Reviewby Richard Eisenbeis,
Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System
In the future, Japan is the most peaceful place on the planet thanks to the Sybil System--a computerized network capable of scanning any member of the population at any time to determine his or her psychological state and capacity for criminal actions. Those with said capacity are treated with medication and therapy if possible and if not are detained indefinitely as “latent criminals”—if they're not executed on the spot anyway.
But one such latent criminal, former detective Shinya Kogami, has managed to escape Japan and flee into the greater, war-torn world beyond. But as he travels across the Tibetan Plateau, he encounters three people who will alter the course of his life: a charismatic Private Military Company commander who hopes to broker a peace between the region's feuding warlords; a young woman seeking revenge against the man who killed her father; and a Japanese DOD agent seeking to use Kogami for her own secret purposes.
The Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System film trilogy is the latest collective work in the Psycho-Pass franchise. Rather than a single overarching case, each of the three films focuses on further developing a character or two originally introduced in the TV anime's first or second season. The first, Case.1 Crime and Punishment, deals with up and coming rookie inspector Mika—who believes in the Sybil System with almost religious fervor—as she investigates an experimental penal colony outside of Tokyo. The second film, Case.2 First Guardian, is a prequel that shows how loyal military officer Teppei became a latent criminal in the first place. The final film, Case.3 In the Realm Beyond Is ____, follows latent criminal and former police detective Kogami as he walks the earth after giving up his life in Japan for the sake of personal revenge.
This review contains spoilers for Psycho-Pass' first and second seasons as well as Psycho-Pass: The Movie.
In the Realm Beyond Is ____ takes place a year and four months after we last saw Kogami in the closing scenes of Psycho-Pass: The Movie. During that time, he has given up being a freedom fighter and has traveled across south-east asia to the area around the Himalayas on the Tibetan Plateau.
It is while stopping at a bar that he first encounters Garcia, the commander of the paramilitary “Peace Monitoring Group.” Rather than seeking to use his troops to carve out a little kingdom for himself, Garcia and his men are attempting to stabilize the region and bring about true peace for the first time in years.
On its surface, Garcia's plan seems like a pipe dream. The world outside of Japan is very much one in decline—even in the remote mountains of Tibet. Massive dilapidated factories litter the landscape, hinting at what once was. But now, not only are multiple factions vying for the area, but endless conflict has become all but a way of life as well. Yet, backed by his troops and public opinion, Garcia hopes to bring the area's leaders together for a peace conference.
In the devastated world of Psycho-Pass, part of the reason for the success of the Sybil System is the fact that, for better or worse, it has worked where all other systems have failed. Yet, Garcia plans to go back to the old way of gaining peace through conversation and discourse. If he succeeds, then that will be a serious blow to the dogma surrounding the Sybil System and a major boon for the area in the years to come.
However, just as the Sybil System has its own dark secrets, Garcia's plan is far from the pure ideal it appears on its surface. And like the Sybil System, it begs the question: at what point is the price for peace too high? Do the ends truly justify the means?
On the personal level, the film centers on the relationship between Kogami and Tenjin—an orphaned half-Japanese, half-Tibetan girl. As a child, Tenjin watched as her father—along with her entire village—were massacred by a roving warlord as she hid in a nearby rice field. Now she wants her revenge. However, she realizes that as she is now, she has no chance of defeating a trained soldier. So when she sees Kogami single-handedly take out a group of men attacking her bus, she decides that he is going to be the one to train her to fight.
Kogami, on the other hand, isn't thrilled by the idea of teaching a young woman to be a killer. However, he is no stranger to the need for revenge so he agrees to train her in defensive hand-to-hand combat if nothing else.
For years, Kogami was driven by the need to get revenge for the death of his partner—and he got it. In the end, all it cost him was everything he had except for his life. He lost his home, his job, and the various friends that depended on him.
Worse still, it might have even cost him his soul. To hunt Makishima, Kogami was forced to learn to think like the man—and this continues to haunt him. He can't turn it off and still finds himself having conversations with the hated man he killed with his own hands.
Yet, despite all that he lost, to Kogami, it was a fair trade to end Makishima once and for all. But just because it was worth it, that's not to say he encourages revenge-based killing as a lifestyle choice.
In Tenjin, Kogami is looking into a mirror and seeing himself—what he was and what he could have become. He knows from experience that there is a line--an act that no one can come back from: Killing changes a person irrevocably. And while he'd do what he did again, he clearly hopes that Tenjin will make a different choice—despite the inherent hypocrisy in his wish.
Now with Kogami finds himself dealing with both Garcia and Tenjin, so things are already complicated, but then Frederica appears and adds a whole extra layer. A member of the Japanese Department of Defense, she's ostensibly looking for Japanese who have been stranded outside the country—like Tenjin—with the aim of getting them home.
Of course, it's obvious from the start that this is a cover. She's looking not for Tenjin but for Kogami. However, it's not to bring him back to Japan in chains to die for his crimes but with a collar around his neck to serve the country. Just like with her attempts to recruit Teppei in the previous film, she's looking for Japanese who are latent criminals with law enforcement/paramilitary experience to join her team.
When it comes down to it, however, the whole story with Frederica isn't resolved in this movie--nor is it meant to be. In this film, Frederica's true role is almost certainly to be a plot device designed to set up the recently announced Psycho Pass 3 TV series.
Kogami is the franchise's breakout male lead--and perhaps the series' most popular character. However, while every other main and supporting character is in Tokyo, he alone is separated by distance and circumstance from the main narrative thanks to his crimes. If the creators want to get him back into the story proper while keeping the cyberpunk cop drama status quo, then there is no choice but to write a way for Kogami to be allowed back into Japan--and that way is Frederica.
Though, while she is a walking plot contrivance, Frederica is an intriguing enough character to distract you from that fact for the most part. She is shown to be an intelligent woman with great insight into Koagmi's personality and the patience to play the long game. Despite the dubious nature of her motives, she never betrays Kogami in any way. In fact, time and again she goes out of her way to help him. If nothing else, it's clear that she values him--after all, he's of no use to her dead.
More than that, though, she's smart enough to know that to get what she wants, he has to want to join her--she can't force him in any way. However, she also understands that she holds all the power in their relationship. If she stays nearby in a volatile situation like the one they're currently in--and he is at all emotionally compromised--he's the kind of person that will make a deal with the devil to get what he wants and then call it a bargain.
As for the film's presentation, the music is standard Psycho-Pass fair with the only real standouts in the soundtrack being the remixes used for the opening and ending credits. The visuals, on the other hand, are anything but standard fair for the franchise.
Since the film takes place far from the high tech landscape of Tokyo, we trade the futuristic cityscape of smooth surfaces and glowing fluorescent lights for a dilapidated world of brick ruins and rusting monolithic factories. Yet, instead of being a brown monotone, the Tibetan Plateau is filled with color. Multicolored prayer flags litter the landscape, accentuating the vibrant greens of the natural world. This use of color has the added bonus of making the movie feel about as removed from the previous iterations of the franchise as it can be while still retaining the same overall art design--visually showing just how far Kogami has gone and what he has to be willing to give up to return.
In the end, Case.3 In the Realm Beyond Is ____ is a personal story focusing on how Kogami's actions in both the TV anime and first theatrical film have affected his worldview and what that means for him going forward. At the same time, it also presents a morality tale about the price of peace, expands the greater fictional world of Psycho-Pass, and even sets the stage for the franchise as it moves into its third TV anime. It's both an entertaining, self-contained story and a solid addition to the franchise overall. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a lapsed one, this is certainly a film you shouldn't skip.
Overall : A-
Story : B+
Animation : A
Art : A+
Music : A-
+ A character study dealing with the consequences of all that has come before.
|discuss this in the forum (2 posts) ||