Psycho-Pass – 04

The Nya-ightmare Before Christmas

Halloween is over, so now it’s time to step out of my costume and get back to reality (which involves significantly more midterm tests and quizzes). Wouldn’t Halloween be a lot cheaper if we could just press a button and use Holo-Cosplay like in Psycho-Pass? If you squint, rub your tummy and stand on your head, then this is KIND OF a Halloween episode. Maybe I’m just desperate for the candy-grabbing festivities to be extended.

There’s actually not a lot of Dominator usage this week, as this is pushed aside to show another facet of this high-tech society: the internet. While reality is micro-managed to the point where your every move is tracked and recorded, CommuFields on the internet seem to be a nice retreat from constant surveillance. Ginoza’s simple statement that escape is futile says everything. While the effects of having Big Brother watch you may be with the best of intentions, and may produce some positive results, it’s not exactly a situation that makes people feel at ease. This is not just a system that can track your location, but it can also track your mental state. The combination of these two things – to me – sounds frightening. It’s no wonder that people flock to the internet and risk meeting up with strangers in a club because it gives them the rare feeling of anonymity.

The great thing about cruising the net as an avatar or meeting up in costume is that you don’t feel like you’re being judged. Your actions cannot be traced back specifically to you, which can be very liberating. The amount of anonymity gained from using the internet is surprising. The police force has little reign over tracking down figures on the internet, yet they can look up almost anything else about a person if they know who they are. I guess the system needs an Achilles’ heel somehow. As a result, the murder can’t just be solved by pointing and shooting this time, especially since they have no idea who they’re looking for.

However, we (the lovely viewers!) get to see a bit about what the criminals behind this are actually up to. For one thing, Shinya was jaw-droppingly accurate in his hunch about flushing an entire body down the toilet (after some, erm, “re-sizing” shall we say?). People behind famous avatars are being killed off, leaving the puppet to be picked up by a new puppeteer. Mido is the one who wears the Talisman avatar at the club, and the one who strangles Spooky Boogie in her own home. How they managed to track her down when the police force can’t trace the user behind Talisman is a mystery. Anyways, according to the white-haired villain Shougo, Mido seems to be the one who plays the role of the new avatars he acquires. To be honest,  I’m a bit confused why Talisman is voiced by someone different from Mido (sounds like Koyasu Takehito). I’m not sure what Shougo’s role in all of this is, but he seems to be the main villain and rival to Shinya. You know he’s a rebel because he’s explicitly shown reading 1984 in an anime about dystopian societies. You don’t get much more direct than that. Seeing as this is a slightly longer story arc than what we’ve been treated to usually, it’s probably a good idea to get acquainted with our villains at least a little bit. Are they stealing avatars for money? Fame? To screw with the police and taunt them? This isn’t really the kind of show I like theorizing about, so I won’t spin some crazy vision about what I think will happen next.

Getting internet popularity is serious business

In fact, let’s step away from the crime for a bit and look at Masaoka, because he has a really cool scene this week. That is, if you think a guy with a robotic limb painting a still life painting of flowers is cool. I do. It’s kind of nice that they don’t show these characters with high psycho-pass readings as complete psychos who spend all their time cackling and threatening to kill things. They’re all super nice, although not without their own flaws. They just play PSP and paint in their spare time. We have yet to see any horrible outbreaks to really prove why they’re marked with such a high criminal coefficient. Although Masaoka tells Tsunemori that Shinya is beyond redemption (using a Nietzsche quote, to boot), he hasn’t done anything too bad so far that we’ve explicitly seen him do.

His wariness about how deep handler-enforcer relationships go seems to be because of something bad that happened in the past. Perhaps he used to work very closely with Ginoza, and then one day something went awry and the two of them never got over it. Ginoza grew to never trust Enforcers and Masaoka refused to get personally close to any of his handlers. He’s giving Tsunemori advice about Shinya because he doesn’t want the same thing to happen to her. In the end, I doubt she’ll pay much heed to Masaoka’s advice…although I think she will find out about Shinya’s true nature soon enough, as Talisman suggested she do.

Bonus Private Chatroom: Show ▼

I really enjoyed this week’s episode. I would have been fine with one-shots, but getting a multi-episode (even if it’s just 2) arc is just as exciting. The introduction of the internet brought a whole new dimension to the show, with the cute avatars and switching between CommuFields and the real world. It was yet another really cool gadget of the future that got me excited out of how absolutely badass it was. I want to become a moeblob avatar and go into chatrooms for tea and sweets! I found it kind of amusing that Tsunemori was the only one who was a regular enough internet user to help with the crime investigation. Maybe Enforcers aren’t allowed on there, and the other guys are too uptight to be chatting up young people in chatrooms. I now have hope that spending so much time on the computer may one day be useful for solving a crime!

As the episodes roll on, I’m starting to get more attached to all the characters too. I actually really liked Spooky Boogie (although maybe it was just her name and how they say it in Japanese) before she was so unceremoniously strangled to death. Of course, the more permanent cast members are growing on me too. I originally was a bit iffy about Masaoka, but he seems to have a good reason for keeping everyone at arm’s length. It’s interesting how Ginoza doesn’t question Shinya at the crime scene, but last week he blew up at Masaoka for making the same kind of deduction. The last one even had more data to back it up. There’s a lot brewing beneath the surface as the team solves crime after crime, and I feel like we’ve only gotten a small taste of what each character is like. The world-building is excellent, but I’m still a little hungry for bones thrown my way about what these people are like.

Will they make cents of this mystery next week? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT!


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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20 Responses to “Psycho-Pass – 04”

  1. Highway says:

    One of these episodes, I’ll get over the trepidation I feel at the start of it. I always think it’s going to be a type of show I dislike, and at the end it’s always “oooh, that was a good episode.”

    I really liked the scene with Masaoka because it helped remind me that these guys are, really, just people. They’re not even “prisoners” like we usually think of them, they’re basically just people who, because they *might* do something bad, they’re confined to a very limited world. It’s hard to imagine that kind of distinction in the world we have, where everyone is either “in prison” or “not in prison” (maybe it’s something like ‘house arrest’, but even that doesn’t feel like a really good analogy). They’re people who are living in an apartment, that have a job. Like we heard before, they can go all over the building, they just can’t leave it on their own, but for all we know that might be quite a bit of freedom (relatively).

    I continue to be struck by the pretty poor ‘police’ skills of the police. And the complete lack of forethought that seems to plague everyone in this world (except, apparently, the criminals). There’s gotta be some overarching reason these guys are doing this, because they were likely targeting Spooky Boogie for more than a week, just like they were targeting Talisman for longer than that. And if they have the same guy being Talisman and Spooky Boogie, how’s that going to work? Seems kind of odd.

    • Overcooled says:

      After enough episodes, you should be conditioned out of it as long as you keep enjoying it :3

      I’m glad the latent criminals are depicted as normal people who only appear off when put under pressure. Although they’re often treated as criminals, they aren’t actually evil people (at least, so it seems).

      The position of being a latent criminal really is unique to their world since our system is a lot more binary, as you said. Probably because we don’t have the ability to efficiently screen for latent criminals. It’s a lot better than being stuck in jail since they have freedom within a rather nice building, and get to go outside every now and then with their handlers. It’s still restricted, but I’d take that over prison any day. The weird thing about it is that they’re treated like full-on criminals despite their increase in privileges. I can’t think of an appropriate real life analogue for the position of latent criminals either.

      Haha, yeaaahh the police haven’t been very good at doing much other than shoot things wildly. I like how the guys waiting outside literally GAVE UP when they saw a flood of people running from the club too. They didn’t even have a back-up plan despite the fact that this was their one big chance to catch their guy.

      So far they haven’t done anything sketchy with the avatars, but there must be a reason for using popular avatars. They should be able to persuade a lot of people since those celebrity avatars are admired so much…I still don’t know how they can manage two at once unless the guy just logs out and switches between the two (which would be suspicious if they ever needed both avatars to meet at the same time). Maybe someone else will be Spooky Boogie for him.

      • Highway says:

        I might be stepping in it with this, but an analogue to the latent criminals we have, at least in treatment by the public, is the sex offender lists that are so prevalent in the US (I don’t know about elswhere). There are thousands of people on them whose ‘crimes’ are silly things (public urination, statutory rape (like a 17 year old boy having sex with his 17 year old girlfriend in the wrong jurisdiction), and even false accusations. And once you’re on the list, your life is awful. So many restrictions on where you can live, where you can go. It’s not quite stuck in a building, but sometimes it is stuck under a bridge (for a while, the only place in Miami-Dade County that was compliant with their overly strict standoff rules was under the Julia Tuttle Causeway). And just by being on the list, you are lumped in with the worst people on the list, so everyone, no matter what they did, or what their likelihood of recidivism, is treated like the worst people on the list, because it’s not in the interest of the list (or the government) to actually differentiate between people’s crimes. So people regularly get run out of neighborhoods by ignorant neighbors, or live in situations where they can never visit their children. It’s a complete travesty.

        • Overcooled says:

          I know so little about law and punishments, but this sounds like the closest comparison we have. If you attack someone with a pencil or a knife, I think it’s still written down as assault on your record. So although they’re not severe enough to go to prison sometimes, you still get stuck with social stigma as if you did something absolutely despicable. They’re still quite confined, just with a slightly different set of rules as the latent criminals in Psycho-Pass. The punishment should ideally suit the crime D:

          …The only place people with a criminal record were allowed to go to was under a bridge? Wow, not everyone deserves having to live like they’re re-inacting Arakawa Under the Bridge (minus the hot blonde chick) <_<

  2. BlackBriar says:

    I was trying something new this time: Wait for the review to watch the episode so my thoughts would be fresh. It’s been sitting on laptop ever since I downloaded it. Probably won’t be doing that again since I was anxious to see it. Had Psycho-Pass premiered a week earlier than its scheduled date, this episode would have been here just in time for Halloween.

    We’re getting SAO references with that machine similar to the NerveGear that Akane was using. Her CommuField avatar was a cute chibi version of herself but I got dumbfounded with Ginoza’s. I assumed if he had an avatar, it would be something to symbolize his high horse personality in a way, but a simple coin? That’s worthy of a face palm.

    Points to Kogami’s detective skills. His characters gets more interesting every episode and it raises the question as to how someone of his caliber and intelligence could have been labeled a latent criminal. Even Masaoka’s words saying he’s crossed the point of no return makes one want to get more information. I’m sure if it was a different case, he could have been Akane’s superior instead of Ginoza.

    What sticks to the mind is Kogami and Masaoka’s concern with the idea of anonymity in the real world, of not knowing who the person standing next to you is. It’s a topic worth conversating over like people using Facebook. You add a person you see online but you don’t really know them which makes it dangerous because they could try anything.

    The more I see the city in the anime, the more I’m persuaded to believe it favors the night life above all else. If it wasn’t for that seemingly double edged sword of a system, it would look like a perfect place to hang out. Personally, I thought what Kogami and Masaoka did in the night club was dangerously stupid. It’s already bad enough with stress that a person’s every move is being tracked but charging into a crowd of people without warning with Dominators in hand isn’t exactly going to bring the stress levels down. Rather, it’s adding fuel to the fire, making it easier for the real suspect to escape.

    • Highway says:

      I was actually surprised that given how “Just shoot em and let the Dominators sort everyone out” prone they’ve been so far that there isn’t some police way of 1) detaining everyone there or 2) just zapping everyone. I mean, talk about woefully unprepared. Once again, this future world has forgotten tons of stuff that we know now.

      I thought Ginoza’s avatar was about perfect for him and also stupid. An American coin? sheesh.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Yeah, it’s like the wild west method is the dominant thing among the Enforcers and detective work comes second. “Shoot first, ask questions later”. Next time, they should seal the whole place off.

        Now that I think about it, Ginoza’s avatar is perfect. He needs to be taken down a notch.

    • Overcooled says:

      Haha, such dedication! I’m not always on time since every show I blog airs during my study days so just watch it whenever you want. Indulge!

      Well, most VR technology usually involves a head-visor of some sort, and SAO is just another show that uses it. Akane’s avatar was cute (Except for her hands…) and Ginoza’s was pretty funny. Forget cute and fun things, let’s choose something useful like money!

      Even smart people can become criminals. Those are just the most dangerous kind. I must say he has been impressing me a lot too. He made a lot of leaps in logic to get to the answer, but I guess they were more like “small hops” to him since he’s so well-versed in criminal psychology.

      If they could have scanned the entire floor instead of just one target at once, that would have been…nice. Could they have sniped at people from behind the pillars instead of running out? The Dominators are great, but they seem to have some range limitations. Although as Highway says, just having a lockdown would be a good way to keep them all stuck in there u_u

  3. MikADo says:

    all the technology is making me forced to watch this anime!
    why am i attracted to future tech stuff? is it because im an engineering student? but i dont even study that much engineering! damn it that gun is seriously attractive 😛

    • D-LaN says:

      All of us dude. Though on Sibyl system: PASS.

    • Overcooled says:

      You’re an engineering student who doesn’t study much engineering? What do you do then? Study more and make me a Dominator in the future, kay?

      • MikADo says:

        i watch animes of course! maybe i should change my major to mechanical engineering lol and make my own dominator

  4. AdeekYool says:

    I totally agree with you where you said something must’ve happened between Ginoza and Masaoka. I have a hunch that something bad might’ve happened between them in the past, and yes, like you’ve just said, it’s something that until now they couldn’t get over. So, I’m really looking forward to the next coming episodes, hoping the story would unravel itself soon just to feed my hunger of curiosity!!!

    • Overcooled says:

      Well, Akane asks about those two in episode 3 so we know SOMETHING is up…just not what. All we know is that it was pretty big.

      I’m excited for more too! :3 By the way, this is your first comment here, so welcome! You have successfully de-lurked.

      • AdeekYool says:

        Lol. I never knew how to use wordpress. So, never bothered to comment on anything. But this week I’m pretty much in a Psycho-Pass frenzie mood, so when I came across your rather interestingly elaborate review for Psycho-Pass’s episode 4, I couldn’t help but reply! I really like your style, so keep updating, yea (^_~)

        • Overcooled says:

          Yeah, there’s a bit of a barrier to get over before you can just write comments freely…but awww, thank you, I’m glad you liked my post and are enjoying Psycho-Pass! :>

  5. Yuushin says:

    I laughed my ass off at Ginoza’s avatar xDDDD A coin?!! SO perfect TuT….

    Another nice episode, plot is slowly unraveling and Shogo finally makes a move. I love how with each episode so far we got to know new side of this world while developing characters and plot at the same time. 😀

    • Overcooled says:

      This is the first we’ve seen of Shougo since that confusing clip in the beginning of episode 1. Nice to see him finally appear in the main story! So far, the pacing of this show has been really excellent.

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