Friday, November 30, 2012

Psycho-Pass - 08

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_05.53_[2012.11.30_21.38.30] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_10.32_[2012.11.30_21.48.06] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_20.24_[2012.11.30_21.58.59]

As the old carnival sign says, “This is a dark ride”.


[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_02.21_[2012.11.30_21.34.52]This was another thought-provoking, interesting and smart episode of Psycho-Pass, which continues to descend further down the rabbit hole of Urobuchi Gen’s psyche.  It was a flashy episode too, full of signature moments and speeches and crescendos of violence.  But my favorite moment was a quiet one, when Kougami took Akane to the correctional facility and casually told her, “When you or Gino decides I’m no longer of any use, this is where I’ll be locked up and never allowed to leave.”  It was said without a trace of audible rancor or judgment – just matter-of-factly, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.  And it was all the more damning of the system at the heart of the series because of that.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_03.04_[2012.11.30_21.35.36]Kougami is definitely emerging as the real main character of this series in the sense that it’s Akane’s role to react to his character, not the reverse.  He’s the closest thing to a living, breathing example of what Sybil has to offer – the proof of its impact on the lives of the people who are effectively slaves to it.  It’s become quite clear that Kougami is a brilliant detective – most obviously compared to the seemingly witless Gino, but compared to his fellow hunting dogs as well.  Akane is whip-smart, but she’s still stinks of mother’s milk – she doesn’t have the street knowledge that Kougami does.  Even more, it remains to be seen whether she has the instinct and guts to do what he does – to get inside the mind of the criminal and follow wherever that harrowing road leads.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_03.33_[2012.11.30_21.36.05]Earlier on, Nietzsche’s “Gaze long into the abyss and it also gazes into you” was referenced, and while it bears obvious relevance for Kougami I think it was also ticketed for Akane’s development.  There’s no question that Kougami gazed into that abyss, and we’ve seen the results – though I suspect there was already a goodly chunk of abyss in there to begin with.  It’s my feeling that the finale of the series will hinge on what happens when Akane stares into the abyss, but for now we see the great difference between the two of them as detectives.  The display that Kougami put on could have taken place in 1900, 2000 or 2100 – it was simple, old-fashioned deduction.  He looked for the patterns, and saw the mind of the criminal in the crimes themselves.  He used basically no tech – just profiling and deductive reasoning, and got to the heart of the matter while Gino and the others (including Akane) were still chasing their tails.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_05.28_[2012.11.30_21.38.04]What’s really interesting to me is that Kougami saw a kind of youthful idealism in the newest killings – no hippocampi stuffed up anuses here – still another indication that Urobuchi sees a sort of purity in serial murder that he finds alluring.  In terms of Makashima, the pattern repeats itself yet again – he uses a talented deviant to cause as much of a ruckus as possible, then when their usefulness has been used up, eliminates them.  Oryou Rikako certainly got a spectacular sendoff, stepping in a bear trap before being hunted down by robot dogs and having her head blown off by the same gentleman we saw in the “Ode to Joy” scene last week – indeed, he was humming it as he stalked his prey this time.  Lacking any contrary evidence I’m going to say this is Toyohisa Senguji (Chou Katsumi) and he’s one of the loose ends in the story – he tells Rikako that he has no worries about Makashima tiring of him, because he’s one of the masters of this game too.  But what his connection to Makamshima is, we don’t know.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_05.45_[2012.11.30_21.38.22]Are there clues in Makashima’s choice of the words of Tamora, Queen of the Goths (Titus Andronicus – Shakespeare is all the rage in anime lately) as a soundtrack for Rikako’s execution?  Tamora’s story is very much one of revenge, against the Emperor Titus for having ritually executed her son in an effort to appease the spirits of his own dead sons.  Perhaps Makashima has a more specific grudge against Sybil and the people who enforce its will, rather than simply a political agenda.  I’m also quite curious as to whether it was also Makashima who was the enabler of Kouzaburo Touma – Choe Gu-sung’s presence seems to indicate that – and whether Touma disappeared because he met the same fate as all of Makashima’s playthings.  There’s more to this connection than meets the eye, but for now Makashima has turned his attention to Kougami, who has entranced him with his deduction and intuition (which one suspects are endangered species in this world) and seemingly makes sure his conversation with Rikako is overheard by Kougami as a lure.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_07.33_[2012.11.30_21.40.12]I’m certainly engrossed by the story at this point, though I’m still a bit skeptical that a system so obviously incompetent as Sybil could continue to rule society with so little challenge.  It’s certainly created a harrowing place – no juvenile protection under the law, prisons designed to be converted to gas chambers at the push of a button, men stripped of their position and consigned to an eventual life as a prisoner because their grief and pain has made them “unfit” for their jobs and acceptable society.  In short, it’s a mess – and as barbarous as Makashima is, one suspects that Gen might just be setting him up as a sort of hero – a necessary evil, at the very least.  That would be right up his alley as a writer, and based on what I’ve seen of the world Sybil created, I’m not so sure I’d disagree in this instance.

[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_07.58_[2012.11.30_21.40.36] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_08.17_[2012.11.30_21.45.42] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_09.37_[2012.11.30_21.47.10]
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[Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_19.40_[2012.11.30_21.58.08] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_19.49_[2012.11.30_21.58.17] [Commie] Psycho-Pass - 08 [13DE3D26].mkv_snapshot_19.52_[2012.11.30_21.58.28]
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24 comments:

  1. As someone who tends to not care about villains except in rare cases I find Makashima to be one of those rare cases, I find him fascinating.

    However I would be disappointed if he is considered a "hero" or necessary evil. His reasoning might be sound, but his methods are not. Personally I would be disappointed if he is not brought down in some way at the end.

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    1. That being said Gen does love to glorify his villians, I mean just look at Caster/Rynosuke and even Kyuubey didn't really have a "band end".

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    2. I don't think you can even call Kyuubey a villain. He's pretty much morally neutral, given what he wants. I'm not too sure Caster/Rynosuke were glorified, though there certainly were positive aspects of them that were glorified, if that makes any sense.

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    3. From my perspective Kyuubey is a villain, but I don't want to get in a debate about that so let's leave it at that ;).

      As for the Caster team they were defeated but seemed content with that defeat, compared to how some other characters ended up (Lancer for example) I would say that was a pretty good end.

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    4. Kyuubey isn't so much a villain but rather simply plays the part of the antagonist to the Madoka/Akemi protagonist.

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  2. Enzo, your mention about necessary evil actually reminded me of Bane from "the dark knight rises" when he said the same thing to Bruce Wayne's Rival, Dagget. And if you think about it, in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, he stressed the idea of how Gotham has become a rundown city filled withso much crime and that nobody is doing a thing to stand up for their city. There is so much violence and pain; so much scum fill the street and no one does a thing about it. even the cops are in on crimes. Bane's group felt that it was necessary to eliminate gotham for the good of the world since gotham wouldn't help itself and i can see parallels with Makishima's view of sibyl.

    To him, sibyl is hindering humanity's growth towards evolution and no one is doing anything about it. The government is hiding so much about the negative effects of sibyl and feel that in order to save society, he is necessary towards the destruction of sibyl, regardless of what he must do. (Necessary evil). Nolan did a good job of conveying gotham's plight in the Batman trilogy and Gen is doing just as well portraying the downsides of sibyl and the blurring line between right and wrong within this dystopian society pretty well.

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    1. And as this is now completely O/T, that ends the discussion right here.

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    2. Really deleting now?

      Anything I said was within my right to say on the internet. This is too dracoian Enzo.


      Btw great ep of P-P.

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    3. Sorry Badger, but 12 posts (my own included, as I was dumb enough to respond to the bait) that have nothing to do with the topic of P-P seems pretty pointless to me, so I deleted the whole thread.

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  3. I'm hoping that at some point in the series someone points a dominator at whatever is at the core of the Sybil system (maybe a person?). Lethal eliminator?

    Then again - this is Gen, I'd be surprised if that didn't happen!

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  4. I liken Makashima to Sherlock Holme's archenemy Professor Moriarty. Staying in the shadows and running a criminal empire with no one the wiser only in this case Makashima seems to be running an empire of sociopaths. Both men are adept at finding disturbed people and setting them loose upon society.

    I would not be at all surprised if Akane ends up like Kougami... as a hunting dog. She is slowly moving on from a rookie and getting some skills. As this series descents deeper into madness and serial murder it will change her. They should have arrested that teacher/princial too for stopping him from shooting her.

    The school seems to have a few really messed up people there. Will be interesting to see if the Sybil system catches on to Makashima. His co-efficient number must be off the charts.

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    1. I felt this comparison too, even more so to BBC's Sherlock. "Consultant Criminal" was his title, and that fits perfectly with Makashima here.

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    3. I was thinking of the BBC Sherlock/Moriarty when I made the comment. It is a fantastic series so if you have not seen the series of Sherlock Holmes movies get them. It takes place in modern times and stars Benedict Cumberbund and Martin Freeman (soon to be seen as Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit). Very smart series and very well done. The guy that plays Moriarty is fantastic too. I never saw it coming that he was Moriarty before it was revealed.

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  5. The real question about this Minority Report system is that does it make the society better as a whole. Just because you see some murders and some "temporary privileges" (there is such thing as "Rights" as they're man-made stuff, an idea if you will, to be begin with) gets taken and violated for citizen, more so for some, less so for some others, doesn't necessary mean you have to ditch the whole system right away.

    It seems to be almost knee-jerk reaction going around, but try to look things logically. What was the life like beforehand? I can only imagine the pre-MR system to be similar to our current world. How many people die because of gruesome murders and violence every day in 2012? And how many people die because of that way under MR system? Probably much less so under the latter since that's the whole point of it.

    Now then, how much of these temporary privileges are violated and turning citizens into mental slaves? To that, I ask, do you think that these temporary privileges are NOT violated and citizens are NOT turned into mental slaves NOW? Temporary privileges are only given to citizens to make them function and keep in line, but they can and will be taken away whenever governments suit to do so against individual(s). No this is not some big government conspiracy theory, just look up "japanese american 1942". I don't even have to go to other nations.

    Are we not, collectively, slaves under corporation, government, organized religion, and/or whatever you call it? I say we sure are, but perhaps much more subtle ways than this blatantly obvious MR system. And yet we do get indoctrinated, generation after generation, from the birth, by parents, by TV, by others. Yes, one can ARGUE that at least now an individual can fight back if he/she chooses to do so whereas in MR system, you will be either dead or locked up. That is true, but only to a certain degree. I tend to think this freedom (freedom of choice, freedom to buy a car, etc) is illusion, not necessary the concept itself, but when talked in term of macro-world. One can fight back "to a certain degree" now, but the system now will either silence you (kill you) or lock you up, just the same when push comes to shove too much.

    I think there are arguments to be made whether it is just the same or better/worse than more MR system AND yes, I seem like almost promoting this MR system world here, but no, that's not the point. My point is to point out that the current system, this pre-MR world, is by no means that much better than the MR world of Pyscho-Pass; they are cons and pros, certain aspects may look better, some worse. The current system is a work of progress, just like any time before this, so don't pretend that it (aka pre-MR system) is this little utopia and if they can just go back to that, the unicorns will fly and dance with joy while everyone lives happily ever after. No, I'd think, instead of rejecting MR system right off the bat, try to improve it might be the way to go (or if that doesn't work, then find something better instead of going backward) since they must be reasons why this humanity ended up with the MR system.

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    1. Also I must add that perhaps, we see these people lacking freedom only because we are looking at them with our current perspective. Now I FULLY acknowledge that this can be very dangerous argument to make since it can be easily used to justify the wrong (i.e who are you to tell me I can marry this 12-year-old girl or chain my child into the basement?), but perhaps the vast majority in this P;P world might not feel the burning urge of freedom.

      I don't think people in 11th century, even under so many BS they had to deal with that we don't in our 21st century, were necessarily miserable all the time. No, they were indoctrinated from their births and to them, their world was the norm and ABOVE ALL, people adapt and adapt into however it suits them. Those 11th century folks must have had their sense of happiness and freedom in their own ways, otherwise why the heck did they put up with the system for so bloody damn long? Why the heck did everyone rise up and topple the flawed system right away?? So to say, people in P;P just can't wait for some savior to save them from their misery is a false assumption.

      I AGAIN stress that I am not necessarily advocating this Minority Report (P;P) system as it's obviously not an utopia, but I do think it's not as easy to say, "look at these poor people, they can't even choose a job they want! Let them go back to what they had, which is what I have now". I suppose I am advocating one way or another, but merely questioning things here.

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    2. glaring typos above, sorry about that:

      Why the heck did everyone "NOT" rise up and topple the flawed system right away??
      I am "NOT" advocating one way or another, but merely question things here.

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    3. I've had this argument with Enzo before, so i know how you feel. To have that knee-jerk response of "this is wrong! down with this system!" is really not what MR, P-P, or Blade Runner is about. at all. this form of science fiction has an inherent juxtaposition with the norms of modern day. one can easily argue that the current justice system is equally flawed as in these movies.
      In the immortal words of Liam Neeson (and you NEVER argue with Liam Neeson, because he will break your face with his face):
      "Crime cannot be tolerated. Criminals thrive on the compassion of the masses."
      It is practically automatic to draw comparisons when viewing dystopian science fiction. To immediately say "no, it's wrong! it must be changed! it must be overturned! when is it coming??" kind of makes me wonder why these people watch science fiction in the first place.

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    4. You're kidding yourself if you think Gen isn't condemning this system with each and every episode - he's practically setting Makashima up as a savior. I don't want to get into the whole consequentialism debate again, because it seems to come up with every Gen anime, but simply because something is science-fiction doesn't mean it's automatically abdicating any moral judgement on what happens in the story. SF is often the most morally penetrating form of fiction because it can get away with more pointed social commentary because of the "unrealistic" setting.

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  6. A correctional facility where the prisoners aren't ever allowed to leave isn't really a correctional facility is it.

    Psycho-Pass is a winner for me at this point.

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  7. I think this is more or less the road we are heading down in our society. People in Boston and London have now been arrested and held on the whim of a stress detector in an airport. None of the people held had any connection to any criminals, they were just stressed.

    John Ralston Saul writes about this, the replacement of thought with system and technique.

    Oh, and i love this show.

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  8. "I’m still a bit skeptical that a system so obviously incompetent as Sybil could continue to rule society with so little challenge."

    i think we have to be aware that as viewers, we are experiencing this anti-sybil feelings because we're viewing from the eyes of enforcers. dramatic irony. it's all about awareness, civilians might not be made aware of all these crime incidents. in fact, i think one thing an inspector is selected is his ability for reason. they know how cruel this society is, but none compromises it because of the effects on society. i mean, looking at how little enforcers there are speaks it: crime rate is low. the society is generally peaceful. in fact, i see this society as probable, though of course i would not want it to happen.

    as for the correctional facility, i think it's a winner. i could see exactly how it could work. quoting from 'life of pi'
    "Animals in the wild are, in practice, free neither in time nor in space, nor in their personal relations... An animal inhabits its space, whether in a zoo or in the wild, in the same way chess pieces move about a chess board- significantly."
    sibyl does not grant freedom, but it enables the basic needs of man to live and function. same with the correctional facility. you give the man what he wants (like the guy hugging his dolls) and he is basically settled. you can even say it's more forgiving that way, where he is free to indulge without judgement from the outside world. to him, it can become his 'home'. you kick a man out of his home, and tell him he is free, but the man only gets indignant and furious. because he lost his sense of belonging and balance. sibyl's unforgiving, but i can see it happening. though i wouldn't want kougami in it ><

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  9. now i sound like i ship the sibyl system. LOL. i do not, but a dystopian society like this is reasonable to envision for me, that is all.

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  10. I agree with the idea that while Akane is the lead character/viewpoint character that Ko is the main one, actually I was really surprised when I saw that the story was going to follow Akane since all the promo material before that had been setting up Ko as the main character.

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