Psycho Pass s3 ep4 – Election

These opening paragraphs are always the hardest part for me. Once you get into the review you can weave your thoughts through a recap of the episode and everything falls into place. Here, I have to come up with something all on my own. It’s a little intimidating. Thankfully, I can always count on my esteemed collaborator. Hi Matt, how are you?

Too much pressure, Irina! I’m fine, hope you’re well too and all our readers as well.

Actually, before we fall into it, how pumped were you to see Yayoi? Cause I was mega super pumped. I always loved Yayoi and she looked amazing with her hair down. I gotta say, season 2 must have been something. Everyone seems to have had some sort of happy ending, whereas to me, Psycho Pass had always ended on a rather bleak note with most of the cast scattered and/or hopeless but the system intact.

But I digress. Yayoi!

Yeah she’s pretty cool, I guess… Nah, you’re right, it was great to have her back!

So Yayoi is back because reasons and she’s going to help our ragtag team of  law enforcement officers while looking mighty fine indeed. We find out that some organisation, possibly to do with Enomiya is smuggling criminals in as dead bodies since the cryo sleep hides their hues. I really liked the idea although considering the rest of the episode, I’m still a bit fuzzy on the necessity of this. Seems risky, complicated and expensive when aggressive body guard robots are available. I honestly missed the set up here, Matt, can you help me fill in the blanks?

Maybe it’s cheaper to get humans to act as muscle than it is to build and program a bodyguard robot. The robot did seem pretty useless aside from being able to take a beating, not very nimble and not very smart either.

Smuggling and paying humans is definitely not cheaper, but just as useless!

Right off the bat, and throughout the episode, the enforcers had a pretty strong presence. It wasn’t just a Kei and Arata two man show (I mean technically Kei is still suspended so it can’t be). I really like how they are slowly and organically developing the supporting cast. I hope they keep at it, I feel like a strong ensemble can really elevate the series.

I agree, the more they keep building the ensemble cast the tougher it’s going to be when one of them dies (I mean it’s bound to happen sooner or later right?)

We are back in the heat of the political race only this time, it seems it’s Karina’s turn to be worried. After a visit to the late Dr. Tsuchiya’s office, Arata learns Karina’s secret, that she’s been using a hologram AI to help her during public appearances – a bit like lip syncing her campaign, and it seems someone out there wants that secret to be revealed and is not afraid to use underhanded means.

It’s an interesting way to use AI, though you gotta wonder how much of it really had a point, seems like having an AI feeding you a speech through an earpiece would be a lot easier and less open to be discovered and achieve pretty much the same results.

I have to say, I find the AI’s name “Ma-Karina” kind of hilarious. Possibly cause I’m 4 and just started singing the Macarena every time I heard it! Also, the necklace that Karina uses as a switch for Ma-Karina was very pretty. It sort of reminded me of Griffith’s Egg of the King, and considering both their significance in the story, the symbolic parallels are pretty cool.

I laughed at that too, we’re both children, apparently!

With the reveal of Tsuchiya’s personal AI and his involvement with Ma-Karina, we got even more neuroscience speak. Such as the relative metabolic need of the human brain and a short lesson on decision fatigue. Arata even mentions that humans aren’t great at thinking which is not completely false. We do tend to find every shortcut possible to reduce our decision making whenever viable and we fall back a lot on things like pattern recognition. This must affect our hues! It really does seem like season 3 is trying to weave in a bit of neurology through.

I absolutely love it but it’s not for everyone. Matt, you mentioned last week that to you this element felt tacked on and stand offish, do you still feel that way or do you think it was better integrated this week.

It was fine, there was almost too much else going on for me to really focus on it one way or another.

I’m o.k. with Kei’s roguish actions. He comes off a bit like a hard nosed cop trope in an action movie but I kind of like it. Once again, despite his suspension, Kei seems to be in the heart of the action. Going to watch Karina’s speech and calling in a potential disturbance. This means he’s right there when Karina gets kidnapped by…guys… And I mean right there. Like he swoops in to punch a guy out of nowhere when everyone else seemingly disappeared. To me Kei’s presence and interventions this week were just a bit too convenient. Ok Matt, tell me why I’m wrong.

Most of the action in this episode kind of felt a bit flat for me, from the staging to certain conveniences in how our ‘heroes’ were able to be where they were and do the things they do. It almost felt a bit Hollywood action-y, like it was less about the logic and more about the spectacle and even then the spectacle wasn’t that spectacular.

All of this is happening is some large event venue, a stadium of some sort, where the candidates were having a televised debate. Yakusiji got in a fight with one of the abductors and we didn’t see what happened to him while Karine got dragged off into another part of the stadium where the baddies are trying to force her to make a televised confession for the use of Ma-Karina. She refuses and her manager somehow bursts in, closely followed by Kei. Meanwhile the rest of our heroes have arrived and are making their way through the place.

And Yayoi is wearing stilettos! This may seem like petty nit picking but as a girl who wears high heels just about every single day, and pretty high ones at that, I know that you only wear stilettos if you want to look good and not necessarily move at all. In fact not even stand for too long. Those things hurt! Yayoi never ceases to amaze.

If anime has taught me anything it’s that women can wear anything–no matter how impractical–and still pull off amazing feats, make of that statement what you will feminists!

?

Anyways, stuff happens. Karina tries to escape and ends up on some high walkways being chased by this huge thing. Arata finds her somehow, and saves her at the last minute. Also Kei and the enforcers are there. Everyone’s fighting. The big guy turns out to be a robot. Enomiya’s robot bodyguard to be exact and I’m really wondering why they didn’t just use him instead of smuggling people. And then the good guys win, hurray!

Karina is saved and although her secret was in fact revealed she held on to her pride and didn’t make any sort of public confirmation. Meanwhile it turns out Yakusiji is just fine and he knows what’s going on but unfortunately he only told the officers and not the audience.

I believe the plan was to simply discredit Karina by leeking the existance of her AI to the public but I’m not sure why it had to be done via kidnapping during a televised speech. I guess the idea was that she would then lose the election and considering Enomiya’s part in everything and their connection to Heracles I suppose we could imagine they wanted him to win? I’m really not sure about any of this though. It’s mostly assumption. This part was a bit messy to me. I’m sorry Matt, I’m going to need your help again.

… I don’t know either, this entire middle section felt like a lot of things happening where nobody (not even the characters in the show themselves) knew why things were happening or who was really responsible but at the same time they didn’t seem to mind and just kind of got on with their days? It’s entirely possible we both missed something obvious and we’re just big dummies–I’m sure the comments section will tell us…

After the plot gets foiled Enomiya wisely decides it’s time to make themselves scarce and attempts an escape but is stopped by Azusawa. Now the Enomiya has outlived their usefulness, they have become a liability and Azusawa is there to tie up loose ends. I thought this guy was a hacker or something but it seems I’m way off. He’s an inspector so I guess it does make sense that he would be in good shape but I didn’t expect him to just easily beat the all time champion like it was nothing.

Well the impression I got was that Enomiya had been out of the game a while and was just using their status to intimidate people, obviously still capable of throwing down when needing to, but not when faced with someone with considerable strength and dexterity of their own. 

To be honest, I really didn’t bond with Enomiya at all. I just didn’t care about the character at this point so to me this part was a bit long. I would have been happy if they just dealt with it off camera and gave us the jist in some tidy little exposition blast. Maybe have Arata read it off an incident report. I would have preferred to see more of the Division 1 crew instead. Did you like it Matt?

I mean, it was fine, I absolutely understand why this series of scenes was here, we were given enough of an introduction to them in the previous episode that killing them off screen kind of would have been like “then what was the point of all that?” so in that respect I didn’t have any problems with it. But I can understand where you’re coming from, I feel like if this show was 23 minutes instead of double that having it resolved as an incident report would have been fine and a way to save screentime but considering how long these episodes are it felt ~somewhat~ necessary.

I personally disagree. Just because an episode is longer doesn’t mean otherwise irrelevant scenes suddenly become necessary.

And the, the election is over. Just like that. 5 second scene… I was all like whaaaaaa. But…huh…. Karina won by the way. No one cared that she was using a fake brain.

That didn’t bother me either, but I kind of liked how quickly they dealt with it, it’s kind of like how real politics feel all this build-up in the campaign that all ends with some numbers on a screen and someone new being in charge that doesn’t really change all that much in the grand scheme of things. The pointlessness of democracy in a peaceful society.

Obviously Bifrost was actually behind all this but why? Not sure. As far as I can tell it wasn’t to influence the outcome of the election. There were way easier ways to do it and Karina was likely to win anyways so they could have just done nothing. The main and possibly only goal was to not only reveal the existence of Ma-Karina but also show that it didn’t matter. I wonder where this is going. Or am I off track again? Not gonna lie, I had some trouble following this episode.

Bifrost to me is just a bunch of super powerful, super wealthy people pulling the strings on a level so incomprehensible to the layperson that they might as well be gods. Seems like they’re ‘betting’ on the outcomes of various things for their own benefits–and playing with the lives of the people in this city like they are poker chips on a board. It’s intentionally vague and oblique–at least that’s how I take it.

Also Kei isn’t in trouble cause the chief sneaky ended his suspension 5 minutes before he got involved in the case and didn’t tell anyone.

One thing I really did like is that Arata and Kei have very compatibility according to Sybil (and with their background it makes sense) but they decided to partner up anyways. Their relationship really does continue to be the strongest part of the show for me.

Any closing thoughts?

You only went and missed my favourite part of the episode! The conversation between Arata and Karina in the glass ferris wheel was fantastic, small moments like this as supremely smart people–one in a position of newfound power–confines in another about things like their own nature and what politics really means in a world like this was great. I couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of intimacy between these two, which makes sense since in Episode 2 Arata compared her to himself in saying they were so much alike. I’m calling a romance subplot already! Also the colour and lighting in the scene was stunning, hey look Irina I mentioned the colour of a scene in an anime, are you proud of me?!

Yeah – I almost fast forwarded through that. My least favourite part of the show so far. The colours were a good clash to the colour story so far but all in all rather uninteresting. If there is a romance subplot, I’m not sure I’ll stick it out with this show.

I honestly didn’t like this episode much. The action was a touch drawn out, a lot of scenes seemed a bit contrived and the pacing was off, stretching certain moments past my interest and condensing others into confusion. This said, as I mentioned, I did get a bit lost a few times so it really may just be a me problem. I also don’t particularly like the softening of Karina’s character. I thought she was an invigorating antagonist that could have created some fantastic conflict .

I never really saw her as an antagonist really (maybe in the first episode she appeared) she seemed to fall somewhere in between. I thought this episode was great, weakest of the four so far thanks to the middling middle section which stretched credulity and my patience but still you could do far worse so I’m still happy!

This said, I still didn’t find the show too long despite double length and was (and remain) really interested in the overall story and what exactly is going on here. I’m looking forward to next week.

Irina

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

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