Let’s hope I still remember the characters’ names.
Plot summary: A flashback episode regarding how Yayoi came to join the MWPSB as an enforcer. She used to be a Sibyl-authorized artist, but was eventually locked up when her hue became cloudy. Ginoza and a still uncorrupted Shinya then recruit Yayoi to help quell an uprising in her old haunting grounds. Yayoi initially resists joining them, but after coming face-to-face with the remnants of her youth, she decides to move on and become an enforcer after all.
• I guess it’s finally time to flesh out the side characters, and we are starting with Yayoi. I am sorta curious how she went from a rocker to having the aptitude to be an enforcer for the MWPSB.
• On a side note, the “prison” for our latent criminals raises some interesting questions. For instance, despite the fact that the walls are completely padded, one “prisoner” has banged his head on the wall for so long that his forehead is bleeding. No one really seems to care though. In fact, everyone’s left to their own devices even though the voice on the loudspeaker repeatedly encourages our latent criminals to purify their hues. It’s apparent that PSYCHO-PASS’s society pays nothing than lip service with regards to helping latent criminals. Is it a budget problem? A societal attitude problem, i.e. latent criminals can help themselves? A bit of both? This has really been a recurrent theme throughout the first half of the series. The SYSTEM seems perfect on the surface, but there are dangerous flaws hidden away from public view.
To a certain extent, this reflects our attitudes in the real world, does it not? How often do any of us think of the welfare of those currently in prison? But of course we don’t! Because if they didn’t want their lives to suck, they shouldn’t have committed those crimes! Out of sight, out of mind. Let’s just never consider the fact that someone guilty of a harmless crime like, say, possession of one joint of marijuana can end up being housed with gangbangers. But hey, up to you to reform, right? But I’m digressing…
• Before accepting a job as an enforcer, Yayoi asks an interesting question: “Does that mean that my Psycho-Pass will never recover?” One, it speaks to the nature of the job; there’s a certain assumption that enforcers will always have cloudy hues. Two, her question implies a bit of optimism. How long had she been a latent criminal by that point? It’s clear that she feels she could still nevertheless recover. But how many actually do? Of course, the anime doesn’t tell us, and I suppose it’s possible that people do recover. But considering the themes and messages that the first half of the series has espoused, what do you think? Do you think anyone actually do return from the brink? When Ginoza tells Sasayama that Yayoi wants to eventually return to her civilian life, it should be noted that the latter remarked, “How naive.”
Later in the episode, Yayoi rages over the prison’s refusal to let her buy guitar strings, and so her hue turns dark yellow. People in lab coats rush over to her cell, but I hesitate to call them doctors because it’s not quite apparent if they’re actually doing anything to heal our latent criminals. Oh sure, the female voice tries to calm Yayoi down by suggesting that Yayoi has been a good patient, and as such, she is sure to leave soon. But it’s important to note what the anime chooses to show us, and what it chooses not to show. It chooses to show us how the prison will flood the cells with some sort of pacifying gas if a patient acts up. It doesn’t choose to show us whether or not anyone actually undergoes therapy. Y’know, sitting down and talking with a psychiatrist? Having the psychiatrist help you work through your emotional and mental problems? We can assume that such a thing might occur behind the scenes, but why? The show has been insistent on pushing this theme that extreme pacification is harmful. Remember how Makishima speaks against the idea of serenity and how it has seemingly zombiefied the masses? Maintaining peace is the System’s utmost concern. And between actual therapy or injecting you with a chemical cocktail to knock you out peacefully, I’m sure the System prefers the latter.
• I’m not a fan of sitting through OPs (and EDs too), so if there’s anything interesting in the new one, I’ll depend on my readers to inform me.
• “Humans will live a more civilized life.” Of course, what does “civilized” mean in this context? Just moments ago, the same voice promised “a stable life in which your talents are used to their fullest.” I’m almost reminded of Greek philosophy in a way, where someone — I forget who — once said that there’s a best purpose for every tool. To sit down and objectively analyze that hammers are for hammering and that knives are for cutting, well, that just makes perfect, logical sense. The tricky part is whether or not we can do the same thing with human beings. Hammers don’t have feelings unless I’ve been metaphysically mistaken all along. Hammers hammer and it doesn’t matter if they don’t like it. But just because I’m good at, say, bureaucratic paper-pushing, it doesn’t mean I’d be happy with doing that job for the rest of my career. How does this guarantee a stable life? Shouldn’t the aptitude test also factor in attitude, i.e. gauging one’s interest in the myriad job fields?
I can’t help but think of how since modernization of Japan, rigorous exam systems have been put in place to stratify its children from an early age. I’m only familiar with taking the SAT to get into college. Most anime fans probably know how even high schools in Japan require taking an exam. From my bourgeois Western perspective (I’m being tongue-in-cheek here in case anyone takes offense and thinks I’m implying that all my Western readers are bourgeois), I’d say that’s way too much stratification at such an early developmental point in a person’s life. I mean, not all kids mature at the same speed, but if you are behind the curve, the system compounds the matter by sticking you in a bad high school. But again, perhaps I’ve gone on too much of a tangent. Is PSYCHO-PASS directly criticizing this system? At the moment, eh.
• At the start of the episode, I wondered if rock — with all its subversive elements — would ever actually be condoned by the Sibyl. But according to the show, Yayoi was Sibyl-authorized to become an artist. Not only that, there are authorized bands with authorized music. I wonder if it’s like Christian rock…
• I wonder how other subbers are translating this same episode. The term “antisocial community” has to be an oxymoron, no? It’s such a misnomer.
• Looking young and hip there, Masaoka:
• Oh I’m sure it’s nothing, but I raised an eyebrow at Shinya saying, “If you want to escape a life of continually having everything taken from you…” then giving her a gun. It piques the side of me interested in gender issues.
• The rest of the episode pretty much plays out the way you’d expect it to, i.e. Yayoi reluctantly joins the MWPSB for some modicum of freedom, and as a result, she comes face to face with her troubled past. I will say, however, that it’s hard to see Yayoi here as a sympathetic figure. Her intentions seem purely selfish to me. Yes, Rina can be considered somewhat of a terrorist, but what else can one do against such an all-encompassing System like the Sibyl? Yayoi warns that if Rina continues down this path, there’s no turning back, but from the looks of it, there ain’t much to turn back to.
• I guess I don’t understand Ginoza’s fears of letting a latent criminal wield a Dominator. After all, Dominators serve as the Sibyl’s eyes, right? So a Dominator will only fire at those that the Sibyl deems dangerous. Who cares who physically pulls the trigger, then? The Sibyl is effectively responsible for every single action that a Dominator takes.