Review of Psycho-Pass: The Movie

psychopassmovie

Readers who have been following my blog for a couple of years will know that I am a big fan of Psycho-Pass (possibly because I am a complete psycho.) The series won my Top Five Anime of 2014, beating the likes of Fate/Zero and Attack on Titan. After a gap of two years the time has come for me to revisit the Psycho-Pass universe courtesy of this motion picture, which is available to buy from Anime Ltd in the UK. For the record, I have yet to watch the second season of Psycho-Pass, because I hear that it isn’t up to snuff. Guess we can blame a change in writer and studio for the dip in quality. When will people learn that change is a terrible thing? As an example, it drives me potty when Facebook and YouTube periodically change their webpage layouts to an inferior design.

OVERVIEW

Psycho-Pass: The Movie begins literally with a bang, thanks to an action packed opener featuring the cutest flash grenade I have ever seen. The intro scene has Akane Tsunemori and a team of MWPSB agents taking down a group of foreign terrorists. How dare these armed immigrants disturb the peace? The Sybil System, which maintains law and order in Japan, should keep those troublemakers out by building a wall. Anyways, one quick investigation later and it is revealed that the radicals in question hail from an unstable region dubbed the Southeast Asia Union. Apparently Akane’s former subordinate Shinya Kogami, who has been AWOL ever since the events of series one, is training the country’s guerrilla faction. Eager to meet up with him (possibly because she thinks he looks dreamy topless) Akane flies off to the SEAUN hoping to apprehend the runaway Enforcer.

From there Akane tries to infiltrate the resistance, which is fighting against the recently crowned SEAUN government. The country’s administration rose to power after their leader agreed to import the Sybil System. With the aid of Japanese drones pockets of peace have been established in a nation torn apart by civil war. Tranquillity comes at a price though. SEAUN’s military elite rule with an iron fist and have relegated much of the populace to second-class citizens – who are obliged to wear collars, which are more demeaning than the ones my dominatrix orders me to wear on Saturday nights. Any inhabitants who step out of line are promptly executed by toxins contained in their Sybil manufactured chokers. Faced with such discrimination, can Akane complete her mission or will she be compelled to challenge the Sybil backed SEAUN regime?

VERDICT

My rating for Psycho-Pass: The Movie is a four out of five. It’s a great flick, although I will admit that I prefer the original series a smidgen more. I think that opinion is however influenced by my natural bias towards narratives that are broken up into episodes. The absence of characters I liked from season one could also be a factor, because the movie is mostly an Akane/Kogami exclusive adventure. All that said it was cool seeing Psycho-Pass broaden its horizons beyond Japan and seeing how the Sybil System functions in a young state rather than an established utopian society. The movie’s action is top notch too, featuring brawls were Kogami battles against cyborg mercenaries and gunfights were Dominators reduce lawbreakers into giblets. You probably don’t want to consume a meal whilst watching this film!

Like all good sci-fi Psycho-Pass: The Movie uses its futuristic setting to make us ponder on present day issues. Obtrusive surveillance, tampering with the politics of war torn lands and fear being used as justification to erode civil liberties are all covered during Psycho-Pass’ two-hour runtime. The artificial Sybil System acts eerily similar to flesh and blood statesmen. Unlike those we elect into the White House, Sybil does listen to feedback sometimes. Akane has some sway over it at the very least, although that may be due to her cuteness. Who can say no to that face? Whenever the diminutive inspector barks out dissent she looks just like an adorable puppy. Anyways, time will tell if the upcoming Ghost in the Shell will be any good. If it flops, like many anime live action adaptations do, fret not because Psycho-Pass: The Movie has you cyberpunk junkies covered.

25 thoughts on “Review of Psycho-Pass: The Movie

    • Sometimes it feels like we are getting there. The authorities monitor us already through CCTV and by spying on emails/calls. Software can already predict what adverts you may be interested in. Given more development who is to say that computers can’t predict who is likely to become a criminal.

  1. Can this be enjoyed as a standalone film, or do you have to know years of continuity, and backstory to understand the plot, and characters? Seems interesting, but I’m not familiar with the series.

  2. Contrary to the popular flow, the second installment actually remains my fave bit of Psycho-Pass. Maybe that’s because I really grew to appreciate Akane’s character and what she stands for in the grand scheme of things. Still, this is a cool movie with action galore, as you mentioned. Perhaps if the creators were more open to suggestions like Sybil is to Akane, then maybe we’d get an ending to this amazing franchise.

  3. The ads for Psycho Pass and everything I hear about it always ends up being really interesting to me, but I’ve never been tempted to take the plunge. I should probably just dive in at some point, see if I enjoy it as much as it sounds like I should.

    • You should give the series a shot. If you enjoy stuff like Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex or Minority Report I am sure you will dig it. The first season is written by the guy responsible for Fate/Zero, Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet.

      • That is a solid pedigree. And it’s on Crunchyroll, so I have no excuse. Guess I’ll be picking this up when I finish up one of the other series I’m watching.

  4. Have you been able to play the Psycho-Pass videogame? It was on sale on the PSN store for a short time and I got very tempted to buy it! I enjoyed both seasons of the anime so I definitely want to try to watch the movie.

    • I bought the visual novel yonks ago, but haven’t made a start on it yet. Now would probably be a good time, as all is quiet in terms of new video game releases ever since Christmas ended.

  5. Going to watch this, it sounds great! I also hate it when things change… Most of my favourite TV shows have at least one awful season due to different writers. Community is a solid example, if you’ve ever seen it! Thanks for the review as always 🙂

  6. I’m actually part of the minority that enjoyed the second season, though not to the extent of the first. I liked the movie as well but again, not to the extent of the first season.

    It was good to see Kogami and Akane working together again. And the Sybil System valuing Akane is feature that’s a personal favorite of mine. Mika is as annoying as ever though.

    • Series one is exceptional and therefore a tough act to follow. This was my first exposure to Mika. She made some good points, but was very blunt. I suspect once I watch season two I will join the band of people who don’t like her.

    • Psycho-Pass would probably work well as a live action sci-fi series/movie so I can see why it would be liked by non-anime viewers. That said, I have never understood why some people say they hate all anime. It’s a bit like saying I hate all movies. There are so many genres of anime that there must be something out there for everyone.

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