Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 9: Overthrow the mad king

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What bothers me these days is how human the Sibyl System has become. In the first season, I had the perception that the Sibyl System valued logic and utility above all else. If it thought you had crossed a certain threshold — and as a result, you were a danger to society — it killed you regardless of the extenuating circumstances. If you were meant for this job, it put you in that job regardless of what you really wanted to be. If recruiting Makishima would help society more, then justice be damned. Let’s recruit Makishima! In other words, the Sibyl System didn’t have selfish motives. The Sibyl System didn’t desire to control the world. It simply did what it thought was logical, and controlling us was the horrific byproduct of its logic. You could certainly disagree with the Sibyl System and its premises, and Makishima definitely made a great case. He unfortunately targeted innocent people to get his point across, and at the same time, you also couldn’t deny that most people in this society lived in bliss and happiness thanks to the Sibyl System. The point of the first season was that both sides had their pros and cons, and that made it scary.

In the sequel, however, the Sibyl System has become all too human. It is now selfish. It is now absurdly evil. It is now involved in all sorts of conspiracies to help bolster its image and delegitimize others. Basically, it is now a moustache-twirling, evil mastermind. Worst of all, Kasei has become too involved in the sequel. She has always been the face of the Sibyl System, but now, it feels like she’s an individual with her own individual aims. This kills the idea of a bunch of linked brains valuing logic and utility above all. And again, this makes the Sibyl System seem all too human. And here’s the thing. Society’s reliance on the old Sibyl System is really just great cynicism, which is what makes the world in Psycho-Pass feel so dystopian. The idea is that man can’t govern himself. Man can’t make his own decisions. The question: what will bring about the apocalypse? The cynical answer that you hear all too often these days: man. Man will kill himself if you just leave him to his devices. Man can’t even pick the right career for himself. He’s good at X, but he’d rather do Y instead! What a fool! Therefore, society has welcome the SIbyl System with open arms. If man can’t rule himself, let’s have a computer do it.

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Yes, the Sibyl System is made up of human brains, but the way it used to operate, it was more like an unfeeling, uncaring machine that only valued maintaining order and peace in society. But here’s the even greater cynicism: even a computer can’t rule us. The computer can only rule us by stripping us of our humanity, thereby turning us into extensions of the computer itself. The situation in the first season of Psycho-Pass was truly hopeless, because it seemed as though there were no right answers. Well, the second season undoes all of that. The Sibyl System has become all too human, and likewise, it is quite obvious what our heroes must do. Yes, they must stop Kirito “I’m a walking Swiss Army knife” Kamui, but they must also stop the Sibyl System at all costs as well. There’s no meditation on the nature of humanity. There is no great debate on what is ultimately the best course for society. Sure, the first season fell into the trap of pontificating a little too much, but all of that has gone out the window. You just have one angsty piece of shit in one corner, and one laughably evil mastermind in the other corner. There’s no ambiguity here. Just take them all down.

What we had before was something completely dystopian: the unfeeling machine maintains peace and order, but at the cost of our humanity. Now, however, the machine has become completely human with its own selfish goals. The first season toyed with ideas about humanity in a futuristic world. Can a man who has replaced 90% of his body still be considered human? Can people really consider themselves human if they let a computer make all the big decisions for them? How do we balance justice against the greater good of society? What if justice is simply the greater good of society? On the other hand, the sequel is just about overthrowing a corrupt king. Ultimately, the sequel disappoints because it has moved away from the very themes that the first season had established in such an extreme fashion. Of course, I don’t want the sequel to just repeat the same questions that the first season had broached, but it doesn’t even serve as a proper continuation. For all of his flaws, Urobuchi confronted some lofty questions about humanity and what awaits it as technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds. The sequel ignores all of that in favor of a simple, age-old story about an evil despot. Psycho-Pass 2‘s greatest flaw is that it has become ordinary.

Stray notes & observations:

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— We even see a flashback where Sakuya’s mom beams with pride as her artificial son murders puppies. Knowing that Sakuya’s mom ends up becoming Kasei, it just drives home the point that the Sibyl System has lost its identity, and some fraud has stuck this caricature in its place. The old Sibyl System was obeyed simply because it was logical to a fault. The new Sibyl System has to involve itself in all sorts of conspiracies just to keep itself legitimate. It’s silly. Why have we gone down this road?

— What I find funny about this discussion on the omnipotence paradox was that I never got the impression that the Sibyl System was perfect in the first season. It clearly wasn’t perfect. It simply operated on a set of accepted premises and came to the best possible conclusions for society. For some reason, however, the sequel has suddenly decided to portray the Sibyl System as this entity that needs to be seen as perfect. But if this is really the case, then why would it need to involve itself in so many conspiracies? And that’s the funny thing about it. By wanting to become an omnipotent god, the Sibyl System renders itself all too human.

— I don’t remember ever seeing any skin from Akane in the past, but it’s the new Psycho-Pass age, I guess.

— Sakuya’s conclusion that Kamui must have killed Masuzaki is pretty faulty, but our heroes are none the wiser. Except Mika, of course, but she’s meant to be hated, so she won’t say anything.

— Sakuya: “My will is society’s will. Since you vowed to respect the law, you cannot deny me…” Simply because he’s the Sibyl’s “son.” Bah, this entire season is just getting worse and worse. The Sibyl System has lost its identity, replaced by these fools.

— Yeah, everything about this sequel makes my blook curdle.

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— Everyone proceeds to stand in front of a burning building and calmly discuss the evilness of these politicians. And oh yeah, we have illegal immigrants being burned alive, but not just that, they were also modified to look like animals. It’s brutal. It’s twisted. But why? Why does the show need to go this far with these evil politicians without giving us any context? Rikako’s twisted sculptures in the first season had context. We understood why she created them. In the sequel, it’s just, “Oh yeah, these assholes turned innocent people into bizarre animals for their amusement, a fact which I’ll explain to you in this short conversation.”

— So uh, this Koichi guy has Aoi’s severed ear, but then at the end of the credits, we see Sakuya about to do something to the kidnapped grandmother. We know Sakuya had Mika look into the whereabouts of Akane’s grandmother. It’s clear that Aoi had been replaced by a fake grandma in an earlier episode, but what’s the connection here? Who had Aoi in their possession all along? Who cut off her ear? I assume that Sakuya wants to frame Kamui for Aoi’s death, and see if this corrupts Akane. But if Sakuya is the one who cut off Aoi’s ear, then how did it end up in Koichi’s possession? Are they allies? And if Koichi’s the one who cut off Aoi’s ear, then how did Sakuya find Aoi?

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20 thoughts on “Psycho-Pass 2 Ep. 9: Overthrow the mad king”

  1. “Yeah, everything about this sequel makes my blook curdle.”
    Haha The last ray of light in the eclipsing darkness of stupidity that is this episode.

    I really like your intro, mate. It kinda got repetitive near the end there, but otherwise it’s a perfect comparison between what made the first series work and why this sequel is garbage.

    The two major contributions to this shift, though, is firstly that the writers changed. The first series has a bunch of producer credits but only one writer credit: Gen Urobuchi.
    Then for the sequel Urobuchi bumped to “supervisor” and two other writers filled his shoes: Tow Ubukata and Jun Kumagai.
    _That alone isn’t enough to really get why this happened, though. After all, just because there’s a change in writers that doesn’t mean the story would innately go from good to shit. And with the original writer as a co-supervisor for this second series it’s just as much his fault for letting the story turn out like this.

    The second major contribution isn’t official but you can clearly see it in how the story is progressing. It seems as though the overall writing and direction wants to bring some sort of closure to the world of Psycho-Pass that wasn’t needed. Instead of keeping the ambiguity or finding a decent answer to the age old questions posed in the first series, they altered the Sybil System into a typical dictator figure and made the antagonist an absolute ass. By doing so we come to the only course of action we could take which is what you said:
    “You just have one angsty piece of shit in one corner, and one laughably evil mastermind in the other corner. There’s no ambiguity here. Just take them all down.”
    _See? Since they likely couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer for how to proceed next from the first season into a proper conclusion with narrative closure, they simplify things, thereby making it WAY easier to put up THE END at the end of the series (or eventual movie, or whatever).

    I’m not saying they want to make a happy ending, not with Urobuchi involved, but they clearly want to make AN ending, which these kinds of stories, the kind of story the first series was, just don’t have. I don’t recall A Brave New World having typical closure, and I know for a fact 1984 didn’t end with any hope for reformation or freedom. Even Fahrenheit 451 ended on a note promising revolution but never letting the reader experience it. None of these classics had closure or denouement of the kind seen in other types of tales since they aren’t handling easy subject matter. Not to say other types of stories are devoid of complexity in comparison, just that these narratives, their themes and their worlds just can’t have an easy ending.

    But they want an ending. It doesn’t need to be happy, it doesn’t need to be complex, it just needs to be an ending. So! Let’s make a simple super-villain that needs ending and make the system obviously evil as to make its eventual destruction easier to handle and cheer on.

    That’s what I think, anyway. The change in writers and desire for some type of grand conclusion without the long effort to create one that fits thematically has given birth to this abomination. It was shaky at first, but damn did it all go down hill so fast.
    Should’ve never let that bastard live.

    THANKS KAMUI

  2. You don’t remember episode 2 of season 1, which had the exact same scene –Akane coming out of the shower in panties and towel?

  3. I don’t even understand what’s going on anymore. I don’t even care for what Kamui is doing. With Season 1, atleast the world building was solid and there was that cat-and-mouse game between Makashima and Kogami. Season 2 is all about a weak-ass cast, mind numbing conversations with that psychologist and transplants that defy logic and belief. What a train-wreck this season turned out to be.

    “Look at me mommy! I can kill remorselessly and wear a shit-eating grin at the same time!”

  4. The second they added Akane’s grandma, I knew this would be dumb.
    Its now both dumb and disgusting, just like the first season. Sybil is nothing but god with as superiority complex (like most gods), and we have two Shougo expys at two sides of the spectrum: Sakuya (black) and Kamui (white).

  5. What they burned was not some people deformed to look like animals. What they burned was the first season of Psycho-Pass, already deformed by the trash plot of the second season.

      1. Meh. It was just that bad to me. I remember you saying that don’t like to speculate about what will happen in a anime, and after watching this I would like to never had spent time trying to figure anything about this season of Psycho-Pass. I’m just feeling a idiot for even trying to understand a story that ultimately just kill puppies for the shock value and that’s the best explanation it gives for everything: OH, THE EVIL!

        And now I’m going to watch the last KimiUso and see how much it will frustrates me.

  6. To further breakdown how humanized sybil system is the worst is the fact it has been broken down into a single individual. Instead of should machines or a collection of brains control humanity. This single woman has been turned into god. Its now how do you judge a individual god.That just completely breaks the dystopian setting; this turn of events borderline ruins the series. Gone are sybils all seeing eyes, gone is sybil systematic emotionless. Gone is the sense of terror that we one day could have such a system in place. Gone is the systematic greed of a collective higher up. It has been reduced to 1 egotistical person. Scaled down and compacted. Instead of trying to figure out how to stop a entire system that is the foundation of society it is now just a single individual. I can take the human motives even 1984 had human motives of greed behind those who ran the system. How ever it was a unstoppable faceless collective. Now we have a very stoppable individual. Just another human with a face. Sure she may not be able to bleed. But she has motives,feelings, can be exploited manipulated and ultimately killed or punished. All these things that could not happen with the original sybil aside from the stupid unplug option but lets ignore that exists for a while. I said it damn near every episode but this series has thrown away its own continuity from season 1.

  7. Sorry typed my post before reading your entire post. Looks like we have the same opinion on the series. Didn’t mean to just re quote what you said. As another series I could accept this show as a decent show. But this thing is no longer even dystopian. I love dystopian stories and aside from No.6 early episodes psyho pass was the only truely dystopian anime. One ran by a system and not a individual.

  8. Booooo! PP2 you sucks *throwing tomatoes*
    Just great, Sibyl is now a single twisted brain, I’m guessing the other ones are on vacation playing a virtual reality game of some sort.
    In all seriousness just an ending like Super Mario Bros 2 would make sense at this point.

    1. In all seriousness just an ending like Super Mario Bros 2 would make sense at this point.

      So we’re going to throw a vegetable at the Sibyl System?

  9. Finally watched this shit today. I have lost interest to watch it as soon as it comes out.
    I believe that in order to make interesting story, we must have somebody we can root for. But Pp II doesn’t have it. It’s full of retards, mustache twirling villain, and a Gary Stu.
    An enemy of my enemy is my friend, didn’t apply here.

  10. I get what they’re trying to do. The reason why they made the Sybil System take on human trais is because people make up the Sibyl System. Remember, Sibyl isn’t just the law but everything else as well. Thus, the other people who are leading Sibyl are involved in other things. Chief Kasei just so happens to be running the law enforcement, probably for her own personal gain, which is what the other leaders of Sibyl are probably doing as well. This is what the second season is trying to do. It wants to make Sibyl human because even it is not completely free from any from of human connection as the people who make up Sibyl were human to begin with.Sibyl’s greatest downfall will be the fact that the people who make it up do have some bias and cannot run a society as logically as it would like and thus, it isn’t god. Its just pretty much what the show is trying to say, that no person is perfect and no one can truly judge without some form of bias.

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