「あとは、沈黙」 (Ato wa, Chinmoku)
“The Rest, Is Silence”

While this series is set in a fascinating dystopian society just begging to be explored, it is also populated with equally fascinating psychopathic inhabitants who deserve just as much focus, if not more. Much can be learned about a society from the people who are most affected by it.

Currently, there is not yet a clear physiological abnormality or set of abnormalities of the brain that we can point at as being the cause of psychopathy. Without any physiological basis, the term psychopath is presently nothing more than a label for a personality disorder that is used to describe people who do not fit society’s norms in one way or another. While there is a modern definition of psychopathy, in the past it has also encompassed behaviors that are considered perfectly normal today but thought of as anti-social behaviors back then. Basically, the definition of a psychopath is inextricably intertwined with societal norms.

Given this ever-changing definition, at first a system like Sibyl – that is somehow able to perform brain scans assessing crime coefficients – can seem like a major medical advancement when it is used purely as a diagnostic tool. The only way it can do this is if there is an actual neurological marker for psychopathy that can be scanned for, just like we scan for brain tumors today. On the surface, there’s nothing that appears overtly dystopian about this. It’s merely an extremely advanced fMRI or PET scan that can quickly correlate abnormal brain activity or structure with certain behaviors or proclivities. However, Sibyl’s neurological assessments are merely a means to an end. Someone has to interpret its results and flag which behaviors are considered to be antisocial and psychopathic. So even with the most powerful methods of correlating personality traits to a physiological basis in the brain, the definition of a psychopath still cannot be decoupled from societal norms.

Nowhere is this idea more evident than when Kougami and Tsunemori visit the poorly named Tokorozawa Correction and Rehabilitation Center (there’s absolutely no ‘correction’ or ‘rehabilitation’ going inside). The four ‘psychopaths’ seen are essentially sentenced to prison for life without the possibility of parole, just because their crime coefficients are all over 300. Yet according to our own society, it’s doubtful any of these people could be considered even remotely psychopathic – it’s a stretch even to label their behavior as antisocial. There is a man who loves porcelain dolls, maybe a little too much, but what differentiates him from a person who loves dakimakuras and figures to the same extent? Then we have a man smoking a hookah, which would mean that millions of Persians and Indians would have to give up their daily habit lest they be labeled as psychopaths. Even a harmless bookworm is somehow considered to be a psychopath – guess librarians do not exist in this society. Finally, the last psychopath seen is nothing more than a knowledgeable connoisseur of art, whose only crime seems to be that he uses his own body as a canvas.

What about these people makes them psychopaths? They have higher coefficients than even Masaoka, who was considered to have an extremely high number already. Is it because they seek entertainment in forms that are considered to be antisocial? Or is it because they’re too ‘addicted’ to their unusual interests? None of them seem to pose any physical danger to society; they’re probably not going to hurt anyone or anything. Yet for one reason or another, Sibyl (and society) has labeled them as too abnormal, too psychopathic, and above all, too dangerous to be allowed go about as they please. So while these people have completely lost all their freedoms despite likely never having any intentions of hurting another soul, truly dangerous people like Rikako (crime coefficient of over 472!) and Makishima walk free.

For these two antagonists, even if they have not yet been labeled by society and by Sibyl as psychopaths, according to our modern day definition they are most assuredly fit to be called as such. Rikako and Makishima share some key similarities to the incarcerated psychopaths; their lives for the most part are defined by their choice of entertainment and the extent to which they procure their entertainment. Yet while the others have entertainment choices that are harmless to society, the same cannot be said of them. Rikako is a fairly easy personality to understand as it is basically spelled out during the past few episodes. Like her father, she also has a message to convey through her art pieces, but she differs from him in that she also derives a great deal of entertainment from the macabre methods she employs in creating her “art” and also from the attention her work attracts when they are exhibited in public. On the other hand, Makishima’s personality is still very much an enigma, as it ought to be at this point in the series. He derives his entertainment from placing the tools of murder into the hands of individuals and then watching how they choose to wield them, but it remains to be seen if he has also has a message or theme to send to society, or if he is more like one who “just wants to watch the world burn”.

An interesting question to ponder in regards to Rikako and Makishima is whether their behavior is innate or if it is the result of living in such a dystopian society. The definition of a psychopath is set by societal norms, but does that also mean that these norms can force people to become psychopaths? Or in other words, can a dystopian society like the one in PSYCHO-PASS create psychopaths out of people who in any other society would not exhibit these behaviors? Whether it is by chance or by design, in essence Sibyl is shaping society towards its norms and its averages. Any deviation, any abnormality is no longer allowed to exist. People considered as such are sent away for treatment, segregated, or locked away for life. And in the end, what remains is a society that is sadly devoid of much creativity and thus, a diverse selection of entertainment options. One of the characters even remarked that he was surprised that there was an artist who created art for art’s sake rather than for wealth and fame.

With a society lacking in entertainment that can provide much needed mental stimulation to individuals with all tastes, even those with unusual tastes, perhaps this deficit has forced Rikako and Makishima to create their own twisted forms of entertainment. That said, it is difficult to determine is whether their psychopathic behavior is something that is innate or if it is a product of society – the classic nature vs. nurture debate. Would Rikako be a normal person in a non-dystopian society, or is she really just a serial killer inside waiting to come out, no matter her environment? Most likely, it is a mixture of both. People probably have an innate and latent inclination or proclivity for these behaviors, but certain environmental conditions found in society are required to provide the tools for these behaviors to come to fruition.

So far, PSYCHO-PASS has presented a fascinating and thought-provoking look at both parts of the psychopath equation: the dystopian society, and the personalities that are born or shaped by it. It might not appeal to everyone, but on the other hand, that’s probably a good thing as well…

  • Sorry for the slow post, been busy with final exams and writing 10 page research papers!
  • Full-length images: 03, 12, 14, 21, 25, 28, 31, 32.


    1. Totally agree, deep down i wished she got her punishment for all the twisted crimes she did, but i couldn’t feel happy or comfortable watching her get maimed and beheaded like that (i can even say i felt a tiny tiny bit of sadness for her fate).

    2. I think it is even more sad that she is actually sociable. Yet, when she call for help all she can do is “call” her dad, who no longer exist in the living. Her death is really pitiable for a “pity-less” character.

    3. Agreed. Rikako may have been a psychopathic, morally depraved murderer, but seeing her get betrayed and brutally murdered like that by Makishima and his colleague after Makishima broke her mentally by calling her nothing but a disappointment really shocked me and made me wanna see Kogami kill Makishima even more.

    4. Guess I’m the only one who disagrees. That girl was lame, only thing I feel bad about is how her dad was destroyed by Sybil society. But her death was fitting and I had no pity.

      1. second that, and why is everyone so sad because she got murdered? She murdered people… so people are sad because it was too harsh of punishment? ?_? what if this was real life? What if this was your friends? I’d be happy that b!t*& got what she deserved. We know it wasnt a accident that she killed a person, let alone once is too many

      2. Even if it was real life, it doesn’t mean people would be so quick to wish the same fate upon her. Everyone has expressed a preference for her to be stopped, just maybe not in that way. Regardless of who is the victim, that kind of treatment is a cruelty in itself, so some people are well-hearted enough to not wish it on anyone, even a practitioner of it.
        Of course, there’s reason in believing in the administration of she reaps what she sows, but just trying to explain the sentiments of others to you.

      3. Watch it mate, you are kinda walking the same path Kogami walked .. if Sybil was around it probably would have picked up a spike in your psycho-pass and sent you to the cell next to the art trader with body-paint for rehabilitation XD

  1. Man, that scene:
    -Dominator, what the Dominator said about her psycho level?
    -Crime Coefficient is OVER 473!!!
    Enforcement mode is Lethal Eliminator.
    Aim carefully and eliminate the target.
    Oryo Rikako’s Face:”Oooh, now i’m f@cked!”

      1. I can’t even imagine someone being at coefficient of 9000, by that point you’re probably mutated cannibal with parts of different humans implanted into you

        (yea i get the D-z joke)

      1. It seems criminal scans aren’t carried out regularly while hue scans are. Hue scans just check people’s stress levels on the assumption that anyone who will/has/is doing something illegal will be particularly stressed about it.

        Seems like it takes a Dominator or a deeper scan to check someone’s crime coefficient.

  2. Really good post, goo read.

    I agree with most of what you said verdant.

    Although I think people in this world have the option not to live under Sybil.
    1st episode – there’ s an abolition area were the system is not implemented(@ around 4:23).
    I just don’t know to what extent it is not because they go in and hunt the man down anyway.

  3. Just to point something out, you don’t know what these people did to get thrown into the correction facility. They might have just been picked up during a routine scan. This is very probable.
    However, anyone with a little experience in horror movies could tell you what a man that likes lifeless dolls in the form of girl might be capable of. Same for the any of the others. Their interests may seem harmless in the correction facility, but you don’t know how far they might take their hobbies (or use their knowledge for, in the case of the book guy) when left to their own devices.

    That said, I still don’t agree with a system like Sybil unless it’s for a diagnostic purposes. But it makes for a damn great story.

    1. To add on to this point, given that the only inmate they talk to is Mr. Body Art, there is in fact no way of telling exactly what kind of people the other inhabitants of the facility are. What we see, for example, is someone calmly reading a pile of books – now imagine if every one of those books were anarchist literature, or the literary equivalent of Ouryo Rouichi’s work. That would get you flagged by the system, I’d bet.

      1. Indeed – we know nothing about these characters bar a brief glimpse, Hannibal Lector seemed like a perfectly reasonable chap in his cell too. It’s entirely possible they all did terrible things, the man smoking could have been a giant Heroin addict and murdered a family to score money for his next hit. The guy with the books could have blown up a school to prove a bizare political or quasi-religious point. The guy with the dolls may have labotomised young girls and kept them in his green house, and the body art guy may have vivisected men to create living art. We don’t know.

        The thing this show is starting to remind me of is MPD Psycho (a manga that I adore), hopefully it stays interesting and doesn’t do an “another” on us.

        One thing that must be problematic is their tendancy to kill suspects, there by eliminating any clues that they may have. It’s very much like they aren’t police at all, just a death squad with the opinion that “once the target is neutralized the problem is over.” With no view towards a big picture.

    1. Not sure about you but I prefer our promise breaking PM over the Sibyl system any day. If it was real, I’d get flagged off the spot with the Lethal Executioner. As you know, the system doesn’t work off of what someone has done, but what they are mentally capable of doing… me… I am very willing. Don’t want to, but willing, if backed into a corner.

      1. Most people wouldn’t really be flagged at all but are you saying that if a few people like you would get flagged means we shouldn’t do it for the greater good? I mean, Sybil has that many problems because you’ve got to make a plot out of something but in real life, its quiet possible that none of these problems would exist.

  4. Boy, that psychopath lady was really insane, and she amped it up with combining the bodies of the girl she kidnapped last episode (the girl who woke right in front of the tank) and of the girl who got her limbs severed and tossed into a water tank.

    Kinda makes you wonder what’s Makishima’s psychosis… if it’s worst than this. Also, kinda sad that no one got rescued before getting killed by Rikako. That would have been a suitable premise to her death right after (she tries to kill another girl, the special forces charge in, the girl gets rescued, the killer flees, but gets killed later on).

    1. I don’t think Makshima would even trigger the psycho-pass scanner on dominators .. i mean he really never kills anyone by himself .. he even sent that old hunter guy to kill Rikako, and he seems to be extremely level-headed and convinced he isn’t doing something wrong or really hurting people .. he considers all people living under Sybil’s watch to be living corpses or vegetables (or on the path of turning into ones) like he said in the previous episode .. he considers them all “already dead” XD

  5. I was very unimpressed with the first episode of this series (to the point where I was almost resolved to drop it) but in a short span it has really turned around. Now I’m genuinely interested to watch it every week in a time where I have episodes sitting around unwatched for weeks at a time. Good show (in the British sense and the literal sense).

    Wyatt Derp
  6. Makishima’s like the JOKER of anime, trying to introduce chaos and anarchy into the system to prove how fragile “order” is.

    Well, certainly lives up to the PSYCHO part of Psycho-Pass. This show has been delivering on the crazy right from the get go. I knew it was going to be tense and action packed but turned out to be more then I thought so far. Very entertaining and look forward to it every week. I really like this Kara no Shoujo-like arc.

    1. exactly like i thought about my bro…especially when he has finally taken interest in Kogami like that…and the pose he made in the ED also kinda virtually emphasizes this belief….

      i do hope we will have a moment where Shogo will completely troll Kogami and Co. for a lifetime like The Joker and Silva did to batman and MI6 in TDK and Skyfall respectively…

      1. Considering this is a Urobuchi series, there will ample moments of chaos and despair. I am anxious to see what his next move will be. I love watching villains like him (as well as Silva and Joker).

  7. Quote form Anca, the translator for a foreign fansub group for this series, and I really agree w/ this person on how the literature, Titus Andronicus by Shakespeare, quote by Makishima fit so well in here.(credit all goes to Anca):
    >The quotes though were fantastically well chosen though and they were really worth all the effort.

    Ouryou Rikako was a pretentious girl, that much was obvious; she wanted to be an artist, but she didn’t have a message of her own to send. She saw herself as a victim, but wanted to be Tamora from the play, the woman who had her sons rape and cripple another character Lavinia. She wanted revenge against society for her father, she wanted more freedom for herself and to have her talent recognized. Except she didn’t have any talent either. Her paintings were all ugly and amateur-ish, and although she did have a good eye for sculptures, those were just imitations of what her father used to do – so she hid behind pseudo-intellectual rhetoric and superficially chosen quotes. This is only obvious once you start combing though everything she says word for word though.

    Makishima eventually saw this, and probably more that I didn’t catch, and grew disappointed. What’s interesting were the quotes he chose when he had her killed, which were really sarcastic and ironic – but you have to look them up to see why. The play itself was incredibly edgy, full of rape, mutilation, cannibalism; he picked a couple of verses that were appropriately creepy, and seemed to be making fun of her.

    Again this wasn’t obvious, but it makes sense, as Makishima was quoting them for himself and not the audience, and if you quote something to yourself you’ll generally pick more obscure things.<

    Hope this (above) explain the Shakespeare literature confusion. XD

      1. Verdant, I understand you’re busy, but P-P coverage is getting further and further behind, it seems, and now it’s been about an episode behind for a while now. How about letting someone else cover an episode or two to catch up before continuing? For instance, G.Enzo covers this show in his own blog, so I am sure he can step right in for an episode or two. Otherwise, this blog is getting less and less relevant with most people with it being so behind.

  8. I’ve done some thinking, and I’ve realized that in some ways Psycho-Pass is inspired by The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. First of all, for those who are wondering whether Shinya or Akane is the main character, it’s simple, Shinya is the main character, yet Akane acts as the point of view character. It is through her perspective that we view the persona of Shinya and find astonishment in Shinya’s skills as a detective. In the original Sherlock Holmes stories, Dr. Watson is the one who narrated all of Holmes’ adventures. Through his perspective, he would always keep the reader excited and interested in the upcoming events. Like Watson, Akane was fairly new to detective work in the beginning, yet shows the potential to become a great detective, which Holmes/Shinya recognizes, and so asks to accompany him as his partner. Holmes/Shinya are also skilled in martial arts, have great intellect with powerful inductive reasoning, are a little off socially, have drug addictions (for Holmes it was cocaine; for Shinya, cigarettes), and most importantly, have a foil that rivals their abilities. Professor James Moriarty is a criminal mastermind and has a genius level intellect that rivals that of Holmes, combined with his devious nature, desire for control, and being a ruthless killer. Makishima is the one who fills the role of Shinya’s foil in Psycho-Pass.

    Therefore, when you think of it like this, it can be argued that Psycho-Pass is Gen Urobuchi’s own unique spin on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

    What do you think Verdant?

    1. Your theory does work out pretty well, and it would be pretty cool to have Sherlock Holmes transplanted into another time and setting. I’ve also heard that Urobuchi is using the show as sort of a social commentary on the Japanese legal system.

  9. IMHO, that psycho that Kougami asked for clue is doing “scarification” and maybe some other type of permanent body modification, not just common tattoo. Basically cutting your own skin and flesh, even eye lids, cheek… (thanks god I had my breakfast 3 hours ago).

  10. Well, apparently, I would be labeled a “Psychopath” in Sibyl’s society… Welp, just give me a hookah, lemme bring my library, PVC figures and tattoo’s in with me and put me in one of them gas chambers there ._.

    Seriously, though. Thank you Butch Gen, for making me think.

  11. I guess it was too much to ask Gen to spare some girls huh? He almost had me convinced they would save the last student in time but I should have known better. I’m still convinced that Gen watched an episode of MariMite and thought “Yes! That’s what I’m gonna f*** up now!”. The resemblance of the school is uncanny.

    Rikako may have had the highest Coefficient yet (473!!!) and it was amusing how Kogami just walked up to her (LIKE A BOSS) and pointed his gun at her. Say what you want about SYBIL but its pretty fast on tagging criminals at once. I do wonder how Makishima can pick up on potential psychopaths and makes use of them. Him seems to enjoy pushing them to extremes and he’s fascinated by Kogami’s ability to understand the criminal mind. How he can twist Kogami’s sense of justice will be interesting to see.

    I did like little moments like this though. It humanizes the Enforcers and I find it interesting how they are content with their job despite being tagged as latent criminals.

  12. There is a man who loves porcelain dolls, maybe a little too much, but what differentiates him from a person who loves dakimakuras and figures to the same extent?
    He actually broke one of the dolls into pieces. Yeah, I wouldn’t let him interact with people, either.

    The whole scene honestly didn’t make me feel like the inmates are innocent eccentrics, more like there is more to them than can be seen by the naked eye. Just because one of them has a lot of books doesn’t mean that he’s locked because of his love for books. There’s also the whole “Beware the quiet ones” thing to consider.

  13. Finally a dude with a real firearm, I first thought that they don’t exist in this dystopian world, I guess not. Now I really want to see a duel between this hunter and his old-school guns vs Kogami and the dominator.

    1. Aside from the mechanical dogs, that old guy, his clothes, his gun and his house all seem like they are antiques .. like they were frozen in time many years ago .. i don’t even think his house classic decorations were a hologram .. it seemed real to me.

      1. @Himari
        Watching it right now, didn’t expect he would get the spotlight this fast .. but sheeesh .. i was right about him .. he gave me the creeps before in ep7 when he first appeared and was talking with Makishima .. i thought he was a robot or something .. and i wasn’t really that much off-the-mark (final paragraph here –> https://randomc.net/2012/11/24/psycho-pass-07/comment-page-1/#comment-899075) … but i couldn’t have guessed his real job .. wow .. that Makishima guy surely has some big/important players on his team there XD

  14. The lack of a juvenile law in this future seems to be Urobuchi’s satire on real life juvenile psychopaths getting off scot-free (i.e. juvenile detention facilities rather than prisons or death sentences) for their murders simply because they were still under-aged when they committed their crimes.

    Now even cute-looking teenage psychopaths are not immune to being blown to bits by the Dominator.

    That said, for Urobuchi Gen standards, Rikako getting betrayed by Makishima as he deems her to have served her purpose, and subsequently have her head blown by a shot-gun is still more humane than having to end up into a pile of exploding mince meat by the Dominator.

    OTOH, that there exists an institute holding psychopaths with coefficients over 300 means just because the Dominator deems them that they should be eliminated, as Kougami puts it eloquently last week, the decision to whether to execute them or not is up to the gun-wielder. (i.e. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people)

    Kinny Riddle
  15. This episode was truly awesome. I have loved psychological animes and mangas and have been quite dissapointed with the decreasing crop of them being released. Pyscho-Pass is truly entertaining (even if the last 2 episodes have given me nightmares about being hacked up and turned into lovely Ikea furniture).
    BTW, I know this is really REALLY delayed (and most likely discussed on the reply board for that episode so please excuse me if it’s already been done to death), but does anyone know, or have a guess, as to what was being said in Episode 1 when Kougami was about to shoot the female victim? It was right after Akane told him not to and he raised his gun and the sound just sorta went out and we could see his lips moving but couldn’t hear anything he was saying to Akane.
    -_- …I really should be studying for my food and culture final today…damn you anime and you’re addicting…ness…

  16. Apart from the fact that Rikako’s end definitely let a bitter aftertaste, there was another thing that disturbed me quite a bit this episode: the way Kougami just broke into the art room, pointed the dominator at Rikako and pulled the trigger to kill. Of course, that is part of his character and that’s probably the feeling the director wanted to convey, but the way the scene went made it seem like it was definitely normal for the police to do this. And I mean, ok, she’s a psychopath and we have wanted her dead (probably) since she got on-screen, but she still his a lot younger than any other criminal met in the series so far. And yet Kougami didn’t have the least of mercy, nor did he have any thought of taking her in custody and questioning her. But perhaps, the most disturbing thing was Rikako’s utterly straight attitude when she had the dominator pointed at. Didn’t she know what it did? Since I guess the wielder is the only one hearing the AI’s voice.

  17. Makishima’s associate immediately gave me Wild Hunt vibes, which makes him awesome. For reference, the wild hunt is a myth in Europe, with parallels elsewhere, about a ghostly or fae hunting party that hunts damned souls which still walk the land of the living. Seeing it, even if you aren’t a target, brings terrible bad luck. Sounds about right to me!

  18. I’m really hoping for Shogo to make a direct move on the police force (to give them a jolt a little bit), i think he’s done enough to taunt them with this series of mockeries…i know he intends to change the world to the way it was before (his conversation with the big eyed guy pretty much confirmed this)

    as much as this series is flawed (i still love it though), i really can’t predict how the tale is gonna end…

  19. For all the evil that humans do, or in this case like what she has done, its just too painful to see them dying a grusome death.

    Thank you Gen for reminding us how fragile life is and the wickedness of people.

  20. I agree with your statements about how defining what a psychopath is defined by societal norms. Some of the comments here seem to assume that they people in the facility must have committed some crimes before being contained, but I would disagree. If they were already known to be violent when they were caught, they would have been executed, not locked up. Instead, like Kougami and the other Enforcers, they have really high criminal coefficients, which maybe means that they would be mentally capable of killing, or that they are nonchalant with the whole notion of murder and violence. But I doubt they have not done anything actually illegal. If merely understanding the mind of a criminal can raise your Crime Coefficient to high enough levels (Masaoka), it’s no wonder that someone like the bookworm would be locked up.

    I recall that the orange-haired Enforcer said he was scanned and locked up at the age of 5. The way he describes this sounds like he hadn’t actually done anything illegal, and that this was a traumatizing and wholly unfair ordeal. Instead of killing the boy who hadn’t committed a crime, the Police locked him up. And Kougami himself hadn’t done anything actually illegal yet. Though we all know that he’s unhealthily obsessed with the Makishima cases and that he’d ruthlessly murder the guy, Makishima is actually a criminal that would have been executed on the spot anyway…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *