「裁きの門」 (Sabaki no Mon)
“Gate of Judgement”
In the context of intangible terms, “justice” is arguably one of the most discussed of them all. It’s no surprise though — after all, the laws that derive from it formulate the basis of societal order. In a world where things have a tendency to lean toward chaos and disorder, it can be said that laws (and its subsequent need to categorize what one would consider good and bad) developed as an inevitable necessity to combat this and allow for the formation of the complex group we call civilization. With this in mind though, the question becomes: what would you be willing to sacrifice for this order — this security that the law brings with it?
And that for me, is a lot of what PSYCHO-PASS is — a series that challenges you to question how much freedom you’re willing to give up for a society that is virtually crime free and to define your own sense of justice. Because in the end, the Sibyl System is the ultimate result of desiring total order — the extreme end of the order vs. freedom spectrum — and the characters themselves a representation of the many interpretations of what one considers just and potential sacrifices one could make to maintain order.
For instance, it can be said that Makishima is the representation of one who believes in free-will — one so morally opposed to the system that they are willing to do anything to destroy it from the inside out and doesn’t believe they’re wrong in doing so. At the same time, Kougami represents another view in the how he seems to have misgivings about the system, but sees the big picture accepts it as a necessity (or at least that he cannot do anything about it), and continues along his own path of justice (or at least, however much he can). Akane as well represents another view as the model citizen the Sibyl System tries to mold — one who lives, trusts, and complements the system and its brand of justice, and continues to do so despite seeing things that bring into question the system’s integrity or would normally make people go bonkers. And as this episode demonstrates, Kagari is yet another view, as the person who couldn’t care less about society or the system, but believes and trusts in the things around him — things he personally assigns value to.
As such, it’s obvious that one can argue that each and everyone of the main characters represent respective views — views that are different and exclusive of each other at least partially, yet all potentially views that can be considered “righteous and good” in their own ways, depending on your own perspective. What’s more is that each of them can be considered ideal in their own way — each person representing an idealized human being in different scenarios — and it’s just a powerful commentary not only about the concept of justice itself, but of humanity and its intangible nature in general.
Notably, the idealized nature of the aforementioned in turn provides some striking contrasts with the Sibyl System, which turns out to be anything but ideal. As it turns out, the Chief herself is an android, confirming many suspicions people had following the end of episode 13. Her ability to forcibly change the Dominator from a non-lethal paralyzer to lethal eliminator form pretty much hints that she is Sibyl herself as well (also confirming related suspicions), and well, things are definitely not what they seem. Sadly, the actual interior of Sibyl’s core ends up staying undisclosed, but considering the series’ exceptionally obvious similarity to Blade Runner, Minority Report, and GITS and the fact that many suspicions were made up as a result of people’s prior experiences with the series, one can most likely assume that (minor spoilers for those that haven’t watched Minority Report):
Moving on, I have to say… Kagari’s death at the hands of the Chief/Sibyl was just exceptionally brutal. I suppose it fits right in with how UroGen does things, but damn, I never expected him to bite the dust in that manner — one where no one knows he died, there’s no body to recover, and where it’s likely no one will ever realize who did it. Truly brutal on many, many levels. It’s ultimately made up in some sense by the fight between Makishima and Kougami, as well as the former’s defeat by Akane (THAT HELMET WHACK!), but the end result is that Sibyl wins on all accounts — as both the system itself and its “model citizen” score victories. With another six episodes left though, I find it hard to believe that we’ve seen the last of Makishima (in terms of him wrecking havoc in the future) or of the others finding out Sibyl’s true nature. Definitely some fireworks yet to come.
Author’s Notes/Additional Comments: