PSYCHO-PASS – 19, 20
「透明な影」 (Toumei na Kage)
「正義の在処」 (Seigi no Zai)
“Countryside of Justice”
With the Makishima vs. Kougami battle starting in earnest, it seems Production I.G. has decided to put a little more effort into their animation. After weeks of QUALITY, things finally look a little more acceptable, with Akane in particular receiving some nice upgrades in the visual department. Considering how she’s taking a more proactive role in the plot it’s a good thing. Her involvement still comes across as slightly awkward though, as it feels superfluous to the conflict built around Makishima and Kougami, which is the dichotomy PSYCHO-PASS chose to introduce in the very beginning.
To put it into perspective, both Madoka and Fate/Zero had central conflicts that may be less philosophical, but felt more cohesive and grounded in the individuals who were chosen to portray the issue at hand. PSYCHO-PASS, while containing the loftiest moralistic arguments Urobuchi has brought up to date, is the weakest of the three shows when considering narrative flow and the effectiveness of the conflict’s presentation. Part of the problem lies in the fact the issues Urobuchi tries to tackle in the show require different focuses – one macroscopic and the other microscopic. It almost feels as if P-P needs to be split into two shorter shows to tackle the issues to the extent the philosophical drivels in the series seem to suggest. Kougami and Makishima’s opposition echo Kiritsugu and Kirei’s antagonistic relationship in Fate/Zero, which was a microscopic conflict explored in a macroscopic world. The execution and integration of all the events and side characters in the show wasn’t perfect, but it was done to a far better degree in F/Z than in P-P – all of the secondary characters mean something, and their deaths serve to portray some kind of purpose, while Kiritsugu and Kirei play off of each other in a much more intense manner than Kougami and Makishima. Perhaps it’s because the former two feel more dynamic – the latter two are surprisingly flat. Their intensity is diluted by the Sybil System’s – and by extension Akane’s – involvement. The conflict regarding the Sybil System is a macroscopic, world-based conflict that doesn’t feel applicable to the Kougami vs. Makishima debacle. To be fair, the two conflicts would seem less disparate if Kougami was taken out of the picture and Akane pitted against Makishima instead – morally they stand on opposite ends of the spectrum, or at least enough that there is a more harmonious mix of the two worlds than there is now.
It’s unfortunate, since the moral and philosophical debates behind Urobuchi’s two main issues could have been something phenomenal if they were allowed to be independent of one another. As it stands, it’s difficult to discern just what the writer is trying to say since all two out of the three main characters stand for vastly different things. If Kougami’s focus on Makishima was grounded on worldlier things such as societal injustice instead of a personal one, the series might feel a little less jarring. The use (or lack thereof) the side characters still remains a problem, but if the main cast can gel together a bit more smoothly, it’s not an issue that would be too glaring.
Minor qualms aside, Sybil’s conversation with Akane is probably the highlight of this week and last week. What it describes is an objective system at best; a large sample pool might reduce the chances of a failure in logic, but it doesn’t completely erase it. One really has to wonder who came up with such a system to begin with – the beginnings of the Sybil System is something that seems impossible to comprehend since it’s unimaginable to think anyone in their right mind would be able to conceive and actualize such an outlandish idea. Actually, to think of it is one thing – this is wholly possible, to dream of a utopia where people would no longer have to worry about what they should do for the rest of their lives. But to achieve it using such twisted methods is another matter entirely.
ED2: 「All Alone With You」 by EGOIST