Sarah Wiezel

Agent Sarah writes on Tuesdays for Agents of GUARD and covers Arrow, console games, anime, and whatever else sounds appealing at the moment. She has a day job in the software industry and thinks cereal is overrated.

I might be late to this party. I don’t care!

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There’s a tiny cyberpunk princess inside me screaming with delight and bouncing off the walls with exuberance. I haven’t been this excited about an anime I’ve watched since Attack on Titan came out!

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Psycho Pass, simply put, is one part Ghost in the Shell and one part Minority Report, and it’s amazing. I won’t go into all the mechanics of the universe, but the key to this universe is that people are constantly scanned and given a “Psycho Pass”, a kind of psych evaluation, by a computer program. One of the major components of a Psycho Pass is a score that indicates how likely someone is to commit a crime in the future (their “Crime Coefficient”). People with high crime coefficients are pulled off the streets and rehabilitated (or just killed on sight! Yay!), so generally crime is low and people are happy.

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The story revolves around Akane Tsundere Tsunemori, who is a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed crime Inspector fresh out of school. She leads a team of people (“Enforcers”) who are all considered latent criminals and have high crime coefficients, but now work for the government. After all, who better to catch criminals than those who are criminally-minded? She blunders and stumbles through a few cases before realizing that because crime rates are so low, people who actually do commit crimes are seriously twisted and disturbed, and have to go through a lot of trouble not to get caught, so their crimes tend to be pretty outrageous.

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While watching this series, it’s very hard not to see parallels to everything Ghost in the Shell has done. There are hints of the Laughing Man, the Individual Eleven, and there’s even a character that reminds me of Batou (ironically, his dub voice actor is also in Arise, the new Ghost in the Shell series…) The type of intellectual banter and constant references to authors and philosophies is definitely another element reminiscent of GITS. The shows were also both produced by Production I.G. (and Psycho Pass is stunningly beautiful.)

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But the nice thing about it is that while the inspiration and parallels are obvious, Psycho Pass doesn’t feel like a cheap imitation. It doesn’t strive to mimic as much as take an echo of ideas from GITS and merge it with a well-told, thoroughly fleshed out plot. Characters are all well-developed, antagonists are frightening yet believable, the universe is captivating, and the series raises some very interesting and fundamental societal and psychological questions.

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Psycho Pass season 2 is set to debut in Japan on October 9th of this year and plans for a movie are in the works, and you had better believe this cyberpunk princess will be tuning in for them.

 

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