Monday, 17 March 2014


What if your mental state of mind could be measured and used to judge you?

Psycho-Pass is an anime series that premiered in 2012. FUNimation released the English dub earlier in March this year and now I've gotten to see a sneak peek at the first episode. The series follows Inspector Akane Tsunemori, a rather idealistic rookie who is assigned to the Public Safety Bureau. She is joined by fellow Inspector Nobuchika Ginoza in supervising Enforcers of Unit One: a group of veteran criminals who now work for the good guys.

On first read-through, the plot seems to share a couple of similarities with Breakout Kings, the short lived series about a task force assembled by the U.S. Marshals consisting of criminals who help to capture prison escapees. This may be true, but it's not actually the main attraction here and it's not the reason you should be watching.

The time is 2112 and Japan is ruled by the Sibyl System. Now the Sibyl System has the ability to measure a human's emotions and mental state through a device called the Dominator. This reading is called your 'Psycho-Pass'. The Dominator identifies criminal intent in a person's soul and quantifies it into numbers and anyone found exceeding a certain parameter is deemed a threat in need of therapy...or in extreme cases, execution. Sounds threatening, doesn't it. Supplies quite a bit of nightmare fuel if you think about it.

The plot for the first episode typically introduces all the elements I just mentioned, but also deals with a hostage situation involving a man named Nobuo Okura whose Psycho-Pass has predicted that he is likely to commit a crime and is confirmed when he kidnaps an innocent woman. Suffice to say, without spoiling things, the first episode doesn't end well for a lot of the people - at least not on a personal level. 

The Sibyl System is a fascinating invention, but like most systems, isn't perfect. It relies on numbers to make a decision. This means that you don't actually have to commit a crime to be found guilty of something. If you were born a sociopath, then your Psycho-Pass will draw the relevant conclusions. In other cases, a person can become a criminal, only after being outed as someone with a high Psych-Pass. You can do all the good in the world, but can still be found outside the necessary safety parameters in specific situations. You can even be corrupted by other people either verbally or tortured as someone who has suffered abuse will most likely also have a higher Psycho-Pass than before. This is a scary thought. A group of thugs can beat me up on the street and my 'momentary' lust for revenge could deem me a threat worthy of execution and this series is all about situations like that.
Talking about the characters, one episode doesn't really justify me talking about it. Akane seems like your run-of-the-mill rookie, someone who obviously had no idea what sort of horrors this job she took would in case. I felt sorry for her as I was on her side up until the end and kinda wished things would've ended better than they did. Kate Oxley portrays Akane and as usual, nails the part. Robert McCollum plays the main Enforcer - Shinya Kogami and Josh Grelle plays Kate's partner Nobuchika Ginoza. All three actors/actresses are some of my favorite. Grelle has voiced a number of great characters, but it was odd hearing him bust out his 'stoic' personality, which I must say is welcomed.

I found the first episode rather dark. Nothing too graphic, but I enjoy psychological thrillers such as Psycho-Pass. At one stage, I wondered what it would be like if this was live-action. It has all the makings of a great police drama with a unique SCI-FI twist.

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