There are many reasons why PSYCHO-PASS is listed as the 32nd most popular anime of all time on MyAnimeList.com. To put it simply, it’s just incredibly well written with a very intriguing story concept. Season 1 introduced an interesting possible future. What if government was able to detect criminals based on analyzing their stress levels, called crime coefficients here? Instead of taking us through this process of how it came to be, the series dropped us right into the action and explained things in a more mystery format. (A prequel manga or OVA wouldn’t be a bad idea.) Season 2 continued the story, bringing together a new group under Inspector Tsunemori’s command.
The Movie is supposed to be “the culmination of a two season TV series.” It saw release in Japan a year ago, but is now seeing a dubbed release in North America in limited theaters these next two days on the 15th & 16th. Any fan of the series should definitely check it out. Like the show, it’s well written and continues to deliver the themes of government, democracy, and anarchy. Though, it could be a disappointment for those hoping to see a conclusion or world shattering happening to the Sibyl System.
Here’s the official description from FUNimation.
In a futuristic Japan, the Sibyl System is charged with keeping the peace. Using extensive surveillance and biological monitoring to gauge the likelihood that individuals will commit a crime, the police are able to use weapons called Dominators to remove potential criminals from the population before they become a problem. Confident with the success of the System within their own borders, the Japanese government has begun to export the technology to other countries, planning to ultimately spread the System across the globe.
When the state of SEAUn brings the Sibyl System in to test its effectiveness, it becomes a haven of peace and safety—for a time. Eventually, terrorists from SEAUn begin appearing in Japan, somehow slipping through the System’s security and attacking from within. Desperate for answers, Inspector Akane Tsunemori is sent overseas to bring the terrorists to justice. But when her investigation forces her into a standoff with an old ally, will she be able to pull the trigger?
The biggest divergence from the show is that the setting is mostly in Shambala Float rather than the busy streets of Japan. The most interesting thing however is how the Sibyl System is slowly growing outside of its boundaries. What if this System was implemented all across the world? This is now happening and it’s fascinating to see how Sibyl justifies the things it does, using the Utilitarian argument especially. The back and fourth dialogue between it and Tsunemori is as great as ever. Now while Akane is an excellent focus, fans might be disheartened to see that pretty much all of Division 1 is absent throughout the almost two hour run-time. This is a shame because almost all of the new members were underdeveloped in Season 2. Ginoza at least has some quality scenes. Unfortunately, Shimotsuki is still a pretty jarring character. On the flip side, Shion has perhaps her best role yet. I really like the dynamic of her being sort of what Oracle is to Batman. We’ve seen that throughout the seasons, but rarely just the two.
Arguably the most anticipated aspect is the return of Kogami. His role in the film is solid and like in the first season, he and Tsunemori have great chemistry as a team. Of course, there are a few new characters. The most standout is the leader of the mercenaries. Like Makishima and Kamui, just about every line he spoke was very good. It’s a shame he came later in the film; he would have made a great central antagonist. And that’s one of the things I wish the film had: there isn’t really a central villain like in the first two seasons.
Now like I said earlier, the film could be a disappointment depending on what you’re expecting. As “the Psycho-Pass movie,” it doesn’t really break ground or change the status quo all that much. Yes, we learn that Sibyl is now branching out, which is arguably the most important thing to come out of the story. But it isn’t really a culmination, rather just another part. With that in mind, you can enjoy it better than going in thinking it’s the grand climax or Tsunemori’s final showdown with the System. There’s a lot of expert thought put into the fight scenes. I haven’t seen too many shows with such excellent choreography. The soundtrack is solid. It’s not as good as Season’s Two soundtrack, but still isn’t bad.
Overall, PSYCHO-PASS: The movie is an enjoyable entry in the franchise. I think it’s a little strange the story went this route instead of providing a climax, but perhaps they’re looking to truly expand the series. (If the after credits scene is any indication.) Themes of bureaucracy and democracy play a big part in the final act of the film, and what better character to have at the center of it than Tsunemori? If you’ve seen the previous two seasons, definitely head down to the theater closest to you that’s playing this.
A big thanks to FUNimtion, you purchase your ticket here!