PSYCHO-PASS – 03
「成しうる者」 (Nashi Uru Mono)
Sibyl’s system is nowhere near perfect – there remain enough chinks in the armor for the darker side of man to slip through, as it unfortunately always seems to do. Crimes are still committed and culprits still need to be caught, but at least it provides plenty of actual detective work for the Public Safety Bureau to do more than serving as mere bounty hunters of sorts. PSYCHO-PASS is presumably taking an episodic approach in the early going with a “one case per week” formula, but it is effective here in the third episode as the case is used to contrast how the show’s detective procedures, and in a sense, its ideas of justice, differ from ours.
On the surface there’s a murder mystery at play here, with three recent mysterious deaths at a robotic drone factory deemed unusual enough to merit a closer look from the PSB’s detectives. If the setting of the show were a contemporary one, this setup alone would likely have enough detective legwork to fill an entire episode, if not more. There would be evidence to collect and suspects to interrogate, not to mention the lengthy trial process that some shows like to incorporate. However, with tools like Psycho-Pass hues and crime coefficients at detectives’ disposal, the only evidence some of them need are a simple number.
Ginoza’s notion of carrying out justice is twisted from the one we know. For him, an sudden change in a suspect’s Psycho-Pass hue coinciding with a suspicious death along with the fact he is being bullied, is considered circumstantial evidence (as it should), but a crime coefficient derived from Sibyl performing a “cymatic” scan of a person’s brain, probably akin to an highly advanced version of today’s functional MRI, is considered all the evidence he needs to close the book on a case.
PSYCHO-PASS is quickly becoming a study of contrasts, beginning with the struggles faced by the latent criminals vs. non-latent criminals, and now detectives who swear by their instincts and good old fashioned police work, vs. detectives for whom Sibyl’s word is the absolute law. It’s easy to see which side of the fence Ginoza and Masaoka respectively fall on, and it’ll be interesting to find out the source of their animosity, but the real question is where Kougami and Tsunemori will end up once this series is through.
The no-nonsense Enforcer’s change of heart in the last episode in becoming a detective who cared about true justice and protecting people came so abruptly it was almost too hard to believe. Usually, it takes a good amount of experience with a good cop, Tsunemori in this case, to influence the “bad” one, so by having him change so quickly felt like the show was deprived of a major avenue of character development for the simple sake of advancing the story. Fortunately, the events in this third episode throw all of the words Kougami said while recuperating into doubt now that he is back in the thick of the action. The “Enforcer as a hunter” personality reared its ugly head as he basically entrapped Kanehara Yuji (whose seiyuu sounded eerily like Tsuruoka Satoshi who played Caster in Fate/Zero) into trying to kill him and Tsunemori with a pair of reprogrammed drones. Along with his obsession in finding Makishima, it’s hard to envision him abiding by any notions of justice and duty as he seeks to settle his score. Probably the only hope for him to change his ways lie in the cute new Inspector, so there’s hope yet for the “bad cop sees the light” trope being played out in its fullest.
On the other hand, Tsunemori looks firmly in Masaoka’s camp for now, relying on old fashioned detective’s intuition and dirty work to nab the suspect, but with Ginoza lurking behind her shoulder the possibility does exist, however minute, that it could only be a matter of time before she switches sides. Much of this is due to a perception that her idealism appears to be fragile at the moment, as if all it would take is a single tragedy for it to unravel into something more resembling the black and white morality of her senior Inspector.
Aside from the now expected exposition, this episode also marked a return to the action and thrills that were promised in the premiere. The twist that the drone factor was an anechoic chamber, thus negating all EM radiation and turning the fancy Dominators into worthless hunks of metal, was a smartly written and plausible device that accomplished two things. It not only explained what the difference between Psycho-Pass hues and Sibyl’s cymatic scan based crime coefficients was, but also set up the tension as Kougami and Tsunemori raced from the center of the building to a place where Sibyl’s signals could reach. Kougami’s fight against Kanehara’s drones also served to showcase how – for lack of a better term – badass of a detective he is. He’s able to sport a devilish grin even as thousands of pounds of oil, metal, and wires are trying to kill him, sometimes coming as close as mere inches away from his face. After his shirtless turn in the beginning of the episode, Kougami probably gained a lot of female admirers, while his effortlessly cool action scene at the end of it likely gained him a good amount of the male fandom.
All in all, hopefully Sibyl’s limitations will continue to offer plenty of material for the series as it shifts to an episodic style. For a complex dystopian setting like the one found in this series, every bit of exposition that an episodic style can offer is welcomed as it helps shed more light on what makes the world tick, and when combined with more of the action that was found in this episode, may be prove to be a winning formula for this series. Assuming PSYCHO-PASS continues with its crime of the week pacing and remembers to hint at the overarching story from time to time, there is a lot here to like for viewers who don’t need their plot spoon fed to them. For those with the patience, the reward is a series that effortlessly melds excellent exposition that is sure to inspire smart discussion, subtle and nuanced character development, and action scenes that exude a slick coolness.
- How did Sybil scan a brainless robotic drone to determine a threat level without a crime coefficient that is calculated from a “cymatic” scan of the brain, a number which is presumably needed for the Dominator to fire a shot capable of destroying rather than merely incapacitating?
- Full-length images: 05.1, 05.2, 06.5, 11, 13.5, 15, 18.1, 18.2, 28, 34.5, 36.