Psycho Pass s3 ep5 – Leap of Faith

I say this every week and every week I fail, still I’m going to try to keep this post to a reasonable size. At least on my part. I have been rambling on way too much! That doesn’t mean we’re going to skip over the important stuff, like for instance: Matt how are you?

I’m fine (aside from some random back pain)! How are you doing Irina?

I have a huge cold, I guess I’m doing Canadian?

I’m not sure if this is a freaky coincidence or if I’m a low-key psychic but this week’s Psycho Pass was an illustration of what I was talking about in my post last Thursday. Essentially, the production values took a visible step down. To be fair, Psycho Pass is a stunning looking show and it’s unsurprising that it couldn’t keep that level up for an entire season.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who noticed art consistency go way down and CG integration get a lot less smooth in this episode. Fortunately, with Psycho Pass being so detailed to begin with, even pared down versions of the art still look pretty good. Nevertheless it has definitely looked better:

Of course I pay way more attention to technical details than most people. In all likelihood most viewers didn’t really notice! Did you?

I was very distracted by how off-model practically every character looked in any medium or long shots–I think having to produce a 45 minute episode in such a time schedule is proving too much for the production staff. But you are correct, even at its most inconsistent it’s still a strikingly good-looking show.

As division 1 continues to slowly hunt down the Foxes, we finally get a bit of background regarding the mysterious organization. It seems that there’s a whole group of Makishima’s out there and they are organizing against the system. An underground criminal outfit full of people with magical every clear hues.

It strikes me that this may have been an inevitable outcome. In a Sybil controlled society, evolution was bound to quickly create a bunch of mutants capable of controlling or at least maintaining their hues. The brain is really fantastically adaptable. I mean just the advent of smartphones has already physically changed the neural net mapping in younger generations. With something like Sybil, that has a high impact on every aspect of a person’s life, the change is going to get accelerated for sure.

It’s actually a brilliant bit of world building in my opinion but it could very well be entirely in my head. What’s your take on it Matt? Also I realize that my interest may be a bit niche, so don’t hesitate to jump in and talk about whatever you like.

What was that about trying to keep this post to a reasonable size and not ramble too much…? If we’re talking about things I like, I really enjoyed the absurdity of Karina delivering a political speech about religion and then without missing a beat transitioning into her idol outfit and performing a song.

We already have story threads regarding white collar fiscal manipulation with nationwide impact, neuroscience in the unique universe of Psycho Pass, shadowy mastermind puppeteers, a criminal organisation of uniquely advantaged people, Kei and Arata’s very peculiar background and personal arcs, racial tension and high level political intrigue.

And now, we get a religious angle. Do you think that the narrative is going in too many directions and is risking to lose focus or do you figure the more the merrier and it should add a few?

This show wants to do and say a lot and while I think everything it’s wanting to do and say is important it’s very much at the point where if it tries to do much more it’s going to collapse under the weight of itself.

It seems the rise in terrorist activity happening in the city right now is linked to a church of some sort. Or at the very least, a lot of its members are involved. The latest bomber having joined in hopes it would help him get in a better place spiritually and clear his hue. Of course, the are also leaving calling cards all over the place so they must have something to do with it as well.

Although were a lot of things happening in Psycho Pass already, I’m actually rather interested by the religious aspect. There’s something fascinating and terrifying about a “Sibyl sanctioned religion”. And religion does odd things to people and their psyche in the best of times, I can’t wait to see what it can do under these circumstances.

After all, we are what we believe!

It seemed a bit weird to me that the show never really mentioned religion before and now suddenly it’s all anyone’s talking about. I realise it’s because it’s currently integral to the plot but I think it would have been better world-building had someone mentioned ‘Heaven’s Leap’ in any of the previous episodes–even in passing–especially since it’s apparently a big deal.

We got to meet 3 very different spiritual leaders from 3 very different religions. I am not a religious person in real life. I grew up in a place and time where it was more or less outlawed and it has just never really been a big part of my life. But I’m not someone who dislikes religion either. In fact I find it very interesting. I just don’t have much experience with it.

This is why, to me, despite the outward differences, all 3 of these guys sort of seemed the same.

That sounds like a bit of social commentary on religion in general, Irina! If we’re looking for a parallels with real world religion I suppose ‘Heaven’s Leap’ is supposed to be some sort of Jehovah’s Witness / Scientology hybrid and the CRP is some vague version of Catholicism. And then there’s just straight up Buddhism.

*It wasn’t..I literally meant they seemed to be built around the same character archetype not that their religions are the same. Don’t know if all religious figures in real life are that similar.

Because of all the different themes season 3 of Psycho Pass has been exploring, I wasn’t sure what the main focus would be. 5 hours in, I think it’s going to explore the effects of culture clash in an authoritarian society with thought crime. That’s a pretty ambitious goal. Even if it doesn’t manage to quite pull it off, I’ll be impressed by the effort! I know you think that speculating on where a story is going is not good but I would love to have your thoughts on it, Matt.

It’s not that I think it’s not good, my writer brain can’t help but speculate, it’s just I’m happy for a story to play out however the writer of the piece wants it to play out–I’m a bit of a bad critic in that respect. Whether this show is wanting to have a grand specific theme like you mention or just paint a broader canvas of the complexities of living in such a regimented world I’m not sure but it’s still interesting nonetheless.

This is probably nothing…But Arata’s house really looked like the division 1 mandated psychiatrist’s house in the first season. I’m almost 100% certain it’s not the same because it’s in the middle of the city, while the other one was in the countryside, but the architecture is similar. I wonder if it’s significant in any way.

Probably not.

I thought the design looked familiar, I don’t know if this is the kind of show that’d just forget its own world-building like that and this not be important but then again who knows!

So Matt, what were your thoughts on episode 5?

Honestly probably my least favourite episode so far. Sure the allure of something new with the religion aspect is interesting but the overall episode itself felt like a bit of a downgrade and not just with the off-model character art. Some scenes felt too fast paced while others felt drawn-out and Arata not being able to use his ‘mental trace’ felt like artificially handicapping the story for the sake of not using its own “cheats” to find the culprit. It’s by no means bad, nor even mediocre, it’s pretty great and had a lot of excellent character moments and interesting expansions to the overall world. I’m just worried the writer of this series may have bitten more off than he can chew. What about you Irina, I’m guessing you enjoyed it more than last week?

I liked it way more especially in the second half. And I’m ok with Arata not using his trace since it was set up properly how dangerous it is for him and how weak he is right now, fresh out of the hospital and all. Not to mention that using extreme empathy on someone who could very well be mind controlled sounds like a quick way to get himself mind controlled. These guys are detectives, they should know better.

I enjoyed it. I like when the story slips into speculative fiction and I found the pacing much better than in the last arc so to me it was a plus rather than a drawback. I have a feeling we are enjoying very different aspects of the season.

Irina

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

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3 Responses

  1. Shokamoka says:

    My gf really wants me to watch this but man….

  2. This was my least favorite episode too. A bit slow, although I enjoyed the bit were the chief tortures the AI and chows down Pez.

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