「誰も知らないあなたの仮面」 (Daremo Shiranai Anata no Kamen)
“No One Knows Your Mask”

What do you get when you cross PSYCHO-PASS with elements from Sword Art Online and Halloween? The prelude to a very intriguing arc, one which will possibly stretch for the entirety of the series and holds the potential to turn the world upside-down.

The first several episodes effectively established that the dystopian setting of this series is a fertile ground for exploring a wide variety of thought-provoking issues centered on Sybil, crime coefficients, and latent criminals. Yet with the cases featured in this episode and last, PSYCHO-PASS has shown it can also introduce issues that are able to stand independently of the narrative and more importantly, offer social commentary and critique that are immediately relevant in our world.

This episode probably could function just effectively in a series that has nothing to do with Sibyl, which it does by raising questions and issues that we are all too familiar with. A person who is presumed to be dead but continues to have an active avatar in the CommuField virtual reality system doesn’t sound all that far-fetched and implausible in today’s world, where erasing our real identities oftentimes seems much easier than erasing our identities online. In addition, we have YouTube personalities commanding views into the millions, so aside from their cartoonish appearance (that is probably found in some online graphical forum anyway), the personalities found in this episode like Talisman (Koyasu Takehito) and Spooky Boogie/Sugawara Shouko (Taketasu Ayana) already mirror reality.

Adding to the list of real world issues that had parallels in this episode is the anonymity enjoyed by the users of CommuField. Interestingly, Masaoka and Kougami are troubled by the idea of anonymity in the real world, of not knowing who the person standing next to you is – which these days seems more and more a quaint artifact of the pre-Facebook era where the details of a person’s life weren’t just a click or two away. It definitely raises questions about the changing perceptions and expectations of anonymity in our own world. One example is the ability to remain anonymous while commenting in social media, something that is taken for granted but from time to time tests the limits of free speech and comes in danger of being curtailed. Anonymity has also come into the spotlight in no small part to the famous 4chan hacktivist group Anonymous, who in public don Guy Fawkes masks to hide their identities en masse, a tactic Talisman used when he hacked all the partygoer’s holos to display his own, aiding in his getaway (a scene found in another dystopian work, V for Vendetta).

As for the case itself, at this point in the series it’s still too early to tell what Makishima Shougo and his associates are trying to accomplish by gruesomely murdering these online personalities. Talisman and Spooky Boogie appear to be prominent anarchist personalities with a small but devoted following, so perhaps Makishima is trying to leverage their influence in order to incite a rebellion against Sibyl by placing his own agents to impersonate the two? Whatever the reasons are, Tsunemori and her fellow officers have a burgeoning conspiracy on their hands, and it will be interesting to see Kougami’s actions once he inevitably finds out the object of his obsession is behind the whole scheme.

Outside from the cases, it was a welcome surprise that little morsels further detailing the world of PSYCHO-PASS continue to be woven into the series. Tsunemori, who has been portrayed as an outsider of sorts when compared with most of the other members of the PSB, remains the perfect vehicle for the exposition into various aspects of the show’s setting. From the significant, such as her views on and inexperience with Sibyl and the justice system, to the more insignificant, like her familiarity with advanced technology like the holograms used in her home and with her clothes, seeing the world through her perspective has been a crucial element for connecting us to an oftentimes unnerving and unfamiliar world.

Forget brief hints of the main plot or an episodic style featuring wholly unrelated crimes and cases each week – this show definitely shifts the proceedings into high gear as the missing person case featured in this latest episode is directly connected with the likely ultimate and final antagonist, for reasons still unknown. Viewers who might have dropped this show after the ‘three episode rule’ might want to tune back in because as a two-cour series, we’ve only begun to peel back the many layers of this futuristic world.

  • Masaoka’s advice to Tsunemori echoes a theory I made in episode 2:

       “We know the grizzled Enforcer has a high crime-coefficient and is extremely talented at detecting potential criminal behavior, but what if his own status as a latent criminal comes solely from an ability to put himself in others’ shoes in order empathize with them, without actually desiring to commit crimes himself? Would Sibyl be able to tell the difference between an intense empathy and actual criminal intention?”

       Masaoka says that for her to understand Kougami, she must see things as he does, do things as he does, and think the way he does; if Tsunemori can do all that, then her crime-coefficient will be the same as Kougami’s as well. Perhaps Masaoka is speaking from his own experience in empathizing with latent criminals? Is this also why relationships between non-latent criminals and latent criminals are discouraged?

  • Maybe this guy has special contact lenses that prevent scanning?
  • Urobuchi Gen adds to the list of dystopian sci-fi stories he references with a British first edition copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • He also really loves his grotesque choking scenes…
  • On the lighter note, Tsunemori really loves her jellyfish!
  • Full-length images: 01.5, 09.5, 10.5, 11, 13.5, 15, 24, 27, 31.5.

72 Comments

  1. sigh…the detective/mystery aspect of this series is a little lacking.

    I was hoping Tsunemori would have actually listened to SpookyBoogie’s advice and looked her up in the yearbook. A dead person’s stolen avatar visits another popular avatar? That should sound some sirens to protect the next possible target. I was expecting an arrest during the last scene…

  2. Nice call on the guy fawkes thingy. I didn’t get why Shogo’s lackey at the end was blending some tomatoes, did he try to fake the blood or something? If yes, that for? (I asked my friend about this and he said it was just just symbolization of the violence of the group, which i thought was a stupid guess…)

    KingofConquerors
  3. You can’t deny that this series is colourful…

    What caught me was that no questions were raised when she said she had spoke with Talisman recently.
    In my mind, it’s like me announcing that I just came back from that cat house at work. But maybe its something
    everyone does in this world, so it wasn’t out of the ordinary…

    Now, what I wonder is if her friend is going to be cut-up (is she dead?) and will that push her over the edge
    somehow? I can’t imagine another 18 episodes of case/solve case – it’ll get pretty boring pretty quick.

    Still, I’m intrigued to see where this will go.

    mac65
    1. Well, you have Dominators for those. [Dominators – Home Edition] – Disintegrating critical level psycho criminals with the flick of a trigger, works well with garbage and stains. Batteries and accessories not included.

      Anonymous
  4. I wonder if this is the first step in leading our protagonist into a darker path when she at some point learns of Spooky Boogie’s death sees the name and realizes what happened and feels guilty. Everything considered it’s hard to believe there’s any way she’ll remain innocent in a Urobutcher work so I’m really wondering what will finally push her to deciding that killing is the best way of solving things in some cases.

    HakumeiJin
  5. I’ve read a bunch of places that in Japan it’s common to have a completely separate, anonymous online social life, versus posting their real lives online like over here. Can anyone speak to that?

    Himari
  6. In regard to the motivation of those crazies led by non other than Shougo (and they are crazy if they kill people and mutilate their bodies into tiny bits then take over their online avatars .. very %^&$#@ creepy and sick) .. i think they actually consider Sybil some sort of “Big Brother” (the novel was meant as a hint) and their criminal activity as acts of rebelling against a tyrannical authoritative rule to free people of its control .. they seem to be very well organized and aren’t doing it for money or material gain either.

    It seems this story might turn into the first arc in PP (it could last for a couple of episodes) .. i wonder how Tsunamori will feel when she finds out that her school-mate got brutally killed and butchered becasue she involved her in the investigation and asked for her help (she will surely know instantly that the current cat-girl isn’t her friend).

    Also, can’t wait to see Kogami’s reaction when he finds out his arch-nemesis is behind all this.

    HunterWulf
  7. How could you to drag Psycho-Pass down to the mud by mentioning “the kid show” SAO into this? How dare you!! If you want a virtual world reference, there is a perfect example: Summer Wars.

    Booya
    1. to be quite frank, I don’t think SAO deserves the hype it has right now (it is mostly the anime’s problem)…

      but verdant did nothing wrong here… since regardless of the quality, SAO seems to be one of the “most popular” show right now… so I guess it will make more people see what verdant is trying to say here?

      jrj
  8. it is definitely intriguing episode…
    the guy who appeared in the very beginning of episode 1 and this current episode seems to be the same guy (with the same seiyuu anyway). So I guess it is safe to assume that he is sort of the “last boss”…

    This is probably one reason why I decided to stop using FB and a lot of the social media stuff… when you don’t know the authenticity of the persona online, it is a scary case…

    and I didn’t know PP is two cour xD awesome, and thanks for coverage, verdant!

    jrj
    1. Yeah it’s the same guy and he is called Makishima Shougo (and was reading the 1984 novel of all things), and i actually find it strange that he reappeared this fast .. probably means PP won’t be follow an episodic format anymore (like many two cour shows like to do in their first cour) and will only focus on our characters VS Makishima Shougo gang only … who knows XD

      HunterWulf
  9. You know why Jellyfish is involved? Hanazawa Kana was the star of another show that focused on jellyfish that almost nobody remembers about even though it’s quite decent.

    PassingBy
  10. To say the least, this episode was pretty intriguing. Psycho-Pass continues to be quite the series for sci-fi lovers, even if it does borrow heavily from old classics like Blade Runner and the like.

    On that note, just one thing that I have to mention. Another friend also initially mentioned Sword Art Online as a reference, but it’s actually not SAO that it borrows from.

    Rather, it’s more correct to say it borrows from Ghost in the Shell. The chat scene between Boogie and the Inspector was virtually identical in atmosphere (music was even almost the same as some chat scenes in GITS:SAC) and the initial Talisman scene at the beginning was also virtually identical to group chat sessions in GITS:SAC too. The mask used by Akane to enter the chatroom is also similar to a design in GITS etc. etc.

    And also, let’s not forget that one of the headline tags on their poster was that P-P is made from creators who worked on GITS and that they were planning to use P-P to make a new kind of GITS series. 😛

    Anyway it’s no big deal, but as a guy who’s a hardcore GITS fan (and quite a fan of P-P as well), kinda felt like SAO being used as a reference was a disservice to the series eh… so had to point out my thoughts on this. XD

  11. Damn this is good.

    As Zephyr mentions- this borrows from GIS- and it has a lot of potential if it were to become a screenplay. Frankly to be honest- it could become the next Blade Runner. It’s a very creative story with a the right sci-fi elements. So far so good- and if it keeps it up I hope it gets picked up by a movie studio.

  12. A novel that describes the worst possible outcome in a dystopian society in the near future, it really fits Psycho Pass so well it´s scary. The simmilarities bettween the two stories is clear because in a way all people under the watch of hte Sybil system have lost many of his civil and human rights in order to gain a “better society”, but by the looks of it this system is nowhere near perfect and makes wonder what kind of dirty little secrets it hides under the asume perfection. This is getting more and more interesting.

    haseo0408
    1. The abyss gazing quote in full:
      “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”
      Pretty much describes Inspectors job, ne?

      ewok40k
  13. If I were to sum up this episode: So horrifying yet so fascinating. I have yet to see GitS but I really liked those cyberpunk (can I use this term?) elements.

    Goodbye, tomatoes sauce. I think I will avoid you for a while until tht memory starts to blur ^.^; At least its not a human being blended.

    Dear God, did they hacked the bodies into small enough pieces to flush it down the toilet D: And the choking scene, just tht scene. All of it just to maintain the “purity”?? (Though I suspect there are other things in play) Creepy sickos.

    I am curious on how every1 of the party ppl have such a high number…. Did they just hacked their psycho-pass to make it look like it have a high reading? I can foresee of wht to come if they made the number a little higher….

    D-LaN
    1. No their psycho-pass numbers were high becasue of the sudden police raid and the fact tehy got their avatars hacked .. most of them are probably normal people who had their psycho-pass numbers spike becasue of tension .. like the kidnapped woman from ep1.

      HunterWulf
  14. I am amazed – in this super-controlled dystopia there are actually organized people either committing crimes for profit (being popular avatar seemingly draws cash) – or there is active resistance movement (though it is far from idealistic rebels – hey its Urobuchi for ya!)
    What started as “just another investigation” has Inspectors running into people not only ruthless enough to kill, but moreover having technical skills and resources to keep their tracks covered, down to having sort of “Dominator presence early warning system”, and ability for mass holo-avatar hacking. WHAM!
    Also lol-ed how half the people in the offline meeting turned out to have psycho-passes out of norm 😛

    ewok40k
    1. Actually the people from the club had high reading becasue of tension created from having a police raid bust the place and having their avatars hacked .. just like the kidnapped woman from the 1st ep .. it’s only temporary.

      HunterWulf
      1. I imagined something like that, but are people that psychically weak in the future or are Sybil’s standards of psychic health so strict?
        Though I guess having a bunch of net denizens get-together should make for a few cloudy Psycho-passes… I wonder how Sybil would rank us RC crowd? 😛

        ewok40k
  15. Did someone notice that when Masaoka quote : ‘when gaze into abysse , abysse gaze into you” is a line from s H. P. Lovecraft’s novel named Crawling Chaos : Nyarlathotep lol Need to rrewatch Nyaruko nya nya now!!!

    pokpok
  16. Apparently in the Psycho-Pass future, Anonymous becomes even MORE creepy and powerful than it already is. Its a scary prospect that they can commit murders and no one will ever know.

    Damn the blenders, I always had an irrational fear for blenders.

    fragb85
  17. Not even star cameos like Taketatsu Ayana are exempt from Urobuchi Gen’s killing off of their characters in the most brutal fashion imaginable. 🙂

    Then again, she may yet continue to appear alongside her good friend Hanazawa Kana as the voice of the usurped Spookie Boogie avatar though the user is now minced hamburger.

    Kinny Riddle
  18. Some of you may already know this, but no harm in emphasizing:

    Full OP single Abnormalize released Nov 14. A week and a half to go!

    The OP looks fancy and all, but it’s that song I’m in love with.

    junglepenguin
  19. Since no one mentioned this yet:

    Kirino meets Kuroneko in an alternate timeline and dimension!

    Calling it now, there be time traveling happening in PP!

    Also, the usage of the word “dystopia” has been bugging me for a little while now since it is not just one or two people throwing the word around. From wiki:

    A dystopia is a hypothetical or otherwise imaginary society, often in the context of a work of fiction (especially one set in a speculative future), characterized by elements that are opposite to those associated with utopia. A dystopia is, therefore, a place in which “people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives”[1] or in which “everything is unpleasant or bad, typically….totalitarian or environmentally degraded.

    The hypothetical part is pretty much spot on, however the keyword here is it being an opposite to an utopia. As far as I feel, I don’t think that PP is set in a world where the living conditions are considered terrible by any means. Therefore, is the usage of the word dystopia not the best word to use here? I don’t usually nitpick on the choice of words, but I do want to know why people are throwing that word around so much.

    1. Very often the effect of a utopian ideal is a dystopian reality. Utopianism often depends on an idea that mankind is imperfect but can be perfected by the implementation of a system (often created by “experts” and administered by a State apparatus). Often the system has unintended consequences. Also, those human “imperfections” include freedom to make decisions. When Tsunemori explained in Ep.2 she had the aptitude to pursue any career and that she chose to go into law enforcement, Kagari (?) said Tsunemori was like those people before Sybil, meaning when people could choose their own life path. Whether a government making all choices on behalf of the individual for the good of society is utopian or dystopian depends on where you fall on individualism versus collectivism. I’d argue that from the point of view of Psycho-Pass’ creators, it’s dystopian. I’d also bet that in her city Tsunemori would have a hard time buying a Big Gulp.

      Himari
  20. watching the last scene almost made me throw out my dinner.

    it reminded me of ryuunosuke and bluebeard.

    way to go gen urobochi… for continuously blowing my mind away from madoka magica to fate zero to psycho pass.

    2 thumbs up!

    c2710
  21. Finally caught up with the series. Damn: her classmate(?) got liquified too! Shit, shit, shit. That must be the goriest murder I knew.

    But what about the bones? You can’t blender that….

    The Moondoggie
    1. They didn’t necessarily have to blend everything to break everything down… But if they did, then I’d say they used good ol’ school lab science to do the job. Remember the experiment where you soak a chicken bone in vinegar and it becomes all soft and rubbery? No more problems with blending the bones after that.

      junglepenguin
  22. The very idea of Akane’s “classmate” who is implied to be liquified at the end of the episode, and then replaced by whom I suppose is a true anarchist (maybe specifically anti-sybil system?) is a horrifying thought. I think it’s highly likely there will come a time when Akane will talk to “Spooky Boogie” in a “chatroom” again, still believing that the person behind the avatar is that same friend, and will probably unintentionally lead herself into danger…

    This whole business is pretty much a RL metaphor that the person behind the social networking avatar may not be who they seem to be.

    Fen

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