Psycho-Pass – 17

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Kougami should get injured more often if it means he’s going to be topless.

Being off for reading week doesn’t mean I post faster, it just means I get more distracted doing other things like picking up Pokemon Black again or trying to finish Mugen Souls. Fortunately, today was a day for staying in my pajamas all day and watching Psycho-Pass. My mom actually likes this show too, and this episode particularly blew her mind. I don’t think she knew what was happening, but it still blew her mind!

Almost all of the mysteries from last week are explained in a particularly infodump-like episode this week. Although it may seem like a quick turnaround from “what is Sibyl?” to “THIS IS SIBYL!”, I’m the impatient type and prefer having my questions answered immediately. So, what did you guys think about Sibyl being a swimming pool of brains hooked up to computers? It’s a pretty standard outcome for sci-fi books or shows, but not something I can recall seeing a lot of (or any of) in anime. The typical route in anime would be for Sibyl to be some old dude or a little girl controlling the system. Whether you say Psycho-Pass follows your expectations or betrays them, I’m pretty content with the big reveal.

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The whole reason Sibyl was adopted was to give an objective measure to nebulous qualities such as mental health and sanity. We currently just do really refined guesswork to tell these kinds of things – and pre-emptive treatment isn’t that popular since it could be wrong. Humans weren’t trusted with making a latent criminal scale because it would inevitably be biased. It was only accepted because it was advertised as being a completely computerized system without human error to bog it down. It could not be criticized because it ran on a set formula, so people trusted it. You can question someone’s taste in music, but there’s not much you can contest about 2 plus 2 being 4. What makes the fact that Sibyl is actually a bunch of human opinions averaged out to create the best system totally ruins that trust. It may still be a computer system, but a huge amount of processing is being accomplished through human thought – which is a very subjective thing, no matter how much of an outsider you are.

This shocking revelation was meant to be a huge moment for the series, but it ultimately wasn’t even half as shocking as the Chief being Touma for me. Perhaps it’s because there was such a huge volume of talking this episode without any interesting actions to speak of that made the reveal less dramatic. It was almost a “okay, whatever” moment for me, as if the show was just confirming what I already accepted somewhere in my subconscious as fact. Weird that an episode revealing the almighty truth wasn’t nearly as riveting as the prior episode where they captured Makishima.

Psycho-Pass 005

“You want me to give up this smoking hot body? And you think I’ll say yes?”

It was the Chief who surprised me more than the brain thing, even though the two are connected. I had all but given up on Touma and yet here he is, alive and…sort of kicking. He can use a robot body of some old lady. It was surprising that the Chief was really just a robotic vessel for whichever Sibyl personality has the extra time to hang around the real world. She was able to override the Dominator because she WAS Sibyl. Things get even weirder when she reveals that she’s currently Touma – the runaway asymptomatic criminal from the case that killed Kougami’s partner. He (gender pronouns are getting a little confusing here) is so certain that Makishima will agree to become a floating brain despite the fact he’s spent his entire life fighting against Sibyl. He went to Nona Tower so he could specifically shut it down!

Although the splendour of near-infinite knowledge sounds like something Makishima might like, let’s not forget how old-fashioned he is. He likes the feel of paperbacks and treasures every day, normal life. Do you think someone who shuns e-books is really going to readily accept hooking their brain up to a supercomputer? It goes against everything he stands for, so his refusal was not a surprise. What worried me was that he would be inevitably forced into the system, and the rest of his screentime would be as a wrinkly blob. That would be an ironic end for him to be part of the system he sought out to destroy, but it somehow doesn’t feel right. There are grander things planned for Makishima now that he has escaped with the truth. The next time he meets with Kougami, they may end up talking on slightly more friendly terms.

Not only is Makishima an important playing piece because of his knowledge of the truth and his rare ability to dodge Sibyl’s eye of judgement, but he’s…he’s too cool to die! I love Makishima because he’s so brutal that killing doesn’t even make him flinch. This week was in danger of become a bit of a talkfest until Makishima started snapping legs with the most sickening crunches. He was just killing a robot – but the way he repeatedly had to bash her face in with a computer monitor made it seem like yet another vicious act. Urobuchi Gen never shies away from whatever chance he can get to make Makishima seem like a deeply disturbed individual. It’s like a reminder that although Makishima has the power to help change the world with what he now knows, he’d still slaughter an orphanage of children and puppies if it tickled his fancy.

Psycho-Pass 007Psycho-Pass 008

One way or another, Kougami and Akane are going to find out the truth. Maybe Makishima will spill the beans completely, drop a few hints, or the two of them will actually just figure it out on their own. As things stand, the police is being sent on a wild goose chase for Kagari when they fully know he would never just run away. Everyone is on edge not just because they feel like Kagari’s disappearance has been covered up, but because not being allowed to interrogate someone you captured yourself makes no sense. Even Gino who is desperate to trust in the system is having trouble following his orders without questioning them. He still obeys and does what the Chief says, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts breaking his rule-abiding streak at some point for this special occasion.

As always, I’m excited to see just where this goes next week. The police have been given so much ammo for suspicion that they HAVE to do something about it. It’s not just about Makishima any more, but the truth of how their entire society runs. Fortunately, I’m SUPER LATE so I only have to wait a short while for the next episode.

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A physical representation of how Psycho-Pass ever so subtly uses literary references


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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41 Responses to “Psycho-Pass – 17”

  1. Highway says:

    This was totally ‘meh’ for me. Like I said last week, not a fan of the twist that “It’s people! Sibyl is PEOPLE!“. And as soon as the idea that it’s brains or whatever, then it’s completely logical to follow that it’s the brains of the people who are so far outside of the system that they can’t be actually measured by the system. Like I said last week, this is very far from where I wish the series would have gone, because it makes it far too facile for Makishima to look like the good guy for rebelling against this system. Like he says, if it’s a system like it was sold to be: computerized, impartial, unbiased, then it’s a lot more acceptable to everyone. That the processing method is different is one thing and less important than that it’s basically people who nominate themselves and others to run society. Even without the squick factor of disembodied brains (and seriously, moving them around? What kind of dumb made-for-tv crap is that?) the scheme feels like a cop out for the show to shift from something that is actually much more morally ambiguous to something that is definitely a moral wrong.

    Accepting the system as it is presented, tho, the thing I don’t quite go along with is this: What if someone is incorporated into the system and decides they’re going to fuck everyone up? How much corruption would the system tolerate? Does it have the authority to dump out a vested member? But that’s really an aside discussion that we won’t get an answer to.

    As I’ve seen noted elsewhere, the show has really transformed the main character into Makishima. He’s still a villain, but because the show has vilified the Sibyl system as monstrous, he’s become more of an anti-hero. Perhaps Akane will come more into the forefront, because I think her moral dilemma is still interesting, but it’s possible that she was just a false flag to get us to this point, and from here out it’s all Kougami and Makishima.

    • Overcooled says:

      I think the fact I haven’t consumed very many sci-fi shows or books makes the “IT’S PEOPLE” reveal more novel for me. I admit that I liked Sibyl as being this morally ambiguous structure because it made the idea of taking it down sound simultaneously like a good idea and a horrible idea. Now things are so straight-cut that it’s not hard to imagine what will follow.

      I guess since all the minds are combined, it averages things out. It might even toss out extremes somehow. It would be kind of neat if they terminated any rebels and just replaced them with someone else.

      Makishima as the main character? I can see him as an anti-hero, but I don’t see him as moving to the forefront any more than Kougami and Akane. They still have to learn the truth, after all.

  2. Liza says:

    This episode. Gah, it was intense. Plot twists thrown left and right. What the sibyl system was, wasn’t very surprising since this is a sci-fi work but it was for an anime. I’m really happy it wasn’t a little girl in a tank. -_-

    As for Makishima, go him. I was cheering him on so much as he “killed” the Chief. Revenge for Kagari!

    There are so many ways this show can go from here. I think though that Makishima and Kougami will team up to take down the system…somehow.

    • BlackBriar says:

      There are so many ways this show can go from here. I think though that Makishima and Kougami will team up to take down the system…somehow.

      Going for the old “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” route? I don’t see that happening if they keep trying to kill each other.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t see Kougami and Makishima teaming up to do anything. Like it or not, Kougami is a cop through-and-through and Makishima is a criminal, a murderer, and a psychopath. Even as the system deemed Kougami unfit for being in the general public, he has never changed his mindset, never changed what he thought was right. He did have a period of personal crisis where he was willing to abdicate his personal authority to Sibyl, as we saw in the beginning of the series, only to have Akane shock it back into him, literally, something that he seemed to be sincerely grateful for.

      Just like Kagari wouldn’t join Choe (even though he didn’t mind the idea of Choe taking down Sibyl), Kougami will not join Makishima, because Makishima is by far a larger evil than Sibyl from the way that Kougami views the world.

    • Bonk says:

      >>I’m really happy it wasn’t a little girl in a tank. -_-

      Well, there’s still may be little girl in the tank there somewhere, you never know.

      And no, they won’t team up. Makishima, for all his love of freedom and humanity, is a Nietzschean psychopath who considers himself above the people. Situation-wise, he’s kinda like, I don’t know, Simon Phoenix from Demolition Man.

    • Overcooled says:

      I can still see them teaming up…it’s not impossible, and it’d be really interesting to see them at each other’s throats. However, I think it’s more likely Makishima would just drop them a few hints to them though while he does his own thing. Or maybe that one hint is the only one Kougami will ever get.

    • Namika says:

      Me too, me too! That bitch…. or whatever got what was coming to them. Even though the Touma one wasn’t the one who killed Kagari, still. REVENGE

      I also think that the paths of those two will overlap somehow. I don’t think they will actually team up, but something will happen

  3. Jrow says:

    I interrupt your regularly threaded commenting to bring all commenters this message:

    We know when Metanorn’s spam filter catches your legit comments since many of us on the team check through it regularly. There’s little need to comment that “spammy” got your comment, and I’ve been recently deleting those throwaway comments. In time, we will recover your comment.

    *and now back to talking about literally throwing the book at people*

    • BlackBriar says:

      Thanks for the head’s up, Jrow. Maybe this will give Spammy less recognition. 🙂

    • Highway says:

      Man, now I’ll fall even farther behind BlackBriar. 😉

      Thanks, Jrow. 🙂

      • BlackBriar says:

        Man, now I’ll fall even farther behind BlackBriar.

        Aha! Somebody’s underhanded intentions have come to light. 🙂

        • Highway says:

          That and I gotta be nice to Jrow for letting me fill in for him on last week’s Anivision Podcast.

          Plus, it’s not like I’m anything close to matching your commenting rate. You were 1200 ahead of me when I hit 1200. You’re now 1270 ahead of me at 1500. Red-shifting indeed.

          • BlackBriar says:

            Not that I’m trying to pour salt in the wound or anything but the gap I remembered before you mentioning it was 1125 comments. You guys have had me happily rambling on. I appreciate the conversations anyway.

          • Overcooled says:

            Now I know what your voice sounds like!

            • Highway says:

              I think I sound like the bass version of kermit the frog. I need to figure out why it wasn’t brighter.

  4. Highway says:

    On the continuing idea of “taking down the Sibyl system”, I can’t think that anyone still alive in the show, bar Makishima, would go along with that plan. Why would any of the Inspectors or Enforcers think that would be a good idea? We’ve just seen a taste of what would happen if the Sibyl system were removed, and like it or not, all of those folks still alive are believers in an orderly society. Why would they participate in something that would cause mass chaos and likely wholesale death?

    Support for reforming the system? I could see that. Getting people to accept the reality of the system? Harder, but I could see that. But the only character in the cast who thinks it’s an unmitigated good to get rid of the Sibyl system is Makishima, and he really doesn’t care about how many eggs get broken, or how many lives are lost for people to return to his (in my opinion incoherent and frankly barbaric) ‘ideal’ of what humans should be. One shouldn’t mistake what Makishima wants with what he says. If he wanted what he said: “Normal People able to do Normal Things in a Normal Way”, then he could have that now. His methods and intermediate results clearly show that he wants freedoms to terrorize other people and allow things that even now we would think are heinous crimes.

    • Overcooled says:

      That’s true. Simply removing the system could cause chaos before anything could be fixed. The Chief already said that people rely on it heavily, and we’ve seen how people reacted to the helmets. I’d say that Makishima actually means everything that comes out of his mouth, but his vision of normal life is so distorted that his words don’t even make sense to rational people sometimes. To him – wrecking the system without any explanation and causing chaos would fix everything to just how he wants it.

      A system reform could work though. I wonder if that’s what the finale will push for – a downgraded, but computer-only Hue Check system that used as a guide instead of an end-all be-all for diagnosis. I can even see that as being a HUGE help for doctors, psychiatrists etc.

    • Namika says:

      He already has that freedom for himself, so that’s not exactly what he wants. He said he loves life. And as you can see, he loves live in it’s almost every shade, he loves everything about it, because he’s passionate about literature and, well…. he kills people with a happy smile,lets say. He wants that freedom for everyone, to observe people and their behavior not restricted by the Sibyl system. To experience life in all of it’s forms. Or to find more people like him, I don’t know. Maybe he’s lonely 😀

      Don’t forget about Yayoi’s friend and her group! I think, that’s when they might pop out again.

  5. 5oClockTea says:

    I loved this reveal. Sibyl being brains of criminal asymptotics was totally expected. Sibyl being brains of criminal asymptotics who are very much self aware and retain their personalities, failings, and human greed + pride was a surprise to me.

    So other than higher computation power, greater co-operation, greater population control, less accountability, oh and floating brains, how is Sibyl different than many real life governments of past and present?

    It would be ironic though, for our heroes to overthrow this system, only to have the bubble circling Japan burst, and open the whole populace to a post apocalyptic world. After all, Korea is gone. Who knew how many other countries are left as organized and stable civilizations?

    • Overcooled says:

      It was great to finally learn the truth. It’s amazing how their personalities and memories are in tact despite the fact that they exist as a unified system.

      I must say that floating brains is a pretty big distinction to make from normal politics…

    • Namika says:

      The difference is that with Sibyl, the collar around everyone’s neck is tighter. In all the other ways, it’s not much different.

      Yes,that’s quite a situation our main heroes are in. I think now, they’re pretty much in Makishima’s hands,because he’s the only one who knows about the Sibyl.

  6. BlackBriar says:

    Does 23 minutes actually pass everytime I watch this show? The epicness of the story makes it feel so short and by the end, it’s unthinkable that I have to wait another week.

    What Psycho-Pass does best is hide dirty little secrets. While I’m not totally surprised that the Sibyl System is governed by human brains instead of full on machines (That whole image reminded me of Sword Art Online’s brain experiments), it now shows itself as a symbol of contradiction and hypocrisy. The system which ideally is to protect society from psychopaths is actually driven by the same monsters it is designed to destroy. If the system’s processing power expands with the help of criminally asymptomatic subjects, what’s to keep someone like Akane from joining the list?

    Damn Makishima and his muderous charisma. The guy’s a monster but at every turn, I find myself rooting for him and he always manages to fit some litterature quotes in his dialogues. Like I said a few weeks back, he presents himself as someone who rejects anything that keeps from feeling human and is projected as a symbol of chaos and individuality. He gets points for dealing with Touma after what happened to Kagari and trying to wrap the problem arond Ginoza’s neck but Touma was just one of 200 brains that are still in operation.

    Side note: I want to know what was the significance of zooming in on random Enforcer girl at the start while everyone was wondering about Kagari’s whereabouts.

    • 5oClockTea says:

      She has a mole, Touma had a mole in his old body…

      Maybe it is the normal cyborg body that Touma brain usually stays in. Chief is usually someone else isn’t she?

      • Highway says:

        They explained that the multiple minds in Sibyl take turns trading off the robotic body. You’d think they’d have some spares around, tho.

      • Namika says:

        She always changes,as far as I’m concerned. The way Touma said it, and considering the fact that the one who shot Kagari was in pieces, there are multiple of them. maybe whole 200something brains have their own cyborg lady body O_O

    • Gecko says:

      I’m expecting Akane will join the list. Her odd Hue has been pointed out too often. She has a clarity on what to do with criminals. We saw this first when she paralyzed Kougami to save the random girl, and then with handcuffing Makishima. Just as she thought when she joined the police, she does have something only she can do… That’s kind of depressing though.

      Side note response: Maybe random Enforcer girl joins up with Makishima? Or maybe she was the one who escaped and that’s all.

      • Overcooled says:

        Akane joining the Sibyl System? I doubt she’d do so willfully, and it’d be a waste of such a great character. If Makishima said no, so will she.

    • Namika says:

      Oh, and that enforcer girl, the boss said that another enforcer escaped. That may be her. Though I have no idea of what importance was it to even show in the episode

      • BlackBriar says:

        I don’t think they were refering her as the escaped enforcer. She was right in their sight as they were checking out the scene from the riots but she does looks suspicious with her shady movements. I’m not sure what’s the significance of announcing a missing enforcer we’ve never met when we’re so close to the end.

        • Namika says:

          Maybe she will team up with…. Yayoi’s friend I don’t remember her name ><" and her group, to help Makishima in destroying Sibyl.

  7. Gecko says:

    I agree that the brains weren’t really shocking. Although I kind of cringed. I’m a bit like Makishima in that I like paperbacks and the old feel of things. I have read a book on a tablet, but there was something missing. And a lot of what he said about continuing with life, and not joining Sibyl makes him a very interesting character. I was checking tumblr after I watched this episode, and most people were going crazy over his legs and one particular line he said: “Even with the power of God you’re still afraid to die.”
    And while destroying the robot did little besides open the door to get out safer than with the robot there, it’s symbolic. Even for an enemy that only needs a bit of damage to stop working, he goes all out.
    I can’t wait for tomorrow to see what happens, that’s for sure. My best guess is that the crew will go further into the city looking for Kagari and run into Makishima.
    Side note: What was with that last scene of Makishima calling Kougami? Perhaps Makishima is trying to be nice to people to reap favors later? Who knows…

    • Overcooled says:

      Going crazy over his LEGS haha, wow. They were rather smooth and lovely, I admit. I’ll have to watch that Psycho-Pass tag more carefully.

      I loved his oneliner to Touma before he killed him. Technically, we should feel nothing when watching a robot die since it’s just parts and his mind should still be safe in the Sibyl System. However, he’s so brutal that it actually makes you feel uncomfortable.

      Makishima is the only one who knows the truth, so he probably wants to give Kougami a little push to keep him from being complacent. That’s likely enough info for him to start figuring out the rest himself too. I dunno about favours though, because when Makishima says “don’t you owe me for not killing you that one time?” Kougami just goes into attack mode.

    • Highway says:

      Makishima appreciates Kougami on a level that he didn’t appreciate either Choe or Senguuji. Makishima feels that Kougami is nearly an equal / opposite of him, with the insight and instinct that he decries the loss of in other people.

      But it’s not fun if your friends don’t want to play the same game as you. So he’s trying to get him to play.

  8. Namika says:

    Oh man…… MAKISHIMA *_*
    He’s such a cool villain~ o(>^<)o He's such a likeable villain,I can't stand it. He's intelligent, has good reasoning, he's very smart and cool, but at the same time he has that dark, twisted side that we've only got to see twice. I want to see more of that *,_,*
    The chemistry between Shinya and Akane is getting stronger and more obvious too. Now THAT'S a OTP! Just friends don't sit like that, ever O_O Well,girls may do it sometimes, but with a man – hat definitely means something interesting. +a topless Shinya. He should definitely get hurt more, if he'll get more topless screentime 😀

    When Touma revealed his identity I paused the video, ran out to the other room and started to jump and squeal. That made me really happy, because I didn't expect it in the least. He was long forgotten and then BAM. Like a kick in the face. I seriously expected that now Touma would have a bit more screentime, because he appeared with such a bang. And then Makishima just killed him O_O and that was another kick in the face.
    And the big reveal about the Sibyl system was like meh, pretty damn obvious. But when I really thought about it, there weren't many options in the first place. A system like that should definitely involve human mind at some point, and I'm thankful that it wasn't a little girl.
    At a certain moment I thought that Makishima might agree to Touma's proposal, but then I realized that he definitely wouldn't agree to something like that. And his answer made me like him even more <3
    I'm enjoying this show more and more, but I feel like we're being left with less ideas of what exactly is to happen and that makes me feel worried. I love to be surprised, but in a good way, and now that my expectations for this show are so high I'm worried that it won't turn out as good as I hoped.

    • BlackBriar says:

      A part of me felt Makishima wouldn’t even bother with Touma’s proposal. Someone who already doesn’t approve of all technology by shunning e-books in favor of paper books wouldn’t want to become part of the very thing he’s out to destroy. And I agree with what he thinks. Knowledge, power and total control are fine in their own way but life is no fun by simply watching everyone else live it.

  9. Irenesharda says:

    Really? Really?? REALLY??!!!! This is what the Sybil system is? Are you serious?!

    The Sybil System after all this time, is really just a bunch of brains-in-a jar?! And not just brains-in-a jar, psychopaths’ brains in a jar. Wow, Psycho-Pass, I actually thought you were a little more clever than that. I would have actually preferred it if it WAS a little girl named Sybil that was controlling all of this. This was just silly.

    And of course being the brains of a bunch of psychopaths, they come with a large dose of narcissism and god complexes, except it’s amplified times a hundred with everyone being connected in a sort of Borg hive mind. In the end it just seems as if they’ve fallen to the lowest common denominator of “take over the world” and “we want to become gods!”

    I’m glad Makishima kicked the crap out of that thing. I’m kind of disappointed now. This show was doing so well. It wasn’t up there with something like FMA or Steins;gate for me, but it was still a 8 or a 9. Now…well, let’s just see how this finishes. Sigh….

    • Overcooled says:

      This was such a huge moment in the series, and it generally evokes either a HATE or LOVE reaction. I loved it. I really liked that it was humans in the end because that just shows how flawed the system was.

      This show just really is about brains.

  10. Ersatz Hikaru says:

    Though this comment is kinda late, but I just finished watching Psycho Pass, and I truly love it.. ^^ The hero and heroine are smart, a lot of books and literature quotes etc.. I believe this is one of a kind for me ^^, a refreshing one, and i believe this is my first time watching real men fight.. No magic etc.. The philosophy that ran around it, out of the book sci-fi plot and everything else sums up everything else ^^ .. I truly believe in that philosphy this story weave and to find it introduced in an anime is just fantastic.. The brain scene was what made me like “What??! Brains? And a lot of them? That’s just … “

    • Overcooled says:

      Late comments are fine! Welcome to Metanorn, by the way :>

      I really enjoyed Psycho-Pass as well! It’s so good! I actually really like how blatant the literary references were…because otherwise they would have just flown over my head. It was really completely different from anything I’ve ever seen before. It makes me want to read/watch more sci-fi.

      I’m surprised you haven’t seen more series with non-magical fighting though. Even Psycho-Pass has some pretty fantastical weapons. But it depends on what you end up watching I guess, since for every fist to fist anime there’s another one that adds superpowers to the mix.

      • Ersatz Hikaru says:

        Yea ^^ Haha.. I have chosen magic-related anime for these 3 years (I drowned into anime 3 years ago :P) to watch and get excited especially all those priestess stuff.. Sometimes, i feel like i have chosen this concept because I want to run away from reality.

        Haha, well maybe because the weapons were produced from the future I guess.. haha.. And yeah, I guess this is my first anime that does not revolve around magic aside from Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai and that because my brother made me watch them.

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