Well, that’s ONE way to get my attention at the start of an episode.
|It’s funny how anime like Psycho-Pass often get me more excited to study for tests. “Aw yeah! Neurobiology! Let’s re-read all the assigned chapters and see if it any of this makes the show more interesting for me!” I think to myself, completely forgetting that the whole reason I opened the textbook was because of an incoming midterm test. I’m good at tricking myself into studying. But enough of that. This study break is specifically so I can get this post done and then hit the books again! Time is a-wasting!|
Welcome to the Hachioji Drone factory, where things are pretty rotten. The debuggers are perfectly normal citizens who were directed to work here by the Sibyl system, and yet they’re treated almost as badly as latent criminals. They work around the clock without leaving the building, have a high work load due to the small debugger to drone ratio, have signal jammers to stop any communication out or in, and are subject to public Hue Checks. It’s a huge list of negatives. How anyone could manage this job without going on a rampage eludes me. Oh wait, that did happen.
Last week I touched upon the uneasiness of our mental states becoming quantifiable thanks to a quick scan. It wasn’t so much the idea of putting a number to my feelings that made me uncomfortable, but the fact that being able to define it so clearly made it become public content. This gives us another measure to compare people and rank them. You can actually make a hierarchy based on mental stability as easily as you could for something like height or grades in school. Imagine being bullied…because of how you’re feeling inside. It’s hard to imagine, at least for me, to have something so private become such an easily accessible item to be judged by. The result is the creation of another dimension for discrimination, which we see the downsides of in full force at the factory.
Well, SOMEONE’S getting demoted
The information about the Hue Checks are made public to the other workers. Do they even need this info? Not really. Perhaps it’s to make them try harder because if they lose control, everyone will see and treat them differently. It’s like racism for your psychological state. While a mental state or criminal coefficient is different from transient depressed moods and such, (the Sibyl system isn’t a mind-reader or anything) but it’s still revealing inner feelings that most of us are used to hiding.
The predatory behaviour of Yuji’s fellow workers probably made him even worse and pushed him to murder, just because everyone knew he was slightly off. Having your own, private Hue Check might be a possible improvement. In fact, things would probably be a bit better if just the bosses and managers saw the Hue Check colour and Criminal Coefficient. It’s this shared info that seems to awaken all kinds of prejudice.
There’s the less extreme version in the factory workers, and a more extreme version for latent criminals like Shinya. Most of the characters are latent criminals aside from Tsunemori, and she’s actually nice to them, so we could only really infer that they’re not exactly the homecoming kings and queens of popularity out there. This week, we got to see how the Enforcers normally interact with Investigators who aren’t as accepting as Tsunemori. Namely…Ginoza. He dislikes the latent criminals (especially Masaoka) and sees them as only tools to get the job done. He goes as far as to speak bitterly to Tsunemori for having the view that they should be treated as colleagues and trusted to help with cases. A friend of his enemy is also his enemy.
Part of why Ginoza seems to dislike the Enforcers so much is because he treats the Sibyl system as a bible of sorts. If someone is flagged as a latent criminal, then they are as good as dead to him and deserve no mercy. Likewise, those who are shown to be innocent by the system are untouchable. He follows the rules to a T, and this blindsides him to more intuitive conclusions that could be reached through simple correlations. Instincts aren’t the best thing to base an arrest warrant on, but these simple deductions have their merits.
Masaoka understands the mind of a criminal, and knows that killing actually relieves stress in a lot of cases (whether this is true in real life, I don’t know). Shinya has the same hones sense of gut instincts too, and he accurately predicts what someone as off-balance as Yuji would do if threatened. The Enforcers may not all be cold-blooded murderers, but they get how criminals think because they’re criminals themselves. If not because of their actions, but because of how they’re treated.
So, maybe these guys should be trusted more. Tsunemori backs them up and ends up correctly picking the killer, even though Ginoza so desperately wanted her to fail. How much faith would you put in these guys? I’d treat them more like colleagues than as hunting dogs, but I think if Tsunemori neglects the act of setting some firm boundaries, then she really will learn things the fool’s way. Let’s not forget that as nice and useful as they seem, they’re still dangerous.
The huge downside of using a hunting dog with good instincts is that they’re still animals. They go wild sometimes. Shinya is a good guy who stands up for Yuji and wants to solve the murder case to save more lives, but he’s still rough around the edges. The two sides seem to be a bit disparate, so I hope later episodes will tie his justice-seeking and impulsive sides together a bit more neatly. So far the one thing gluing these sides together is passion. He’s passionate about the same ethical issues as Tsunemori, but he’s also pretty passionate about invoking the rage of killer drones and destroying half of a factory trying to escape. He gets results, but his methods may be a bit…destructive. So although Tsunemori is pushing towards the “trust these guys!” side of things, that might not actually be the best decision. As nice and useful as they seem, let’s not forget there’s a reason they were forced into this job. Once that’s set off, things could get ugly.
Bonus Lunch Break: Show ▼
Although this is from the perspective of Detectives and Investigators, the focus here isn’t really on creating a challenging mystery. There is no doubt that it’s a murder and it’s pretty much a straight path from the beginning to end of hinting at a suspicious guy and then capturing him. There are no red herrings and only one suspect. Despite this, my eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. It wasn’t really about “who did this?” and trying to find out about the factory, but about the social implications of public Hue assessments and how the police force does its job normally. We’ve learned so much about how the world functions, yet there’s still this mystery lingering around like the smell of cigarette fumes on a chain-smoker. It just gets me every time.
There was also a lot of character development, which is the only real department Psycho-Pass has been lacking in. I keep preparing myself for Tsunemori to be a liability, to slip up, to be the typical female protagonist that I hate – but it never happens. She’s still as assertive as ever, which more than makes up for her lack of physical strength in this episode. We also get to see Shinya and Ginoza in action, which involved a fair share of butting heads and conflict. I’m starting to finally form a mini web of sorts connecting each character to each other, instead of just seeing them all as distinct faces. It’s good! I want more of that so I can really start to care about everyone (and then get real sad when someone dies or something). On a side note, the action was pretty tight this week. The robot chase/fight scene? Wonderful. Short, sweet and pumped with adrenaline to the point of bursting. I wouldn’t mind watching a few more episodic cases like this to keep building things up. What messed up part of society shall we visit next, hmm?
Waiting for each new episode is so hard…*pouts*