Psycho-Pass 2
Episode 9

by Jacob Chapman,

Episode 9 opens around its own little theme of applause. Mika is clapping enthusiastically, which can't be a good thing. Apparently, she has seen the full truth behind the Sibyl System and come away from all the horror impressed. Her hue is clear and she fully endorses Sibyl's use of "criminally asymptomatic" (i.e. psychopathic) brains to judge the hearts of the populace. Her clapping reminds Tougane of his childhood, when scientists would applaud wildly as he killed beagle puppies while running around a grassy field. He's almost jealous of Mika for making his mother so proud in his place. Well, I'm glad the episode is applauding itself, because I can't see much applause coming from the poor fanbase for this tripe.

Only two minutes into the episode and it is already a loathe-worthy failure, adding ten pounds to the miserable weight of the second season thus far. It's hard to think of two more hacky and intolerable writing devices than the ones dumped out in this first two minutes. No one likes characters that writers have clearly created to spit on for the entire show's run, and we now know beyond the shadow of a doubt that was Mika's purpose from episode one. She's been so deliberately manipulated for maximum hate-ability to the audience, that her character has now become internally inconsistent for the sake of remaining horrible. There is no reason for Mika as we know her to react positively to the truth behind Sibyl, short of certifiable insanity (which is also lazy writing) or faking alliance to Sibyl to protect her own survival (unlikely because her hue is still clear.) Remember the Mika who vowed to join the MWPSB to right the injustices inside the system that took the lives of her friends and filled her with survivor's guilt, way back in season one? That Mika is long gone, replaced with a buffoon made only to be mocked by everyone around her to no end but mean-spirited-ness. This Scrappy Doo style of characterization is so awful, it's rarely seen in any competent narrative. Usually, such characters are created by writers who actively resent the show they are working with, often a long-running network sitcom or children's cartoon. It definitely doesn't belong in Psycho-Pass.

As for the second writing device, I don't think I have to explain why "child murdering little puppies for an audience of applauding scientists" is unacceptable writing for almost any story, but it definitely doesn't belong anywhere near Psycho-Pass. (Also, if he's the ultimate criminally asymptomatic brain, why does he have the world's highest crime coefficient? Ubukata does realize those two things are diametrically opposed, right?) The drops of intelligence and nuance we once expected from the material are completely dried up. Even in animation quality, this resembles a TNK or Studio ARMS OVA more than anything else.

That was just the first two minutes. After that, we have a meaningless discussion of the Omnipotence Paradox between Akane and Saiga, in a hilariously failed attempt to bring this stupid show back to its intellectual roots. When Makishima name-dropped literature references and abstract theories, they might have been self-indulgent, but they were always relevant to the events around him in some way. The omnipotence paradox is completely irrelevant to the questions of this series. It is a question of whether Sybil is fit to govern when it cannot be faultless as it claims. We already know that, and so does Akane. Akane's response to Saiga's waxing should not be rapt attention, but an internal "That's nice, but it has nothing to do with the very real flaws of a world governed by brains in jars that have deemed human emotion to be a punishable offense. I already know why those guys aren't omnipotent!" The whole scene is the epitome of padding and pretension, and even ends with Saiga saying out loud "I wonder why we're even talking about this. We were supposed to be discussing Sybil." The show does attempt to tie the paradox to the Sibyl System, but it boils it down to a very basic "but what if everyone was a superhero!" hypothetical that not even Kamui was close to achieving. On that note, Kamui's endgame is still murky at best when it really shouldn't be, and Mama Tougane's plans are completely baffling as well. This is the most explosively incompetent writing I've seen in a while.

Kamui's vague plan apparently involves taking revenge on the idle rich for the part they played in his origin story plane crash. To achieve this, he sets hot plates of raw human chunks in front of them and somehow this raises their crime coefficients to lethal levels within seconds. This is not how the Sybil system has ever worked. This method would at best jack up their hue (stress reading) insanely high, but it would not change their crime coefficient so fast. That number is measured by how emotional stress affects volatility of human action over time, assuming that crime is caused by emotional instability, which is true of all but the criminally asymptomatic. Seeing a dismembered body does not automatically put most people in a state to become violent. This completely goes against both the concept of Inspectors period, and one of season one's most powerful scenes, the Christmas night murder observed by thousands of completely unaffected people. It took being kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and covered in the guts of her exploded captor to raise a woman's crime coefficient just to "stun levels" in even the most questionable part of Psycho-Pass' first season: its first episode. People are placed in treatment centers to change their crime coefficient over months and months of therapy. Of course, this impossible plan also gives Kamui the excuse to overuse Dominators again, exploding everyone in the room. Ugh.

Then again, the idle rich must have been burying some real demons anyway. Their mansion is filled with a menagerie of illegal aliens that have been captured and for unknown reasons, mutated/transformed into the bodies of (normal-looking) wild animals somehow. Yes, you read that correctly. (So why would they be so shocked by seeing a dismembered human body...? Wouldn't they have to be criminally asymptomatic to even get this far?) Writing like that was taken out of The Hunger Games for a reason. It's bad and it's lame and how is this getting worse, how how how?

The episode ends with Akane receiving her grandmother's ear in a small box as an open invitation to join Kamui's big blowout in the subway system. Of course, Kamui didn't kidnap her grandmother, Tougane did. So both villains have reached the zenith of their plans and in neither case do they make any sense at all.

This series is a steaming pile of garbage.

Rating: F

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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