12 CommentsPsycho Pass / By Scamp /

Psycho Pass episode 7 – Body horror

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.

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  1. Posted November 24, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    This anime is great. It’s turning into a great crime drama, with a true, behind the scenes super villain pulling strings. And the crimes aren’t petty; they’re a form of grotesque art. And the villain is a social dynamics philosopher as well. And the nuances of each episode just get better. I’m anxious to see just have far they’ll go (censoring and all) for dramatic effect. I wonder if this super villain will last the entire series, or until it’s midpoint?

    • Scamp
      Posted November 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

      It feels like Stand Alone Complex, so the assumption is that it will take up the entire series. Personally I wouldn’t mind some more episodic tales that tell these characters’ backstories a bit more

    • Posted November 26, 2012 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Yea this anime is very interesting and captivating. Reminds me of intriguing animes like Death Note and Battle Royale. The genre of crime is like that of Minority Report. Can’t wait for the next episode!

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    The best part of the episode was Kogami having realistic nipples.

    Good for you Psycho-Pass, good for you.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

      Nipples are the cancer that is saving anime

  3. Madu_Scientisto
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Ugh Apocalypse Zero… Thanks for reminding me. *shudders*

    Anyway, I definitely agree that the horror works in Psycho Pass (anime in general doesn’t usually make me feel unsettled). I think you might be on to something regarding why the horror actually works. As a viewer one get an insight into the mind of the killer, which, coupled with the body horror part of it and the relative plausibility of the murder (except for the plastic-pseudo-science), makes for a more horrifying experience than most other anime.

    tl;dr I agree with what you said.

    Also Akane is ridiculously moe.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      I occasionally get ptsd with Apocalypse Zero. Meant to do a terribad review, but was too afraid to go back and take screencaps

  4. shytende
    Posted November 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I thought that the girl being killed was the suspicious girl. Twice. I had to rewatch to be sure that it wasn’t her.
    Am I the only one ?
    Anyway, it’s really strange that nobody have noticed anything.
    I mean, if you paint horriffic painting of the girl you kill, and if any girl that comes visit you ends dead and transformed into sculpture, that should be easy to see.
    Also, these holograms are really terrifying.

    • Scamp
      Posted November 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      I can’t tell those schoolgirls apart either. Maybe that’s intentional? By forcing them into this school they become indistinguishable until they are chopped down for artwork, and only then they stand out?

      Or it could just be bad character designs. Think the second option is more likely

  5. Posted November 25, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Yeahhh, this onee-san killed all the underclassmen who come at her for questions. Even our incompetent detectives will be able to find her by next episode. Failure of a murderer. If I were her, I would kill random unrelated people. It will be much harder to track. As long as they made fine art piece. :-)

    • Scamp
      Posted November 25, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Well, she is a serial killer. I doubt she’s thinking perfectly straight at the moment. Serial killers tend to be like that

      • matrixEXO
        Posted November 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

        My guess is that she actually wanted to immortalize them in an art style that was done by her father (during the Specimen Case incident). She, being brought up in an all-girls school and living in the dorms (since it IS meant to promote “safe” Hue levels, so they have to at least live in dorms right?) could only see the beauty of girls and thus wants to immortalize them. (I guess she never learned to open her viewfinder beyond the looking glass, huh? Or maybe a yuri in her own way.)

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