Psycho Pass s3 ep3 – Tensions Flare

Another week, another brand-new episode of Psycho Pass. I’m going to hold back and be all mysterious and stuff. Because that’s how I do. I definitely don’t blurt out exactly how I feel about a show in the very first line of every post and then there’s no point in reading the rest. Nuh-huh. No siree. I gots some restraint! Who do you take me for! So instead, Matt, how are you enjoying season 3 so far. It may just be 3 episodes in but as they are double length, it’s now longer than most movies!

Oh, so does that mean it’s my turn to blurt out my thoughts in a single sentence? Okay, um, err, this show is still as consistently excellent as I thought it was based on the previous two episodes! Oh no, I hope I’ll have something to write for the rest of the review now!

Is that so? Fascinating. I can see how you would think and/or feel that way! (I write my part first… I have no clue what Matt said at this point…

So let’s get right into it. First I just a few general comments on my part. I enjoy high stakes corruption stories and although that’s also what season 1 was, the fact that this allows us to look into the public face of Sybil a bit more, through the device of gubernatorial elections is a great angle in my opinion. Diving into what has to be extremely complex and unique politics of a Sybil controlled society has so much potential.

I had to look up what “gubernatorial” meant (we don’t have anything like that in Australia, so forgive my ignorance), but yes I think politics and the world of ‘Psycho Pass’ is a perfect fit. 

I mean what powers do politicians even hold in such circumstances. Are elections largely a population suppression tactics. Something to keep the masses happy? If so, why are they so incredibly high stakes. Seems ridiculous to be going through all this for what amounts to a reality show (which might explain why both candidates are entertainers). So much potential!

What do you think?

I mean, if I know anything about politics and people its that ambitious people will always be ambitious and wanting to be ‘the best’ regardless of the world they live in–so even if politics amount to nothing more than a popularity contest without any real power or ability to change anything outside of Sybil’s system–people are still going to strive for that, people are going to kill for that even. We’ve seen time and time again in the real world that people do extreme things to get what they want, even if to ‘outsiders’ their goals seem ridiculous or pointless.

 Yakusuji really surprised me as a character this week. For a second there I thought they were going with a “bad guy is bad” sort of characterization but then it all took a very sharp right turn! I still don’t know if his character is sincere or if it’s all a big act. Either way, I didn’t expect it and I like it! Maybe it’s my suspicious nature that leads me to think he’s less than sincere but Psycho Pass did teach me not to trust anyone!

He’s definitely an interesting character but the way his character ties into Enforcer Todoroki’s subplot makes for a compelling bit of character development. As for whether he’s ‘on the level’ I don’t buy it…

I did find the assault scene a bit blunt. Not as in too brutal (mind you I thought it was hilarious that someone could kick a skull in so hard as to actually make it explode!) but just a little too straight forward. At least that’s what I thought as I was watching it. In hindsight though, if this was a political machination and not just the random terrorist attack they are making it out to be on the surface, then this type of direct and flamboyant assault is exactly what would be the most effective!

Yeah I took it to be that they were being intentionally flashy, down to the attackers wearing the same clothes, I found it to be a very intimidating scene.

How does anyone in this universe manage to keep their hue clear? I was only watching those little holo assistant thingies pop up for a few minutes (like the old Clippy office assistant) and I already felt my urge to murder rise. I wouldn’t last a day if I had to deal with those things and keep my thoughts in check!

I loved the idea of someone being physically assaulted and then a little pop-up comes up warning them that they were receiving injuries in-line with someone being assaulted, it’s that kind of AI assistant mentality that makes me hate AI assistants like ‘Alexa’ and ‘Siri’ all the more (but that’s a rant for another day).

As our heroes were chasing the attackers down, we got some surprising bit of universe building and musing on the dual nature of justice and law. One of my very favourite lines from the first season was said in a similar context. As Akane was chasing down criminals she said something to the effect that there’s a misconception that laws are there to protect people but it’s really up to people to protect the laws. I love that idea. It really epitomized Akane’s character and the fact that that’s what’s going through her mind in a high-pressure situation was just perfect.

We got something similar this week with Arata capping off a chase explaining that even in a Sybil controlled society it is imperative to exercise human judgement “that’s why dominators have triggers”. It’s a great line! And one that solidifies Arata’s devotion to ideals rather than establishments.

I’m glad you brought it up, that line really stood out to me too, the importance of the human aspect in an (at times) inhumane system.

Matt, you mentioned last week that you felt the writers of Psycho Pass season 3 had gotten around to reading old US news, it seems that they’ve moved on to more recent fare as the general depiction of the mudslinging politics does seem very familiar to what has been happening not too far south from my own home in the past few years!

Immigration’s a tricky thing, ain’t it?

Although, aside from the winky topical references, it does make a lot of sense that a society as portrayed in Psycho Pass would be particularly xenophobic. To be honest, I was really surprised they even had large scale immigration. I figured the country would have been largely sealed off!

So far, the themes of racial/cultural tension are handled a little naively and way too simplified for my tastes. However, I do realize that with everything going on in this narrative, you got to take some shortcuts.

I suppose there’s still time for a more nuanced discussion on immigration from this show, I imagine someone like you Irina, an immigrant yourself, would have a lot more to say on the subject than most people?

What did you think of Haruki Enomyia? I’m asking cause I have no clue what to make of them.

Difficult to say, for a second I thought they might be setting them up as a bigger villain for this story but I think they’re probably going to end up just another pawn in the bigger game being played. I think they were more just here to give us an idea of what kind of life Kazumichi had in the slums before joining the force. Though I think him just walking around the town with Arata did that well enough.

Am I the only one who noticed all the food in this episode? Maybe I was just hungry, but everything looked delicious!

C’mon Irina, all anime food looks delicious!

Ok back to more serious stuff, we got some very decent character-building backstory for both Kei and Arata. Now normally, this would not be my thing. It was delivered in straight exposition and boy oh boy was it all tragic! Taken independently, both of their backgrounds would have had me gently rolling my eyes and moving on without a second thought. Oh my, an anime protag with a tragic backstory! But it’s in how these stories intertwine to create such a bizarre picture of their relationship that brings the whole thing to a higher level.

It’s kind of interesting that they chose to more or less have our entire supporting cast learn this complicated backstory at the same time via the expositional method you mentioned. On the one hand I guess it helps to have everyone on the same page with their history but it makes me wonder if it was done for a more specific reason. Like one of the Enforcers using this information against our dynamic duo or the opposite and it puts more faith in them and brings closer as a team–who can say for sure?

In fact, the peculiar dynamic between Kei and Arata is truly fascinating and so far, a strong point of the season for me.

Agreed.

A few little random thoughts:

I quite like both the OP and ED. I like the visuals in the OP better, in fact, I like them a lot, but I prefer the ED song!

The interiors are really beautiful this season. I’m not so taken by the architecture, but room designs consistently catch my eye.

Also, I didn’t know where to fit it in the review, but I liked the statement that acting weak releases cortisol making you feel more relaxed. The behavioural neuroscience angle is one I like a lot and I hope they develop it more as Psycho Pass is the perfect universe to explore this in.

I thought it was interesting–if briefly mentioned–but I have to wonder if it was just the writer showing off some fancy things he learned on wikipedia and wanting to put it into the show (okay that was a bit catty of me, apologies to the writer of Psycho Pass).

Oh I guess I should finally admit it. I really liked this episode. More than the last. So far, I think the writing may be a touch weaker than I had hoped. There’s a lot of slightly clumsy exposition. But I’m also starting to see the foundations of a potentially fascinating story with some very intriguing dynamics. I’m excited. When the episode ended I was both surprised by how quickly it had gone by and a little bummed I couldn’t watch the next one right away!

I have to agree (we seem to agreeing a lot this time!) our new characters feel like they’re living up to the potential of this show’s world while adding interesting things to it too. Political corruption, a shadow organisation called ‘Bifrost’ pulling the strings (cool name by the way) plus all the internal machinations at the various levels of law enforcement and interpersonal relationships too makes for a rich and compelling tapestry. If you’re a person who adheres to the 3 episode rule and you haven’t given this show a chance yet then 3 excellent episodes in a row should be proof enough that Psycho Pass is back and firing on all cylinders!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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4 Responses

  1. animesunday says:

    Well choreographed fight scenes are well choreographed, nuff said. But then that fantastic animation in tandem with the interesting power plays, politics, and the ties that bind the different characters together… it’s pretty darned good. These 45 minute episode are a damn treat and a half as well.

  2. Kicks to the skull can get messy. American History X taught me that.

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