will it bumble through another shootout while making up a wild, Bond-esque plot as they go along?

  14. Posted February 7, 2013 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I remember clearly that in order for the helmet thing to work, it needs at least one person in a 30-meter radius (or some distance like that) to have a normal PP hue. Well, with that being the case, shouldn’t all this rioting make all in the vicinity at least open to stun mode Dominator?

    At least that’s my first thought when I watched the episode. Now reading your post, I think it might not be since they managed to justify their actions and that should calm their hue down to a more Sibyl-approved level.

    Addressing your point in “why do they not have armies?”, IMO, it goes hand-in-hand that Sibyl is the perfect moral warden for this world (city?) that to show how perfect it is, they are willing to forgo armies.

    Also calling a loli in a jar and her brain as a supercomputer for Sibyl. Because if there’s anything remotely constant in a (semi-)dystopian cyber punk theme, it has to be brain-as-computer trope.

    And I have to agree with a few others here that Black-haired Hot Guy and Silver-haired Hot Guy is revealing the interesting bits all too readily and spoon-feeding us too much and too fast.

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