Random Curiosity

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PSYCHO-PASS Movie

OP Sequence

OP: 「Who What Who What」 by Ling Tosite Sigure

「劇場版 サイコパス」 (Gekijōban Saikopasu)
“PSYCHO-PASS Movie”

I more-or-less enjoyed the original PSYCHO-PASS, which I considered a worthy addition to anime’s portfolio of plausible science-fiction like the iconic Ghost in the Shell. I didn’t really feel like the first season really needed a sequel, nor did I expect one. Science-fiction has traditionally been far more adept at asking question than answering them, and even if there were a few loose ends, there wasn’t really a pressing need to reopen the setting. Indeed, the TV sequel didn’t really add a lot of scope to the franchise (though it was not entirely void of interesting points). Along comes a PSYCHO-PASS movie now (well, more like a month ago on BD/DVD and even earlier in theatres, you get what I mean) and one has to wonder what it intends to offer. Surely, one can expect a bit more ambition from a feature film (even if it weighs lighter in time than a TV series), especially with original writers Urobuchi Gen and Fukami Makoto once again providing the script.

The PSYCHO-PASS movie definitely treats itself as a sequel in the series. While newcomers to the title shouldn’t be too lost in the aci-fi technobabble, with the Sybil System and Crime Coefficients fairly straightforwardly explained in dialogue, gory visuals, and blatant exposition text, they will probably find it hard to derive much backstory on any characters, or follow some of the established themes, or understand the talkative albino people Kougami hallucinates about when under stress. If you’re on board with all that, the movie has all the hallmarks of a cinema blockbuster. There’s action and intrigue, light and music, bread and circus, plenty of Akane being rad and mercifully little of Mika being obnoxious. There’s a lot here to enjoy. Most interesting, for me, is how this movie expands on the PSYCHO-PASS universe. We are, for the first time, taken out of augmented-reality-Japan, the Airstrip One of PSYCHO-PASS, and given a view of the world at large (or, at least, a South-Asian federation where the dominant language is somehow stilted English) which has, as is common in dystopian fiction, gone to hell in a handbasket outside of the one bastion of authoritarian stability. With Japan ruled by the Sybil system having already been the subject of much criticism previously, it’s about time that we saw the alternative, and to contrast the absolute order of Sybil is the absolute chaos of a war-torn world without it. In such context, the Sybil system is not actually portrayed that negatively this time (not even in its matchmaking decisions). It’s still not a nice thing, to be sure, but it’s a viable argument in that age-old tension between liberty and security, which is also embodied in our protagonists Kougami Shinya (Tomokazu Seki), who turned his back on and even fights against the system, and Tsunemori Akane (Hanazawa Kana), who continues to work within it.

It’s not exactly that clear cut, though, because while it’s relatively straightforward to discuss justice and free will when it’s just a matter of a an unaccountable surveillance state repressing individuals, when extrapolated to the amoral global theatre many new angles come into play. In the PSYCHO-PASS movie, the Sybil system is not just a national bureaucracy, but an international imperialistic force. It’s not so much different to what the CIA used to do, toppling hostile regimes and propping up allied dictators, no doubt also in the name of the greater good. But while Sybil is revealed to have been pulling all the strings all along (a rather predictable twist, I found, but let’s call it ‘well hinted’), it plays largely a neutral role. Instead, the various negatives are presented in the form of the two major antagonists. Colonial Nicholas Wong (Kamiya Hiroshi) abuses the system, using the promise of utopia and exploitation of loopholes to serve his military junta. Mercenary captain Desmond Rutagunda (Ishizuki Unshou)—I had to look up his name—rejects the system, and uses the ideas of the postcolonial literature he’s fond of to justify establishing a regional military faction himself. Both are, ultimately, seeking power bought with violence. Both, ultimately, die impotently. It may be PSYCHO-PASS making a statement about their causes (in the might makes right sort of way), but also note the authority who survives the entire affair. In the end, Sybil stands alone. Sybil, in its role as the state, must (as sociologist Max Weber first posited) hold the monopoly on violence. Naturally, its imperialist agenda can entertain no competition.

Why, then, does Sybil yield to Akane? Consider the passage from Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth that the mercenary tried to quote:

At the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force. It frees the native from his inferiority complex and from his despair and inaction; it makes him fearless and restores his self-respect

To put it another way, when the individual is oppressed, the natural reaction is for them to turn to violence. The very act of control creates rebellion. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why attempts to export democracy have worked poorly. Government cannot be forced onto the individual, no matter how ideal it may seem. No matter how preferable Shambhala Float may be, it’ll be sure to stir some kind of mass resentment at some unless the people choose to take responsibility for it themselves as a democratic society. And if Sybil is the embodiment of the State, then States should be considered creations of society, something about the social contract, more philosophy, loop back to concerns about the tyranny of the majority that we’ve seen before, we’re back to PSYCHO-PASS 1 again, roll credits set to familiar music.

…Sometimes, I get the feeling the PSYCHO-PASS is as much the writers showing off their reading list as anything else. Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And so, even with this movie, there is really no definitive conclusion to PSYCHO-PASS. Sybil isn’t entirely vindicated. Akane isn’t entirely vindicated. Kougami is on the run once more. There are still many legitimate concerns about social engineering, justice, technology outpacing society—lofty concepts that aren’t going to be resolved completely by anime, let alone within a two-hour run time. Again, science-fiction is far more adept at asking questions than answering them, so perhaps we’ll never have a ‘definitive conclusion’ to PSYCHO-PASS. A point is made in this movie about compromises, because what we have, in the end, is but a lot of conflicting ideas that we must find some middle ground in. So I suppose I find myself in the same position as I was after the original PSYCHO-PASS. Yes, there are still loose ends. We have definitely have room for continuation, especially considering the frustratingly inconclusive stinger (Any bets? Frontrunner: Kougami returns in a sequel. Long shot: Kougami’s dead as some kind of nihilistic commentary. Dark horse: Kougami was never alive and is seeing dead people). But do we really need a sequel? Well, I suppose sales is the more relevant consideration. If I had the choice, though, of more of something like PSYCHO-PASS 2 or more of something like this movie, I’ll take this movie every time. Sure, there wasn’t as much time to develop the characters, or to build up the intrigue. But as an expansion of the world of PSYCHO-PASS, I think it was definitely the right direction. It’s what science fiction should do: build visions of the future.

This post would not have happened without Zephyr, who both pushed for it and did all the screencaps. All I did was spew out some words. All other credit goes to him.

Epilogue:

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「名前のない怪物」 (Namae no nai Kaibutsu) by EGOIST

August 21, 2015 at 4:40 am
37 comments »
  • August 21, 2015 at 6:11 amNishizawa Mihashi

    Aiyoyoyo, dei, dei vat is this dei!?

    >Says South-Asian Federation
    >Everybody’s white
    >No Indians
    >Few brown people
    >Vindicated in belief of Far-East Asian imperialism

    Believability: -75%

    Verdict: LELZ :V

    Ahem, le jokes aside… I just blahdy hope that Mika isn’t Psycho-Pass 2 Mika the moment I turn the PS3 on to watch this. In any case, I know I really like the ideas that were shared with us, the audience, in Psycho-Pass 1- however! As time passes on, I came to realize that Gennie-boiyh is outputting some half-baked ideas that either never reach the starlight of full potential, or don’t seem to snap together well within the actual framework of our current reality.

    Heck, it would’ve been extremely frightening if Gennie-boiyh took the idea of culture, religion and history seriously in conceiving the series. And here’s another thing, if Gennie-boiyh also went out of his way to portray the U.S or a similar ‘Western’ league as utilizing a Brave New World style system as a contrast to the Far-East’s 1984 style system, it would’ve made it easier for plenty of strong plot points to be conceived in support of a ‘middle way’… Then again, I’ve also wished that Gennie-Boiyh used more actual theories found within psychology to support his thesis and themes for the series. One very useful one would be Stanley Milgram’s theory on obedience.

    Ultimately though, I guess the rabble won’t be able to tolerate the thought of a potential full-on mind-fuck onslaught for very long… Bleigh… :P

    • August 21, 2015 at 6:59 amTechim

      Minor details aside, I was a bit surprised when I heard those Buddhist chants.
      Being a former Buddhist myself, the wordings and voice tones are all legit.
      (The Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato etc etc, you get what I mean)

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:17 amNishizawa Mihashi

        If it’s Buddhist, then it’s most probably set in the South-East then. In a way, that’s actually really reassuring to me…

    • August 21, 2015 at 6:59 amPasserby

      To be specific, I would guess that the Southeast Asian Union or whatever is simply a federation of the Indochinese peninsula. We saw Cambodia, maybe Vietnam, and it won’t be a stretch to throw a few more in there.

      it took quite a bit of work just to get a look outside of Japan, so going all the way West is probably beyond the scope of this movie (though would be rather interesting in a PSYCHO-PASS 3). Even in 1984 we only get a vague idea of the politics of the other superpowers (if they existed at all), and I think PSYCHO-PASS is more influenced by Western films anyway (Bladerunner, Minority Report). I do think, though, that Urobuchi and Fukami do have a fair bit of reading under their belt (they were quite enamored with Fanon in this movie, and they mention Proust for whatever reason). I would quibble with some of their ideas, but there’s plausibility, at the very least.

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:26 amNishizawa Mihashi

        If it is, indeed, set in the Indochina region of South-East Asia then it would be much more believable. Where, if judging by the inclusion of a shot of what is presumably the Angkor Wat, it would make more sense to portray the constant threat of mercenaries and military juntas. Still, it begs the question of what the heck the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are doing about it, buuuuuut I digress.

        Yeah, I have heard of people saying that Psycho-Pass is heavily influenced by those aforementioned films, though I absolutely cannot say anything as I’ve no actual viewing experience with them. As for the two being well-read, I suppose that is so, or else they probably would not have gone through with making this series.

      • August 21, 2015 at 11:57 amTechim

        Still, it begs the question of what the heck the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia are doing about it, buuuuuut I digress.

        You mean what those countries do in general versus negative reputation? Can’t speak for the rest, but mine (Malaysia) seems to love clamping down on all criticism even if there was merit to it…News headlines have been consistently facepalm worthy for a few months now…
        Here’s one: A whistleblower pinpointed the top guy in our gov as pocketing 700 million USD into his personal bank account, something obviously way above his paygrade. After days of beating around the bush the official excuse given was that its a political donation, no current laws against that, there’ll be laws drafted in the future, etc etc….

      • August 21, 2015 at 12:28 pmNishizawa Mihashi

        Huh… Looks like we live in the same country then, Techim.

        And not quite… I was referring to the condition of those 4 countries in-universe, not in real-life. Oh hell naw we be talkin bout dat right over here sonny boyh… Die lah like that… :P

      • August 22, 2015 at 2:34 amkittyraider

        Funnily though, if you notice when Shion hacked SEAUn Sybil IFF system, all of the Army officers’ name are Indonesian (with the exception of Nick Wong)

        I was initially surprised with the good english of the Insurgent First Infiltration Team to Japan…they put my expectations for the engrish far too high…

    • August 22, 2015 at 5:13 amDwarg

      i found it funny only last 20 seconds of the movie included actual native language of people where this took place, and 90% of them just spoke Engrish.

      Ps. Still can’t post comments from Opera, RC fix your shit.

  • August 21, 2015 at 6:15 amBudoko

    Is it wrong that I wanted to see Mika slapped by Akane everytime they were in a scene together?

    • August 21, 2015 at 7:49 amZephyr

      I’ll say I wanted to do that all throughout PSYCHO-PASS 2.

  • August 21, 2015 at 7:29 amRichie Kim

    My expectations on the continuation of the Sybil System’s flaws:

    1. It would be nice to see a female criminal mastermind though I insist on NOT wanting her to be the Plastination Artist.

    2. Her goal is to “cure” Enforcers that will give them a clear Psycho-Pass. Which also means she will be harming Inspectors who she view them as cowards in accepting their dark side.

    3. Her methods in that curing is just a guess theory…that is she uses nanobots which contains DNA of an asymptomatic criminal.

    I know these theories and expectations are ridiculous, but I can’t help fantasizing on Akane taking down a female villain.

    Now who doesn’t wanna see that?

    • August 21, 2015 at 8:38 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Don’t know about you or other people, but frankly, I’ve rarely seen female villains the likes of what you had ‘fantasized’. You sometimes hear of monstrous moms, loose-screw assassins, extremist cultists, star-crossed female lovers going apeshit or twisted madames, but rarely any others. I cannot even say if that is done out of political correctness, sexism or prevailing cultural concepts, but I just have to share with you our desire to see a ‘real’ female villain for once.

      • August 21, 2015 at 8:58 pmRichie Kim

        Yeah, for once I wanna see a CALM female villain who can still put a straight face even when she’s killing someone.

        I don’t support these kind of villains, ever since I watched Akame ga Kill! (the crazy female Hunter that I don’t want another FV to be like that), but if there’s a reasonable reason on why she fights like this, then she will be the multi-dimensional FV to love and hate at same time.

  • August 21, 2015 at 8:03 amFood

    KAWALI mini bomb

    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20011.jpg

    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20034.jpg

    mastermind Bitch can die as many as she want, saying that “HAHA you can’t kill me”

    ego ISIS army, with advanced slavery and non-man human machine killers

    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20043.jpg

    I got a BIG GUN – bigger than magnum pistol and dominator

    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20070.jpg

  • August 21, 2015 at 8:52 amTrap Master

    Good to see I’m not the only one who was glad that they cut away Mika as much as they could in the movie :) Either way, I really loved the Psycho Pass movie, not as strong as season 1, but still a good movie.

    I feel if the writer has a clean way to wrap up the series, I wouldn’t mind having a sequel that does tie up in the loose end, but if they can’t, then I’d rather have them just leave this series alone. Either way, it was good to see Kougami back, and more badass Akane so I’m satisfied :)

  • August 21, 2015 at 10:48 amGabriel

    172 images! Passerby = awesome!

    • August 21, 2015 at 6:09 pmPasserby

      All awesomeness in that department belongs to Zephyr. I only provided the text.

      • August 21, 2015 at 11:18 pmZephyr

        ( `ー´)八(`ー´ ) HI5

  • August 21, 2015 at 3:26 pm15FAN

    Thanks for the review and all screenshots / it is a 2 1/2 hour movie after all!

    One thing I like to add Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division came charging in a Crictical moment !Even though they were not part of the whole story they showed they were a force to be reckon with !

    Akane was as sharp as ever and Kogami did everything to protect her but fell a little short!

    If Kogami is still alive I would like to see that relationship expand especially after Akane was all happy to see her friend getting married!

    Another big ? is Sybil still a solution or a problem! I am throwing this out there ! The use of survelliance video has been a big help in catching criminals in real life !

    Even with electonic eavesdropping / and warning signs crimes are still committed! Does Gov’t need to go deeper or is that privacy invasion ! The franchise makes you think about that!

    • August 25, 2015 at 10:07 pmChisel

      The movie is actually 1 hour 53 minutes. Not even 2 hours long.

  • August 21, 2015 at 5:43 pmIgniteous

    I like Akane, Dislike to an extreme her assistant (Can someone please expose her past actions please?), and didn’t really care for the ending. You might say the same goes for all 3 endings. I love how Akane is up front and always moving forward. But in the end she ends up yielding the win, or what I believe to be the win, after her opponent has committed atrocities. Sibyl in itself is committing atrocities left and right in the name of control. The first season, she lost. The second season, she yielded to the one who was killing for most of the show. One might call it a win in that her other antagonist, sibyl itself, was judged and emerging BB’s (bad brains) were judged/killed, but it still felt like a loss. Sibyl believes itself to be even stronger. (And the little judging bitch is getting away with her side-comments and her part in Akane’s grandmother’s death) And now the movie. While it’s true Sibyl yielded to Akane’s desire for the vote, more because they rightly calculated that they would win and score points against Akane and to prove to Akane they were correct. That itself makes the movie feel like a loss. Granted, she’s not dead yet so in any book you can call that a win in itself, But it’s not satisfying.

    My selfish wish-list:

    -Mika to be revealed for the loathsome person she is and her past acts revealed
    -Sibyl to lost to Akane, for the reason that Akane hasn’t been killed yet is because Sibyl wants to prove itself by winning a person of Akane’s caliber to it’s side.
    -Akane to survive the story.

    I’m a bit of a venge-ful person, don’t forgive easily, so You’ll forgive me if I place that first. But otherwise, it’s seems that Sibyl is guaranteed to win by the way the story is headed, so that would be my second. And Akane has to survive. No more sacrificing my protagonists. And for goodness sake don’t turn her into an Atagonist. I HATE it when that do that.

    • August 21, 2015 at 6:24 pmPasserby

      Compromises, mate. Compromises. I understand the desire to see the villain crushed, but I don’t think it was ever about destroying Sybil (which would leave anarchy), but to change it. And hey, considering that Akane has been up against an omnipresent surveillance state, I think she’s done pretty well so far.

  • August 21, 2015 at 6:06 pmzztop

    Psycho-Pass’s producer says he would love to make even more seasons if possible.

    • August 21, 2015 at 10:29 pmRichie Kim

      I won’t be surprised if the writer intends to write an asymptomatic criminal to TAKEOVER Sibyl.

      The methods to do that depends on their logical theories that relating to the people’s desire in society.

      Especially the latent criminals in the confined wards being abused by Sibyl, that they might want revenge (and also be cured somehow) which gives an opportunity for the next villain to take advantage of this situation.

  • August 21, 2015 at 6:36 pmFrosty

    Now this was an interesting read! I hope this post will usher a new era at RandomC, fingers crossed this OVA/Movie category is a long-term investment and not just a one-off case.

    I think the only problem I find with Urobuchi’s writing is that he’s too blatant with how he presents his themes and literary references. There is usually no subtlety and whenever a character like Makishima or even the Mercenaries in this movie try to quote novels it does come off as cumbersome and pretentious. Very much unlike Ghost in the Shell which revels in its implicit complexity of its themes, avoiding the ‘show and tell’ approach that Psycho Pass reeks of.

    • August 21, 2015 at 11:17 pmZephyr

      We used to do OVA/Movies more often, but they’re exceptionally time consuming, so sadly they hit the wayside for a little bit. It’s been my personal hope that we get more such posts out in some way, as there’s a lotta good OVA/Movies out there that are or will be worth coming, so while I can’t promise anything, I’m hoping this could be one way to do it (one person takes care of the screenshots while other does the post).

      I’d like to at least cover the third Persona movie come early next year. We’ll see how it goes.

    • August 22, 2015 at 3:55 amNishizawa Mihashi

      Depending on the situation, both in-your-fecking-face and creep-through-my-spine symbolism and references can be used to amazing effect. But just like I’ve mentioned earlier, Gennie-boiyh just can’t seem to go ‘ball-sacs’ deep into the things he’s trying to expound upon or portray, thus his plot points, ideas, symbolisms and references just end up being rather under-developed. Which is kinda sad really, as he’s got plenty that he could build upon, work with and carry on the legacies to.

  • August 22, 2015 at 10:27 amKF

    I wish the two of them just marry each other already. Why the tango? You want to create a superkid that replace Sybil?

    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20073.jpg

    • August 22, 2015 at 8:54 pmIndigo

      They won’t -_-

      • August 23, 2015 at 4:47 amKF

        My answer: fanfiction

  • August 22, 2015 at 1:01 pmMisserable

    Akane is getting hotter and hotter lately…
    surprise!
    And will there be future for Mika? lol~~

  • August 22, 2015 at 2:40 pmrandom viewer

    It’s fantastic that this is here right now at Random Curiosity; I’d thought it wasn’t even going to get a mention. I’m liking Kougami kick-a$$ and it shows how significant his role is in being the driving force behind Akane’s passion for justice. Every character plays an important part in moving the plot along, especially Ginoza and his confrontation with Kougami. Man, that couldn’t have been an better way to send a friend off and leaving him to be free. Overall, it was a perfect way to finish the whole series off with such a wow factor. I thoroughly enjoyed it all and am very much pleased with all the drama, action, critical thinking of morals, ethics, and justice. And to top it off hearing that ending song again was top-notch.
    http://randomc.net/image/PSYCHO-PASS/PSYCHO-PASS%20MOVIE%20-%20Large%20152.jpg

  • August 22, 2015 at 5:10 pmImpel Down Hippo

    Fairly disappointing and a bit silly. Started off ok but ended fairly contrived (like the series in general). Too many tropey moments, like let’s keep Akane and Kogami alive even after they were captured (even though there wasn’t really much of a reason to) just so they can manage to get saved at the end and beat up the main antagonists. I wish they would stop those contrived tropes and go for more organic plot narratives to get to their narrative end goal.

    The AoT live-action movie was by far better.

  • August 23, 2015 at 9:16 amEspada

    what a stupid way to die

  • August 23, 2015 at 10:39 amJust Anime

    Psycho Pass is one many of my friends have suggested that I watch, but I darent read the whole post in the fear of spoilers. Cheers for sharing though :).

    It would be great if you could also share your opinions on our forum (http://www.justanime.co.uk), we are looking for people to write a good few reviews, we lack quite a bit in that particular section.

  • August 23, 2015 at 8:11 pmkawaiigendo

    Engrish…..dat GLORIOUS ENGRISH.
    Awww man…….this movie probably had more parts spoken in engrish than japanese and really adds to the enjoyment.
    Seriously, try watching this without subtitles(or at least the engrish parts).