Psycho-Pass

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Psycho-Pass
PsychoPassvol1.jpg
Cover of the first Psycho-Pass volume depicting protagonists Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kōgami.
PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス
Genre Cyberpunk, Dystopian, Crime
Anime television series
Directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro (Chief)
Naoyoshi Shiotani
Produced by Kōji Yamamoto (Chief)
Jōji Wada
Kenji Tobori
Wakana Okamura
Written by Gen Urobuchi
Music by Yugo Kanno
Studio Production I.G
Licensed by
Network Fuji TV (noitamina)
Original run October 12, 2012March 22, 2013
Episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Manga
Inspector Akane Tsunemori
Written by Hikaru Miyoshi
Published by Shueisha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Jump Square
Original run November 2, 2012 – ongoing
Volumes 5
Light novel
Written by Makoto Fukami
Published by Mag Garden
Demographic Seinen
Original run February 4, 2013April 4, 2013
Volumes 2
Anime television series
Psycho-Pass 2
Written by Tow Ubukata[1]
Studio Production I.G
Licensed by
Network Fuji TV (noitamina)
Original run October 2014scheduled
Anime film
Psycho-Pass: The Movie
Released Q1 2015
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Psycho-Pass (サイコパス Saiko Pasu?) is a Japanese anime television series that was produced by Production I.G, directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and written by Gen Urobuchi. The series was aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 2012 and March 2013. The story takes place in a dystopia in which it is possible using a device called a Dominator to scan the Psycho-Pass of every citizen, to instantaneously measure their mental state, personality, and the probability that she or he will commit crimes. It follows Akane Tsunemori, Shinya Kogami, and other members of Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division, and the crimes they investigate.

The series has been licensed by Funimation in North America. A second season will begin airing in October 2014 followed by an animated film to be released in the first quarter of 2015. A manga adaptation has been in serialization in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine and several novels, including an adaptation and prequels to the original story, have been published. An episodic video game adaptation called Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass was developed by Nitroplus Staffers in collaboration with Production I.G. New novels and another manga are due to be serialized in 2014.

Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.'s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii's achievements. The series was inspired by several live-action films. Chief director Katsuyuki Motohiro aimed to explore psychological themes in society's youth using dystopian storylines. Several rules were used to focus on making the dystopia that the characters live in.

Critical reception of the series has been mostly positive; the setting of the series and the cases which develop the protagonists were praised. Special mention was given to the villain and philosophy discussed in the series. However, the series' gruesome imagery and aspects of the setting were criticized.

Plot[edit]

Setting[edit]

Psycho-Pass is set in 2113. The Sibyl System (シビュラシステム Shibyura Shisutemu?) is actively measuring the populace's mental states, personalities, and the probability that individuals will commit crimes, using a "cymatic scan" of the brain. The resulting assessment is called a Psycho-Pass (サイコパス Saikopasu?). When the probability of a person engaging in crimes measured by the Crime Coefficient (犯罪係数 Hanzaikeisū?) index exceeds a certain level in an individual, he or she is pursued, apprehended, and killed if necessary.

Story[edit]

The plot focuses on Akane Tsunemori, a new Inspector of Unit One—a police unit from the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division. Tsunemori hunts criminals alongside a special team of so-called latent criminals called Enforcers. Inspectors and Enforcers use large handguns called "Dominators"—special weapons designed to fire only at those with a higher-than-acceptable Crime Coefficient. Akane is ashamed of shooting the Enforcer Shinya Kogami during her first mission to protect a latent criminal. Kogami thanks her for stopping him from becoming a murderer, which persuades Akane to stay. During Akane's first investigations, the group learns about the existence of Shogo Makishima, a mastermind who is responsible for multiple crimes. Being Criminally Asymptomatic (免罪体質 Menzai Taishitsu?), Makishima's criminal psychology yields a low Crime Coefficient, making him safe from the Dominator.

The Enforcers and Inspectors start hunting Makishima, who aims to destroy the society created by the Sibyl System. To do this he causes riots in the city to draw the police away from the Health and Welfare Ministry's Nona Tower facility, where Sibyl is located. Akane and Kogami stop Makishima's forces while Enforcer Shūsei Kagari follows one of Makishima's allies to the tower where Bureau Chief Joshu Kasei kills Makishima's ally and Kagari to keep the true form of Sibyl a secret. Kasei tells Makishima that Sibyl is a hivemind of similarly asymptomatic individuals and wishes him to join the system but Makishima escapes. Realizing the truth behind Makishima's escape, Kogami leaves the group to kill him. Akane is later directly contacted by the Sibyl system, which orders her to capture Makishima alive. She agreeing to do this if they withdraw the execution order for Kogami. Learning that Makishima plans to execute bioterrorism to weaken Japan's economy and bring the system down, the Criminal Investigation Division searches for both Makishima and Kogami. However, despite Akane's efforts, Kogami kills Makishima and the latter's erstwhile comrades never see him again.

Production[edit]

The series was directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani, written by Gen Urobuchi and features character designs by manga artist Akira Amano. It stars Kana Hanazawa as Akane Tsunemori, Tomokazu Seki as Shinya Kogami and Takahiro Sakurai as Shogo Makishima.[2] Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.'s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor; the company hired Katsuyuki Motohiro—who became the series' chief director—and veteran I.G. animator Naoyoshi Shiotani to supervise direction.[3]

Motohiro wanted to return to making anime after a long hiatus but he needed a charismatic script writer. Motohiro and his staff were surprised with Gen Urobuchi's contribution to the anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which was said to exceed the series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Motohiro was fascinated by Madoka Magica; he read other works from Urobuchi, which persuaded him to talk to Urobuchi. In early 2011, Motohiro proposed to Urobuchi that the pair should work together.[4] Early in the making of the series, Motohiro told Naoyoshi Shiotani not to make anything that could not be adapted into a live-action film.[5]

Before work on Psycho-Pass started, Shiotani was busy working on the film Blood-C: The Last Dark. As soon as his work with the film ended, Shiotani focused on the series' quality. After episode 16, which proved to be the most challenging and popular of the series, the team found themselves "out of stamina". The next two episodes were made by an outside team, which is reflected in several problems with the animation.[5] In response to this, the producer of the episode said that while he expected problems, he worked to make it the best he could. Shiotani also apologized for the episode's quality.[6] The original team continued working from episode 19 on until the finale; they decided to remake episodes 17 and 18 for their retail release.[5]

In March 2013, Shiotani stated there could be a second season if the show received enough support.[7] Once development of the second season started, Shiotani said the new episodes are more difficult to make than those in the first season. He said, "it's more about the show's inflexibility" because the staff have to maintain consistency.[8] For the season Tow Ubukata replaced Urobuchi as main writer.[1]

Design[edit]

Sketches of Shinya Kogami by Akira Amano. The staff avoided using colors that would stand out.

When hearing the comments from Atsuko Ishizuka, director of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, about the way the characters were designed first, Shiotani realized it was the opposite for his team, who had to create the setting first and then the characters because they "are almost being played by the world". As a result, the characters were designed by manga artist Akira Amano to balance them with the dark atmosphere by having them "palatable and very relate-able". The staff avoided using bright colors that would stand out.[9] Akane Tsunemori was created as the most relatable character, who would question the setting from the audience's point of view and as the heroine who would come between Shinya Kogami and Shogo Makishima. Akane's progression from an innocent newcomer to a mature and haunted person was one of the staff's main objectives.[5]

Motohiro allowed his team to use very graphic elements, even though they could reduce female viewership. He acknowledges that the series may be too violent for a younger demographic and said that he would not want his son to watch it because of its psychological brutality.[4] He added that the team did not want to make a violent series but an "artistic series that just happened to have some violence included in it".[5] About the amount of violence, Shiotani told Urobuchi about the amount of violence, "just let us deal with it".[5] Some of these violent scenes occur off-camera, but whenever a protagonist was involved the moment was developed to be memorable. The team twice had to remake scenes because the television station complained that they went "overboard."[5]

Motohiro wanted the series to counter concurrent anime trends. The use of moe (slang) was prohibited within the staff because they appreciated dramas like Mobile Suit Gundam and Patlabor that focus on conflicts between male characters. As the series was "anti-moe"; the team decided to avoid having the main characters Akane remove her clothes and instead had Kogami do it. Nevertheless, the show attracted a female viewership because the conflict between the male characters appeared to attract the shonen ai genre fans.[9] Although Shiotani also wanted the series to avoid romance between male characters, he believes the fight scenes between male characters unintentionally attracted female fans.[9] The staff decided to focus on friendships rather than romantic relationships.[5]

Influences[edit]

Psycho-Pass was inspired by several Western films, most notably L.A. Confidential.[10] Director Naoyoshi Shiotani cited several other influences, including Minority Report, Gattaca, Brazil and Blade Runner; the latter shared several similarities with the anime series.[9] Before the making of the series, Urobuchi insisted on using a Philip K. Dick-inspired, dystopian narrative.[3] The psychological themes were based on the time Shiotani watched Lupin III during his childhood because he thought about adding "today's youth trauma" to the series.[4] The rivalry between the main characters was based on the several dramas the staff liked.[9] Other voice actors have been credited in the making of the series because of the ways they added traits to the characters.[4]

Music[edit]

The staff had problems composing an opening theme for the series until someone provided some music by Ling Tosite Sigure, who was engaged to compose the opening theme. Egoist, who composed the ending theme, had debuted on Noitamina with Guilty Crown. Shiotani said they asked Egoist to record three versions of the ending theme so they could alternate them to match the episode's ending.[8] Across the series, time limits resulted in the ending songs being removed or replaced with instrumental versions to avoid cutting scenes from the episode. When there were concerns from the producers of the songs, Tomohiro and Shiotani discussed this with them.[5]

Two Psycho-Pass CDs were included in the second and fifth Japanese home media release of the series.[11][12] The Psycho Pass original soundtrack was released by Sony Music Entertainment on May 29, 2013. It features fifty-five tracks composed by Yugo Kanno.[13] A two-volume drama CD called Namae no nai kaibutsu (名前のない怪物?, lit. "The Monster with no Name") based on the prequel novel was released between September 25 and November 27, 2013.[14][15]

Release[edit]

The anime series produced by Production I.G. was broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 12, 2012 and March 22, 2013.[16][17] Toho started releasing the series on DVD and Blu-ray formats on December 21, 2012 and the eighth and final volume was released on July 26, 2013.[18][19] Funimation has licensed the series in North America and simulcast it on its website. A home media release was planned for March 2014.[20][21] In the United Kingdom, the series is licensed by Manga Entertainment and in Australia by Madman Entertainment.[22][23]

On July 6, 2013, Production I.G. president Mitsuhisa Ishikawa said at Anime Expo that production on a second season had begun.[24] A new animated film was announced on September 6, 2013.[25] The second season, titled Psycho-Pass 2, will begin airing in October 2014; the film is due to be released in Q1 2015. Before the debut broadcast of the second season, the first season—condensed into 11 one-hour episodes— began airing in July 2014.[26] The fourth episode was cancelled due to similarities with a real life murder.[27] Director Naoyoshi Shiotani apologized for this in his Twitter account. Nevertheless, Funimation streamed the episode.[28] A Blu-ray box set is scheduled for October 15, 2014. It will contain both the first season and the reruns of one-hour episodes.[29]

Related media[edit]

Manga[edit]

A manga adaptation illustrated by Hikaru Miyoshi, titled Inspector Akane Tsunemori (監視官 常守朱 Kanshikan Tsunemori Akane?), began serialization in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine from November 2, 2012.[30] Its first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha on February 4, 2013.[31] In November 2013, it was announced that 380,000 copies of the manga were shipped in Japan with three volumes.[32]

Another manga titled Psycho-Pass: Inspector Shinya Kogami (監視官 狡噛 慎也 Kanshikan Kōgami Shinya?) premiered in the August issue of Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade magazine on June 30, 2014. Natsuo Sai is illustrating the series and the story is written by Midori Gotou and Production I.G.[26]

Novels[edit]

An novelization of the series by Makoto Fukami has been published by Mag Garden in two volumes released on February 4 and April 4, 2013.[33][34] Shiotani said the novels were more violent than the television series.[9] A prequel titled Namae no Nai Kaibutsu (名前のない怪物?, lit. "The Monster with no Name") was written by Aya Takaba, who worked on the television series. Before the novel was released, it was first published on the "Noitamina Novel" page on Noitamina's official website. The novel was released on February 4, 2013.[35]

A new series of novels focusing on four characters by Ryō Shigami began publication in the August issue of Hayakawa Publishing's S-F Magazine on June 25, 2014. After the serialization ends, Hayakawa Bunko JA will revise the novels and will publish them in October 2014. Other stories will focus on Choe Gu-sung, Shusei Kagari, Yayoi Kunizuka and Shion Karanomori.[26] Hayakawa Bunko JA will also publish the Psycho Pass Genesis book in December 2014, which will reveal the origins of Sybil and Tonomi Masaoka's involvement.[26]

Video games[edit]

Interactive visual novels titled Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass, which feature chibi versions of the series' characters in original stories, were included with Blu-ray Disc volumes of the anime and are playable on any Blu-ray playing device.[36][37] As of May 2014, a video game based on the series is being developed by 5pb. for the Xbox One. It will feature an original story written by Urobuchi, which takes place during the time period of the anime's first six episodes and focuses on a new set of protagonists confronting a new enemy on a remote island.[38]

Reception[edit]

Fuji TV producer Akitoshi Mori said Psycho-Pass was the first work under his control. Early screenings of the series at the Noitamina Shop & Café attracted few viewers, which bothered Mori. However, as the series continued, the quantity of viewers increased. By the final episode, over 1,000 people had queued to watch the finale even though the venue could only accommodate seventy people. This made Mori happy because he realized how many fans were following and supporting the show; he wanted to see a bigger audience at future screenings.[26] DVDs and Blu-ray discs of the series achieved good sales.[39][40] In April 2014, the series was nominated for the Seiun Award.[41] In the Newtype anime awards from 2013, it was voted as fourth best title of the year.[42]

The series was well received by publications for anime, manga and other media. Rebecca Silverman from Anime News Network praised the show for its "high level of interest" in depicting its dystopian world. However, she said that its violent scenes were so gruesome they might scare viewers.[43][44] Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis called it a "compelling cyberpunk mystery", praising the society depicted and the series of murders orchestrated by Shogo Makishima. However, he criticized the use of advanced technology and compared it with other science fiction films despite saying that it handled the themes better whereas Makishima's immunity to it was left unexplained.[45] DVD Talk gave high praise to Makishima because his achievements across the story and his personality.[46] Certain episodes have been referred as "filler" because they are used as a build-up to the climatic ones.[43][47]

Thomas Zoth from The Fandom Post praised the show's focus on the relationships between the protagonists and the development from these.[48] He enjoyed the series' climatic action scenes between Kogami and Makishima, and the scenes portraying the status quo. He said the sixteenth episode is "Urobuchi's masterpiece."[49][50] Silverman commented on the parallelism between Akane's and Kogami's development, which resulted in an ambiguous ending that should be decided by the viewers.[44] The supporting cast received similar praise by DVD Talk but the reviewer said some were underwhelming and Shion is the least-explored character.[51]

During the streaming of the series, Silverman criticized the animation because of the low lighting levels that might make it hard to understand.[43][44] Hiroko Yamamura from Japanator noted the series' high budget and praised the animation style and the focus on details and technology. She was attracted by its premise and expected the quality to remain consistent across the entire series.[52] Similarly, Hope Chapman from ANN praised the animation for its high quality.[3] Episode 18, which is known for its flawed animation, was improved for the home media release of the series.[53]

Themes[edit]

As some critics have noted, Psycho-Pass explores societal and psychological themes, such as the price of living without stress. Since those who think of actions that might cause stress to others are quickly punished by the Sibyl System, the concept of punishing someone because they have the potential to do something considered wrong is explored. Questioning whether punishing someone for having the potential to do what society considers inappropriate is explored in the first episode, in which a woman is raped and because of her trauma, her Psycho-Pass is raised and the police prepare to kill her until she is saved by Akane. According to Anime News Network, "We are all capable of doing bad things at times—should we be punished because we thought of hurting someone before we act on it? Or because we were victims? It really all comes back to that first episode and Akane's reaction to the victim who presented as a violent criminal".[43]

Emotional repression is also explored in Psycho-Pass. The identification of latent criminals is partially based around the avoidance of emotions that society judges to be negative, such as sadness or anger. To avoid being identified as a latent criminal, one must not feel these emotions heavily outside, where their Psycho-Pass can be scanned. Kotaku states, "because of these scans, Psycho-Pass shows an interesting future where 'mental beauty' is as sought after as physical beauty. It is also a future where the police's job is little more than to watch the latent criminals they control—because if they did any real detective work, they might start to think like the criminals they are trying to catch and thus become latent criminals themselves."[45] Many of the main characters feel nostalgia throughout the series. The many references to older literature, philosophy, music and theatre create a "nostalgic world building for a time before psycho-passes".[43]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]