Expectations, expectations. What a word. Some stories reach their high point early, others like to take their sweet time. Expectations from Urobuchi’s latest project set the bar high for Psycho-Pass before the season even began. How great is Psycho-Pass going to be, what is it going to bring, why should I stick with it.
* sound portrayal of the first episodes as images of Akane and Kogami randomly roughing up civilians on the streets with a slightly clouded hue are conjured.
Psycho-Pass is indeed a series that takes its time to finally reach a decent high point where the story gets more interesting, becoming more than just solving crimes and playing the game let’s count how many holes the Sybil system has.
Part of watching a twenty-something episode show has to do with the pay off of being glad to have continue following a show weekly when it improves little by little. The before are the initial impressions and thoughts from the first episodes, the now are the latest developments since the show started to come together. Surely, Psycho-Pass gets your attention by now, if not you probably had called it quits because this is the point where the show has gotten better. Let’s explore the before and now of Psycho-Pass.
Before: My biggest initial criticism were the dull cases of the first episodes and how the show took its time to bother to make a connection to the *greater* case of the story. Looking back on it, all the cases have a connection to the main story, which makes the show be more than a show about arresting bad guys, but the story only really starts to make this connection much later. Unless you liked the cases Psycho-Pass had little to offer. They seemed like a bad episode of Law and Order set in the future without the courtroom proceedings or the timely snarky lines. Like Criminal Intent lacking the display of intuitive skills. Not like Law and Order SVU because that show is terrible.
Now: All cases are connected. You get the feeling of that’s what this man wanted to do since the beginnings and all the other cases were his initial projects before putting his plan into action.
Before: Took too many episodes for some cases.
I, for one, agree episodes ought to spend two episodes for any small subplot or case to work because the last thing I want to see is a case poorly executed and poorly wrapped up like the second episode of Psycho-Pass was. Arguably, the third case was one of the better cases in the first half, but the more I followed it the more I found the motives and the police’s incompetence to be main driving force during the case. They take their time noticing that the culprit is, well, likely someone who goes to that same school. They fail to theorized those the culprit is probably in an art club. And in the case the students live in the school it could only meant the culprit another student or a teacher. I could go on. What we take from the case is the Sybil police are particularly good at handling criminals when they are out in the open but crippled by not having real detectives with deductive skills to work the case because thinking and reasoning of bad things turn you into a potential deviance according to the mighty system. Let’s not forget that, guys.
After that display three episodes was more than enough. Arguably not a bad case but gratuitously long serving to show the person pulling the string.
Now: The latest episodes don’t feel like they’re dragging the same story for the sake of it.
Before: Boring villain.
Now: BOOOORING VILLAIN, with many repeated o’s for the effect. Makishima is described as possessing “charisma”, to which it translates as being as compelling as a phone telemarketer in a busy morning. I don’t care about Makishima as a character. I still find this guy to be a criminally boring villain.
He’s the mastermind. So what? Makishima big superpower is that he’s insane and immune to Sibyl’s crappy system and the only reason he gets away with it is because the police in charge is beyond incompetent and there are no regular guns in Psycho-Pass universe and no other means of detaining him? Big deal. Despite his huge ambitious to overthrow the Sibyl’s system Makishima, as a villain, bores me to tears. Even he looks bored.
For a series about cases they barely wrapped up the cases properly as if they couldn’t spare one more minute for some final thoughts before they took the culprit in custody or after they blow him to pieces.
I can tell they’re *this* close to closing the case or ending the episode instead of being slapped by the ending credits. Moreso, with the cases now strongly having a connection with all other cases, they are solved and wrapped up nicely. It finally feels like the show is in charge how they end the episodes rather than being cut off the exact moment they are done.
Before: No, nothing, not a thing. Dull cases prior to episode ten. Pyscho-Pass got better after the third case was over. Spooky Boogie? How do you even say that ridiculous name with a straight face. How. How.
Now: Cyborgs with shotguns and mechanical dogs. Yes, we mean finally strong thrilling cases where the main characters are in actual danger rather than catching criminals on the loose with huge neon signs saying please-put-me-behind bars. The hunters being hunted. Opposite roles as opposed to the usual Sybil sends a whole unit to catch one or two culprits. A case such as the cyborg (with that ever dazed expression) was the first case they finally faced mortal danger and you weren’t sure how the case is going to end. Sure, the main guy probably wasn’t going to die before the show was over, but something else was likely going to happen instead. One thing that Psycho-Pass lacked was tension because it hardly felt like it had much before this case.
Before: Boring characters. I saw little personality in Psycho-Pass characters other than the usual serious guy, the inexperienced rookie, the uptight senpai, and the wise (and alcoholic) old man. The episodes went like this: They all go after the guy, Ginoza plays it by the book and makes terrible decisions thanks to being brainwashed by Sybil, the rest say some dumb lines so Kougami can look extra smart, Akane make some faces. And so many episodes went by like that as none of the characters appeared to be more than lifeless boring characters.
With the special case of Spooky Boogie Akane was clumsy and useless in the first episodes only exceeding at making cute faces and looking disoriented when action was needed. Akane was a poor excuse for a new recruit for Unit 1 who needed better training before even being in the show. In fact, one of the hard questions was how they could put the city at high risk by putting a complete fresh recruit in the main and apparently the only one (there are more but you do get that idea before) unit that takes care of the heinous crimes in the city. Then again Sybil system is full of holes.
I’m not all crazy about Psycho-Pass characters but I’ve started to gradually take interest to what happen to Akane, Kougami, and maybe of the others, as opposed to before when you could’ve easily replaced Shuusei for another laidback guy and I wouldn’t have noticed unless they had the different hair color. The change has plenty to do with Kogami becoming a character with a story with a story, a background, rooted before the series began. Same for Masaoka and Gino and the rest.
As for Kogami he was never that bad character, if anything is one of the few characters who does the heavy thinking, for the entire unit. The problem was that he just was extremely one dimensional when Psycho-Pass started. As the story progressed Akane got (slightly) better and more of a key player rather than a walking liability for the city with the futuristic gun able to decimate a person. The best thing is that (granted slowly) she’s been stepping up making her own calls and earn some respect in the unit who didn’t really before. She probably won’t become master detective any time soon but it is still a great improvement from the first episodes. All things considered, at least we can say she’s doing more than making sulky faces so is Psycho-Pass. A certain someone named Makishima can vouch for that.