Psycho-Pass – 03

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*

About

A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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22 Responses to “Psycho-Pass – 03”

  1. Highway says:

    So apparently the Sibyl system makes people COMPLETE IDIOTS. How far in the future is this supposed to be? Apparently they completely forgot everything that we have learned about good management. “No, it’s great to give people a scapegoat.” I hope it wasn’t just me in the audience that was nodding in agreement with Masaoka about why Yuji was the guy who did it. Everyone at the table was, too, except Ginoza. That guy seems completely useless so far.

    Other people have mentioned that they think the Sibyl system is broken. I’m wondering if it’s really that, or if it’s more that people are using it wrong. True, there’s little difference practically (well, except that one can be fixed easily). There’s the ‘likelihood to commit a crime’ metric, but they haven’t really gone into what the other metrics it uses or reports are. But seeing that most of the management we’ve seen so far is HORRIBLE (truly absolutely horrible), I’m leaning a lot more towards these managers are idiots, and THAT’s what needs to be fixed.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think it’s less about stupidity and more about them not giving a rat’s ass what happens to their lowly debuggers. Although it was pretty dumb of Ginoza to just completely ignore some rather solid evidence targeting Yuji as the main suspect. I automatically agreed with Masaoka and didn’t even expect anyone to disagree. :B

      There are ways the system could be used to improve lives, but most of what we seen is bad. I don’t think it’s entirely broken though…it’s the people using it who are going too far. :/ Especially that dumb manager, ugh. I’m also curious if it has any other uses that haven’t been revealed yet.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Ginoza’s belief in the Sibyl system is radical. He believes in it so much that he’s blinded by the fact it’s just another device created by humans and that anything made by human hands has flaws. Since it’s a machine, it doesn’t have the capacity to fully understand people which where exactly lies its flaw. Compared to that, common sense is essential to determine who is and who’s not a criminal making the Enforcers act as the better course of action.

    The working conditions of Hachioji Drone factory serve to do more harm than good for the employees. Hardly any time for rest and no contact with the outside world is the same as being in solitary confinement in prison. Very few people can handle that kind of isolation without cracking.

    Akane didn’t believe in the fact that a Psycho-Pass could get better after an incident but it’s quite possible because the subject has done something to relieve the stress. In this case, killing someone who was giving you nothing but grief in an already unbearable work setting. Having your personal information spread throughout the work station doesn’t help either.

    The mind is far more fragile than the body. A physical wound is final. You feel pain for a brief period of time then it’s over and no lingering effect. The same with death if one wants to apply it into effect with the idea. But with emotions, pretty much the mental state, it goes on and on and could cause a chain reaction like someone being bullied to the point that they don’t care anymore and lash out. There would be no end to it.

    I wonder how the Sibyl system would judge if a person had enough psychological trauma to bring on a split personality. So far it’s working because it analyzes people who have a singular consciousness but it never mentioned how it would deal with double.

    • Overcooled says:

      Radical beliefs are dangerous…It’s amazing how much he’s willing to ignore logic just because a little machine told him the suspect was sane. We don’t really know how accurate the system is either, but by default I assume all machines to make mistakes when it comes to things like human emotions.

      Why can’t they just…hire more people so they can go home? <_< It’s not a hard solution. If you’re understaffed, you hire more people or reduce the workload. I would never agree to work in that sort of situation.

      Hmm, multiple personalities? Good question! My guess is that even when using an alter that isn’t violent, the Sibyl system would still be able to tell that they had something wrong with them. Although their rating might fluctuate slightly depending on the active alter. All the personalities exist inside them at the same time afterall.

  3. lvlln says:

    There was a bunch of stuff this episode that I thought weren’t good for the world building. The explanation of the Dominators for one has me scratching my head. Cops shouldn’t only have weapons that are dependent on a wireless Internet connection. I don’t think the government here would have any qualms about giving its cops conventional firearms assuming that they’ve been banned from society.

    The horrible treatment of the workers tested the limits of believability. I understand that it’s a harsh world, but I’d assume that companies are still profit driven and understand the importance of morale for getting the most out of workers. The murderer himself acted rather unbelievably, destroying much of the factory in his bid to silence the cops. Umm, it’s okay for him to be flustered and upset, but let’s not have him doing something that would so blatantly give him away even if he had succeeded.

    • Highway says:

      They seemed to try to mitigate the ‘profit’ and ‘morale’ part of the management equation by saying that the factory was government owned, and thus solely focused on output. I found that especially hard to believe, given that all the government owned workplaces I know of are the workplaces LEAST concerned about output. But that might be a western thing. But it still doesn’t jibe in a place like Japan that has seemingly been on the forefront of worker health trends, because that keeps people working.

      And you’re right that his response to Shinya’s taunting was pretty over the top. This is a guy who was circumspect enough to secretly program drones upstream to kill specific targets later, and keep quiet about it. All of a sudden he breaks and goes wild about ripping through the factory? And how many cops did he think he could kill? He knew there were 6 of them.

    • Overcooled says:

      Now that you mention it, that is a pretty serious drawback. I guess wi-fi is pretty much ubiquitous so it’s rarely an issue, but in places with low signals the speed of the diagnosis might be slower. I don’t think they want to give Enforcers real firearms in case they shoot their handlers. Dominators ensure that only certain targets can be fired at. Although, you may be able to point at a hostile target then “miss” and hit someone innocent, who knows.

      I didn’t find it too unbelievable. The bullying wasn’t much more than shoolyard heckling and petty violence. The running off at just a taunt..okay, maybe. But at the moment I found it totally plausible. Crazy people don’t always act logically, especially when they’ve killed a bunch of people and the place is full of cops.

  4. Kencana says:

    I didn’t expect Kogami to came to help the bullies. I thought it will be Akane. So Akane rolls is just to be cute and moe. She’s practically useless in this ep. All she do is keeps asking questions every time. She’s just there so Masaoka can explain Sibyl System to us, the audience.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think she does just fine. Her questions are the only thing that allow them to continue along Masaoka’s line of logic to stop the suspect. She’s the only one who can give the Enforcers permission to do some good work because she’s the only one who believes in them. She’s cute…but far from useless.

    • Joobees says:

      I really disagree. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to your boss. Most people don’t do it. Even if she had a limited role *Physically* she still had a very important role in challenging the approach the other cop was going to use.

  5. Yuushin says:

    Man, that Ginoza! The guy has Sybil bag over his head and stick in his but! xD I bet he went down the “fool” path himself and somehow it was Masaoka’s fault and he hates him because of it. He probably had same choice he’s given Akane in the past through and that’s why he was disappointed/mad when she choose the Fool’s way…Sour-face Ginoza is fun to watch for some reason xD can’t wait to find out what happened between him and Masaoka. According to Kagari’s reaction, something happened xD

    Anyway, agree with ya on this one – At least in this episode’s case, putting trust in Enforcers to help out with the case and working with them as colleagues turned out to be good move, but their way of doing things is bit…messy for the society they live in >_> and may someday end up unintentionally doing more harm then good, possibly because of the way they are treated…..But in any case, I hope Akane won’t loose the leash on them because they seem trustworthy, it could come back and bite her in the ass real bad T___T She should still take her role as their supervisor seriously and act if she thinks they are going out of control. :/

    • Overcooled says:

      Ah, yes, maybe he used to trust Masaoka and then something bad happened to make him get trust issues. That makes sense. I’m sure they’ll tell us what went on back then, but until then I’m going with what you said. =w=

      She was shocked about Shinya’s methods, but never actually told him to tone it down. Maybe she’ll scold him next week? Anyways, the Enforcers are great and all, but she needs to be careful about keeping them in line.

  6. Kyokai says:

    I’d really like to know what put that SMILE on his face, the one Shinya shows after every successful hunt. He’s not a rabid dog but I’m really curious to know what made him the way he is. Also, some magnification to the wall of evidence he was staring at his house. Some flashbacks are welcome!

    Also, I didn’t hate all that manservice~ ^_~

    • Overcooled says:

      Killing people is fuuuuun! …No, I don’t know. He definitely has a specific reason for being the way he is if his talk with Akane and the pictures on the wall tell us anything. Sadly, they were too blurry for me to make out a person’s face or anything.

      The more hot guys, the better!

  7. skylion says:

    Fools learn from experience. The Wise learn from history.

    So, which one are you?

    • BlackBriar says:

      If I were there to rub it in Ginoza’s face, I’d say I’d rather be a fool because history was made by people that were considered fools.

      • skylion says:

        History is written by the winners. Well, it’s written by historians as far as I know. The version of history set as fact is chosen by the winners; a process of diminishing returns in the information age.

        So, with history subject to revision, I’d rather foolishly make my own. Experience is the best teacher.

    • Highway says:

      The counter argument could also be: If someone tells me, then I’ve been told it. If I do it, then I know it.

    • Overcooled says:

      Whoa, good question. I think I do an equal amount of both. I might be a bit more on the Fool’s side though.

  8. MikADo says:

    the gun is so amazing *drools* but are the mechanisms even physically possible?

    • Overcooled says:

      It’s really cool! I discussed this a bit in the episode 1 post and it’s not possible yet, but certain aspects are plausible. I dunno about the ability to switch from paralytic to disintegrating shots thing (not my area lol) but we can probably calculate a rough criminal coefficient for people using much slower methods.

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