More Akane being all doshiooo because gosh darn do I need some moe to lighten my heart after this otherwise disturbing episode.
Anime doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to producing horror. You get stuff like Another or Blood-C that just appear silly in their desire to be brutal. The hyper violent OVAs in the 80’s and 90’s try to come across as hardcore and badass, but in reality they look immature. Then there’s things like Gyo, which are probably supposed to be horror but mainly come across as bizarre z-movie, script drawn on the back of a cigarette packet, utter nonsense. It doesn’t help that it’s a genre I’m not particularly fond of even when it doesn’t muck things up. I lack the patience to sit through boring set up and atmosphere building in anime like Shiki. There’s been a few where the mental trauma of characters has been painful to watch, like Evangelion or Ryvius, but that’s different to horror.
The theory I’ve seen thrown out is that anime struggles with horror because there’s a mental barrier when you’re watching cartoons. They’re not real people, so you’re emotionally detached from what happens to them. It seems sound, but anime should be able to mess with fear in a different way precisely because they’re cartoons. Popee the Performer is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen, anime or otherwise, because its children cartoon motif messes with your head when it does those shocking things, like ripping out your own eyelids to a jaunty tune. Not sure I’d call Popee a horror though. Shinmaru would certainly disagree, and he’s the horror expert on this site.
What I’m trying to build up to saying is that this episode of Psycho Pass freaked me out. It’s interesting how we couldn’t see some nipples on the schoolgirl when she was in bed, but we could see her deformed sculptures. An unintentional commentary on how silly rating standards on television is. It’s totally cool to see this art piece from the most depraved parts of hell, but dearie me you can’t see a nipple. God only knows what you might do if you saw a nipple.
Even when it comes to something censored for blood and guts, they don’t have anywhere near the same impact this sculpture does. I’m not particularly bothered that I’m unable to see what exactly happens in Blood-C when the killer bunnies run through the street, or what exactly exists in the holes blown through people’s heads in Deadman Wonderland. It’s distracting having big black smog of censorship covering everything, but desiring a non-censored version so you can see the blood squirt out of the top of their heads seems like your buying into their immature fantasy. After watching Hellsing Ultimate bathe in its own sadism and overkill, something clicked in me and I no longer found watching people’s heads being blown off as ‘cool’. They’re not supposed to be frightening or disturbing. It’s there because people think violence is cool.
The sculptures in Psycho Pass did genuinely work on me though, and probably the first time an anime has creeped me out this much (at least, creeped me out intentionally, because Apocalypse Zero still exists). There’s the pure base level horror at the weird sexuality of these designs, with the rose motifs I talked about in the last post. Seeing the thought behind the horror got to me even more though. The white haired criminal mastermind was completely unable to see the irony of him talking about how society made people dead to stress and emotion, but in turn he had no human reaction to the mutilation of these bodies.
The white haired guy really did strike me like one of those deluded religious cult leaders, talking about conspiracy theories and how people die inside because of society. His theories were formed before looking at the evidence, and then he moulded the evidence to fit his own narrative. It would be like picking up a lego man with all their pieces broken apart, and went to put it back together, but with the intent of having the head at the centre despite the fact the pieces clearly fit in other ways. So you get a blowtorch, melt a few pieces so they stick together as you want, until by the end you get something resembling that sculpture. And even when your done, he fails to see that what he’s arrived at is completely wrong, even though he has all the right pieces.
I feel I might have gotten lost in that metaphor a bit. I might need a lie down. Or perhaps a picture of Akane checking out that toned body.
You could be a bit less obvious about it.