by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 1 of
Psycho-Pass 3 ?
Community score: 4.2
Despite continuing the story of the two TV anime and four films before it, Psycho-Pass 3 seems to have no problem blazing its own path through the cyberpunk dystopia of its predecessors.
As the first episode of a multiple season series, the premiere of Psycho-Pass 3 has three major jobs: 1) Introduce us to the new status quo, 2) introduce us to all the new characters, and 3) keep us interested while doing so.
The new status quo is more than a bit of a shakeup. When we last saw the full CID team back in Sinners of the System 1 - Crime and Punishment, everything was more or less unchanged from how things had been since Psycho-Pass 2--i.e., series heroine Akane was catching criminals with her team of inspectors and enforcers while simultaneously trying to keep the Sibyl System in check.
Psycho-Pass 3 starts three and a half years later with Akane locked up in a rather luxurious prison. Her former second-in-command/rival, Mika, now sits in the boss' chair and the team Akane built has been completely replaced--except for a single other member: the shy and reserved Sho.
This drastic change is itself a mystery--and one that overshadows the entire episode. Why is Akane in prison? Is it because of what she knows about the Sybil System or was something else the cause? Where is the rest of the team? Why is it that only the least loyal to Akane (Mika) and one of the most loyal to her (Sho), remain? And what of all the setup we saw across the Sinners of the System films, how does that fit in?
But even as we start to ponder this, we are introduced to our new protagonist pair, Kei and Arata. Kei is the typical straight-laced bureaucrat we've come to expect from this Sybil System world--at least on the surface anyway. It's clear rather quickly that this is a facade and he is actually loyal to Arata alone--and to their secret shared goal.
Meanwhile, Arata, by his very existence, stands to throw the grounded, cyberpunk world of Psycho-Pass right out the window. While claiming to be a “mentalist” he actually receives haunting visions at crime scenes--and accurate ones at that. Whether he is just using technology as he claims, is a real psychic, or is seeing psychotic delusions built from his own intuition and observations remains to be seen. But regardless, the fact that a person of such obvious mental instability could exist within the Sibyl System's control is a captivating mystery in and of itself--which brings us to the weak point of the episode.
Compared to the mysteries of what happened to Akane and what exactly is going on with Arata, the actual mystery of the episode is little more than incidental--though this is likely by design. How and why this man was murdered is little more than a narrative tool to introduce our new cast through action rather than verbal exposition and sow seeds for the future. Likewise, the mysterious cabal pulling strings in the background is, as of yet, nothing but a hook to get you to come back next episode with the promise that more is going on here than it seems.
All things considered, this is a pretty solid premiere for a multi-season anime. It does all the heavy lifting it needs to do in re-establishing the setting and introducing our new heroes. And while the episode's actual self-contained plot is rather weak, the characters--both new and old—and the mysteries surrounding them are more than enough to keep things interesting.
Psycho-Pass 3 is currently streaming in Europe on Amazon Prime Video.
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