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Shinya Kogami

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Shinya Kogami
Psycho-Pass character
Shinya Kogami.png
Shinya Kogami, as seen on the series' website
First appearancePsycho-Pass Episode 1: "Crime Coefficient"
Created byGen Urobuchi
Voiced byJapanese
Tomokazu Seki
English
Robert McCollum

Shinya Kogami (Japanese: 狡噛 慎也, Hepburn: Kōgami Shin'ya) is the protagonist introduced in the 2012 anime series Psycho-Pass. A police officer in a cyberpunk dystopia, Kogami becomes obsessed with murdering Shogo Makishima, a criminal mastermind responsible for the death of one of Kogami's former allies. The character has also appeared in manga and novel adaptations of the series, a prequel manga series, and the films Psycho-Pass: The Movie (2015) and Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System Case.3 On the Other Side of Love and Hate (2019), which focuses on Kogami's life after the events of the first anime series. He reappears in third television series Psycho-Pass 3 as a supporting character. A novel and manga also explore Kogami's work as an Inspector years before the start of the first television series.

Kogami was created by the Production I.G staff. Writer Gen Urobuchi created the character to contrast Akane Tsunemori, Kogami's police supervisor, whose personality and ideology are opposed to Kogami's. He was designed by mangaka Akira Amano, who wanted to give the character a strong sense of individualism despite the contrasting scenario of the series. Kogami is voiced in Japanese by Tomokazu Seki and in English by Robert McCollum. Critical reception of Kogami has been positive due to his interactions with Akane Tsunemori, and his return in the 2015 film was praised after his absence from the second Psycho-Pass anime with the 2019 providing further depth in characterization. Kogami has been well-received by fans, winning the "Mister Noitamina" award in and placing on multiple occasions in Newtype popularity polls.

Appearances[edit]

Kogami is introduced as the protagonist of the anime series, Psycho-Pass.[1] Set in a dystopian future, the series focuses on the use of the Sibyl System: psychometric scanners which calculate the likelihood of a person committing a crime. Its results are known as the Crime Coefficient. Kogami is an Enforcer, a police officer who assists and protects the Inspectors sent to investigate crime scenes and to pursue individuals with high Crime Coefficient readings. Enforcers are themselves latent criminals, hired for their high Crime Coefficients, and are monitored by Inspectors who are authorized to kill Enforcers, if necessary.[2] Kogami was originally an Inspector who worked with Mitsuru Sasayama, who was mutilated and killed by Shogo Makishima, his obsession with solving the case leading to his Crime Coefficient rising and his subsequent demotion.[3]

With Tsunemori's assistance, Kogami learns that Makishima killed Sasayama.[4] Kogami and Tsunemori arrest Makishima, whose goal is to disable the Sybil System.[5] Makishama escapes and Kogami leaves his team, an illegal act, to give chase and kill the man on his own. The Sibyl System orders Tsunemori to capture Makishima alive and for Kogami to be executed as a runaway criminal.[6] With the help of his mentor, Joji Saiga, Kogami kills Makishima before he is able to commit an act of bio-terrorism. Although Kogami is not seen again by his former comrades for some time,[7] he tells Tsunemori in the After Stories audio drama that he has withdrawn from society to avoid detection.[8]

In the 2015 film Psycho-Pass: The Movie, Kogami lives in the Southeast Asia Union, a superstate which has begun to import the Sibyl System technology, using the city known as Shambala Float as its testing ground. Kogami leads a guerilla resistance to the system's implementation. When Tsunemori goes to Shambala Float to confront him, they end up collaborating to uncover the identity of the union's upcoming president. Attacked by mercenaries, they are rescued by Tsunemori's team. Kogami and Ginoza reunite to defeat the mercenaries' leader, Desmond Rutaganda. They part after Rutaganda's death, and Kogami remains with his new group in the hope of a more peaceful life.[9] In the 2019 film Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System Case.3: On the Other Side of Love and Hate, Kogami trains Tenzing Wangchuk, an orphan girl who seeks revenge on a warlord who killed her father and her entire village.[10] Tenzing enlists Kogami to train her to be a killer but still finds herself unable to kill and is wounded, leaving an enraged Kogami to take down the culprit. He is recruited by Frederica Hanashiro of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department to join her team and return to Japan where he acts as a tactical advisor in the third season of the anime.

Kogami additionally appears in the manga Inspector Akane Tsunemori, an adaptation of the first anime series,[11] and is the title character of the prequel novel Inspector Shinya Kogami[12] which follows the case that leads to Sasayama's death.[13] Fukami also wrote a novel focusing on his actions and thoughts through the first anime series.[14] Kogami also appears in the series' self-parody manga, Gakuen Psycho-Pass by Shiina Soga,[15] and is a supporting character in the visual novel Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness.[16] In an upcoming theatrical drama, Kogami will be played by Yuki Kubota.[17] The character also appears in Psycho-Pass branded merchandise, including shirts and collars.[18]

In the 2019 series Psycho-Pass 3, Kogami has returned to Tokyo, where he and his best friend Nobuchika Ginoza work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Operations Department. They warn Inspectors Arata Shindo and Kei Mikhail Ignatov about individuals known as "foxes" who should be arrested.[19] He reappears in the finale where Unit One, including Chief Mika Shimotsuki, and the Suppressing Action Group of the MFA Operations Department, including Frederica Hanashiro, meet to discuss the criminal organization called Bifrost. Bifrost is behind a series of societal manipulations and mass murders, their latest plot being to murder Karina Komiya, the governor of Tokyo. Kogami's last scene is with an imprisoned Tsunemori, the two agreeing to meet again to share what has happened in their lives since last they met.[20] He appears in the trailer for the sequel film, Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector premiering in Q2 2020.[21]

Creation and design[edit]

Development and influences[edit]

See caption
Sketches of Kogami by Akira Amano

According to Psycho-Pass director Naoyoshi Shiotani, Production I.G. staff developed Kogami's character as a stark opposite to his enemy and rival Shogo Makishima, with Akane Tsunemori as the audience surrogate between them.[22] Their first names indicate this opposition: Makishima's is Shogo (the time between midday and sunset), and Kogami's is Shinya (the time between midnight and sunrise).[23] Shiotani described Kogami as a "troublesome person" (when dealing with Makishima) and said that although he liked Kogami, he would rather have the talkative Makishima as a friend.[24] Writer Gen Urobuchi said that when he created Kogami and Tsunemori, he tried to balance their traits. Writer Tow Ubukata, who supervised the second anime series, called Kogami a "wild" character, the Japanese characters for his last name referring to his traits of loneliness and strength. The duo was further stated to resemble the lead characters from the Japanese police comedy-drama Bayside Shakedown, Sumire Onda and Shunsaku Aoshima.[25]

Kogami's character was designed by manga artist Akira Amano. Amano said that she began with a black-haired man in a suit and, although she was limited in expressing his characteristics with his clothing, she was finally able to include some individuality in each of her characters.[26] She made the main male lead's design distinctive with a simple police uniform. Kogami's personality was initially designed as more aggressive but after several revisions, he became a gentle, calm, taciturn man.[27] Character designer Kyoji Asano emphasized major contrast when illustrating Kogami and Tsunemori: Kogami wields a weapon freely with one hand while Tsunemori wields it with both hands indicating that she is less highly trained.[28]

The character has been compared with Charles Marlow in Joseph Conrad's 1899 novel, Heart of Darkness. Like Marlow, Kogami's obsessive hunt draws him close to his prey. After Kogami kills Makishima (and abandons his ideals), he decides to leave society and Tsunemori.[29] For the first Psycho-Pass film, the staff had the idea of Tsunemori finding the renegade Kogami (influenced by films such as 1979's Apocalypse Now and 1998's Saving Private Ryan) and found their trusting, platonic relationship appealing. Because Kogami did not appear in the second television series, they gave him considerable screen time in the film.[25] Since the series was "anti-moe", the developers avoided having Tsunemori take off her clothes. Instead, Kogami got undressed instead, providing fan service to the female audience.[30]

Voice actors[edit]

A smiling, formally-dressed Tomokazu Seki
A smiling, casually-dressed Robert McCollum
Tomokazu Seki (left) and Robert McCollum voiced Kogami in the anime's Japanese and English versions, respectively.

Shinya Kogami is voiced in Japanese by Tomokazu Seki who was cast by Katsuyuki Motohiro during auditions for the series. Seki had little knowledge about the series's premise. He was also cast for the role of Nobuchika Ginoza, but ended with Kogami. Seki enjoyed the role and anime.[31] He liked the character and believed that he would fit in the second season as a protagonist strong enough to defeat new antagonist Kirito Kamui.[25] However, Kogami only appears in the second series as Akane's hallucination when she thinks about how to deal with Kamui. Kogami was happy with the impact his character had on the inspector. Because production of the 2015 film did not begin until late in the second anime's production, cast members were concerned that Kogami had been killed off-screen and when the film was announced, were relieved by the character's survival after he disappeared in the first series.[9]

Shiotani decided to have the foreigners speak English, in contrast with other films in which they typically speak Japanese. Seki and Kana Hanazawa (Akane), were surprised at this proposal since they had multiple English lines in the end. The idea Shiotani wished to explore within the film was what happens when a confined society is expanded into other countries, bringing chaos rather than peace, which would make the audience further question this ideal.[25] In the film, Seki said that Kogami became less brooding than he was in the first series because he is no longer governed by revenge. The reunion of Kogami and Tsunemori was one of Seki's favorite scenes because their deep relationship is demonstrated when they wordlessly share a cigarette.[25] By the time Sinners of the System was released, Seki still appreciated Kogami's handling but felt pressured by the character's popularity with fans.[32]

Kogami is voiced in English by Robert McCollum,[33] who said that Psycho-Pass is "always a favorite" for fans. "In terms of good guys, [it is] tough to get much more low-key than Kogami", McCollum said, describing the character as calm.[34]

Reception[edit]

Kogami has been well-received by fans and reviewers, and received the "Mister Noitamina" award in a poll ranking the popularity of characters on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block.[35] He was voted the sixth-best male character in Newtype's anime awards.[36] In another poll by the same magazine, Kogami was voted the 24th-most-popular male anime character of the 2010s.[37] Kogami and Tsunemori received two percent of a website poll regarding characters fans hoped would become a couple.[38] His role in Sinners of the System gave him the top place in a 2019 Newtype poll.[39] In a 2019 Anime! Anime! poll, Kogami was tied with Whitebeard from One Piece for eighth place as the character fans wanted to have as their boss.[40]

Critical reception of Kogami has been positive. When the series premiered, ACG News compared him with the comic-book character Judge Dredd from the series 2000 AD and said that Western audiences might find the character appealing.[27] Hiroko Yamamura of Japanator wrote that although it was obvious that Kogami would be the series' protagonist, it was interesting to see him "at the wrong end of the barrel for the first episode".[41] Richard Eisenbeis of Kotaku, however, called him a "static character" who lacked Tsunemori's development across the series.[42] Kyle Mills of DVD Talk found Kogami's "enigmatic" characterization his favorite because of his interaction with Tsunemori in the second episode and the exploration of his past in multiple episodes.[43] Rebecca Silverman of Anime News Network felt the deep dynamic between Kogami and Tsunemori to be appealing, and enjoyed Kogami's characterization.[44] Jacob Hope Chapman of Anime News Network praised the relationship between Kogami and Tsunemori; their "struggle for mutual understanding while refusing to compromise their ideals is satisfying".[45]

Kyle Mills called Kogami the "apparent villain" of the series because he leaves his comrades to save society from Makishima and take revenge for Sasayama's death.[46] According to David West of Neo, Kogami "is every inch the shonen action hero" in the series; he found this so repetitive that he laughed when Kogami was impressed by Tsunemori's growth as a detective, and thought that the character hogged the spotlight in the story.[47] The fights between Kogami and Makishima were generally well-received; Bamboo Dong of Anime News Network appreciated the weapons use, but found that the "armchair psychiatrist evaluations of each other seemed a little forced".[48] Thomas Zoth of the Fandom Post found the first battle slightly anticlimactic, but praised the setting and interactions of the two fighters' final duel.[49][50] Praising Kogami's role in the final episodes, Zoth criticized how close Kogami appears to be related to his nemesis and found their similarities forced.[51]

In his review of Psycho-Pass: The Movie, Jacob Chapman enjoyed Kogami's interactions with Tsunemori but criticized the hallucination scene in which he talks with the dead Makishima; Chapman, however, liked the character quoting writer Frantz Fanon.[52] Anticipating the film, IGN writer Miranda Sanchez expected to see interactions between Kogami and Tsunemori which were absent from Psycho-Pass 2. Sanchez called Kogami's role primarily fan service, writing that the developers did not use the duo's bond to its full potential and the final fight is focused on Kogami.[53] Alexandria Hill of Otaku USA praised the first interactions between Kogami and Tsunemori contrasting with the extensive dialogue early in the film.[54] Robert Frazer of UK Anime Network praised Kogami's role in the prequel manga, Psycho-Pass: Inspector Shinya Kogami, due to his interactions with the rest of the cast; Frazer found it more appealing than Tsunemori's role in the anime's sequel.[55] Anime UK News and Rice Digital called Robert McCollum and Kate Oxley the best English actors in the dub.[56][57]

An Anime News Network reviewer enjoyed the 2019 film's deeper characterization of Kogami, who remains haunted by his killing of Makishima; Kogami is "the franchise's breakout male lead—and perhaps the series' most popular character," who might encourage the writers to give him more screen time.[58] The book Law and Justice in Japanese Popular Culture: From Crime Fighting Robots to Duelling Pocket Monsters notes that Kogami is surprised by Tsunemori's thoughts about the Sybil System; although she approves of the status quo, she does not value the system that monitors the series' world.[59]

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