While the doubt still lingers on how well Psycho Pass’ latest season will play out, I must admit I’m liking what I see so far. We may be lacking a definitive villain at this stage or even an understanding of just what is at stake, but between the subtle foreshadowing, new themes at play, and the return of everyone’s favourites, things are certainly looking up. I’ll be damned if this show wasn’t intended for hour long episodes.
After all the effort and spilled ink Psycho Pass has spent on the psychological Big Brother angle of its universe, it’s quite surprising this season actually looks to be breaking with that by going full economics. Subprime lending; real estate speculation; housing market bubbles; I fully wager no one expected the 2008 financial crisis to come up in a fictional story, but an anime to boot. It certainly is an interesting path to take though because while Psycho Pass hues and controlling them are Psycho Pass’ bread and butter, the series has never really explored the concept in terms of white-collar crime. As Sasagawa wasted little time in elucidating, embezzling money through glorified accounting shenanigans is not the same as outright murder. Besides the lack of direct action—i.e. sticking pointy end in fleshy target—it’s incredibly easy to rationalize such financial trickery as little more than a game. The victims at the end of those spreadsheets and real time models are never seen or heard from, so why bother thinking on them in the first place? As the medium is entirely mathematics, if you can avoid seeing the people you’ll never mentally scar like a murderer—something Sasagawa’s lesser half shows best by breaking only after his risk of arrest increases. Babylon is not the only show this season with some tricks up its sleeve.
The real fun however is in where this economic crime is heading, and there’s two major angles at play. The first is obviously Foreign Affairs Bureau, where surprise surprise, Ginoza and Shinya are present as Special Investigators under a brand-new lead. The goal of this group is anyone’s best guess right now (although the Sinners of the System movies will give some hints), but you can bet the setup is intricately linked with why Akane is incarcerated, Mika was promoted, and every interaction between the first two seasons cast felt like a curious mix of guilt, acceptance, and determination. The second concerns Round Robin and Bifrost, with the talk of lost Inspector pieces—i.e. Mika—and the poker-like betting of tangible “chips”—i.e. trading company failure—indicates a greater game afoot, one likely outside Sibyl’s current level of control. Not hard thinking both drone and politicians are linked with our shadow council for example, especially when phrases like Eugenics Party are nonchalantly dropped and certain backstories knowingly lacking some key information. Where these disparate pieces lead I honestly don’t know, but I imagine it won’t be long before the details start leaking out.
After all, considering how our two new Inspectors play the game it won’t take them too much effort to sift through the woodwork.