Well, Akane’s back and she’s kept her idealistic world view from the first season. Also, we kick things off with a terrorism plot right from the get-go. The first crime we ever saw was just a man gone crazy. This time, however, we have a mad bomber who intends to take down the Sybil System. Our culprit was even able to avoid detection for a long time, because he had somehow managed to keep his Psycho-Pass clear until now. If you’ll recall, that was a big deal in the first season as well. Makishima and his ilk had developed some sort of helmet that would copy the hue of a nearby normal person to mask the culprit’s real hue. I highly doubt that’s what is happening here, but perhaps someone is being inspired by the same idea. More importantly, Makishima might be dead, but perhaps his legacy lives on in more ways than one. I wonder if he has even inspired a legion of people to follow in his footsteps, and our mad bomber is just the first of many to come.
When provided with an opportunity to lethally subdue the mad bomber, however, Akane lets the guy live. She sees that his Psycho-Pass has a small chance to go down, so she makes the judgment call to try and talk the guy into turning himself in It’s actually more than this, but I’ll get to that in a second. So like in the first season, Akane is merciful, but more importantly, she’s highly idealistic. I guess it’s somewhat commendable that she hasn’t turned cynical after the events of the first season. Even after all that she’s been through — and this includes learning the truth about the Sibyl System — she still has faith in not just humanity, but society as well. She’s after an ideal world, after all, so if she can spare the life of even a terrorist, she will try and do so. Nobuchika even defends her against the new girl, saying that we shouldn’t always turn our backs on the people we don’t understand. We thus see Akane tell the the criminal that he’s still needed in this society. That his strong sense of justice is important as well has his bomb-making skills. But I’m not so sure Akane will get her desired outcome.
I suspect the culprit here will just spend the rest of his life locked away from society in some facility. My point is, nothing really awaits him but this real-world limbo until his body finally gives up. Considering the medical technology in this universe, that probably won’t happen for a very, very long time. So if the bad guy thought he and the rest of society were controlled by the Sybil System before, being locked away and — considering what we saw at the start of episode — heavily medicated by the very system he despises will only confirm the reality of his nightmare. Even if he gets “proper” treatment and the hue of his Psycho-Pass is no longer at dangerous levels, he’ll never get his old life back. Sure, he gets to continue living, but what is it worth now that he’s literally become a prisoner? His strong sense of justice won’t amount to anything now that he’s under the Sybil System’s thumb. Akane’s mercy might actually do more harm for the guy than good. Then again, unlike Akane, I’m rather cynical of the society that we see in Psycho-Pass. I doubt I’d still be working for the Sibyl System if I had been in her shoes.
But that’s the thing, isn’t it? I don’t have any faith in the Sibyl System. Of course, I don’t agree with the bad guys’ methods, but it isn’t as though their positions are outlandish. The society that the Sibyl System governs is majorly fucked up. But despite this and everything that she knows about it, Akane continues to work with the Sibyl System. The new girl argues that Psycho-Pass readings rarely reverse themselves when they’re that high. More importantly, the Sibyl System had already made the initial decision that the mad bomber’s life wasn’t worth saving. In response, Akane counters, “But in the end, Sibyl reversed that decision.” Essentially, whenever Akane is trying to spare a criminal’s life, she isn’t just trying to convince said criminal to give him or herself up. She’s also trying to convince the Sibyl System to give these criminals another chance. One must thus wonder if it isn’t just the criminals she’s trying to redeem. Is it possible that Akane wants to save the Sibyl System too. But can this work? Can something like the Sibyl System ever exist in an ideal world? That might be one of the big question that the sequel will attempt to answer.
Stray notes & observations:
— As if the population wasn’t already docile and compliant enough, the Sybil System is now pushing pills on its citizens. Lacouse will apparently help keep your hue clear, and its unique ingredient is even called Admin.
— The first few minutes here mirror a lot of the first few minutes of the very first episode ever. Well, minus Shinya locked in a duel with Shogo Makishima, of course.
— I’m mostly glad, however, that the sequel has decided to forgo the unnecessary explanation of how the Dominators work. Plus, there doesn’t appear to be anyone new to fill Masaoka’s shoes. He was the culprit for a lot the first season’s infodumping. Sure, his son has now become an Enforcer, but he actually doesn’t have much to say this episode.
— The jittery effect in the OP is actually kind of annoying.
— So what else is different? Well, there is now a second team of Inspectors and Enforcers to contend with. I can only imagine that Akane and the Division 2 leader will butt heads as the second season’s story unfolds.
— The new girl seems rather hot-headed. I suppose her character is meant to serve as a contrast against Akane’s cool and collected way of going about things. Needless to say, our heroine will butt heads with the new girl too.
— C’mon, new girl (I’ll learn her name later). Did someone really have to tackle you out of the way of a truck?
— When it looks as though the bad guy’s about to make his getaway, one of the new Enforcers goes, “I-I’m going to administer justice!” I forgot they had to say that corny line every time they wanted to fire the Dominators.
— The new girl gets all offended because Akane told her to help evacuate the citizens from the surrounding area. She thinks Akane is underestimating her; she argues that her Psycho-Pass won’t cloud so easily. That may be so, but someone still needs to evacuate the citizens. You think someone in this occupation would care more about the well-being of the citizens they’re meant to protect. In fact, I wonder if this is all foreshadowing for the new girl’s eventual fall from grace.
— I feel like Akane’s explanation of the bad guy’s motives is a bit inelegant. Like all of a sudden, she understands the guy completely. I’m not denying that she’s incredibly smart, a fact which was long established and heavily-emphasized in the first season. I just think it’s a bit out of place to reveal everything about the bad guy’s character while they’re in hot pursuit of him.
— Does it seem like the Inspectors are all women now? I wonder if there’s anything more to this or if it’s just a coincidence.
— At the end of the credits, we perhaps come to face-to-face with one of the second season’s primary antagonist if not the primary antagonist.
— He also appears to be an Inspector himself (I guess they’re not all women after all), and like Makishima, the Sybil System can’t get a proper read on the guy. Maybe he will attempt to bring things down from the inside, but I have a hard time imagining how he’ll keep his identity for very long. We’ll see, I guess.
— Also, we saw the use of holograms earlier in the episode when that bunny thing turned into… an eviller bunny thing? I guess perception is going to be a big deal in this season, especially when the bad guy goes, “The fact that something is false does not negate its existence.” Just something to keep in mind as the story unfolds.
— Well, it isn’t a spectacular first episode, but it’s a solid effort. I think the jury’s still out on whether or not Tow Ubukata will succeed in helming the story for the second season, but it’s not like he doesn’t already have a strong foundation to work with. Kind of disappointed that there wasn’t any sighting of Shinya, though.