OP2: 「Out of Control」 by Nothing’s Carved in Stone
Ernie Ball advertisement side-story wasn’t the episode many had hoped for after the events of episode 11, it still played an important role in the general narrative of the series.
One valid criticism of the show is that little is known about the stories and personalities of the Inspectors and Enforcers not named Kougami or Tsunemori. This makes it hard for viewers to become attached to these characters, making a sense of loss when one of them inevitably bites the dust, absent. Hopefully Yayoi won’t be a victim to Urobuchi Gen’s sadism anytime soon, because while her story wasn’t filled with the typical suffering as one would expect from the screenwriter (since this episode was scripted by a rookie, Takaha Aya, instead), there’s a draw to her personality nonetheless.
Yayoi’s dogged determination to practice her beloved hobby and her dream of returning to an increasingly unrealistic career are emotions that aren’t unique to latent criminals alone. Surely many people have passions or pastimes that for one reason or another, they are unable to partake in, and the story of chasing after a pipedream is an all too familiar one as well. Perhaps the aspect of Yayoi’s past that is easiest to relate to is the situation of having your choice of career decided by someone or something other than yourself. Throughout her imprisonment, she stubbornly clung onto the idea that she would eventually return to her life as a Sibyl-approved artist, even if that dream was becoming more and more impossible by the second. This made accepting the career and the freedom that Sibyl offered her hard to accept, even if former guitarist possessed an intellect that was well suited to be an Enforcer. Unfortunately, often times there are factors that are out of our control which restrict or attempt to restrict the professions we can choose from. Despite her status as a latent criminal living many years in the future, Yayoi’s life story is in many ways no different than ours.
That said, there were parts of Yayoi’s backstory which were a little harder to relate with. It appeared in the episode’s flashbacks that Yayoi harbored romantic feelings for the renegade band leader Takizaki Rina (Watanabe Akeno), although the extent of her feelings was never elaborated on. At the very least, Rina meant a great deal to Yayoi because even in the present timeline of the episode, she quickly sought to ascertain whether the object of her affection was safe and sound. The contrast between the concern she showed for Rina and the mental fortitude she displayed in attempting to gun down her former flame shows just how principled Yayoi is, how strong her moral conviction is, even after her dreams were snuffed out by a system she probably despises. We learn very little about Yayoi from what she does as an Enforcer; it is from knowing why she’s an Enforcer, specifically her motivations, that we really learn what makes her tick.
Other than the sly product placement, this episode also provided a fascinating look on yet another dystopian aspect of the society found in PSYCHO-PASS. The whole concept of government-approved artists is a stark and vivid reminder of how pervasive Sibyl’s draconian directives are, and it is a concept that unfortunately has many parallels in present-day authoritarian regimes as well. The rationales are simple and identical. Both societies wish to curb the creation of material that could be detrimental to the stability of society, which it attempts to accomplish using technology to either quash or approve content and content-creators. Yet the human spirit, as clichéd as it sounds, somehow always manages to prevail and be heard. Thanks to the Internet, today’s governments are fighting a losing war to control creativity, and it looks like even in the future with an advanced system like Sibyl in place, “unapproved” content has not been eliminated entirely.
With Urobuchi Gen putting his screenwriter’s cap back on for the next episode, it looks like any more delving into the backstories of the supporting cast will have to wait. Nevertheless, if this episode is any indication of these side-stories’ quality, I eagerly await the next installment (which will hopefully be about Masaoka).
- Sasayama also received a fair amount of screen time in this episode. His personality is aggressive, loud, and brash, just like the stereotypical “bad cop”, but it’s too soon to tell whether there is a special bond between him and Kougami. It is still possible that Kougami would have become a latent criminal had any of his colleagues been killed. At the very least, Sasayama is probably one of the biggest reasons Ginoza became such a hard-ass, having to deal with him every day.
- Interesting that in the past, there was another example of someone holding a knife to a person’s throat with the intent to kill, yet their crime coefficient was not high enough to switch of the Dominator’s safety.
- Many thanks to my good friend BakaMochi, who is now taking screencaps for me. Because of her, I should be able to get posts out faster from here on out, and I’d also like to thank all the readers for being patient with me.
- Full-length images: 15, 16, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 35.
ED2: 「All Alone With You」 by EGOIST