Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 2: Losing my religion

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According to Kitazawa, his accomplice had come to see him and made his color clear. Risa instantly believes that this is a lie, because the only person to visit Kitazawa recently was a therapist. Considering what we had just learned about holograms, however, I can’t help but think our villain had disguised himself as a therapist, then made his way to Kitazawa to clear the guy’s color. The problem, however, is that the therapist himself claims that he had talked to Kitazawa. But how do we know that the therapist in front of Akane is actually the real therapist? What if the real therapist had been killed a long time ago, and they’re actually talking to the bad guy? In season one, we couldn’t trust the Sybil System because it was flawed. In the second season, it seems that we can’t even trust our own eyes because humans are flawed. As technology continues to advance by leaps and bounds, it may come to a point where anything can be simulated or replicated. Touch, sight, taste, smell, sound — in other words, our very own sense perception can be fooled. As such, how much can we really rely on our five senses in this simulacra-laden future? But our five senses are arguably the only ways we humans can even perceive the world around us. Without them, what have we got left? And if we can’t even trust our own senses, then what right do we have to judge and punish others? All that’s left is human intuition, but boy, human intuition is hardly infallible either, huh?

Akane’s partners are kind of dumb, but hear me out. I’m not saying they’re dumb in a bad way, i.e. they’re poorly written characters. In other words, I think I see what the second season is aiming for. Mika insists that it’s impossible for the entrance to the sewers to be unlocked beforehand, because there’s a scanner by the entrance. The scanner would’ve detected any suspicious activity. So what do we see? The entrance is unlocked for Kitazawa’s convenient. The point is, technology is far from infallible in the Psycho-Pass universe, but the good guys — minus Akane, of course — are not really investigators anymore. Typically, you think of investigators as people who exhaust all possibilities, because that’s their job. The good guys, however, don’t even want to entertain the possibility that someone could have unlocked the sewer entrance, because technology has assured them that they don’t have to. As such, one can’t help but think that these guys are just investigators by name. They’re just people who run around with the equipment that the Sybil System has handed them, then parrot back whatever readings they get from said equipment. This echoes a lot of what Tomomi Masaoka had often ranted about in the first season. The good guys — again, with Akane being the special exception — are so dependent upon technology that they completely ignore their own human intuition.

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I mean, let’s take stock. One, someone is capable of projecting super-sophisticated holograms. Two, Kitazawa’s actions had avoided detection until just recently. Three, his Crime Coefficient suddenly lowered dramatically out of nowhere. Four, he managed to escape from custody, and Risa couldn’t do anything about it because his color was clear. At what point do you finally tell yourself, “Yo, I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly trust technology anymore. This seems like a fool’s game.” I’m not saying they should become Luddites overnight, but a healthy dose of skepticism never hurt anyone. Other than Akane and perhaps Sakuya, however, no one else ever seems to have any healthy dose of skepticism anymore. They’ve become fervent devotees of technology, and the Sybil System is their God. Even when it’s clear what they should so, no one takes any action without the Sybil System’s blessing. This is why Shinya had to excommunicate himself from the Church of Psycho-Pass. There was no justice to be had when God was so broken in his own eyes. God saw Makishima as nothing more than a fallen angel that He had to have back within His fold, and Shinya wouldn’t have that. He couldn’t have that, and I can’t say I blame the guy. And now, with the new villain fucking with everyone’s perceptions, the good guys are about to lose their religion.

By the end of the episode, we learn that our villain has a name, and it’s Kamui. As for the cryptic “WC?” that we see everywhere? It apparently stands for “What color?” This question ties everything together. The villain challenges the good guys to make their own judgements. As such, he lowered Kitagawa’s Psycho-Pass readings, daring the investigators to take action (just to clarify, taking action does not mean you have to kill the guy). If they don’t, more harm will just come their way. And as we can clearly see, Kitagawa is able to detonate one of the bombs, resulting in even more casualties. Finally, after this happens, our heroes are able to take action, but it’s only because the Sybil System had allowed it. And because it’s the Sybil System who allowed it, they had no choice but to blow him up with a Dominator. Before then, Kitagawa had asked, “Hey, tell me… what color cam I now?” Risa disdainfully answered, “What color? Yeah, right now you’re the color of raw sewage.” But the truth is, she could only answer his question because the Sybil System finally gave her an answer. She couldn’t answer Kitagawa’s question on her own, and by extension, she couldn’t answer Kamui’s question either. Risa’s actions are thus inauthentic; her judgements are not hers. Thanks to Kamui’s sophisticated holograms, we have good reasons to think that our investigators are utterly blind. They are truly, utterly blind to the world around them because they’ve long given up their precious human intuition to become devotees of technology. They can thus do nothing but wait until their God makes their judgements for them.

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But what happens when your God is flawed? What if your God is wrong? We see Kamui again near the end of the episode. He actually cries as he believes that Kitagawa could’ve been saved: “He could’ve been made clear again.” In the first season, we saw how the Sybil System wanted to save Makishima despite his immoral actions. In the second season, we are perhaps seeing how the Sybil System is merciless when certain individuals can still be redeemed. Having said that, I’m not too sympathetic of Kitagawa and his actions. He’s obviously endangered a lot of people even if I agree in general with his endgame, i.e. bring down the Sybil System. At the end of the day, Kamui is still a villain, and as such, he is still misguided in his actions. I’m not surprised, therefore, that he would weep for someone like Kitagawa. He might have a point or two, but so did Makishima, if you’ll recall. No one of the right mind would, however, sensibly side with Makishima and his actions. Likewise, I don’t expect to side with Kamui even if, like Kitagawa, his goals to discredit the Sybil System make sense in the abstract. Still, let’s bring this back to the good guys, ’cause this is really an episode about them and their failures. Even though Risa might have thought she sounded all badass when she fired her Dominator at Kitagawa, she really is just quite sad. Her words are hollow, because they are not hers. She, like so many others, have given up their autonomy a long time ago.

Stray notes & observations:

— Mika is really, really bitchy. To the point that I can’t help but think that the story is laying it on a bit too thick. Also, it’s far too obvious that she likes Yayoi. People don’t instantly blush just because their crush talks to them.

— Risa Aoyanagi, the head of the other division, sure does make a lot of assumptions. The biggest assumption being that the cymatic scans are never wrong. C’mon, is a glitch really that hard to imagine? It’s not like the Sybil System is incapable of making mistakes. For instance, the late Makishima always had low Crime Coefficient levels despite his clearly immoral actions. As I’ve said above, if you’re truly an investigator, why wouldn’t you exhaust all possibilities?

— No, I think I’d would’ve thought “water closet” first, too (I type “brb wc” all the time when I play online games). Plus, Ginoza’s just saying the first thing that comes to his mind, so I don’t see what the problem is. As detectives, we have to consider everything, right? Nevertheless, Mika continues to be a bitch in every single scene that she’s in. Her portrayal is really lacking in nuance, and I really hope they round out her personality soon.

— I love how Sakuya Togane, the Enforcer who had accompanied Akane to the interrogation, leads off with, “The ghost exists!” Then he immediately hedges his own words by saying, “I think so, too.” Way to pique our interest only to have nothing to offer but your own hunch, bro.

— He then says, “…it still doesn’t appear that Kitazawa is delusional.” Really? Really?

— Apparently, Akane’s been smoking. When did she start up? I recall that Shinya was a smoker himself. Still, I hesitate to ask whether or not smoking reminds our heroine of Shinya, ’cause I don’t want to think the girl can’t take up a foolish habit all on her own.

— Someone had scratched “WC?” onto a wall in Akane’s apartment, which just lends credence to the idea that our villain can go where he pleases. Not only that, Akane’s own home ceases to be a safe haven. If God — and the God in this world is the Sybil System — is fallible, one can infer that nothing is safe. Nothing is sacred. Even your own home can be violated.

— When Kitazawa makes his escape, again, I don’t know why Risa is so shocked that he has a low Psycho-Pass reading despite his criminal actions. As an investigator, surely, she’s heard about the Makishima case and how certain individuals cannot be properly assessed by the Sybil System.

— Still no Shinya. Oh well. It’s Akane’s show now (and it was arguably her show before), and I’m fine with that. I just thought the guy would have a bigger role in the sequel. It remains to be seen if he’ll even have any role at this point.


21 Replies to “Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 2: Losing my religion”

  1. I’m getting Shinya vibes from Togane. How he beat up that dummy, the fact that he’s a smoker, plus that pseudo-intuitive “The ghost exists!” moment… We’ll see how that goes

  2. “As an investigator, surely, she’s heard about the Makishima case and how certain individuals cannot be properly assessed by the Sybil System.”

    On the other hand, it seems very likely that whole thing would have been covered up (to whatever degree is practical).

  3. Damn, these “investigators” are so dumb, but I think most of their stupidity is because they’re subconscious afraid of the sybil system, if they question it, the system will bite their asses darkening their psycho pass readings, so they better keep thinking inside the box, that way they’ll not risk themselves thinking like a criminal will do, plus their over the top arrogance/pride, if the sybil system is God, they’re his archangels vanquishing the darkness of this world, so sad…

    1. I think the problem is that the Enforcers don’t have as much of a voice this time around. In the first season, Shinya and Masaoka had prominent roles. They were the primary skeptics. This season, Ginza has been pretty lowkey, and Sakuya hasn’t had much to say yet either.

  4. To be honest, it could be Sybil which start selecting highly dependent investigators now. It’s Sybil which assigns occupation in this universe right?
    Perhaps does so to ensure Akane won’t turn more investigators into Sybil doubters and would instead challenge why she isn’t blindly following Sybil’s order.

    And I remember Mika being a fairly head strong person in Season 1, so she would be clashing with Akane rather than following I guess.

    1. To be honest, it could be Sybil which start selecting highly dependent investigators now. It’s Sybil which assigns occupation in this universe right?

      It’s possible, but I think the Sybil System is more flawed than it is… Machiavellian, I suppose. In other words, I don’t think it would deliberately do something like this.

  5. I would have sided with Makishima in a heartbeat. He used criminals to get his goal but he was not a complete criminal. If your choice is no goverment or a extremely corrupt goverment as slaves overthrow that shit. Will there be damages from not having a government sure but time can fix that. A immortal government that is corrupt time can’t fix that shit.

    1. It’s a little more complicated than that. Even Akane thinks that the Sibyl system is necessary to some degree (this seems to be more pronounced in the sequel). Also, Makashima was definitely a “complete criminal”.

  6. Didn’t the police force think that maybe it would be a good idea to check Kitagawa’s bodily fluids for drug presence? His behaviour wasn’t normal. It should be obvious to anybody that he might be suffering from withdrawal symptoms. But the more Schadenfreude, the better. You had it coming, nitwits.

    On another note, you called the police the ‘good guys’, are you not applying an oversimplified dichtomy of ‘good vs bad’ when it comes to Psycho Pass? I think it does a disservice to the show. To me, everybody is grey.

    1. On another note, you called the police the ‘good guys’, are you not applying an oversimplified dichtomy of ‘good vs bad’ when it comes to Psycho Pass? I think it does a disservice to the show. To me, everybody is grey.

      Gimme a break. Obviously, I do not want to type out the word ‘protagonist’ for every sentence. You can obviously tell my stance from what I’ve written — that the Sybil System is greatly flawed and the investigators are idiots — but you’ve chosen instead to quibble over two words. Insulting.

  7. For some reason, I’m starting to like the lack of Urobochism this time. The suspense element is played better than the first season, conflict between Akane & her subordinate inspector is played slow but noticable style & this new villain seems to be something of a counterpart to both Akane & Makishima. Also it’s funny that his name is Kamui (authority of god) when he is trying to break the authority of something that might as well be the new god of PP Tokyo. Although I wish they do something about Ginoza. For someone who was by the book former inspector turned enforcer, he has better potential as a character than anyone.

    1. Although I wish they do something about Ginoza. For someone who was by the book former inspector turned enforcer, he has better potential as a character than anyone.

      I actually think they introduced one too many new characters. I’m not sure the second team is even necessary, but who knows? Maybe the story will prove me wrong.

  8. “– Still no Shinya. Oh well. It’s Akane’s show now (and it was arguably her show before), and I’m fine with that. I just thought the guy would have a bigger role in the sequel. It remains to be seen if he’ll even have any role at this point.”

    Shinya is in the OP. He will play a role.

    *SPOILER* The OP shows the psychiatrist guy is Sybil.
    And Akane humping a jumbo jet will also be a major plot point. *SPOILER*

  9. To be fair, Tsunemori isn’t shown smoking. If she’s doing this to reminisce about Kougami or something like that, she can be very well only letting the cigarettes burn themselves to smell their smoke. Which is creepier if you ask me. She even asks herself if only whatever she was doing was enough to let her smelling.

  10. “People don’t instantly blush just because their crush talks to them.”

    Every anime ever disagrees with you. But, yeah, I thought this particular anime cliche was out of place in Psycho-Pass.

    The rookie also seems like she’s a more aggressive version of the by-the-books Akane from the first season. If I didn’t know any better I would say she was being set up for a traumatic faith-shattering event like the murder of Akane’s friend from the middle of the first season. But PP2 wouldn’t repeat something already done by it’s predecessor, right?

    The Sibyl System reminds me of the words from the titular super-computer from ‘Colossus: The Forbin Project.’

    “You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for humankind as to be dominated by others of your species. Your choice is simple.”

    The Sibyl System, like God, is in a position that is impossible and unaccountable. Religious figures use demagoguery to convince people to follow them. The Sibyl System does the same. Without the efficiency of the System, they would be living in fear. But with something that figures stuff out for them, they can be at ease and follow the commands knowing they’re doing the right thing because the System tells them so.

    Since this is “objective” technology that is telling them what to do, something that does not have emotions and therefore does not feel pleasure in dominating them, they won’t question it. No one will, even if they did, they aren’t allowed to. After all, these aren’t rules made to benefit some dictator, but society as a whole, right?

    But, then again, we see that the “objective” judgement of the System is flawed in its very foundation. It’s just the collective thinking of a bunch of human brains, thereby rooting its judgement in subjectiveness. It’s a dictatorship disguised as God.

    What the Sibyl System gives them is an objective subjectivity, something that, perhaps, humans crave. No Man should be given the status of a God, but what of a emotionless, calculating Machine? That seems preferable to being subjugated by someone of our own race.

    I guess I kind of rambled on there haha.

    1. I guess I kind of rambled on there haha.

      I think most of it was sound. I don’t have much to add, since I largely agree with what you’ve said.

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