Psycho-Pass

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Psycho-Pass
PsychoPassvol1.jpg
Cover of the first Psycho-Pass volume depicting Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kōgami
PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス
GenreCyberpunk, Dystopian, Science fiction, Crime thriller
Anime television series
Directed byKatsuyuki Motohiro (chief director), Naoyoshi Shiotani
Produced byKōji Yamamoto
Written byGen Urobuchi
Music byYugo Kanno
StudioProduction I.G
Licensed by
NetworkFuji TV (noitamina)
Original runOctober 12, 2012March 22, 2013
Episodes22 (List of episodes)
Manga
Inspector Akane Tsunemori
Written byHikaru Miyoshi
Published byShueisha
DemographicSeinen
MagazineJump Square
Original runNovember 2, 2012 – ongoing
Volumes3
Light novel
Written byMakoto Fukami
Published byMag Garden
DemographicSeinen
Original runFebruary 4, 2013April 4, 2013
Volumes2
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal
 
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Psycho-Pass
PsychoPassvol1.jpg
Cover of the first Psycho-Pass volume depicting Akane Tsunemori and Shinya Kōgami
PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス
GenreCyberpunk, Dystopian, Science fiction, Crime thriller
Anime television series
Directed byKatsuyuki Motohiro (chief director), Naoyoshi Shiotani
Produced byKōji Yamamoto
Written byGen Urobuchi
Music byYugo Kanno
StudioProduction I.G
Licensed by
NetworkFuji TV (noitamina)
Original runOctober 12, 2012March 22, 2013
Episodes22 (List of episodes)
Manga
Inspector Akane Tsunemori
Written byHikaru Miyoshi
Published byShueisha
DemographicSeinen
MagazineJump Square
Original runNovember 2, 2012 – ongoing
Volumes3
Light novel
Written byMakoto Fukami
Published byMag Garden
DemographicSeinen
Original runFebruary 4, 2013April 4, 2013
Volumes2
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Psycho-Pass (サイコパス Saiko Pasu?) is a Japanese anime television series by Production I.G. It was directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and written by Gen Urobuchi. The series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 2012 and March 2013. The story takes place in a dystopia where it is possible to instantaneously measure a person's mental state, personality, and the probability that a person will commit crimes with a device installed on each citizen's body called the Psycho-Pass. It follows members of Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division and the crimes they investigate. The series was inspired by several live-actions with chief director Katsuyuki Motohiro aiming to explore psychological themes seen in society's youth throughout dark storylines.

The series has been licensed by Funimation in North America. A second season is currently in production alongside an animated film by Production I.G. A manga adaptation has been in serialization in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine while several novels have been written including an adaptation as well as a prequel. An episodic video game adaptation called Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass was developed by Nitroplus Staffers in collaboration with Production I.G. Critical reception to the series has been mostly positive with praise aimed to the setting and the series of the cases which develop the protagonists. However, the gruesome imagery and aspects of the setting have also been the subject of criticism.

Plot[edit]

Psycho-Pass is set in the year 2113, where the Sibyl System (シビュラシステム Shibyura Shisutemu?) is actively measuring a person's mental state, personality, and the probability that a person will commit crimes, all through a "cymatic scan" of the brain. The resulting assessment is called a Psycho-Pass (サイコパス Saikopasu?). When the probability of committing a crime, measured by the Crime Coefficient (犯罪係数 Hanzaikeisū?) index, is too high in an individual, they are pursued and apprehended—with lethal force, if necessary.

The plot focuses on Akane Tsunemori, a new Inspector of Unit One, a police unit from the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division. As an Inspector, she hunts criminals alongside a special team of so-called latent criminals called Enforcers. Both Enforcers and Inspectors use large handguns called "Dominators", special weapons designed to fire only on those with a higher-than-acceptable Crime Coefficient. Even though 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 convinces Akane to stay. During some of Akane's first investigations, the group learns of a mastermind behind multiple crimes, Shogo Makishima. Being Criminally Asymptomatic (免罪体質 Menzai Taishitsu?), Makishima's criminal psychology yields a low Crime Coefficient, thus rendering him safe from the Dominator.

The Enforcers and Inspectors start working hunt down Makishima who aims to destroy the society created by the Sybil System. In order to do this he causes riots in the city to draw police away from the Health and Welfare Ministry's Nona Tower facility where Sybil is located. Akane and Kogami manage to stop Makishima's forces while Enforcer Shūsei Kagari follows one of Makishima's allies to the tower. There, Bureau Chief Joshu Kasei kills Makishima's ally as well as Kagari to keep the true form of Sybil a secret. Kasei reveals to Makishima that Sybil is a hivemind of similarly asymptomatic individuals and wishes for him to join the system; but the criminal escapes. Realizing the truth behind Makishima's escape, Kogami leaves the group to kill him. Akane is later directly contacted by the Sybil system who orders her to capture Makishima alive, with her ultimately agreeing to do it should 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 goes to search for both Makishima and Kogami. However, despite Akane's efforts, Kogami kills Makishima and is not seen again by his former comrades.

Production[edit]

Psycho-Pass originated from chief director Katsuyuki Motohiro's wish to return to making an anime after a determined time of not working. However, he needed a charismatic script writer to do it. 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. Fascinated with Madoka Magica Motohiro then read other works from Urobuchi which convinced him to talk to Urobuchi. He then proposed Urobuchi to work together during early 2011.[1] Early during the making of the series, Motohiro told Naoyoshi Shiotani not to make anything that could not be adapted into a live-action.[2]

Across the series, time limits resulted in the time of the ending songs being cut or replaced with instrumental versions to avoid cutting parts from the episode due to time limits. While there were concerns from the producers of the songs, Tomohiro and Shiotani discussed this with them.[2] Before Psycho Pass started, Shiotani was busy working in the film Blood-C: The Last Dark. As soon as his work with the film ended, Shiotani focused on the series' quality but 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 thus made by an outside team which is reflected in the several animation issues they had.[2] In response to this, the producer of the episode noted that while he expected issues he worked in to make it the best he could. Shiotani apologized for the episode's quality too.[3] While the original team managed to continue working from episode 19 until the final, they decided to remake episodes 17 and 18 for their retail release.[2]

Design[edit]

When hearing the comments from The Pet Girl of Sakurasou's director Atsuko Ishizuka regarding how the characters were designed first, Shiotani realized it was the opposite for them. They had to create the setting first and then continue with the characters as they "are almost being played by the world." As a result, the cast was designed by manga artist Akira Amano in order to make them balance with the dark atmosphere by having them "palatable and very relate-able." The staff also avoided using bright colors that would stand out.[4] 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. Her growth in the series from an innocent rookie to a mature and haunted person was one of the staff's main objectives.[2]

In the making of the series Motohiro allowed very graphic elements even though they could reduce female viewership. He acknowledges that the series may be too violent for a younger demographic, commenting that he would not want his son to watch it due to its being psychologically brutal.[1] He added that the team did not want to make a violent series but instead "artistic series that just happened to have some violence included in it." In regards to the amount of violence, Shiotani commented Urobuchi "just let us deal with it." While some of these violent scenes were done off camera, whenever a protagonist was involved, the moment was developed to be memorable. In two occasions the team had to remake a scene due to complaints by the TV station that they went "overboard."[2]

When creating the Psycho-Pass anime, Motohiro wanted the series to counter current anime trends. As a result, the use of moe was prohibited within the staff. This was because the staff appreciated dramas like Mobile Suit Gundam and Patlabor that focused 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 have Kogami do it. Nevertheless, the show attracted a female viewer since the conflict between the male characters appeared to attract the shonen ai genre.[4] Although Shiotani also wanted the series to be "anti-BL", he believes the fight scenes between male characters unintentionally attracted more female fans.[4] The staff also decided to focus on more friendship rather than romantical relationships.[2]

Influences[edit]

The series was inspired by several Western films, most notably L.A. Confidential.[5] Director Naoyoshi Shiotani cited several other influences including Minority Report, Gataca, Brazil and Blade Runner with Blade Runner being noted of sharing several similarities with the anime series.[4] The psychological themes were based on the time he watched Lupin III during his childhood as he thought about adding "today's youth trauma" to the series.[1] The rivalry between its main characters has been based on the several dramas the staff liked.[4] Other involved voice actors have also been credited in the making of the series due to how they added traits to the characters.[1]

Themes[edit]

Psycho-Pass explores many societal and psychological themes, such as the price of living without stress, as the majority of the Japanese society in Psycho-Pass does not experience much stress. According to Moar Powah!, the "serenity from the system and from a 'removal of stress' or a removal of any ambition results in the vegetable states people enter from abuse of the psycho-therapy".[6] Since those who think of doing anything that could cause other stress are quickly punished by the Sibyl System, the concept of punishing someone because they have the potential to do something considered wrong is explored multiple times. Questioning if punishing someone for having potential to do what society considers to be bad is explored in the first episode where a woman is raped and due to her trauma, her Psycho-Pass is raised and the police prepare to kill her for it. In response, the woman reacts violently against the police with only Akane's intervention saving her. As Anime News Network states, "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".[7]

The theme of emotional repression is also heavily present in Psycho-Pass. The judgment of who is a latent criminal is shown to be partially based around not feeling emotions that society judges as negative, such as sadness or anger. To avoid being judged a latent criminal, one must not feel these emotions heavily when outside where their Psycho-Pass can be scanned. Kotaku states that "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."[8] Many of the main characters in Psycho-Pass also 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".[7]

Media[edit]

Anime[edit]

The anime series produced by Production I.G. aired in Japan on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 12, 2012 and March 22, 2013.[9][10] The series is directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani, written by Gen Urobuchi and features character designs by manga artist Akira Amano.[11] Toho started collecting the series in DVD and Blu-ray format on December 21, 2012 and finished the release with the eighth volume on July 26, 2013.[12][13] Funimation has licensed the series in North America and simulcasted the series on their website. A home video release is planned for Spring 2014.[14] In United Kingdom it is licensed by Manga Entertainment and in Australia by Madman Entertainment.[15][16]

In March 2013, Shiotani stated there could potentially be a second season if the show receives enough support.[17] On July 6, 2013, Production I.G. president Mitsuhisa Ishikawa revealed at Anime Expo that production has begun on a second season.[18] A new animated film was announced on September 6, 2013.[19]

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.[20] Its first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha on February 4, 2013.[21] In November 2013, it was announced 380,000 copies of the manga were shipped in Japan with a total of three volumes.[22]

CDs[edit]

Two Psycho-Pass CDs were included in the second and fifth Japanese home media release of the series.[23][24] The Psycho Pass original soundtrack was released by Sony Music Entertainment on May 29, 2013. It features fifty-five tracks composed by Yugo Kanno.[25] A two volume drama CD known as 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.[26][27]

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.[28][29] Shiotani noted that the novels were more violent than the television series.[4] 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 previously worked on the television series. Before the novel was released, it was first published on the "Noitamina Novel" page on Noitamina's official site. The novel was released on February 4, 2013.[30]

Video game[edit]

A videogame adaptation of Psycho-Pass developed by Nitroplus Staffers titled Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass was announced (Nitroplus clarified that the studio as a company is not involved in the Psycho-Pass Blu-ray Disc Games; however, individual staffers are involved in the development).[31] The game's episodes are Visual novels and were included in the first copies of the eight blu-ray discs volumes of the anime. The game tells original spin-off stories about the characters of Psycho-Pass using a super deformed style and fully voiced dialogues by the original cast of the anime series.

The game can be played on game consoles with blu-ray drives, as well as on standard blu-ray recorders and players.[32]

Reception[edit]

The series has been 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 noted that its violent scenes were so gruesome they might often scare viewers. The animation was also criticized by Silverman due to the dark lightning which might sometimes make it hard to understand it.[7][33] Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis called it a "compelling cyberpunk mystery" praising the society depicted and all the series of murders orchestrated by Shogo Makishima. However, he still criticized the use of advanced technology which made him compare it with other sci-fi films despite noting it handled the themes far better whereas Makishima's immunity to it was felt unexplained.[8] Certain episodes have been referred as "filler" due to how they are used as build up to the more climatic ones.[7][34]

Thomas Zoth from Then Fandom Post praised the focus on the relationships between the protagonists as well as the development from these.[35] He also enjoyed the series' climatic action scenes between Kogami and Makishima as well as the scenes portraying the status quo. The sixteenth episode has been particularly called "Urobuchi's masterpiece."[36][37] Silverman commented on the parallelism between Akane's and Kogami's development which resulted in an ambiguous ending which should be decided by the viewers whether it is hopeful or hopeless based on the revelations across the story.[33]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Psycho-Pass Chief Director: Word 'Moe' Is Banned Among Staff". Anime News Network. October 11, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Media Q&A with Executive Director Katsuyuki Motohiro, Director Naoyoshi Shiotani and Producer Joji Wada (of "PSYCHO-PASS") by Dennis A. Amith and Michelle Tymon (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)". J!-Entoline.com. May 7, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ Green, Scott (October 5, 2012). "Urobuchi Supports "PSYCHO-PASS" Director On Twitter SPOILER ALERT". Crunchyroll. Retrieved February 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Directors's Panel with Katsuyuki Motohiro, Naoyoshi Shiotani, and Atsuko Ishizuka". Anime News Network. March 30, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Interview: George Wada, Producer of Attack on Titan". Anime News Network. July 23, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ Inverseman (30 March 2013). "Review: Psycho-Pass". Moar Powah!. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Review: Psycho-Pass Episodes 1 - 11 Streaming". Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b Eisenbeis, Richard (January 8, 2013). "Psycho Pass is a Compelling Cyberpunk Mystery (And It’s Only Half Done)". Kotaku. Kotaku. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  9. ^ "第1話「犯罪係数」" (in Japanese). Production I.G. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "第22話「完璧な世界」" (in Japanese). Production I.G. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Psycho-pass Anime Series Coming to Noitamina in October". Anime News Network. March 30, 2012. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Blu-ray & DVD". TVアニメ「PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス」 (in Japanese). Psycho-Pass. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Blu-ray & DVD". TVアニメ「PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス」 (in Japanese). Psycho-Pass. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Funimation Streams Code:Breaker, Kamisama Kiss, Jormungand, Psycho-Pass, Robotics;Notes, Oniai". Anime News Network. October 9, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Madman Acquires Attack On Titan" (Press release). Anime News Network. July 30, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Manga UK Licenses Live-Action Hentai Kamen Film". Anime News Network. October 29, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Funimation Confirms Psycho Pass home video release". Anime News Network. March 30, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ "I.G Head: 2nd Psycho-Pass Anime Season Is Underway". Anime News Network. July 6, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Psycho-Pass Anime Gets New Film Along With 2nd Season". Anime News Network. September 6, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013. 
  20. ^ "I.G & Urobuchi's Psycho-Pass Sci-Fi Anime Inspires Manga". Anime News Network. October 2, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  21. ^ "監視官 常守朱 1" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Psycho-Pass Manga About Akane Has 380,000 Copies in Print". Anime News Network. November 3, 2013. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Blu-ray & DVD Series Volume 2". Psycho Pass (in Japanese). Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Blu-ray & DVD Series Volume 5". Psycho Pass (in Japanese). Retrieved January 8, 2013. 
  25. ^ ""PSYCHO-PASS" Complete Original Soundtrack". CDJapan. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Drama CD "PSYCHO-PASS (Anime)" Zero Namae no Nai Kaibutsu First Part". CDJapan. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Drama CD "PSYCHO-PASS (Anime)" Zero Namae no Nai Kaibutsu Last Part Regular Edition". CDJapan. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  28. ^ "PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス (上) 通常版" (in Japanese). Psycho Pass. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  29. ^ "PSYCHO-PASS サイコパス (下) 通常版" (in Japanese). Psycho Pass. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  30. ^ "「標本事件」とは何だったのか? 『サイコパス』スピンオフ小説が、ノイタミナノベル先行掲載決定" (in Japanese). Anime Anime. January 13, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Nitro+: Not Involved in Blu-ray Visual Novels, But Our Staffers Are - News". Anime News Network. July 2, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Psycho-Pass Blu-rays to Include Mini-Adventure Games - Interest". Anime News Network. July 2, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b "Psycho-Pass episodes 12 - 22 Streaming". Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Psycho-Pass Episode #15 Anime Review". The Fandom Post. February 7, 2013. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  35. ^ "Psycho-Pass Episode #13 Anime Review". The Fandom Post. January 22, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Psycho-Pass Episode #21 – 22 Anime Review". The Fandom Post. March 21, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Psycho-Pass Episode #16 Anime Review". The Fandom Post. February 12, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]