Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 5: Funny games

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Mizue asks Kamui why he wants her Hue to be clearly so badly. He replies that he wants her to have her own will. But if you think about it for just a tiny second, it doesn’t seem like she has any will, does it? This is how the story is heavy-handed to its own detriment. Mizue just becomes an absolutely devoted follower without any subtlety. Remember when the Joker went to Harvey Dent and corrupted him? Harvey tried to resist, but he eventually fell from grace anyway; he eventually became Two-Face. But even as Two-Face, Harvey didn’t start singing the Joker’s praises. He had his own agenda. He was angry. He was livid. He listened to the Joker, but he hated the Joker’s guts too. He just hated other people more, i.e. those who betrayed him. He had his own… will, you might say. And that’s the key thing that I find oddly missing from Psycho-Pass. That Kamui manages to corrupt Mizue so easily doesn’t ultimately bother me all that much. It’s how she turned out. Everyone leaves the cult of the Sibyl System to join the cult of Kamui. And perhaps that’s the point. But even so, this is a point we should have carefully and slowly uncovered over the course of the series.

Psycho-Pass, however, makes it too obvious that both sides are bad, so the audience is left in this strange, cynical position with nowhere to turn to. And that’s fine, but there’s no impact when it happens right away. What makes The Dark Knight so effective is that the Joker seems so obviously evil at the outset, but over the course of the movie, you come to realize that society is just as rotten. You realize that Batman’s victory at the end of the movie is just a hollow one. So again, you’re left in that strange, cynical position that there’s nowhere to turn to. Nevertheless, Nolan builds to this moment, so it leaves a strong, powerful impression on the audience. Psycho-Pass has three months to tell its story, and it just comes flat-out and says, “Well, they’re all asshats.” The same thing happened last season. Everyone knew that the world was a dystopia, and that the Sibyl System couldn’t be trusted. But at the same time, everyone knew that Makishima was a twisted, psychopathic little shit as well. In the long run, this results in little to no drama. Psycho-Pass can be intriguing at times; it certainly deals with themes that fascinate me. It just doesn’t tell a very good story.

Stray notes & observations:

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— Mika’s busy puking it up in the bathroom. I get the uneasy feeling that she’s the next to suffer at Kamui’s hands. Yeah, she’s an annoying character, but that’s the thing. The writers try so hard to make her annoying that I don’t want anything to happen to her.

— Sakuya takes gander at Akane’s Hue. Needless to say, she’s clear as can be. Maybe he doesn’t trust her as much as he lets on. Maybe he’s just curious to see if she’s worsen whatsoever. After all, Akane looked pretty pissed at the end of last week’s episode.

— The animation this season hasn’t been too consistent. I suddenly feel as though I’m watching a Clamp anime. For a Production I.G anime, Psycho-Pass has never looked too awesome, but still… I’m a bit disappointed in the results here.

— Akane wants Jouji to interrogate Masuda. We later see the Chief say how they’d rather let our heroine do her own thing within the MWPSB for now instead of having her potentially go rogue like Shinya. Still, I wish this scene would’ve played out more elegantly. The anime is just flat-out telling you things now. Likewise, the conversation between Akane and Jouji is nothing special. It merely serves to disguise the show’s exposition; it could’ve been worse, I suppose. Other anime certainly do it worse. Nevertheless, I’m just of the mindset that every scene should have impact.

— A couple new Enforcers joins Division 1. There are too many characters, I think, especially when the sequel is going to be so short. Instead of using what he’s been giving, and perhaps adding just a few characters of his own, the new writer have set everyone but Akane to the side so he can have his own show. Yeah, Ginoza rears his head every now and then, but he has no real impact on the story anymore. In fact, I still contend that his actions and personality don’t feel like a continuation of his character arc from the first season.

— As for Yayoi, this is literally the most she’s done so far! Patting Mika’s head is the most impact she’s had on this story yet. Besides, why even bother having Mika crush on her? Isn’t Yayoi with Shion? So the whole thing just feels kind of fruitless.

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— The Chief continues to cryptically talk to “herself” some more. Obviously, she isn’t talking to herself, but that’s just the thing. I always hate these scenes in other shows. You know, the ones where the conspirators or evildoers sit in a darkened room and drop hints about the story by talking about things that we have no context on. C’mon, Psycho-Pass can do better.

— Mika complains that they have so much to do. It doesn’t seem like a lot to me… get off your lazy ass and do something! But seriously, they’re in charge of keeping the peace in one of the largest metropolises in the world. I’m surprise they don’t seem busier.

— Mika: “That way of thinking is out of date.” Eh, just the same ol’ Mika. Technology has failed her for four straight weeks and yet she still spews the same nonsense.

— Sakuya discovers a holographic wall at a deadend, and he attributes it to a detective’s intuition. But don’t you think someone who has the wherewithal to set up a holographic wall would have done a better job of disguising it? It just seems like the clues are a little too obvious for Sakuya to discern.

— Why is it so problematic for Enforcers to point their Dominators at the Inspectors? Obviously, Sakuya is a suspicious person. I don’t disagree with Mika there. I just don’t see why she thinks it’s such a bad thing that he pointed his gun at Akane. He can’t use the gun unless the Sibyl System OK’s it, so what’s the big deal?

— As Mika leaves, the Chief says that the girl will be eaten alive. Sounds like foreshadowing.

— Akane and Sakuya find a place full of human masks. Jouji then comes to the conclusion that Masuda has not been the same person. Welp, that’s not a coincidence.

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— Then all of a sudden, one of the Inspectors plays a cellphone game, but the truth is, he’s inadvertently killing people with one of the drones at the very warehouse that he’s at. Kamui is obsessed with making people commit crimes while keeping their Hues clear. But what’s the takeaway here? That the Inspector seems like a bad guy when he’s playing the game? That video games bring out the killer in us? It’s heavy-handed because gamers don’t really have such a crazed look on their faces when they play games, especially when it’s a cellphone game called Hungry Chicken. Eh, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens to that Inspector.

— Eventually, people around the world join in on that game. Kamui already seems like an expert on human psychology — that’s what we’re supposed to think, anyway — but he is apparently also a master hacker, programmer, so on and so forth.

— The dude then emerges from the shadows to say, “Game on, MWPSB.” Grooooooan.

— Elsewhere, Mika investigates Sakuya’s apartment and learns that the guy is obsessed with Akane. Oh boy.

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19 thoughts on “Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 5: Funny games”

  1. Psycho Pass S2’s animation is being done by tatsunoko productions. They are capable of good animation at times but a lot of their series as of late seem to have some incredibly rushed art and animation. It’s a shame too because it seemed like the tweaks in character designs this season would allow for better character animation and for the premiere ep, it looked like that would be the case even if the cinematography and shot composition took a hit. But now, putting the art aside, even the animation is not holding up and this week took a huge ass dip. Add that to the already weaker shot composition this season, and this season’s production values arent looking too good. But yea, i really appreciate when psycho pass exercises subtlety, which it can do and that’s when it’s at it’s best; but then there are times where it can get very heavy handed and that’s where i groan and bit, even if it doesn’t end up being too big a deal to my viewing experience. Still, its a smudge on the story-telling that id rather not have there.

    1. Even back in the “good old days” Tatsunoko wasn’t above doing some mediocre to bad animation during certain episodes of some series, plus it’s standard anime practice with very few exceptions, depending on which specific sub-studio gets contracted for a particular episode.

  2. I feel like they’re push the idea of dissociation with the video game thing. It’s easy to do things when someone doesn’t feel any responsibility or consequences for their actions, which is why the inspector dude can kill people in a video game, and why the enforcer last episode could kill Aoyanagi with his wall hack dominator without feeling guilty (at the time). Seems to fit with Kamui’s whole disguise/identity theme with Holos and face transplants too, since making people anonymous would also make it easier to feel dissociated from any crime being committed.

    1. That’s an interesting thought, but while the “through-the-wall” Dominator involves an Enforcer willingly pulling the trigger to kill someone, no one can honestly blame these Hungry Chicken players. As such, it’s not so much dissociation. They’re just flat-out innocent.

      1. I figured it’s less about whether the people are actually guilty, and more about the fact that they don’t have to feel guilty about any of the consequences resulting from their actions. Even though the Enforcer willingly pulled the trigger, he was just following orders from the system, so there’s no reason for him to think his actions were wrong, even if they really are. The game players are technically more innocent, but the consequences are the same; the players end up killing people but don’t have a reason to feel guilty.

        1. I figured it’s less about whether the people are actually guilty, and more about the fact that they don’t have to feel guilty about any of the consequences resulting from their actions.

          Even though the Enforcer willingly pulled the trigger, he was just following orders from the system,

          I don’t buy this. Following orders is not an excuse. Lots of atrocities have been committed by people claiming they were just following orders. On the other hand, the gamers are truly, truly innocent. If we’re supposed to draw a comparison between the two events, it doesn’t work. You can argue that the Enforcer should feel guilty — and I believe he should — but there’s no argument whatsoever to implicate the gamers other than to adopt some hyperbolic violent games position.

      2. Thanks for watching/blogging this. I stopped watching after the horror that was last episode (it was so bad in my opinion that I just can’t find myself to watch the show) I’m reading your blog to see if it gets any better. Doesn’t seem like it is,

    2. I sort of agree. I think Kamui’s point is to have people commit these crimes without knowing it, and then show how Sibyl doesn’t classify them as criminals despite what they have done.

  3. I think that a lot will depend on how the wrap-up takes the themes and ties them together into a narrative payoff. Otherwise, it’ll be interesting but messy all the way through.

    1. i agree; i thought the first 3 eps were very good; ep 4 didnt disappoint me as much as it did others but when i watched that ep i did sit there wishing the execution was a bit better. Still, i was cool with they way things played out. Ep 5 is where some of the narrative decisions seems to be hampering the story flow a bit, but even so the investigation and the themes the story is trying to present are still making this show a good watch. It’s becoming more apparent to me that the story here is a little bigger than the 11-ep limit, something a better series composition might have been able to fix. Regardless though, i feel like if future build-up eps and the ultimate pay off end up capitalizing on these developments in a good way, it will be all worth it

  4. To be fair the batman movie had years upon years worth of material to work with. As some one who reads the comics I can say there are times were Batman flat out states the obvious.

    1. As some one who reads the comics I can say there are times were Batman flat out states the obvious.

      Of course, but why would I compare one series to hundreds of works done by hundreds of people? And the original comparison is to just show how one can do it right.

  5. Whats the point of plot twists if you slap us with the answer. Its like being on a roller coaster that announces where it is going in advance.

  6. That smartphone game part was awesome. It reminds me about how games are an avenue for people to satisfy their desires that can’t be satisfied in real life. In psycho pass there are a lot of restraints by society, and Kamui is freeing people from them (letting them exercise their free will)… very interesting perspective shown.

    1. I can’t fathom why some people think that Kamui giving the gamers free will, and some other people comparing the gamers to the enforcers and inspectors. The gamers are totally innocent, man.
      *faceplam*
      Imagine it. One day you receive an email from a fake Rovio company. Telling you that you have been chosen as a tester for their new Angry Bird game. You downloaded the game. You shot the pixel enemies in the game. Little did you know, that at the same time, you controlled a turret to shoot at real people. Now. Are you guilty?
      Does stealing car and killing people in GTA makes me a latent criminal? Does slashing people’s throat in Tenchu means that I have such intention to do that in real life?
      There’s no free will or such shit here. Kamui tricked them. Plain and simple. Yeah, Kamui is a shitty villain. This season 2 is full of shitty characters, huh.

  7. In the beginning of the episode, I though for some minutes that the anime would develop Mika’s character. But nop, let just keep her being a bitch until disaster befall upon her. I found cute her interaction with Yayoi, but that seems pretty pointless to me since the anime will probably ignore this crush for Yayoi on the future. Remember on last season when Yayoi had an entire episode to develop her character, the season ended and they never mentioned anything related to her history again? So, after that I completely lost the hope of Yayoi have any kind of prominence in the anime.

    About the idea of a inspector corruption by Kamui, yeah the idea is very good but the execution… it’s so… lame. If it is so easy to manipulate the agents of the system, how Sibyl is still working? The Dark Knight is one example of an alternative and better way to develop the corruption plot. It happens a lot in Psycho-Pass good ideas being poorly used. And I cannot blame the actual writer, because Urobochi often did that in the first season.

    And Kamui, Oh my Gosh I want to be at this guy side. He is almost god! He is a fucking genius of gaming programming for the enemy’s of the Chicken Game make the exactly movements of the people in real life. MWPSB doesn’t have any chance.

    Ps: Akane is Sakuya waifu. A guy cannot have a waifu without being judged?

  8. I can get behind many of the far fetched ideas Psycho Pass throws around since it’s a dystopia and shit. But I think it clearly jumped the shark with that drone controlling video game nonsense. Some kid able to hack around a top of the line facility full of crazy professional programmers to adapt some dumb game that can project real life environment and people into it. I’m so tired of that child genius trope. It was the same thing with Makishima. Next thing you know, he’s an expert level karate master. I’m calling it.

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