by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Psycho-Pass 3 ?
Who would have suspected the crazy cult that worships the Sibyl System would turn out to be criminal? (You know, other than literally everyone.)
Starting from where we left the mystery last week, episode six of Psycho-Pass 3 continues its look into religion—and religious terrorism—in the world ruled by the Sibyl System. Overall, it's the weakest episode of the series so far—though that's not to say it isn't a decent watch nor that it doesn't contain its fair share of vital information. It's just that, as a stand-alone episode, it is all setup and very little action. Moreover, our heroes spend more than a bit of time finding the answers to puzzles that should have been obvious—at least to the viewer—after last week's episode.
This is always the hard part of mysteries: you want the characters and the viewers to be figuring things out at roughly the same time. If the heroes are ahead, the viewer is likely to get confused. If the viewer is ahead, they're likely to be bored waiting for the characters to catch up. That said, there are still quite a lot of interesting things going on in this episode. Top among these is that the bombings aren't really about killing anyone. Rather, they're about what the investigations into those bombings have revealed—i.e., the dark underbelly of Japan's new pro-immigration policy. During this case, our heroes have come across arms smuggling, sex slavery, and illegal drug usage in relief facilities. All these are ways that immigrants are being exploited.
The trick is that this plot has clearly been co-opted. It's original purpose is unclear but it is being used as a way to force the government to improve the conditions of the immigrants coming into the country while at the same time clamping down on corruption. However, this also has a major side effect—it weakens the current government. By weakening the government this way, it's also strengthening Heaven's Leap—doubly so thanks to the power vacuum left in the wake of having nearly all the religious leaders killed. And Heaven's Leap—specifically its acting head, Torri Aschenbach—is more than happy to exploit the situation. However, Heaven's Leap has its own skeletons in its closet. In their compound, cut off from the Sibyl System, they are implementing their own plan to reform latent criminals: put them into an apathetic, near vegetative state caused from an overdose of anti-psychotic drugs.
This isn't the first time we've seen “Eustress Deficiency”—a disease caused by having a life so stress-free that your body and mind just shut down from the lack of stimulation, eventually ending in death. Back in season one, Makishima called it the leading cause of death in Sibyl's society. The difference here is that Torri Aschenbach has figured out a way to induce it on purpose—and believes that doing so is literally God's work.
It all comes back to the fact that Sibyl's judgment is treated as word directly from God by members of the church. What Sibyl demands—what God demands—is mental purity. And say what you will, but the nearly comatose sufferers of Eustress Deficiency certainly have a clear Psycho-Pass. Thus, the more indoctrinated church members have no problem believing the twisted logic that, as having a low Psycho-Pass is the ultimate good, kidnapping and forcing people to undergo the “Eternal White” procedure isn't a crime: it's salvation. It's simple religious fanaticism.
Now all that's left for them is to ride the bombings to a useful conclusion. It's as Aschenbach said last episode: the church believes all people should eventually be converted to their religion. And that is something that cannot happen if they are locked away inside the special religious zone. All they have to do is prove that the religious zone is a failure and that they are the only religion without any corruption. Though with the Public Safety Bureau and Ministry of Foreign Affairs breathing down their necks, its easier said than done.
Speaking of those two government agencies, their power struggle continues—and all signs point to something bad happening in the future because of this. To make an American analogy, Mika's Public Safety Bureau team is the FBI while Frederica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs team is the CIA. The FBI works on all cases inside the country. The CIA works on cases abroad. In episode two, Frederica's team was barely skirting the line of what is allowed—i.e., her team waited until the moment the criminal's plane left Japan, before leaping into action and arresting him. The problem is that this time Frederica's team is clearly operating inside of Japan—a blatant violation of the rules. More than that, instead of sharing her information about what's happening outside of the country as it pertains to this case, Frederica's trying to cut Mika's team out of it. This forces Mika's hand and puts her officers in unnecessary danger. Worse yet, because both teams are running ops in the Heaven's Leap compound, they have every possibility of getting in each other's way—and potentially letting the bad guys get away with murder. Or to put it another way, Mika has every right to be pissed.
- There actually looks to be a three-way power struggle going on: Mika's team, Frederica's team, and Akane's team—though who exactly is in each team isn't clear.
- The more I watch the more convinced I am that Akane is in prison by choice.
- It's cool to see that our Enforcers really do understand Arata—going so far as to disobey his orders to protect him from himself.
- I suspect that, now that Kei's wife is all set up to be fridged, we'll get to see how Kei does with playing Azusawa's game.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.
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