Psycho-Pass 2 episode 1 – Systemic Symptomatic Failures

Blog will slowly truck back into activity as I recover from an extreme case of Diablo 3 addiction, and get caught up on the new season, weekly round-up, seasonal overview for Summer, September month in review, all coming up, but for now:

So, no Urobuchi, but we have an actual dystopian sci-fi setting, we have established characters, police drama, I’m all over this. Now just to hope it’s good. Now we get to see Akane reprising the role in which she was when the series opened, the mentor instead of the one being taught, and her mentor being one of the “guard dogs”. And we know she’s likely an abnormal. So, let’s see what’s up.

Thoughts and Notes:

Screenshot album.

1) Symptomatic Treatment and Commercials:

PSYCHO-PASS season 2 episode 1 notes - Creepy commercials

Commercialism is creepy. They try to paint it as cute, but still creepy.

1) So, see that commercial? On one hand, it’s very much a dystopian thing, but on the other hand, it speaks volumes about the society we live in in the real world as well. “Is stress creating a hue-change for you? Take this medication to help your hue!” – Is this medication actually going to help the cause, as in alleviate stress? Perhaps, perhaps not. And even if it helps stress, it’s going to do nothing about what caused the stress, you’re just going to medicate to not feel stressed. Considering your job is semi-assigned to you, it’s not too surprising, as you’re just a small cog in the machine here.

Even more on the “Symptom-based treatment”, it’s not stress itself that’s singled out, but the hue. That you might also remove the stress seems like an almost incidental after-thought.

2) That does get me to a thought I kept having in the first season. See this commercial? “Are you stressed about your hue change? It could mark you as a latent criminal!” – People are worried about hue-change, which causes stress, which causes hue-change. They’re then stressed about the stress, and their hues continue to darken. We’ve seen something similar in the first episode or two of the first season. You’re not a criminal, but then you’re marked as one, so you start or are willing to act like one.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the very claim that you will be able to commit crimes makes you willing to commit crimes to escape, or thinking you’re screwed either way. A system where stress about stress kills you. And the commercial is peddling ever more stress.

2) Short Leash, Long Years:

PSYCHO-PASS season 2 episode 1 notes - Shimosuki Mika doesn't like enforcers

1) Yes, we need a detective to tell us to check if two suspicious figures are the same one… genius!

2) The way they keep the enforcers in the dark, and then unleash them. Hound dogs, through and through. But same as above, which is an idea in Criminology called “Criminal Culture”, where once the label of “criminal” is attached to you, you’ll engage in behaviours that “criminals” do, even if you otherwise wouldn’t – if we keep treating these people as inhuman and dangerous, wouldn’t they pick up on it as well? Criminology theories, regardless of their veracity, are probably pretty interesting to keep in mind as you watch Psycho-Pass. “He had some method of keeping his hue clear.” – “Is that important, in order to resolve this case?” – Well, Akane knows how much the system relies on the hue-checks, and how if you can fool them, such as with the helmets, then everything breaks down. But the new inspector, she’s just like that “hue-fixer” from the start, she sees an anomaly, of someone whose hue changed, or will cause more hue-changes, and she wants to remove him. This is, once again, symptom-based removal.

It’s sort of funny, in how a system based on prevention, the actual method is symptom-based, meaning something that already happened, which generates people such as the new inspector, that aren’t proactive about making sure it doesn’t happen in the future, or that loopholes are closed. Then again, Akane got an inside look at how the system works, and fails.

3) So, the criminal’s hue changed after the explosion, aside from perhaps managing it, because he knew he’d set up the first explosion actually designed to harm people.

3) Understanding Others:

PSYCHO-PASS season 2 episode 1 notes - Tsunemori Akane's morals

1) “I was worried about you, senpai.” – Badass Akane doesn’t notice her little underclasswoman.

2) I did think the hostage’s face was too frozen. Thought it was a doll. Guess a hologram could work as well. That could be the real culprit, for instance, with a double-hologram between the two people.

3) Saving the woman and child. Honestly, Akane looks like a medic or something. Blue vest, caduceus symbol, yeah… guess they’re doctoring the ailments of society, hue.

4) “You’ve changed”, yeah, he used to be a hardliner. “It’s natural to change like this when you’re around her.” – The power of the protagonist, who believes in others!

5) “If you ignore those you don’t understand, you’ll regret it someday.” He’s talking about his father, both about turning his back on him, and in not trying to understand him, in having to follow his footsteps, in becoming a latent criminal. You know, this is all the same situation as Batman, the detectives become mirrors of the criminals, then are used to hunt them, having grown to understand them. But having grown to understand them, they start thinking like them, like criminals. Ginozuka is also preaching for empathy, not just sympathy. Trying to understand others – that’s what detectives do, and what ends up clouding their hue.

4) “The Virtuous Man”

Psycho-Pass season 2 episode 1 notes - Tougane Sakuya on being a human

1) So, the show really says clearly what it thinks through Akane this time around – society can be wrong, but society is based on individuals, so if you live virtuously, then you could change unjust society, to make it just. She’s talking also of herself, the other enforcers, and of course, Kougami. They became detectives or are acting now because they want to help their society. They know things aren’t perfect, and they’re trying to make them better. The enforcers could all be “proper criminals”, but they want to help, they want to help society, and do the right thing.

“Be the virtuous man”, it’s as if Akane had read a lot of Plato (the Socratic Dialogues), it’s all about being the good man. Her new underling disagrees, with what, with giving people another chance, with that society can be wrong? Seems she likes being a cog, and if I ever do a write-up about the first season, that’d be the topic.

2) “Just because something is false does not negate its existence.” False, perhaps “Fake”? We’re really deep into Stand Alone Complex territory here. So here we have someone else who can use the system against itself. That’s dystopias, and Akane’s little narration at the end? As she said, it’s a story about society, and society is made of individuals. The society is a backdrop for the individuals’ stories.

The nature of “fake” versus “original” is very important in modern society, where everything’s mass-produced, for instance, and here, where one can replicate hues. It harks back to the concept of “individuality”, of “one of a kind”.

OP – Somewhat stylized, lots of repeats. I guess if I heard it a lot I could grow fond of it, but it’s nothing special at this point. Not bad, mind you, but just another OP.

ED – Another nice if unimpressive piece. I actually liked it more than the OP until it went “hard”, but then liked it more again when that eased up. A nice piece.

Post Episode Thoughts:

Psycho-Pass season 2 episode 1 notes - On fake and real

This episode certainly didn’t waste time, Akane and the rest outright tell you what they think, and what it’s about. The question is of course, how will it change? How will the stake-setting force them to reconsider, or push them to dilemmas, where multiple desires clash? Ginoza for instance was willing to aim a gun at another, but his goal was to keep things from happening, but still. Akane was willing to risk her life. But we need more meaningful choices, which I’m sure we’ll get.

Still got procedural cop drama, still got thriller elements, and still got some light philosophy and sociology ideas. It’s a solid mix. Now the question is where they’ll take it. Seems promising enough.

5 comments on “Psycho-Pass 2 episode 1 – Systemic Symptomatic Failures

  1. Artemis says:

    Apparently Urobuchi is still at least acting as series supervisor, whatever that means. I’d be happier if he was actively writing again, but the director’s the same this time around, which I think bodes well. As far as first episodes go, it seemed solid enough.

    • Guy says:

      Apparently he’s working on his own original series and on his visual novels these days.

      And yeah, I liked it. I like sci-fi, I like dystopias. It seemed to work fine. And I’m not going to put too much weight on the credit until the series is done. He’s saying a lot of what people thought he did in Aldnoah.Zero for instance wasn’t his, and had less input in the end than intended.

  2. Okari na sai Guy.

    1) Eeeee Psycho Pass!

    2) I was wondering how you thought of the Zankyou no Terror ending or if you’ll be doing a write up for it. I found it a bit of an incomplete yet a strangely fitting ending to the series.

    3) How are you enjoying Fate/Stay Night? I personally think your pre-season wariness of the show was for naught. Ufotable seemed to have reminded us with the first 2 episodes why any show with their name on it demands so much respect. Then again that could just be my completely objective, inner fanboy talking. :)

    • Guy says:

      I’ve worked up a big backlog, so Zankyou no Terror finale episode will take some time to happen, but will before October ends. Just… big backlog.

      I like Fate/Stay Night alright. My post for episode 1 should go up momentarily, and a weekly round-up should materialize soon, and I’d go over everything. It wasn’t amazing, production values aside, but it was solid.

      • Yea I think the lengthy, light-novel esque character encounters in the exposition was a bit unnecessary unless some of the characters that they introduced will become relevant later on (highly doubtful). It could have been provided as a contrast for the tense battle atmosphere later on. Aside from that, I thought it was a slight improvement upon the exposition-vomit that was the pilot episode of F/Z.

        Also, I was planning on watching Korra Book 3 since I’ve heard you and many others greatly praise it. So, I was wondering what you liked about it. I was a bit disappointed by the lack lustre ending of the 1st and overall boring 2nd book, so what does the 3rd book do differently?

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