16 CommentsPsycho Pass / By Scamp /

Psycho Pass episode 5 – Not quite Section 9

It’s perhaps cheating to use Akane’s avatar instead of her real body when I said I’d lead off every Psycho Pass episodic with a moe~moe~kyun screencap. That said, I could hardly use anything other than this shot. I think it’s the ruffled hair that adds that cherry to the top of this cupcake of adowabubbleness.

The part from this episode that struck me the most was the reveal how the criminal was able to copy these online avatars without noticing. It wasn’t that he was so good at emulating that person that nobody noticed the difference. That idea is easier to deal with from our perspective, because it suggests you are a complex character you need to really study to pull off an impersonation of. Instead though, the criminal just took a few abstract concepts that their fans recognised in the character and built the identity around that. It’s a particularly damning statement of online identity. Your identity only exists as someone perceives it. Quantum identity if you will.

As someone who spends an awful lot of time online, it’s a rather frightening idea that nobody would notice it if one of my fans killed me and then kept updating my blog pretending to be me. Just throw out a few references to girls being insufferably nice to each other and you’re good. How many of you thought I wrote a certain post only for it to be one of my new co-writers? And they weren’t even trying to emulate me, they just happened to be in the place you would usually expect me. Kougami picked up on the change of people behind the wheel of Spookie Boogie because she started saying police instead of MWRsomethingsomething, but minor changes in vocabulary are hardly unprecedented. When I decided to stop using the -fag suffix a year or so ago, nobody jumped out of their chair and screamed “IMPOSTER!!”

Something that’s been building up in my mind a bit over the series so far is how inefficient the police force appears to be. They’re not quite Section 9 from Ghost in the Shell when it comes to gadgets. Section 9 are an anti-terrorist organisation sent to deal with issues of international importance that could threaten the stability of the entire world. The police force in Psycho Pass, meanwhile, are sent out to deal with malfunctioning toilets. Where Section 9 would have a flamethrower, the police force have to Macgyver one out of a bottle of strong alcohol and a cigarette lighter. Perhaps not the most efficient way of dealing with vision hacking, but certainly the most awesome.

Even their most high tech gadget, the Dominators, are weighed down by bureaucracy. When one of them points the gun at someone, it first needs to identify the criminal, then read his Psycho Pass hue, then fill out the forms and send them to headquarters, then wait 3-4 working day for someone to get off their big fat arse to process them, then get the return form lost in the post so they have to go to the post office to pick them up, and then finally they can shoot the criminal who by this stage has escaped to South America and lives a peaceful life with 4 kids and 11 grandchildren before dying in an unfortunate champagne bottle opening incident.

…where was I?

I’m still not that keen on Kougami. He’s way too quick on the mark when it comes to solving crimes. It seems like he’s able to exactly predict what happened from the most minimal of evidence. The way the anime is depicting his instantaneous ability to figure stuff out is because he has the mind of a criminal, which I can sorta get. It’s a lot like Runge from Monster, in that he has to get into the head of the criminal he’s pursuing in order to catch them. The reveal that he used to be a cop but got too much into his job so his hue went dark makes his quick detectiving easier to swallow. Now all we need is a Monster X Psycho Pass crossover. If you pointed a Dominator at Johan Liebert, it would forgo the usual procedure and just launch a fusion bomb.

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  1. Posted November 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    This post is terrifying. I want to say “Oh, Scamp, I’d always recognize you!” but, well… And the same goes for me. A few smilies and H-manga shots on Twitter, and there you have it.

    I’m impressed that you kept watching the show after the hubbub over episode one. But I’m glad you did, because it actually seems interesting, and I wouldn’t have known. Cheers!

    • Scamp
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

      The hubbub over the first episode was more a reaction to anime having so much goddam rape this season than what the episode itself did. Especially since what the episode was saying about rape was that it’s really fucked up to treat the rape victim as a criminal

    • Fadeway
      Posted November 11, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      From how rarely I see your comments under blog posts – I don’t think I’ve caught even one since you retired – I deem this one unusual behavior. You may have been replaced. Please contact your nearest Psycho-Pass scanner for more information.

  2. Nazaren
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    The most inefficient thing I’ve noticed so far, is how the concept of “interrogation” seems totally non-existent in the world of Psycho-Pass. Bad guy with possible information? LETHAL ENFORCEMENT AUTHORIZED. Unless they can manually reduce the dominator’s potency… I can see that causing problems.

    Granted, all the evidence they had in this case indicated the guy was acting alone, so I suppose it’s not a serious issue yet.

    Also, if Kougami’s hand starts doing invisible data-entry, I’ll love this unconditionally.

  3. Posted November 10, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    >wanting a Monster/PP crossover
    You’ve been replaced by Shinmaru, haven’t you?

    The other problem the Dominators have is that when they finally did get done with all that paperwork, the guns automatically set their phasers from ‘stun’ to ‘hilarious tomato soup explosion’, foregoing any chance to question the guy and maybe, I dunno, ask about that important-sounding guy he was talking to. You know, the one they start wondering about immediately after they turn him inside-out. Seems to be something of a flaw with the Psycho Pass system (as if anyone ever thought it was flawless) and I wonder if the show will make a significant point of that later on.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I thought that was pretty dumb too. They quite literally wonder who he’s talking to right after they blow him up. Plus you’ve got to wonder how much of an issue it is to clean up the explosion afterwards

  4. Anca
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Spoiler: This post was not written by SCAMP?

    …or was it? Damn it, you’re fucking with our minds here.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Scamp died 3 years ago

  5. anonymous
    Posted November 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
    • Scamp
      Posted November 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

      Psycho Pass: The moe-est

  6. Taka
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    This is part of the problem I have when a blogger harps on old hat gripes and grievances. There’s a predictability that arises that makes me wonder if they are actually giving a series the fair analysis they should as writers rather than a simple knee-jerk reaction. I don’t think any two criticisms should ever be the same. Its sad because a lot of times I really enjoy what they write otherwise.

    As for Kougami I thought his deductions were reasonable that he is the one making them doesn’t really bother me. In fact his deduction for tracking the guy behind this case really tickled my inner detective. It’s like following the money trail but in this case it’s follow the obsessive devotion trail.

    But yeah it’s dumb not to bring him in for questioning. And why is the stupid system still telling us the persons crime coefficient it seems rather arbitrary.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I think my issue with his quick deductions is it doesn’t feel like he’s moving through the possibilities. He just instantly knows the answer and is convinced straight away that he’s correct. With Monster or Death Note, you get the impression they have run through the possibilities and arrived at it through a process of elimination. Not really getting that with Kougami

  7. spazer
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    You really should’ve gotten somebody else to post this blog just to confuse anyone who bothered checking the byline.

  8. crimsonmoon
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Seriously? You really expect the police force to bring a goddamn flamethrower to the scene? You said yourself that Section 9 is a COUNTER-TERRORIST unit. The MWPSB is just a police force, like you said. Just because P-P and Ghost in the Shell has the same genre, doesn’t mean you have to shove it into our faces every time. Same genre, different approach. Get over it.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 11, 2012 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Errr, I think you missed the point entirely. I wasn’t saying that was a bad thing at all. I actually liked the Macgyvering of a flamethrower

      • Erif
        Posted November 22, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

        Yeah someone is a bit touchy.

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