Psycho-Pass – 05


I always predict that breaks for school mean that I’ll get blogging done at record speed, without realizing that I turn into a puddle of ooze during vacation. Ooze isn’t very productive. I do absolutely no work during this period of time until I realize that I should stay sharp for my inevitable return back to class. What better way to keep my good old neural circuits firing than a cerebral episode of Psycho-Pass, right?

Here you are, reading about an internet crime on the internet. Oh, the crushing irony behind it all! Despite all the chaos Mido causes because of his addiction to the personas he stalks on the internet, Akane still sees it as an interesting place where people can gather and form bustling communities all without physically leaving the comfort of their home. When asked by Masaoka if she thinks the internet supports the inherent social nature of humans, she agrees. She says people can work together and ultimately enhance their social nature with the ease of electronic communication. I’d personally say it depends more on the user than the internet itself since there are some qualities that make working together easier, and some that isolate people in their own rooms. This is probably why Akane hesitates to say that humans work together online, yet immediately answers the hunting problem.

Nothing like getting piss-drunk and spouting philosophy!

Before I go a bit further, let’s talk about the hunting analogy Masaoka uses. He’s using an example straight from Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s work to explain social co-operativity. I wasn’t actually familiar with this analogy until I asked my friend Bones (thanks!) about the unabridged version that doesn’t involve bottles of sake as representations for the hunters.

The hunter analogy is very similar to the tit-for-tat and prisoner’s dilemma situations, if you know those. Two hunters go into the woods to search for prey, and they decide to hide and wait for a stag so they can kill it and share the rewards afterwards. However, if a hare runs by, either of the hunters could betray the other one by getting the hare just for themselves and not sharing it. There’s pressure to do this because if your buddy goes and shoots the hare (and scares off the stag with the sound of their gunshot) then you are without any meat, and will wish you were the first one to kill the hare. The safest option is to kill the hare because you will get food no matter what your partner does, yet most humans choose to work together. In the long run it’s actually more adaptive to work together, but I really don’t want to bring biology and natural selection into this, so you’ll have to take my word for it without any further explanation..

I get the impression that Masaoka doesn’t think the internet supports social behaviour, based on his dislike for the internet and the moral dilemma he explains to Akane about the hunters. I think he dislikes the internet because people may be more likely to lie, cheat and go against the “nice guy” strategy of working together. Anonymity can do that sometimes. However, he never actually explains where we was going with the Rousseau metaphor, so I could just be reading too much into it. If Masaoka asked the same question to you, would you be so sure that the internet encourages people to team up and kill the stag? Or do we all become trigger-happy hare hunters once a monitor is in front of us? I’m not so sure myself what the answer is, but I can’t see it in strictly black or white terms so it may not be such a good idea to try and define something as multi-faceted as the internet in such a way.

Another interesting thing about the hunter dilemma Masaoka brings up is that this is the second time he talks about philosophy, meaning it’s one of his many interests. So now we know he’s an old-fashioned cop who prefers to spend his time painting or committing various philosophy texts to memory. This is totally different from how I first had him pegged. It seems a bit surprising that a grizzled cop who is essentially a big, bad crime spree waiting to happen is into such creative and erudite subjects.

Despite being labelled as “crazy” he still seeks to enrich his mind. I like that. The latent criminals aren’t living up to their namesake, and aren’t treating themselves like lost causes. A lot of criminals simply give up and just dedicate to a life of crime because it’s easier than trying to start clean and have people accept you as a normal person again. It’s easy to just fall into a pattern to prove your own stereotype. But people like Masaoka and even Kougami (who comforts Akane greatly, even if it is just pragmatic advice) go against the stereotype of a ruthless hunting dog every time we see them. Is this to lower our guard for a future breakdown, or to make us like them? Is the difference between Mido and the Enforcers just a matter of a higher Psycho-Pass score, or is there a more qualitative difference between them?

It seems that Mido didn’t want the avatars for crime or to exploit others, but only as a way of showing his devotion. He was a big fan of the 3 famous avatars and constantly hung out in their respective CommuFields to soak up their ideals as his own. Instead of being inspired and allowing his own ideas to ripen, he decided to just steal those of Melancholia, Talisman and Spooky Boogie. He’s accused of being “empty” since he mostly just adopts the views of his idols. It was interesting to see someone as depraved and homicidal as that wear the mask of sociable celebrities on the net so easily. He knows exactly what Spooky Boogie or Talisman should act like, yet he has no clue how he should act himself. It’s almost eerie to imagine that I could die, have someone replace me, and they would do a better job being me than I ever could. Just repeat the most salient features of a person (for me I guess that’d be sarcasm, fawning over blood and yaoi and lots of maniacal laughter) and the fans will selectively pick out those features. We see what we want to see, and ignore anything that doesn’t fit what we believe. Err, I’m still me by the way, not a fake…

It’s funny how Mido is just a crazy murderer until we see him alone, communicating with his precious friends. He actually just wanted to follow in the footsteps of his idols and spread their teachings around. I don’t even think he realized that what he was doing was wrong in the slightest. He’s got a grand theory that replacing these avatars with failing popularity is his way of promoting “Plato’s idea” which is the view that ideas are everlasting and perfect while material objects are temporary and imperfect. Essentially, ideas hold their own reality and substance, which is why Mido places no value on the lives he’s taken, assuming that the avatars live on as long as their ideas remain in tact. I’ve only read Plato’s Republic, so I’m most likely not familiar enough with Plato or the topic of collectivist philosophy to really see what Mido was getting at, but the underlying message seems to be that Mido treasures the morals of his idols above all else.

Even though Mido has bit the bullet, let’s not forget that the man with the red/yellow eyes is still there (what’s up with that, huh?) as well as Shougo. I have no leads about the former, but the latter one seems like he could be the reason Kougami was demoted to an Enforcer. He may have met Shougo during one of his cases (we see them meet in episode 1) and he did something horrible to make Kougami go a little haywire. Therefore, when the two meet up again, Kougami may have trouble if his old feelings of hatred start flaring up. Even if they don’t have a past together, Shougo is a pretty horrible person and will make the police suffer as much as possible. He helped Mido for no other reason than to see him suffer. His Psycho-Pass rating must be through the roof! Instead of having power levels over 9000, perhaps his Psycho-Pass rating will be? :3c

Bonus Avatars: Show ▼


This week’s episode is particularly wordy, and it drags a bit in areas where Kougami is just standing there and pointing to graphs like a grade 7 math teacher. The way he unravels the mystery and puts all the pieces of logic together in undeniably clever, but there’s only so long I can listen to a guy blab about such things in a dark room. I know he used to be an Inspector, but he solves everything so easily with only the slightest shreds of evidence that it’s almost too convenient. He needs a challenge! Aside from that, the rest of the dialogue between the cops (and that Mido has with his at-home avatars) are interesting little character-builders. It’s been hard for me to get a real good hold on any of the characters, so I appreciate every little bone thrown my way. For example, I would have never expected that Masaoka would have an on-going relationship with philosophy, and constantly quote it. Call me crazy, but he’s one of my favourite characters right now.

Amongst some of the less exciting deduction segments (graphs! too many graphs!) were some pretty exciting action scenes. I actually didn’t expect a bomb, so that was surprise number one. Mido hacking the hotel room in his direct confrontation was another incredible surprise. The animation from then onwards was incredibly trippy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great idea to have a situation where the characters couldn’t tell what was real or not when the guy they’re chasing wants to prolong the lives of virtual idols and end the lives of the real people behind them. He’s got it backwards, and that line-blurring is how he escapes from his pitiful life…and the cops. What an excellent chase, complete with fire-breathing and bodies going “ka-blooie.” It started off a bit slow, but the second half definitely made up for it. Case closed!

I’m freaking outttt mannnn…I need the next episode of Psycho-Pass to get my fix NOW!


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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9 Responses to “Psycho-Pass – 05”

  1. Highway says:

    I haven’t had any problems with the hypotheses that the Enforcers have come up with on any of these shows. To me they’re not even a stretch to come up with.

    Something that’s really helping me with this show, and I think it might be biting you a little bit, OC, is that I think it’s important to remember that the Enforcers are *latent* criminals, not *actual* criminals. It’s not even like a show like Dexter or Silence of the Lambs (neither of which I’ve seen, actually) where they’re using criminals to catch criminals. To me, I keep being reminded of Dirty Harry, or Lethal Weapon’s Martin Riggs. I don’t know if any of these guys have actually ever been criminals. But the Sibyl system has determined that they are the type of people who *could* commit crimes. And I don’t think that’s farfetched. If you watch any of those prison shows on TV, they have plenty of folks on them who are usually normal, but in some particular situation they snap, and beat the holy hell out of someone, or shoot a guy, or smack around a woman, or rob someone. Sure, some of the guys are completely loonies. But other guys are just people who have very poor impulse control, or lack the capability to determine right from wrong in ambiguous situations, or descend into the red mist and when they come out of it people are injured or dead.

    So in PP, instead of giving people like that a chance to get put in the wrong situation, they get them out of situations they can cause harm preemptively. This is definitely the benefit to the system. But it’s also difficult to stomach because people haven’t actually done anything, they’ve just become *able* to do something bad. But the Enforcers really aren’t ‘criminals’, and they’re not anything except people that the state has decided to limit the freedom of.

    The show is a cop drama, and this time, instead of the outside-the-lines cop going home and drinking themselves to death, they have to stay in the police building.

    • BlackBriar says:

      So in PP, instead of giving people like that a chance to get put in the wrong situation, they get them out of situations they can cause harm preemptively. This is definitely the benefit to the system. But it’s also difficult to stomach because people haven’t actually done anything, they’ve just become *able* to do something bad.

      This is why I’ve considered the Sibyl system to be a double edged sword of sorts. On the one hand, it serves its purpose by bringing order to society promising safety but on the other, it serves to do more harm than good by making judgements that are too fast and should take time to examinate like that rape victim that was taken hostage in the first episode, the guy in the drone factory and Shuusei Kagari getting red flagged at five years old. They were either put into situations that were beyond their control or too young to be held accountable. It’s like having someone being labeled a sex offender without concrete proof of guilt and it sticks to the person for life.

      • Highway says:

        Well, I doubt that these folks are never tested again. Especially the Enforcers. And like the file that Akane read in this episode said, treatment was forsaken for the single-minded purpose of continuing the investigation. So there’s some point where your PsychoPass evaluation just won’t go back.

        I wonder more what happens to the people who aren’t fit to be Enforcers? There are many more people found over acceptable levels than there are Enforcers, so what happens to those people? And the question of balancing liberty comes up. By putting Shinya, or Masaoka, or even Kagari in a program like they’re in, they have a life. They have some amount of freedom. But in our system, they have more freedom… until they commit a crime. Then they have significantly less freedom, in jail, on parole, with a conviction record, etc. It raises the question about which is better, which also partly hinges on the information we don’t know about the Sibyl system. Are people like Kagari *destined* to be criminals? Is there anything they can do about it, or will it assuredly happen sometime? And if it is assured of happening if they have more freedom, is it not only in society’s best interests but also their own best interests to provide some limits for them so they don’t make that big mistake and lose all of their freedom or even their life?

        These are the kinds of things the show makes me think about, and I like that it’s presenting them neutrally. It doesn’t present the Enforcers as angels, wrongly held against their will. It doesn’t present them as worthless losers, slaves to the Inspectors. And Ginoza’s complaining excepted, it doesn’t present them as just dogs, subhumans not fit to live. It presents them as people, and allows us to think about it.

        And importantly, for me, it allows us to talk about them without having to defend either side as ‘bad guys’. By framing them as just people, the judgments we make about them aren’t as colored.

        • Overcooled says:

          Good question. The Enforcer program is an excellent alternative that restricts them, but still gives them a life. Where do they draw the line between who to put in it and who to give up on? I guess the people who are too far gone are either given rehab/therapy (such as the rape victim in episode 1) or treated as actual criminals and handled as such. Do they have prison? We haven’t actually seen what they do with criminals aside from exploding them into a million pieces. No one has been properly arrested.

          I’m not sure how accurate the system is, but I don’t think it should be able to tell 100% if someone will commit a crime. Otherwise, it would be able to tell from birth. There are so many factors that could change how someone can act, that at best it could provide a rough probability. But then again…this is the future so who knows. Maybe over time we’ll see the latent criminal coefficients go down, as they did for the girl in episode 1.

          I like that the system isn’t shown as being overtly good or bad either, but it’s left to us to decide. There’s a fairly equal mix of things from both sides. Psycho-Pass really is one of those shows that wants you to sit down and think about after you’re done watching. :3

    • Overcooled says:

      I probably think of latent criminals more as actual criminals without even thinking about it. I’m just really glad they aren’t being depicted as total nutjobs to show their instability, because this way is a lot more believable and more like how at-risk people and actual criminals might actually behave. Although they’re not actually criminals, they have a criminal mindset since the whole “latent criminal” categorization depends largely on their mental state.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Wow, fast as usual, OC. I downloaded this episode from Cyber12 just yesterday.

    I’m freaking outttt mannnn…I need the next episode of Psycho-Pass to get my fix NOW!

    Hahaha! Looks like you’ve found a suitable replacement for Phi Brain if you’re this anxious. I feel the same way but we newly turned fans have to pace ourselves or we’ll explode. If Psycho-Passes really existed, we’d be in trouble because of anxiety and stress.

    These current episodes were aptly named. Last episode was titled “Nobody Knows Your Mask” and this one is titled “Nobody Knows Your Face”. That fact alone was enough to signify something. Things keep getting interesting. What’s most intriguing is that police force specializing in stopping criminals are on the razor’s edge of crossing that thin gray line themselves. “Don’t try to understand the mind of criminals. You’ll be taken in”? Okay, no pressure. How else are we going to stop them? That method, however, would still be efficient to track them down. The question is: can they draw the line?

    Mido, to me, acted like that guy from Persona 4 who was pretty much a social outcast claiming he killed of those people just for the sake of having some special attention.

    But Kogami’s word of advice and confrontations with Ginoza now make sense thanks to that little revelation. He nearly crossed the line. A sign of officers who are idealists to a T and do whatever it takes to get things done, as seen in shows like Law and Order, which blurs the lines and can become dangerous. Because of this, I think Ginoza is hiding behind a mask. While he acts all superior and snobby, he’s probably still trying to accept the reality that things can never go back to the way they were and he’s using himself as an example to Akane telling her not to get involved emotionally.

    • Overcooled says:

      The power of reading week! Without homework I can get my posts done faster! BWAHAHAHA!!!

      I didn’t even notice the episode names. I ought to pay attention to that from now on. I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration to say they’ll go crazy trying to understand things from the perspective of a criminal, especially since..uh..that’s part of what I study and I’m fine. However, I don’t think they’ll ever be quiiite as good as Kougami since he actually thinks like that normally and the rest of the police force has to step inside someone else’s shoes first.

      Oh yeah, Mido reminds me a bit of…oh dear, I forget his name. Well, I’ll be picking up P4:Golden soon so I can remind myself 😀

      Yeah, I saw Ginoza’s suggestion to Akane not to get too attached more as a “Don’t become like me” as opposed to how snotty and rude he sounded when he initially dispensed that advice.

  3. Hazou says:

    Am I the only person whom enjoyed watching Ginoza fix his hair? I have been wandering why his hair was so good looking and now we know. He takes care of it.

    • Overcooled says:

      I…didn’t even notice. Unfortunately. He’s definitely the kind of character I fall for in terms of looks though ;3

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