PSYCHO-PASS Ep. 10: Into the urban jungle

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So why do you guys think this episode is subtitled “Methuselah’s Game?” Methuselah is a biblical figure who’s notorious for having lived to an incredibly old age. I think over 900 or some ridiculous number like that. Who’s our Methuselah though? Is it Senguji, who’s now more cyborg than man? After all, in last week’s episode, he expressed his desire to achieve immortality should cybernetics ever manage to “cyberize” a person’s brain. But how does hunting human prey figure into the picture? Is it the fact that our game is rather anachronistic, with a hunter, his dogs and “foxes” on the loose? Or is that if Senguji becomes Methuselah, i.e. immortal, the only way for him to continue feeling human is to engage in this age-old sport that should be all but extinct in a futuristic world like PSYCHO-PASS?

Plot summary: Using one of Akane’s friends as bait, Senguji leads Shinya into a trap. The cat and mouse game begins, but Senguji soon realizes that he’s being tested by Makishima. Meanwhile, Ginoza wonders if Shinya planned his escape all along, but Akane remains faithful.

Notes:

• Heh, remember when the show’s creator said he hated moe?

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Before anyone gets all huffy, I’m just joking around. This isn’t really moe, but still, you have to consider Akane’s role in this anime. What has she done to balance out her cute, ditzy personality? Nothing thus far.

• Hm, it’s Christmas Eve in the anime. I wonder if this will have any relevance.

• Akane and Shinya end up in a deserted, rundown portion of the city full of defunct streetlights, rusted signs, flooded roads, abandoned buildings, etc. It’s curious that such a “ghost town” could exist so nearby that you could just get on the freeway to reach it. And why is it completely deserted? Not even a hobo or anything? What happened here? Why did the city abandon it? Why did the citizens follow suit?

As a bit of an aside, these questions aren’t criticism from me; these questions are just examples of me thinking about the anime’s setting. This is the sort of understated world-building that I actually like. I hate it when the world-building becomes the actual focal point of a scene. That’s when world-building bores the piss out of me. In this scene, Akane and Shinya are here on a mission, so there’s a purpose to the narrative even with the world-building. What I notice in a lot of shows where the world-building takes over is that the narrative becomes aimless.

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• But we know that our current villain — the weirdo cyborg and not Makishima — is some sort of self-proclaimed expert hunter. Shinya says, “It’s definitely strange. There’s no doubt that this is a trap.” So now the deserted cityscape isn’t just that; it’s an urban jungle for our latest hunter and his game.

• I’m not so sure I buy Shinya’s plan. Like any silly horror story, the pair split up: “If we both get taken out, who’s gonna call for help.” Well, you don’t even know if you’re outnumbered or not. If anything, splitting up could mean it’s easier for both of you to get taken out.

On a bit of a related note, you have to start wondering now if Akane has had any extensive combat training. Oh sure, she can fire a Dominator, but who can’t? She never gets to do any of the dangerous shit with Shinya as though he has no confidence in her to hold her own. Instead, she gets to sit back and play the secretary navigator.

• Hijacking the signal and impersonating Akane is a bit of a neat trick, but it ties into our larger theme of simulacra. We, as in the audience, know that this isn’t the real Akane. So we can easily pick up on voice’s unnatural inflection. I mean, it sounds like her, but it’s lacking something that defines Akane, doesn’t it? But why doesn’t Shinya recognize this then? Especially when we just saw last week how he studied under some great criminal profiler who can instantly discern your life’s history from just observing and listening to you. But again, the fact that I’m asking these questions doesn’t necessarily mean I’m criticizing the anime. I said this ties into the idea of simulacra; Shinya isn’t really all that close to Akane, so he doesn’t initially* recognize that there’s something wrong in how she sounds.

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*He concludes later that it’s a fake, but it’s well beyond the point of no return.

• And now we have a bizarre underground railroad and a train that still has power. This seems like the sort of thing someone should notice, but maybe the bureaucracy is such a mess that no one seems to care that power is being used in some defunct portion of the city.

• According to Yayoi, this place has been repeatedly developed so this is why Akane’s map didn’t match up with what Shinya experienced… but this place looks like it has been abandoned for years. Ergo, the software failed to account for a redevelopment that happened years ago? I’m afraid I don’t think this makes much sense.

• All of a sudden, Ginoza wonders if Shinya staged all of this to escape the clutches of the MWPSB. First of all, for someone who relies mostly on data and logic, this seems like a dumb reach for him. Second, it just makes no sense, especially for such an experienced investigator like himself. Gee, I’ve worked with Shinya before. These days, he’s obsessed about avenging his ex-partner by hunting down this illusive Makishima. Yeah, sure, he’d definitely run away from the MWPSB and all their fancy detective equipment to become a renegade. That makes much more sense!

Anyway, it just feels like they wanted Ginoza to be a dick for no reason.

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• From Shinya’s discussion with Yuki, we at least know he respects Akane. We also learn that Yuki didn’t take Akane’s concerns very seriously, which is worth thinking about. The girl seems surprised to learn that Akane’s job can be so dangerous. It’s not just “Oh, Akane is such a silly girl, so I don’t take her seriously.” I mean, Akane joined the fucking police force. That’s serious stuff, isn’t it? But that’s true from our world. In our world, we know cops have to fight drug dealers, serial killers, themselves, etc. Perhaps the perception of the occupation is drastically different in the world of PSYCHO-PASS. Let’s say Yuki is a reflection of the larger society as a whole: is there a perception out there that the MWPSB doesn’t have to do much? Is this perception by design or incidental?

• I mentioned the term “urban jungle” earlier, and I still think the description is apt. Shinya comes across what looks like a giant mousetrap, so he remarks, “Even their traps are anachronistic.” It’s worth keeping a couple things in mind though. First, let’s recall Makishima’s discussion about “serenity.” The city is really about doing anything possible to maintain this aura of peace, so much so that some of the city’s inhabitants fall into a coma-like state. Senguji, however, combats this by hunting humans as prey. He also hunted Oryo by having Makishima lead the poor girl underground. So think of our “urban jungle” as Senguji’s attempt to force upon his victims the vicious state of nature outside of society’s bubble. Here, he can force his victims to feel emotions beyond mere serenity so that when he kills them, he feeds upon their emotions, whatever they may be. Does Senguji play this game, however, because he’s made himself less than human?

It’s just apt if you think about what — rather than who — Senguji is: he’s more machine now than man. If we think back to last week’s discussion, remember that our buddy Senguji is a hypocrite. Our villain believes that it makes no difference if our bodies are replaced by machines, but at the same time, he can’t satisfy himself with hunting a mere simulation. He has to hunt “the real thing.” But what is the real thing? It’s not as though he goes into the actual city to kill people. First off, it would be stupid because he has a higher chance of getting caught that way. But secondly — and on a metaphorical level — if he hunts in the actual city, he’d just be hunting “machines” when he would rather hunt animals.

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Again, the discussion from last week revealed how he believes mankind has allowed machines to replace a large portion of their daily lives. The inhabitants in PSYCHO-PASS rely upon all sorts of machines, computers and AI to determine how to dress, what to eat, how to drive, etc. When you factor in the whole serenity angle, it’s clear that we have “machines” everywhere. Senguji is a machine because he’s replaced his human body with cybernetics. The rest of society’s inhabitants, however, are also “machines” in some sense because their lives are so automated by the System. Even if we see them as human beings, hunting them would be a mere simulation for Senguji. He thus has to remove his targets from the system and place them into the urban jungle. This way, they become not just human again, but animals again (humans are animals, after all) for him to hunt.

But both the OP and the anime itself has hinted over and over that Shinya is more animal than human. Senguji isn’t merely hunting someone who’s forced out of their protective bubble — like Neo emerging from his imprisonment and goes into total shock when he sees the “actual” state of the world. Rather, Shinya has always been an animal ever since his ex-partner died.

• Yuki’s stupid in a way that doesn’t make much sense. Right, I’m trapped in some underground maze, it’s dark, and it’s scary. I mean, there are literally dangerous traps everywhere. But hey, a bag full of supplies! It’s even illuminated in a “HAY GUYZ GO GRAB THIS” sort of way. I mean, you could say, “Maybe the girl’s just stupid,” but it’s stupid in a confounding sense. She’s so stupid that she falls for the most obvious trap. It just seems like lazy writing to force something to happen.

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• Oh, I should mention what Senguji and his night-vision goggles kind of remind me of: The Silence of the Lambs. And it’s not just the fact that our hero is being hunted by a killer who can see in the dark. The villain here wants to transcend his body, so he turns himself into a cyborg. In The Silence of the Lambs, the killer coveted his victims’ skin and wanted to become a woman (it’s been a while so I’m sure I’m leaving out a subtle detail). I’m not saying Senguji or this arc is directly inspired by The Silence of the Lamb or anything, but I found it an interesting comparison.

• It’s clear that although Senguji relishes in other people’s fear, he’s rarely rattled himself. So Makishima turns the tables on him. What can our cyborg feel now that he’s also in great danger? Or rather, how can our cyborg feel?

• I wish Makishima wouldn’t say cheesy shit though, like “Will you understand the meaning of this game?” It’s doubly cheesy because the anime goes and explains the obvious yet again: Shinya can win easily if he ditches Yuki. But will he? Probably not. He’s the good guy. Thus, his true nature is “revealed.”

• Are you serious? Shinya just knew that there was something off about Yuki’s underwear?

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• Remember how Shinya brought up Akane’s faith when Yuki asked about her performance as an investigator? Obviously, he didn’t mean her faith in the almighty. But faith in what? He says, “She intuitively understands what it means to be a detective,” so you might think faith in the traditional method of sleuthing. But really, it’s clear that she has faith in Shinya, and that’s what he likes. She gives him a pretty long leash (or perhaps none), and he’s allowed to do whatever he wants basically. With Ginoza just straight up shit-talking Akane for trusting Shinya so much, now it’s time for Akane to have faith in his character.

But again, she doesn’t do much of anything this episode. And once more, Ginoza being a dick for no reason other than to introduce conflict.

• Who didn’t laugh at this:

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I mean, c’mon, let Akane do something other than make silly faces. Maybe next week, the anime says.

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38 thoughts on “PSYCHO-PASS Ep. 10: Into the urban jungle

  1. illegenes

    Is it just me, or was it really dark in most scenes so I couldn’t actually figure out the landscape of the ‘maze’? I only watched this through Funimation though, so the encoding might have been horrible. But it was annoying because in one second Shinya would be covering Yuki and the next moment he was going all Batman and avoiding shots and robot dogs easily and getting the battery and I’d only be able to see certain scenes while others were really hard to see/figure out.

    I’m still enraged that Akane doesn’t play as much of a major role as she should in this show, and I’m also really confused as to how Ginoza suddenly became a massive asshole toward Akane (it might have been because of that entire argument last week but still his change in demeanor was waaaaay too unsubtle and dramatic for something like that). Hopefully our team will actually play out like a team next week instead of Shinya doing most of the work? I don’t know.

    Also, nice pick up on the Silence of the Lambs part. It’s interesting that you note that allusion, because I originally came into the show thinking that it would be a sort of Silence of the Lamb remake; Akane as the glistening-eyed, “justice” seeking warrior, and Makishima’s attempts to show her the grim reality of society around her. I guess we kind of got a weak remake of the Red John arc in the Mentalist instead.

    Reply
    1. joshspeagle

      I found the lighting to be a bit on the “too dark” side as well (I also watched it through Funimation), but I think I managed to make out most of the scenes. Similarly, I’m also confused about Ginoza – his suddenly unleashed rage towards Shinya and Akane seems way overboard, even throwing in possible bitterness over last week’s incident. But I dunno – maybe he’s just a massive prick at heart? :/

      And I’m definitely waiting to see more teamwork as well – so far the show’s focused a lot of Shinya, Akane, and partially on Ginoza. It’d be nice to see the supporting cast fleshed out a little more, and for Akane to start stepping it up a notch!

      Reply
    2. E Minor Post author

      Is it just me, or was it really dark in most scenes

      Yeah, it was pretty dark, but I don’t think there was much to see in the sewers anyway.

      it might have been because of that entire argument last week but still his change in demeanor was waaaaay too unsubtle and dramatic for something like that

      Yeah, I agree. He seems almost cruel rather than someone who just has a different viewpoint. I mean, I expect someone like him to stick to protocol, but his reaching here felt very… emotional.

      Reply
  2. Ryan R

    I think that Akane is the Kaname Madoka of this show, for good and for ill. Just like Madoka spent most of PMMM on the side-lines, providing (at best) moral support for the people actually doing stuff (i.e. Mami, Sayaka, Kyouko), I fear that Akane is in the same boat here.

    The good news is that Madoka ultimately had some BIG moments in the final episodes, and I expect that Akane will be similarly hugely pivotal in the end of Psycho-Pass.

    Reply
  3. s2012k1993

    I can see how the next episode is going to pan out. Senguji claims to have shed the serenity PP society is lulled into by transcending into an expert hunter that demands a constant thrill. Ironically, he just moved from one state of serenity into another. How is this explained? When placed into a situation when his death might be certain, he regresses to his human fear of death, just like his prey. On the other hand, we have Shinya who has truly transcended serenity. His calm analysis skills, even in situations when our instinctual fear of death kicks in, indicate that this situation is no different to him from any other situation in his life. Whereas Shinya constantly lives as if the next moment can be his last moment, society and Senguji rely on serenity and cybernetics respectively to not acknowledge the possibility of their death at any given moment. Shinya lives in a constant state of looking towards his death (after all, the dominator can kill him whenever), whereas the rest only come to fear death when directly confronted with it, thus indicating the serenity of their life.

    You have mentioned Senguji’s hypocrisy when it comes to simulacra. Another aspect of his hypocrisy comes from his need to experience the thrill of the hunt as opposed just remembering it. This represents a problem on two levels. (1) He’s already hunted Oryo, so why does he need to hunt Shinya? Is he hoping to get ‘more’ thrill with each hunt? Doesn’t that imply that what he’s really looking for is someone to beat him? But then he can’t hunt anymore. (2) If he hunts because he believes that the thrill of the hunt will give him youth, then he must believe that the memory of the hunt alone cannot give him the youth he craves for. But this doesn’t seem very human-like. CogSci studies show that we tend to want to experience things, so we can form memories of them, not to just experience them. Our cyborg seems to be exhibiting his machine-like qualities though he claims to still remain human.

    Lastly, I have to defend Ginoza from your assaults. We have already been shown that Ginoza’s behavior manifests from his constant trying to distinguish himself from latent criminals: his father and Shinya. His outburst facilitates an additional benefit: he gets a chance to take revenge for Akane’s outburst in the previous episode.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      He’s already hunted Oryo, so why does he need to hunt Shinya?

      I don’t understand the problem here. Maybe it’s like a drug for him and he needs a new high.

      If he hunts because he believes that the thrill of the hunt will give him youth, then he must believe that the memory of the hunt alone cannot give him the youth he craves for. … CogSci studies show that we tend to want to experience things, so we can form memories of them, not to just experience them.

      Again, I don’t understand what you mean here. Few people will say that the memory of an experience alone is enough. If I had awesome sex, it stands to reason that I want to experience that awesome sex again. Sure, the memory of that awesome sex is great, but I’m not going to say, “Yeah well, I don’t need awesome sex again. I can just remember it.”

      Reply
      1. s2012k1993

        I don’t think Senguji will be flattered with your comparison of his hunt with a drug, but I think your example furthers my argument. My first point reflects Senguji’s loss of agency: the conclict between his belief that humans are mere machines in society (the hunt is to wake them up to their real nature) and his need for a greater thrill with each hunt.

        I probably should have been a bit clearer with my second point. Studies show that people rate experiences in correlation with how well they remember them. I’m not directly talking about the repetition of experiences, but extrapolating, hopefully correctly, whether one remembers an experience with one’s repetition of that experience. If Senguji claims to still have agency (hunting is not a drug for him), then he must cherish that experience as opposed to overwriting it with another similar experience. My reasoning may be a bit shaky, so let me engage with your example. If I have awesome sex, I would seek to preserve that experience in my mind forever. If I not just crave, but take part in another episode of awesome sex, wouldn’t I be replacing my previous episode with this one? Would it really be that awesome if I choose to repeat it. Of course, an implicit assumption is that sex isn’t different from one episode to another… More importantly, Senguji’s hunt doesn’t seem that different from his previous hunt: he still uses his mechanized dogs, his rifle and the setting of a urban jungle. Thus, I claim he doesn’t strive to cherish his previous hunt (I know he makes use of Oryo’s bones, but the point still remains), because he wishes to replace it with this hunt. This argument is really much more intuitive for me than being strictly logical.

        Reply
  4. Foxy Lady Ayame

    although I usually rant about Akane (with her character design screaming “I’m a dumb lil virgin”), I’ll have to say that it’s not like she has done NOTHING. yes, there aren’t many things she’s done, but she DID do things, like shoot Shinya, stand for herself when Ginoza humiliated her in front of her collegues, and she doesn’t comply with the system, rather co-operates with Shinya to learn new things. That said, i hope she does get more active.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Of course when I say she’s done nothing, I don’t mean literally nothing. The word ‘nothing’ is tossed around for hyperbolic effect. Still, the point stands that she could do much more as a main character.

      Reply
  5. Adamar

    It didn’t bother me watching the episode, but it came up reading this. Senguji is a cyborg, his eyes are mechanical. Wouldn’t it make sense for some kind of light amplification to be built in?

    Reply
  6. Himitsuhanazono

    The part on The Silence of the Lambs: haha so true! From what I recall the villain’s wish to transform into a woman is closely associated with the motif of a moth. Hmmm interesting…nature (moth) v.s. transhumanism (cyborg)?

    Reply
  7. etery-chan

    You guys should have watched Commie’s release. The color is mainly black too, but I don’t have problem seeing the background and sewer scenery at all. That’s why I didn’t think of that goggles as night vision goggles. I thought it was just a helper in identifying his target…
    Anyway, how come we don’t get to see naked Shinya this week! Instead we get moe Akane squirming around in her sleep and fell off the bed.
    Are you serious? Shinya just knew that there was something off about Yuki’s underwear?
    Isn’t it because the color of her bra and panties are different? And the girl’s surprised reaction showed that they are not supposed to be? Basing on that, he guessed that our hentai villain has fiddled around with her while she’s unconscious. And it turned out that Makishima (?) indeed placed a ‘key’ in there. What if Shinya unable to find anything on her bra? He would say, “Take off your panties too.” :-D
    Akane-chan will be crying then.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      You guys should have watched Commie’s release.

      Ain’t nobody got time to wait for Commie!

      Isn’t it because the color of her bra and panties are different?

      He told her to take off her negligee first, so unless he could see through it anyway, I don’t really see his logical process. Plus, why didn’t he just explain it to her to begin with if he knew? Like, “Say, you don’t often wear unmatching underwear right?” instead of just “TAKE OFF YOUR UNDERWEAR OR WE DIE.”

      Reply
      1. Anca

        Because it was a stressful situation and he probably didn’t think of that?
        Or because they needed to fill the show with some non-fillerish filler to time that cliffhanger just right?

        Reply
  8. CSRae (@CSrae)

    >>She never gets to do any of the dangerous shit with Shinya as though he has no confidence in her to hold her own. Instead, she gets to sit back and play the secretary navigator.

    I was hoping she’d play a major role soon after she stood up to Ginoza, but so far nothing new. I’d expect her to some kind of useful skill since she was placed top in her class orz.

    >> Anyway, it just feels like they wanted Ginoza to be a dick for no reason.
    Seems to be the running trend here ;x

    >> Let’s say Yuki is a reflection of the larger society as a whole: is there a perception out there that the MWPSB doesn’t have to do much? Is this perception by design or incidental?

    I was under the impression most of the P-P police were fairly secretive about their missions. I guess, unless you happened to work there there isn’t much info the to the general public for security reasons.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I’d expect her to some kind of useful skill since she was placed top in her class orz.

      Apparently the top of her babysitting class. Even Michael Scott has more to do than Akane does.

      Reply
  9. Anca

    That piece of worldbuilding with the city actually WAS in your face – they mentioned the Ginza Line being abandoned ages ago. I took note because it also gets abandoned in a couple of games I played (well, Shin Megami Tensei), so I can only imagine that it’s an important landmark for a Japanese viewer. The point you made, the show basically threw it in your face, but in the oblique way it likes to – consider the last episodes when you understood what the show wanted to say with certain scenes, but many others didn’t because the lacked the necessary prerequisite concepts, so it explained those scenes – again in an oblique, somewhat obscure way.

    Regarding Akane and training: I don’t think she has any. Investigators in PP aren’t like Real World investigators. In Japanese if you listen they say Kanshikan, not Sousakan. The only time I actually heard them use Sousakan was when Kougami was telling Akane about the profiling class set up for Investigators, hinting at the fact that the Sousakan -> Kanshikan change was a more recent one than we think. Well, ‘hinted at’ – they pretty much confirmed it at the end of the episode.

    Sousakan comes from ‘to investigate’, Kanshikan comes from ‘to observe’ or ‘to supervise’. Akane ISN’T an Investigator as we understand the word, and her and Ginoza’s job description really is being a baby sitter. Please keep this in mind during her scenes.

    Kougami’s psychological profile is identical to that of a murdering lunatic. The show puts the Enforcers in a positive light (for now), but we have no reason at all to believe that the Sibyl System is wrong in its judgments. Besides, Ginoza trusts the system over his own judgements – and he doesn’t trust criminals not to be treacherous, among other things.

    Senguji is still human – his brain is human. Or would you argue that someone with a heart pump is a cyborg? Or a heart pump and prosthetic legs? And mechanical eyes? And so on? Do you think you would become !human if you replaced parts of your body? Senguji’s arguments last episode was good – what are our hands if not tools evolution endowed us with to survive? We could detach them (painfully) and still survive. Phones and computers are also tools we created to extend our functionality – eventually they’ll even become ‘part of us’.

    It’s an interesting question though, what defines Senguji as human or ~human? Humans are mortal, Senguji is not, therefore Senguji is not human? But does mortality really define us, considering we already know what genetic trait causes aging and have people working on reversing it? A human is made 100% from flesh and blood, Senguji is not – ? This one is even more problematic. 50%? 80%? Where do you draw the line? Is a parasitic conjoined twin still human?

    By my own definition the fact that he still has his brain makes everything else irrelevant.

    The underwear: *I* realised that her underwear was the key about the same time Kougami did, maybe even slightly earlier. It was obvious as fuck – abandoning her would have nixed his chance to win, and therefore lost him the game. Kougami’s primary identity in this show to people besides Akane is not ‘detective’ but ‘violent potential criminal’, it would have been the ‘expected’ outcome (in a sense) to just throw her into the river.

    Long comment is long. Sorry.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      That piece of worldbuilding with the city actually WAS in your face

      It’s rather relative, isn’t it? I’m comparing the world-building here to shows that are way more explicit about it.

      the show basically threw it in your face, but in the oblique way it likes to

      So it was obliquely in your face…?

      Please keep this in mind during her scenes.

      Uh… why are you getting so worked up about this? The larger point is that she doesn’t usually do anything substantive, regardless of what her official job position is.

      but we have no reason at all to believe that the Sibyl System is wrong in its judgments.

      We have no reason to believe that it’s always right either. It also recommended that a rape victim be exterminated before changing its “mind.” There’s also the fact that you’re arresting people for crimes that have not yet occurred based off of some statistical probability calculated from a methodology that we aren’t privy to.

      Senguji is still human – his brain is human.

      This presumes that personal identity is one and the same with the brain.

      Or would you argue that someone with a heart pump is a cyborg?

      That’s not arguing in good faith. We’re talking about a guy who has replaced everything but his brain and nervous system, and you want to argue about a heart pump? C’mon. But if we want to be pedantic about it…

      “A cyborg, short for ‘cybernetic organism’, is a being with both biological and artificial (i.e. electronic, mechanical, or robotic) parts.”

      Senguji’s arguments last episode was good

      Well, I addressed it last week.

      It was obvious as fuck – abandoning her would have nixed his chance to win

      Obviously abandoning her wasn’t going to happen, but you’re telling me you knew something was hidden in her underwear?

      Reply
      1. Anca

        >So it was obliquely in your face…?

        In a way that not everyone – that most people – won’t catch. Like with Titus Andronicus last episode, where most of the non-English speaking world doesn’t even know that Shakespeare ever wrote such a play. Or this episode with the Ginza Line, where people outside of Japan (Tokyo?) might or would not be aware of it.

        >Uh… why are you getting so worked up about this?

        But… I’m not…. I wrote this long post because there were too many ideas about PP floating around in my mind, because I found the Sousakan observation interesting and relevant… that sentence just meant that it puts her actions and how the other characters react to her in a slightly different light. Sorry, I didn’t mean to sound combative.

        >We have no reason to believe that it’s always right either. It also recommended that a rape victim be exterminated before changing its “mind.” There’s also the fact that you’re arresting people for crimes that have not yet occurred based off of some statistical probability calculated from a methodology that we aren’t privy to.

        My opinion about the Sybil is that it’s a fantastic tool that’s very much misused by the people under it – it identifies those who have enough mental issues to commit a serious crime and proposes therapy. Alternatively, if the issues are too serious they’re put in an institution where they can continue practicing their hobbies. Its ‘death sentence’ modus frankly baffles me, and I suspect it was a feature implemented once the AI (I assume?) was voted into power, which was the mistakes. Being a tool it’s prone to errors in judgement, such as with the rape victim – normally the victim would have had time to cool down and reduce her PP to a non-lethal level, but given the situation she was caught in… that’s why these sort of things need human supervision. If you invent a device that diagnoses illnesses and then performs operations better than a doctor would, you don’t go and decide that it’s the new director of the hospital.

        You’re right, we don’t have reason to believe it’s right. But it being wrong was the obvious conclusion from episode 1, and given who the writer is I just assumed that there was more to it than it seemed.

        >This presumes that personal identity is one and the same with the brain.

        Personal identity IS one and the same with the brain.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2058921/Chris-Birch-stroke-Rugby-player-wakes-gay-freak-gym-accident.html

        >“A cyborg, short for ‘cybernetic organism’, is a being with both biological and artificial (i.e. electronic, mechanical, or robotic) parts.”

        Re: heart pump – “Well, it’s a matter of degree.”

        And good point. The fact that that definition is flawed aside (heart pump?), in this case I’d say that being a cyborg does not contradict him also being human. The definition of a cyborg just says that you have to have mechanical parts. What’s the definition of human? In my case it’d be ‘possessing a human brain’. How do you define human?

        >Well, I addressed it last week.

        I wanted to reply then too, but ended up being too busy at work… well, opportunity missed.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          it identifies those who have enough mental issues to commit a serious crime and proposes therapy.

          Let’s say I’ve been identified as one of those latent criminals. I haven’t yet actually committed a crime. Furthermore, I haven’t even thought about committing a crime. We know a person’s hue will go up simply because they’re stressed. It’s one thing if the System privately recommends therapy, but no, you are apprehended in public and forced to undergo therapy whether or not you feel you should. Plus, the society-at-large ostracizes anyone who has been caught. This is why when the show initially aired, I talked a bit about whether or not the System’s judgement doesn’t end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once you’ve been marked by the System, can you really return to a normal life?

          I feel the chances are too high that innocent people suffer as a result of an aggressive system coupled with people’s tendency to jump to conclusions and get too worked up about “criminals.” How does that saying go? “Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer?” Where do we draw the line? Is it okay to sacrifice one person to apprehend a thousand guilty persons? Can we allow such a thing?

          Okay, so you can say that it’s a great tool that just being misused, but we also have to factor in the idea of whether or not society could ever use such a powerful tool in the correct way.

          given who the writer is I just assumed that there was more to it than it seemed.

          Well, I believe that an author’s inclinations and tendencies are ultimately external to the “text.” And so far, the story seems pretty one-sided about the Sybil System. I’m not saying that this won’t change as the story progresses though. I’ll just change my mind when I see otherwise.

          Personal identity IS one and the same with the brain.

          I don’t know what cause this man to change his identity, but this case seems pretty extreme and anecdotal. It’s an interesting datum, but just one in an extensive debate regarding personal identity. In any case, the idea that we are one and the same with the brain is often referred to as the psychological approach, and it is not without objections. Here’s one:

          “Whatever psychological continuity may amount to, a more serious worry for the Psychological Approach is that you could be psychologically continuous with two past or future people at once. If your cerebrum—the upper part of the brain largely responsible for mental features—were transplanted, the recipient would be psychologically continuous with you by anyone’s lights (even if there would also be important psychological differences). The Psychological Approach implies that she would be you. If we destroyed one of your cerebral hemispheres, the resulting being would also be psychologically continuous with you. (Hemispherectomy—even the removal of the left hemisphere, which controls speech—is considered a drastic but acceptable treatment for otherwise-inoperable brain tumors: see Rigterink 1980.) What if we did both at once, destroying one hemisphere and transplanting the other? Then too, the one who got the transplanted hemisphere would be psychologically continuous with you, and according to the Psychological Approach would be you.

          But now suppose that both hemispheres are transplanted, each into a different empty head. (We needn’t pretend, as some authors do, that the hemispheres are exactly alike.) The two recipients—call them Lefty and Righty—will each be psychologically continuous with you. The Psychological Approach as I have stated it implies that any future being who is psychologically continuous with you must be you. It follows that you are Lefty and also that you are Righty. But that cannot be: Lefty and Righty are two, and one thing cannot be numerically identical with two things. Suppose Lefty is hungry at a time when Righty isn’t. If you are Lefty, you are hungry at that time. If you are Righty, you aren’t. If you are Lefty and Righty, you are both hungry and not hungry at once: a contradiction.”

          in this case I’d say that being a cyborg does not contradict him also being human.

          Maybe.

          In my case it’d be ‘possessing a human brain’. How do you define human?

          I don’t know. Intuitively, most of us would agree with you, but there are compelling arguments on the other side of the fence too. Regardless of my personal views on the matter, however, I’m more interested in how the anime frames the particular debate. With Senguji, it’s not a binary thing, i.e. he’s either human or he isn’t. Of course, he is, at the very least, somewhat human. He wouldn’t hunt his victims if the thrill of the hunt doesn’t somehow imply that there’s some human in him, even if it’s the sick and twisted aspect of humanity. Still, the more important question is how human is he really? Yes, he’s partly human, but it also makes sense to say he’s been dehumanized to some extent. What extent is that? Has he gone past some forbidden line? Is that the problem with cyberization? — that it dehumanizes us too much?

        2. Anca

          Thanks for the reply!

          Thing is, we don’t actually have any concrete indicators that stress alone, unless it’s severe and sustained over a long period of time (the bully victim), can affect your crime coefficient to such a degree. Quite the opposite: Ginoza seemed plenty stressed often enough. Akane too, but that’s another argument I’m too late to the party to get into.

          There’s also the fact that your hue isn’t the same as your crime coefficient. The hue check is akin to something like one of those thingies you strap on your arm to measure your blood pressure. A high blood pressure might indicate heart problems, but your heart might also be fine, or you might have heart problems even if your blood pressure isn’t that high. The bullied guy had a cloudy hue, but not uncommonly so, enough that it made him a suspect, but not enough for it to be anything more than a hunch. We can assume that Ouryou Rikako’s hue was perfectly fine, considering she went to a boarding school full of cameras and visited the hospital often. You can only determine the crime coefficient by a checkup for which you have to ‘wait in line’ – the Dominators bypass this and can request a check on the spot. Public and personal scanners don’t. If you’re flagged by a hue check, you should ideally go to a psychologist and sort your stress out.

          The rest, the discrimination that arose from this, has nothing to do with the tool itself. I don’t know about where you live, but over here if people hear that someone is visiting a psychiatrist, hell even a psychologist they automatically assume that person is dangerous. Because humans are stupid like this.

          > If we destroyed one of your cerebral hemispheres, the resulting being would also be psychologically continuous with you.

          Ok, I revise my argument, since most of the brain actually isn’t related to personality – as long as Senguji possesses a human prefrontal cortex, I consider him human. It’s that part of the brain that controls the higher thinking function, where your personality and your ego sit.

          If you’d take the rest of the brain from someone else, as long as that bit stays intact, you perceptions – but you’d still be the same human. If you switched temporal lobe, you’d be you with different memories

          And I’m not sure what you mean by dehumanized in this context. All his actions so far have to seek pleasure, which is a very human and not at all cyborg thing to do.

        3. E Minor Post author

          We can assume that Ouryou Rikako’s hue was perfectly fine, considering she went to a boarding school full of cameras and visited the hospital often.

          Can we? I have no idea where the scanners are installed. Yes, we could assume that the hospital would or should have one, but then again, we had that one killer who managed to elude detection for years. It seems rather convenient in this anime for people to avoid being scanned, so I don’t know what to believe or assume.

          The rest, the discrimination that arose from this, has nothing to do with the tool itself.

          But it does. If we can’t trust people to use the tool properly, then the tool should not be allowed to exist. Guns don’t kill people! People kill people! Yet, we might save lives if we don’t allow people to acquire guns so easily. By that same token, the tool itself doesn’t enslave people, the dystopian government does! But can I trust any government to have such a powerful tool as the Sybil System? I don’t think so.

          It’s that part of the brain that controls the higher thinking function, where your personality and your ego sit.

          Well, as fascinating as the anatomy of the brain might be, I believe we’re straying far from the original topic, which was whether or not having a human brain and a cyborg body is necessary and sufficient for Senguji to qualify as a human. Humanity has to be defined by more than just higher level thinking. It is certainly possible that one day, we will encounter a creature with advanced cognition. Clearly, this creature is not human. So there’s another qualification to consider. Perhaps it has to be a human brain. But why? If Senguji can use an artificial brain — whatever it may be — to emulate his brain functions, everything from higher level thinking to his memories, then why would he not retain his humanity? We might nevertheless intuit otherwise. Maybe the qualification is that it has to be an organic, human brain.

          But let’s say we can transplant our brain into a dolphin body — prefrontal cortex and all. Somehow the wiring works and we don’t die. Wouldn’t we nevertheless gain several dolphin characteristics as the result of the new body? We’d swim like a dolphin, we’d eat like a dolphin, so on and so forth. Your definition of humanity necessitates that this dolphin/man hybrid still be considered a solely human when everything about this hybrid creature is dolphin except for its capacity to think like a human. You’re putting such an emphasis on the ability to think as the defining characteristics of humans. I won’t deny that our capacity to reason is one large factor in our distinctness in the animal kingdom, but I don’t believe it is the only thing that makes us human.

          The tricky thing about our current scenario is that the cyborg body parts are designed to emulate human body parts. So Senguji isn’t replacing his arms with fins. He isn’t replacing his nose with a blowhole. He’s just replacing his arms with simulations of human arms. The question, however, isn’t some esoteric “Is he arbitrarily human or is he not?” but whether or not the body contributes to our consciousness more than we’d like to admit. And to replace that body with a mere simulation… or perhaps a simulacrum, that’s the troubling nature of Senguji’s cyberization. For instance, let’s just say the problem is in the other direction. After all, Senguji thinks it’s ideal that we undergo cyberization. The simulation then becomes hyperreal: it redefines what it means to be the best human, i.e. the best human uses technology to transcend whatever barriers were previously in place as a result of our organic bodies. But then what does that say about people who resist cyberization? Are they inferior humans?

          All his actions so far have to seek pleasure, which is a very human and not at all cyborg thing to do.

          How do we know what cyborgs want? On a related note, animals too desire pleasure. Pleasure is not limited to just humans. The thrill of the hunt is something my cat enjoys even if it’ll never catch the laser!

        4. joshspeagle

          “Personal identity IS one and the same with the brain.”

          I would also have to contend with this a little bit. Let’s say our personal identity (I’ll also use personality, because they are similar concepts) does rest in our brain. But our brain is ultimately connected to (and part of) our body, and the effects our body exerts on our brain should be noted. Our personality changes due to interactions between the brain and the body, as well as our environment – we see ourselves differently and act differently depending on the situation. There is a feedback loop of some sort going on, and changes at every level (brain, “body”, or environment) affect it. Excluding environmental effects (saying that all the different perceptions and reactions can just be grouped into one meta-“you), changes in our bodies still affect us – if you switched out body parts with mechanized ones, something about the way you see yourself and the way you act (personality) might change, even though it’s ultimately “housed” in the brain. So I’d like to argue personality/personal identity is housed in the body as a whole, rather than just the brain. Under this sort of reasoning, you could feasibly see someone losing something “human” when they give up their external “body” entirely in place for a machine, versus just “augmenting” their bodies with machines (although in that case they might lose/gain something too). It’s this sort of thing (I think) that leads to many cyberpunk-esque discussions about humanity and technology in this vein.

  10. AidanAK47

    While I felt Ginoza was just being a dick for dicks sake(Gen isn’t exactly one for strong characters) I don’t find Shinya running away from the MWPSB to be as ridiculous as you make it sound. Sure it has detective gadgets but he’s pretty much a prisoner there and has to use the equipment for current cases. This makes his chase after Makishimamuch more difficult. Were as removed from the MWPSB he can use the classic routes of detective work and hunt down his tracks without distractions and have free reign.

    The first bag wasn’t booby trapped. I say it’s not a far fetch to assume the second wouldn’t be as well. Plus shes a civilian, in a dangerous place, with no experience in anything related to the situation. Stupid mistakes happen.

    As for the underwear, well she had to be there for a reason and the only thing she had on her at the time was her underwear. To be honest I came to the conclusion too that she probably had a part hidden on her as well when he mentioned the missing communicator parts.

    I often find this with your posts. You tend to make complaints without thinking them through. But that last scene was pretty stupid looking. Didn’t really fit the anime at all. That’s the kind of shot you would find in those old anime shows.

    Reply
  11. Roghek

    I liked this episode.
    One thing I want to figure out is who is, if there is just one, the main main character. The fact that the series started with Akane’s first day at work must mean something more. I get the feeling half of the series will be about building her character and the rest might be the “real” story. But this is just speculation.

    Watching how Makishima is testing Shinya is interesting too. If he was either a coward or selfish he would have died, also if he lacked the ability he would die too and we as the audience get to know him better, we got to know some of his characteristics and even his opinion about the system and Akane I didn’t notice very long dialogue, so if it was there it was well disguised.

    Well done psycho-pass,next time let us know more about Ginoza without making him look like a complete jerk, a little is fine, too much is offensive.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      One thing I want to figure out is who is, if there is just one, the main main character.

      I believe the main character of any story should be the character with an actual arc to his or her development. So far, no one has really changed per se. But between Akane and Shinya, I’d have to say that the latter is better positioned to have a character arc. That doesn’t mean that Akane won’t. In fact, stories can multiple characters with arcs to their development. Such a thing would be great! But the reason why some commenters and I balk at Akane’s portrayal every week is that we fail to recognize even the budding stages of her potential growth. On the other hand, Shinya’s seen as this savage animal who can snap at any moment! But it’s clear that there’s a nicer, softer side to him that Akane just has to reach.

      Reply
      1. Roghek

        Well I’m sure Shinya will have a character arc, but I’m pretty sure Akane has no lesser importance. The radon why I think this way is because Shinya already had an arc or development off screen.

        In fact, one of his roles seems to be a foreshadow of what might happen to Akane in the future. He was capable of dirtying his hands to avenge his friend and Akane might just find herself facing the same decision.
        Another thing I feel we’re hinted, is the fact that Shinya is absolutely capable of freeing his psycho-pass of he wanted to yet he chooses not to, and I’m not saying this is a conscious decision. Whether circumstances change and he it’s unable to return, which seems to be the case, remains to be seen.

        But all this seems to be more on the cause and effect. Shinya’s actions and what happens to him, mainly, well have an effect on Akane, or at last that’s what I see happening.

        Reply
  12. MAGICAL☆BIRDY

    >Yuki’s stupid in a way that doesn’t make much sense. Right, I’m trapped in some underground maze, it’s dark, and it’s scary. I mean, there are literally dangerous traps everywhere. But hey, a bag full of supplies! It’s even illuminated in a “HAY GUYZ GO GRAB THIS” sort of way. I mean, you could say, “Maybe the girl’s just stupid,” but it’s stupid in a confounding sense. She’s so stupid that she falls for the most obvious trap. It just seems like lazy writing to force something to happen.

    I don’t know. Given that Urobuchi seems really intent on hammering in the message that a heavily moderated police state like the one in PP isn’t ideal, the scene felt more to me to demonstrate that Akane and friends are not typical of the average person in PP’s world and that an actual average everyman is so deprived of the ability to think critically that she’d fall for such an obvious trap.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I don’t think we see enough of the regular folk to really say whether or not they’re completely useless though.

      Reply
      1. MAGICAL☆BIRDY

        And the intention of this episode might be to give us some more insight as to what regular people are like. I mean, we’re being beaten in the head with dialogue from Makishima and friends about what they’re like but we’re not actually shown too many of them. When we do see them for any significant amount of time, they’re typically either isolated from the rest of society for an extended period of time(ie: the maintenance workers and the schoolgirls) or part of some fringe subculture(ie: SPOOKY BOOGIE and friends), so maybe her (and Akane’s other friend’s) role in the story is to typify the average person in the PP-verse.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          Maybe. I just can’t quite make the jump from one of Akane’s friends being dumb to the average person is also dumb.

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