OP: 「Q-vism」by Who-ya Extended
On average I’m fairly sure most of us would’ve forgotten the fall season is still missing a couple heavy hitters after getting into its fourth week, but Psycho Pass certainly didn’t waste any effort in helping remind everyone of that fact. This series’ third season may be starting off with serious doubt and concern given past happenings (particularly its second season), but in between this week’s opener and the hints of things to come, I’ll be damned if it’s not beginning on the right foot.
In light of everyone watching Psycho Pass 3 having already seen at minimum both prior seasons (because only the masochist would start a series midway in), a lot of the background here shouldn’t need explaining as frankly this episode doesn’t stray far from the garden path. This world’s Japan is just as Sibyl dominated and morally divisive as it was previously, concerns over individual Psycho Passes and staying below Enforcement level are just as prevalent, and the setting is just as deliciously cyberpunk as ever. The major difference of course is that this season features an anti-isolationism push and increased immigration, with the accompanying transformation of an otherwise idyllic, homogenous Japan catalyzing tensions very likely to become one of Psycho-Pass 3’s calling cards. It may be too early to determine this season’s main overall theme, but you can be sure the answer is not far out of sight.
From these newfound tensions and themes likewise comes this season’s characters, and here I imagine is where most of the musings will stem from. Our main duo (at least for the moment) looks to be Shindou Arata (Kaji Yuki) and Kei Mihkail Ignatov (Nakamura Yuuichi), with the former being a lackadaisical, happy-go-lucky boy and the latter a more rigid, hard assed purveyor of justice. Whereas Kei is relatively straightforward (Russian name, military backstory, and that formalized personality make him an easy read), Arata is going to be the interesting one to watch—and likely not entirely in the good way. To be honest I’m not entirely sold on the kid supposedly being a mentalist and having the clairvoyant power to become (in a mental sense) someone else. With Psycho Pass heavily focused on psychology and mental gaming with little “true” magic, suddenly having a main character go full magician and bypass a lot of the series’ restrictions makes things (and key mysteries) seem a little too easy to deal with. It could be unfounded worry on my part, but after that second season (and with Ubukata Tow of season two fame back series composing), the doubt will take a bit to fully dissipate.
Where this will really come into play is with our returning characters, because oh boy are there a lot of answers needed in this realm. For starters we have Tsunemori Akane (Hanazawa Kana) as both ex-Inspector and seemingly locked up, and everyone’s favourite justice loving Shimotsuki Mika (Sakura Ayane) as chief. Yes, chief. We also get lovable Karanomori Shion (Sawashiro Miyuki) and the quiet redhead Hinakawa Shou (Sakurai Takahiro) making appearances, although the big one is Ginoza Nobuchika (Nojima Kenji) because the sound of a deal with Mika doesn’t invite love and peace when she’s up the promotion ladder and Akane is out of the picture. Considering the Sinners of the System movies don’t cover the reasons for these character updates it’s truly anyone’s guess just where this season is going with them, but I firmly suspect it won’t take long for the reveal given how likely it’s associated with Arata’s (and Kei’s) ulterior objective. It may all be conventional Psycho Pass right now between silenced whistleblowers, corporate secrets, and the existence of a new (potential) Sibyl opponent in Bifrost, but once this season’s underlying twist is finally shown things won’t be sticking to the trail for too long.
We may not know yet how Psycho Pass 3 will match up to its prior seasons, but with 16 episodes to work with (each of the eight episodes will be an hour long), plenty of intriguing plot tangents, and these fantastic production chops, I’m firmly betting this one will be what’s needed to finally right what’s wrong with this franchise ship.
ED: 「bullet」by Cö shu Nie