「狂王子の帰還」 (Kyou Ouji no Kikan)
“Return of the Psychotic Prince”
Sometimes it feels like one episode of this show contains as much material to mull over as multiple episodes of other shows. Over a span of twenty or so odd minutes, there was plenty of symbolism, revelations, and concurrent storylines, some of which were so subtle or nuanced that only upon a second viewing were they noticeable. Yet even with this much story to digest, somehow the series never feels overwhelming – viewers don’t feel like they need a wiki to keep track of everything that is going on. On the other hand, the amount of various story elements in this episode does make it harder to tease out a common thread that ties it all together. A theme nevertheless does exist in this episode. It is a portrait of a world where Sibyl, one way or another, prevents people from reaching their true potential or achieving their true dreams.
The first character seen in this episode is a prime example of a person whose full potential, and likely his dreams as well, have been cut short by Sibyl’s intervention. Even as an Enforcer, it’s clear that Kougami possesses the skills, the intelligence, and above all, the talent to excel as an Inspector. He had all this potential to become one of the best, probably even better than Ginoza, but because his proficiency carried his work too far beyond Sibyl’s norms, and thus society’s as well, he was prevented from realizing it fully. What is truly admirable about Kougami is that he doesn’t allow the hand that was dealt to him in life affect him negatively. He doesn’t complain like Kagari does – he just silently accepts his fate and soldiers on with his mission to find the person responsible for Sasayama’s murder.
Tsunemori, who basically replaced Kougami’s former position as Ginoza’s partner, is remarkably similar to him, but it remains to be seen whether she will share his fate as well. Right now, she appears to be the only person who is truly following her dreams, even if it means that she is not living up to the potential that Sibyl sees in her. However, it’s also not a very farfetched idea to see Tsunemori eventually walking the same road that Kougami did. Against Ginoza’s advice, she’s been fraternizing with several of her Enforcers, and should something tragic happen to one of them, her strong sense of justice could lead her to becoming the second coming of Kougami.
It’s probably safe to assume that many people in the world of PSYCHO-PASS carry a burden of some sort that stems from Sibyl preventing them from reaching their true potential or chasing after their true dreams. Even if some of the characters don’t voice their frustrations out loud like Kagari does, if one reads between the lines, a mild discontent with their lot in life can be detected, like Tsunemori’s friends Funahara Yuki (Koiwai Kotori) and Minase Kaori (Harashima Kozue) in this episode. It’s this discontent and frustration that is hidden from Sibyl’s eyes that Makishima has tapped into. He is basically targeting true psychopaths that match the serial killer profile – people who have murderous intentions and ambitions inside them but can hide it from the world, and more importantly, from Sibyl’s eyes.
The latest recipient of his help is a girl who looks almost as lifeless as the bodies of her victims. Ouryou Rikako (Sakamoto Maaya) has been set free by Makishima to pursue her dreams of dealing death, but what makes her probably even more disturbing and mentally unhinged than either Kanehara Yuji and Jae Guseong is that she uses her benefactor’s words to lure her victims as well. High schools are the perfect hunting ground for a murderer to prey on people who feel stifled, and only a few would suspect such a well-mannered and well-respected girl was capable of drawing such a macabre tableau and then carrying it out. She and Makishima seem like two birds of feather, and the consequences of their pairing could prove to be dire. Looking beyond the immediate danger that she poses, an army of serial killers lurking in the shadows who prey on people that are unsatisfied with the life that Sibyl has given them would have many potential victims, and it’s fast becoming a definite possibility.
In this episode, we see the effects of Sibyl’s pervasive control over society rather than its extent – the cost that humanity must pay daily in this dystopian world. Although the possibility of a happy ending where someone in the show escapes or brings down the system is becoming bleaker with every episode, PSYCHO-PASS is still one of the most compelling shows of the season. He may not be a modern-day Shakespeare by any stretch, but Urobuchi Gen knows his tragedies.
- Lots of close-ups on the eyes in this episode, and it reminds me of those in LOST, which was one of my favorite shows. I’m not sure what the symbolism is just yet though.
- Interesting to see that there is a rumored genetic, and therefore heritable basis for crime coefficients as mentioned by the chief as she warned Ginoza.
- Yet another appearance of a caduceus…
- Tsunemori is pretty moe when she’s buzzed.
- Full-length images: 10, 15, 24, 33, 33.1, 33.2, 33.3.