by Jacob Chapman,
Did you know that your brain is amazing? No really, your brain is amazing, and don't let anybody ever tell you otherwise. Especially not Psycho-Pass 2. See, in this episode, Kamui and his droogs overload Sybil's processing network by firing too many Dominators at once. That is to say, less than ten people firing at most two guns each at a group of 500 people one victim at a time has overloaded the maximum data carriage of a system that looks like this. I have to assume the show is telling us that calculating and judging the CCs of at most about 5 people per second (and even then not continuously) is somehow overloading Sybil's "broadband connection," because the alternative, that it is overloading Sybil's "core processor," is preposterous. The Sybil System runs on the power of at least 200 perfectly synced online human brains at all times. The estimated computational power required to simulate one human brain's processing capability in real time is 36.8 petaflops. The world's fastest supercomputer in 2014 still can't do that yet. Your brain is amazing, and in case it wasn't obvious from the "quality" of this show's writing, Psycho-Pass 2 is grossly underestimating you.
Anyway, despite the fact that Sybil is known to be (passively) judging the population of an entire city through scanners at all times, somehow pointing a dozen dominators at a couple hundred people has overloaded Sybil and requires it to switch to backup channels, which are much easier to hack into, revealing Kamui's true plan this whole time: break into Sybil, see its true face, and force it to recognize and judge him, if it can. Thrillsville. The show once again invokes the pointless "omnipotence paradox," as if bringing Kamui and Sybil together would create a comical "does not compute!" catastrophe that forces Sybil to judge itself. This assumes that Sybil is actually a computer system, and not a network of human brains. They're sociopathic humans yes, but they're not infallible and they have never been bound by even their own internal logic, as proven by the many times in season one that Sybil broke its own rules: making dominators deadly against innocent targets, constructing loaded deals that excepted its own judgment to achieve a more desirable goal, and the list goes on. Psychopaths are human too, not robots, and certainly not gods. This was the entire point of Makishima's character. This sequel continues to fundamentally misunderstand how Sybil works and why. The real Sybil would have laughed and turned all those Dominators off back in episode 6, because it's made up of self-motivated humans, even if they're the kind of humans that society tends to discard or misunderstand. (You know, because they kill people.) The original show possessed a powerful understanding of human nature that this season doesn't grasp even a drop of, and it's just embarrassing at this point.
So while Kamui succeeds in his plan, Tougane is a few steps closer to completing his own: turning Akane irreversibly black. With her grandmother dead, Tougane is sure that Akane will "turn to the dark side" and murder Kamui, like this is Trigun all of a sudden and Akane took some vow of pacifism unbeknownst to the audience and completely against all her prior characterization as a pragmatic and morally driven believer in justice and the spirit of the law, violent or non-violent. Just because Akane has never killed someone by her own hands before doesn't mean she's against the idea when there's no other way to protect the innocent. She said this herself in episode 2 of this very season. Her struggle over whether or not to kill Makishima in season one was in no way related to themes of pacifism or worrying about clouding her hue. Season one's framing is very clear on this point. Akane made a mistake (albeit an extremely sympathetic one) by not killing Makishima during their first confrontation. She makes the right decision by not killing him during their second confrontation. This would be a contradiction if Psycho-Pass was at all themed around the morality of pacifism vs. martial force, but that isn't the point of her arc or those scenes.
The worst part of all is that the show's justification for this mess as a viable character arc for Akane only further proves its fundamental misunderstanding of Psycho-Pass' themes. Akane ultimately decides she's not going to take revenge on Tougane for killing her grandma (she knows it's not really Kamui because the show at least preserved her intelligence somewhat) after receiving a pep talk from ghost-Kogami. Heaven forbid the woman come to any conclusions on her own, I know. Reminds me of Shion's complete inability to do her job until Saiga walked into the room and said "You should do this!" in episode 6. Still, her one-on-one time with the little Kogami in her head is downright painful. He reassures her that she can't take someone else's life because she wouldn't let him do the same. "The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. That's why you stopped me."
No. It wasn't. "The law doesn't protect people, people protect the law" was Akane's reason for choosing not to try and overthrow Sybil, because if she did, a populace who didn't understand the spirit of the law would just erect another equally horrible system in its place or destroy themselves in the process. She decided that she had to continue to obey Sybil and instead work to change the society around her into one that would simply see Sybil as a backwards system of their own free will and abandon it. The only reason she tried to stop Kogami from killing Makishima was so that Sybil would pardon him instead of executing him. It was entirely personally motivated. She agreed that it would be better for Makishima to die here, and that the system would only become worse if a genius like him was assimilated into it, but she loved Kogami and didn't want him to die. Fortunately, Kogami overrode her decision, and both he and Makishima were spared from having to be in this terrible sequel.
All this leads up to Akane screaming "Don't!" as Kamui and Tougane rush each other with murderous intent, because she's a pacifist now, I guess. One more episode. Frankly, I can't wait to blow this popsicle stand.
Psycho-Pass 2 is currently streaming on Funimation.
Hope has been an anime fan since childhood, and likes to chat about cartoons, pop culture, and visual novel dev on Twitter.
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