The 22 episode first season of PSYCHO-PASS is easily one of the best anime of this decade. Why is that? For one thing, there have been very few shows with the police system at the center. Law and Order the anime version? It goes beyond that. A shady government has been a story concept for many years now. It can be overdone, but when done right it can lead to a very intriguing watch. This anime introduced the concept of a Psycho-Pass, which basically gives law enforcement the ability to read stress levels. If stress levels are high, you’re what is known as a “latent criminal.” It’s a very interesting concept. The first season played it smart, jumping us into the action in that first episode and explaining things as the story went on. With FUNimation just releasing the second season on Blu-ray, I thought it’d be great to take a look at the 11 episode sequel.
Th general consensus is that the second season is not as good as the first. I would definitely agree it’s not. Why? The main thing is the characters. Just about every single main character in the first season was engaging and got adequate screen time. (And when it looks like that isn’t the case, the show gives Yayoi her own episode detailing her backstory.) In Season 2, almost all the new characters are lackluster. Of course, since the first season had 12 more episodes, it’s natural that development would be better there. Still, some of the additions here are questionably written. The worst is Inspector Shimotsuki, whom the writing can’t seem to agree on what kind of character she is. Her entire character arc was very annoying to get through.
Sho isn’t bad, but never gets enough adequate screen time. He’s usually just there. Togane is arguably the biggest of the new PSB members. He was definitely interesting, being almost an inverse of Kogami from the first season. His character arc was certainly intriguing to watch come to fruition. For returning characters, Tsunemori is fantastic as ever. Her role is arguably more interesting than the first season’s because she’s now full on inspector. Later the show dives into her why her crime coefficient always remains low, and while the viewer can deduce that at this point, it nonetheless puts her as one of the finest focuses in anime’s recent history. Ginoza was an interesting character in the first season. For awhile he was the unlikable superior, but as the episodes went on we saw another side to him. At the end, he was downgraded to enforcer and now Tsunemori was his superior, which would put an interesting twist for this season. While he’s certainly a lot more likable here, he does virtually nothing important and ends being almost a background character. Not only that, but his character seems to rewind. His shouting, “How can a person do that?!” is something a rookie would say, not someone whom was once an inspector. Yayoi has a couple of really good scenes, being a sort of counselor to Shimotsuki. With that, she actually does more than in the whole first season.
I was at first disappointed with Kirito Kamui as the antagonist. For the first few episodes he came off as another Makishima, just not as good. Makishima in my opinion is one of the finest antagonists ever put on screen. Kamui never quite reaches that, but as the episodes went on he became an engaging focus in his own right. The season greatly builds him up, especially in Episode 4 where he kills without any emotion. His character arc takes a very interesting angle at the halfway point. It could be a stretch of imagination, but Psycho-Pass manages to pull it off without going into true science fiction territory.
Themes of duty, government, and anarchy continue to be present and virtually no show has managed to incorporate all of them in such a great manner. The writing here is consistently strong, with a lot of fantastic monologue from Tsunemori. Unlike the first season however, there are somethings which doesn’t seem legitimate or could have been handled better. The main thing is in Episode 4 where this old man holds an entire store hostage. This guy uses a stick and little robot to beat people, & has to use an asthma mask. The problem isn’t the dialogue, because the dialogue is actually quite good. The main thing is that no one tries to collectively assault him. One guy does, and is somehow beaten to death. Still, when he’s literally using his oxygen mask it’s a little too unrealistic that no one else is tackling the guy.
Despite the shortcomings listed, PSYCHO-PASS 2 is still a very good anime. It’s just not quite as good as the first season. But if you’ve seen the latter, the Blu-ray for 2 is certainly worth adding to your collection. Story progression is fantastic as we see the Sibyl System once again expertly challenged and the soundtrack is phenomenal. It’ll be tough not to marathon the whole thing in a day.
Extras on the discs are a little plain. If you like commentaries, there’s a few of them to listen to. Also there’s trailers and a text-less version of the theme song.
A big thanks to FUNimation, you can pick up the Blu-ray today!
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