Psycho-Pass 3
Episode 3

by Richard Eisenbeis,

How would you rate episode 3 of
Psycho-Pass 3 ?

Psycho-Pass 3's third episode does two vital things: it shows what drives our new heroes and it lays out this season's loophole that lets the villains get away with murder.

On the surface, Arata and Kei are an odd pair: One Japanese-born, the other Russian-born. One bright and happy, the other calm and serious. One single, the other married. One chosen by Akane, the other by Mika. But from the start, it's been clear that the two are loyal only to each other—a loyalty built on an absolute trust born from sharing a common (yet hidden) goal. With episode three, we finally dive into the specifics.

Kei's brother was killed by Arata's father—and then Arata's father committed suicide. However, it's obvious that both believe this case to be far more than it seems—that both of their loved ones were victims in a yet-undiscovered crime. For Arata, their investigation is all-consuming. At home, daily chores are neglected and he even sleeps in the half-disassembled shell of his father's car—something likely related to the crime. Kei, on the other hand, is trying to balance his quest for justice with both being an immigrant in a time of rising xenophobia and having a disabled wife whose treatment is dependent on his job. 

In a very real way, each is the others only means of support—the only person capable of keeping the other grounded. While such codependency grants a powerful certainty of purpose, it also means that if one falls, both do. And with Arata foolishly using his mentalist powers without support and Kei losing control and punching a civilian, both are already stumbling as they walk the razor's edge. 

We also learn more about two of our new Enforcers, Irie and Todoroki. Irie comes from one of the non-Sibyl System monitored ghettos throughout Tokyo. He is basically an ex-gang member who became a cop in order to protect his home from within the system—even if it meant giving up his own freedom to do so. Todoroki, on the other hand, is a member of a rich and influential eugenics-obsessed family. With his fall into being a latent criminal, he was deemed as a breeding failure. In response, his mother apparently committed suicide out of shame—though this may have simply been her way of ending everything on her own terms before the family had her killed. His constant rejection of authority is no doubt his own way of fighting back against the family that abandoned him. But as we see, coming face to face with them in the present robs him of his usual defiance.

His family also serves as our window into this odd, future of eugenics where it's not race that marks the “genetically superior” but rather mental stability—i.e., a lack of latent criminals in the bloodline. Under the Sibyl System, mental health has rapidly become the most important thing to society in general—a fact that the villains of the season have learned to exploit to literally get away with murder. Psycho-Pass has always asked the question “What kind of person could get away with murder in a world where you can scan a person and know if they're a criminal or not?” The first season's answer is “a person who can control the results of their own scan.” The second season's answer is “a person who the system itself refuses to scan.” The third season's answer is “a person who gets the victims to choose to kill themselves.” 

Azusawa, our villain, is a master at using the fear of the Sibyl System itself to commit his crimes. Regardless of the specific methods he employs, all of his victims face the same choice in the end: kill yourself or become a latent criminal. And as it is the victims who make this choice, he never actually commits a crime. In the end, it was them, not him, who did the deed.  The reason this means of murder works so well is that, in the world of Psycho-Pass, becoming a latent criminal is, in many ways, a fate far worse than death. If you die in an “accident”—or even by obvious suicide—it is a tragedy. However, if you become a latent criminal, you are locked away—likely for the rest of your life without any chance of parole. Worse still, all your work and all your accomplishments become tainted in retrospect. People fear that if they do as you did—support the causes you supported— they too will become latent criminals.  Likewise, your family becomes guilty by association—shunned by those in society that feel that by either genetics or upbringing, they too are doomed to become latent criminals—along with any who associate with them. It's no wonder that all his victims have chosen death to spare their life's work along with their loved ones.

It's a brilliant way to get away with murder and it showcases a fundamental flaw in the Sibyl System. The question is how will our heroes—and the Sibyl System itself—react when they figure it all out? That alone is enough to get me excited for next week.


Random Thoughts

  • Arata almost always sits in the back driver's side seat of the car. This is also where his head is placed whenever he sleeps in a car. This is likely him subconsciously reaching back to the events of when his father died, always searching for some missing clue to what happened.
  • The unmonitored ghettos, where latent criminals live en masse, exist solely for that purpose. Why would Sibyl go through all the hassle of searching through all of society for these people when she can let them all confine themselves to one area without lifting a finger—and all of their own free will?  
  • I like that mental stability eugenics, just like our modern equivalent, has no basis in scientific fact—yet tons of people believe in it solely because they want to believe they're superior.
  • Over the course of the movies, we've seen Japan under the Sibyl System moving from a policy of isolationism to one of international expansion. This season is all about the issues this dramatic change in the zeitgeist is causing back home.
  • Yayoi is back and seems to no longer be a latent criminal. If true, this means she is the first Enforcer we've ever seen who got better. However, I'm thinking “journalist” might actually just be code for “spy working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” 
  • So, Akane publicly killed a person. How much do you want to bet that her hue is clear and her crime coefficient low despite her not being criminally asymptomatic? That'd prove to be one hell of a dilemma for the Sibyl System.

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