Category Archives: Psycho-Pass

From a New Oppression: Winter 2013


I feel the story of Psycho-Pass is a key to unlock a certain understanding from From the New World. I guess in order to talk about it, there will have to be some spoilers.

There are some key elements in Shinsekai Yori that keeps it beautiful–like this ever-present human darkness. It’s like every given life that is born to society, society plays Russian roulette with statistical odds in the production of a monster. The monsters in Shinsekai Yori are world-destroyers in the most literal sense. A character refers to it as a nuclear bomb, and I think most of us would agree. It becomes the nightmare scenario where even if 99.999999% of mankind is perfectly upstanding and good, all it takes is one bad apple to ruin everything.

In the same way that is the exact same perspective from Psycho-Pass (if in that society, humans are much worse on average). In order to play this numbers game with statistics (which already assumes a lot of different qualities about the human condition that you and I might not agree with) we can skew the odds heavily in society’s favor if everyone just give up on something. In Psycho-Pass, it’s the obvious flaws with the Sybil system. It does a clumsy job of illustrating it for us, but they’re spelled out plainly.

In Shinsekai Yori, the scheme is much more sinister. It’s so sinister, that we don’t even get a good look at it. It’s so well-disguised, we can call it simply, human evolution. It’s when we de-evolve ourselves to limit the conscious capacity to commit murder, to hypnotize our children so to limit the power of their minds, and ultimately kill the potentially dangerous elements of our society in the form of children-killing-by-committee. We never really got a up-close look at all this, except maybe the scene where Saki goes over the details of her terms with the Ethics Committee chief. We never really get a close look of the hypnosis  or the way these visual triggers were genetically added into the strains cultivated at the village they were living in. We don’t know how the memory manipulation were done besides what we could guess by inference. It’s not really the focus of the narrative, but these things are pretty important.

Of course, it may only seem like “de-evolve” from the perspective of a world where not everyone is a live bomb ready to go off. In some ways, the scenario in Shinsekai Yori is what engineers called an edge case. You can look at it in the context of, say, gun control, or in the context of an effective way to prevent crime. You could also look at it in the case where how can power and responsibility coexist. There are a bunch of different ways to tackle the same framework underneath. It’s in this overarching context that I examine the stories about Saki and Satoru and Maria and all those kids, in that the values we perceive to be important to cherish and reinforce in life may run against these survival, political, societal, and even evolutionary forces.

Unfortunately, this also means in a season where I’m watching Psycho-Pass and Shinsekai Yori at the same time, Psycho-Pass is more like Psycho-Passe, and if it isn’t for Urobuchi’s sensual murders I probably would have already dropped it out of the weakness for themes. Of course, I don’t think most people are approaching Shinsekai  Yori as an ethics experimental pressure chamber, and Psycho-Pass has other redeeming values too, but for me I can’t take all this Mole Rats business any other way.

Actually, an experiment is a good way to phrase it. The fantastic setting is oozing with realism in Shinsekai Yori. There are pluses and minuses to this approach, that said, but it feels like after 17 episodes the experiment has finally began.

Autumn 2012 Mid-season Checkpoint

I voted for more shows dropped and more time shooting aliens this November, but I got wet from Konya wa Hurricane. The net total is this post about random observations. If I didn’t mention a show here I probably dropped it, or on hold until whenever like E7Ao.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – It’s less mentally offensive than Hyouka because it doesn’t try to engage me on higher level of analysis and thought, so it is much easier to watch. But in a lot of ways it’s definitely inferior. I suppose this is why Dekomori and Kumin exist. I said most of what I wanted last post.

Teekyuu – What I watched: Teekyuu. What I expected: Sofuteni. What I got: Zero Punctuation. Also, this is Mappa? Good on them. About 3000 yen for all of it on Amazon! [Side note: man, pagerank for CR on this keyword is horrible.]

Seitokai no Ichizon & Ebiten – I lump the two together because clearly both are being screened on Nico first (how about that US merger huh) and then picked up by a TV station the season after. HOPEFULLY this means CR will stream it starting in Jan 2013. As far as Seitokai no Ichizon goes I’m pretty okay with the new season, once I got used to the new Akaba voice. It was easier to deal with Mafuyu’s voice because it’s a very neutral tone, although I miss the very subtle tonal acting that was present before, that gave it an extra edge of melancholy. Oh, I probably should mention Seizon Lv.2 Episode 0 was AWESOME, because man, I miss Houko.

Oniai – On the merits, it’s probably worse than NakaImo, and it is more or less the same schtick–crazy girls tries to get into main guy’s pants, entertain mostly with OTT antics and not with so much fanservice, hides its plot/character chops. Takeaways are the two underage seiyuus in Ibuki Kido (as the main sister girl) and Sumire Morohoshi (the 12-yo manager genius). Kido is actually a year younger than Akiko, and Morohoshi a year older than Arisa. My favorite gag has to be the T-shirts. It’s like “Primary schoolgirls are great” but even better. Because I can wear something like Che Akiko and not get arrested.

Zetsuen no Tempest – I’m fascinated by this show, but it’s not the most engaging thing. All the characters are mysterious and hard to read, and you don’t really know what’s going on. How can they build a compelling plot on that? Just turn a bunch of people into metal and have giant eyes float out from the ground, I guess. Oh, add a romantic triangle involving some really messed-up interpersonal relationships. What’s the best about all of this is that it’s done with the precision of a Shakespearean play, instead of something more, well, relatable and visceral. What’s the worst is that it’s all posturing and TL;DRs, with the reasons and rhymes in thoughtful dialogues and monologues. Yeah, it can be kind of dull. It’s no surprise that I like Tempest; I’ve always liked shows like this. Having Bones behind it just make it a lot easier and makes it possible that I can talk to some people who may be drawn in for those superficial reasons. Book of Bantorra, anyone?

Hidamari Sketch S4 – Really digging it so far. Although, as others pointed out, unless they do something with the new first years in a major way, this is going to be pretty much more of the same for another 13 episodes. What they did in episode 6 is exactly what has to happen for Nazuna and … the girl with the PC.

Jormungand S2 – Eh, it’ll do. A lot of the suspense is gone with the second season. Maybe I should write a blog post about sequels like this. And Hidasketch.

Space Bros – It’s gotten to the point where the anime just has to make one more mistake before I drop it (for the manga). Invariably it makes a mistake and I’m like, man, I don’t want to read manga, because I just don’t have that mode of consumption handy in the way my routine is. But invariably, also, Space Bros redeem itself in some minor way for me to keep putting up with it.

Psycho-Pass – I can put up with this. At least it rewards with some pretty cool ideas. And a strangled Ayanyan.

Robotics;Notes – This anime is my Yoshino Nanjou coming-out-of event. Granted at this point it’s all kept in the dark, plot-wise, so I can’t really say anything about this anime besides that it’s already seeding important details, as all non-linear narratives invariably do. I’m not sure it has given me enough to go on but I’m just blindly rolling along with Tall Robot Nerd Poplar. And is Kai a jerk? Who cares?

Magi – I think this is my top show this season. But it’s one of those “watch but don’t buy” kind of thing since the show itself is just excellent, but not something I’d obsess over. Maybe it will change and upgrade into something worth owning.

Busou Shinki – This is pretty lame. Limp, even. Especially when it’s less like Strike Witches and more like… Infinite Stratos? At least that’s how I’m watching it–for the mecha battles. The animation is what I like best, along with the tech/setting. But I’m not sure how else it appeals to the cute-girls-do-cute-things demographic. Maybe I’ll punt it after all?

K – The music is so pimp that I feel like playing Persona 4 Golden. Might punt it. And yes, this show works great as a comedy…and that’s it.

JoJo – OMG. On the other hand it’s just as I expected from David Pro.

Girls und Panzer – This show is brilliant. Not only it capitalizes on what is obvious as the concept became a thing, it did enough of a twist to make the whole venture seeming worth the while. Its ensemble-cast style organization yet focusing on a handful is a gamble ultimately, not because they’re doing that, but they better be focused on the best five girls out of that lot of dozens.

Medaka Box S2 – I guess this anime took the Negima turn? Not that I mind; Medaka makes a good protagonist, although it’s really just a 2-person show between her and Zenkichi vs. the world at this point. Not that I mind that, either.

Shin Sekai Yori – It’s the “different” anime this season, although how it’s different is unclear. I think it’s at least something interesting for a more “mainstream” audience (because it isn’t really mainstream) but this is definitely overrated. If I had to criticize it, two things–the pace is horrid and the direction and scripting is clumsy. Usually these two things cause me to drop shows, but the setting sort of redeems it. Or the underage sex, I’m not sure. I predict at least one commentator at the end of this cour will complain how it does not fully utilize its setting.

Muv-luv Alternative: Total Eclipse – Lots of BETA action in the first half. Second half is more about Total Eclipse of the Heart amirite.

Little Busters – It’s the sort of moment when you recall every Key/VA anime event you’ve personally experienced since the beginning and you go, “we’ve came a long way.” It isn’t to say the visual novel to anime mechanism has improved to the degree that those products are something worth while–maybe it has. But Little Busters was originally the concept, and now it has arrived; perhaps its only flaw was this anime existed starting after Angel Beats. None of that, however, heals its deadly pangs of boredom.

Initial D Fifth Stage – I guess no one sleeps in Tokyo in the night of fire about love and money. And I still would like to test out a FR-S/BRZ sometime.

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo – The Pet Girl of Sakura House? Inn? Guilty Crown? I enjoy the roomful-of-lunatic approach to the series and it is very much got everyone looking at the characters as characters, and that is already a win for the anime. As usual I have a harder time buying in, but the array of otaku references makes the low production-value pill easy to swallow. [LOL I forgot about this show srsly…now it is included!]

I really want to keep watching Kamisama Kiss, but I have to drop something in exchange. I might.

At a glance you can tell Funimation is pushing a lot of new titles this season. It’s a promising thing because in the past 18 months they are major slacking on new acquisitions in my opinion, given the share of home video releases they put out. On the other hand, while I have been test driving their premium account across my phone and PC (mostly on the PC), their quality of service is still rather lacking. It’s better than just embedded Hulu streams that TAN is doing, but that’s like comparing your current self with yourself in 2002. At least I can get things to work after enough experience “jiggling” the various nobs and switches. Like how in Chrome when you change resolution to 720 it autoplays, and half the time it tries to play 2 streams in the same player if you hit the wrong buttons in the wrong in sequences.

At times like this I wish I was the kind of otaku who only watched anime off the tube, so I can cut it loose and just stick to this sort of services, paid or not.

There are three fronting shoujo series this season. Two go to CR, one to Funi and AN gets one of the two from CR. Not sure which one wins but that sounds at least fair.

Overall a pretty mild season without a smash hit, unless that boring Urobuchi show turns out to be a gem or Sakurasou becomes the second coming of Toradora. The various continuing series are all pretty strong and they will entertain, where as new series will have to flounder a bit before they find their footing. We’re at the half way point now, but I think shows like Garupan and Oniai have no real grasp on the audience at this point. Maybe that’s okay for those kinds of shows.

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10 Things about Psycho-Pass

This is more like my impression after 3 episodes than actual facts about Psycho-Pass. Also, this is a little too Letterman for my taste, but that’s how it came out.

10. There was this anti-moe nonsense where one of the key creative people banned the word “moe” in some of their internal production discussions.  Big whoop. Only if by banning the word it makes the show not moe. Truth is, anything with Kana Hanazawa is probably moe. And maybe it doesn’t necessarily involve cute or female characters!

9. noitanimA shop is pushing some Psycho-Pass apparels. You can see this video for some examples. Kana wants you to keep watching.

8. FUNimation is streaming this every Thursday right after it airs. I don’t know why it doesn’t do the same for Robotic;Notes, but this is the Psycho-Pass post. I have been watching the simulcast via an elite account and it is working pretty okay. The player sometimes get finicky under Chrome but it works. I wonder if they throttle free users. If they do, they probably should advertise that!

7. Ling Toshite Shigure OP does not disappoint.


5. The Dominator’s new mode as explained in episode 3 works just like the famous Doom superweapon, the BFG. Note that Tsunemori was standing on the other side of the drone, and the shot didn’t touch her at all because of LOS…

4. Sybril and the Psycho-Pass are two different things, among other things.

3. Momotato kind of likes it…!

2. People possibly walk around naked, under that holographic system of clothing. If the interior decoration is of any hint, maybe Tsunemori is wearing a green suit all the time. I wonder how that applies to makeup.

1. Written by Gen Urobuchi.

PS. Hurricane Sandy left me with a great time tweeting (since I guess I can’t be distracted once internet and power went out) about the howling wind and how I can feel my house move around while I doodled away on my PSP unlocking K-ON content. Oh, hey, I was going to buy Shiny Festa over PSN but I noticed I had only 5330 yen left (MSRP 5380 yen) and not too sure if I wanted to spring another 50 (or 10 I guess) just so I can play it a couple weeks earlier than the copy that is shipping to me. It’s way too much effort for an impulse buy. Oh, right, what’s the word about the hurricane that left me without power (probably for up to 5-7 days)? Walpurgisnacht? Yea that was how it feels–as far as an internet meme that helps you laugh about a real-life problem. Even though it really isn’t bad, and it gives me the opportunity to mess with all this camping gear. But unless I can juice up every day (maybe I could) I doubt I’ll get around blogging much (let alone watching anime), or get more XCOM-seiyuu killed.