“Psycho-Pass” Season 1 – A Masterful Future Dsytopian Anime

Shorewood Blu-ray Ocard

   “Psycho-Pass” is one of the best dystopian, sci. fi. cyberpunk animes I have ever watched since “Ghost in the Shell.” Both go into philosophy, psychology and full development of characters and their motivations. The fact that Gen Urobuchi is the writer of the series helps as “Madoka Magica” and “Fate/Zero” are both amazing projects that he was also the writer behind. Everything I have watched by him has been consistently great and Season 1 of “Psycho-Pass” is no exception.

      The series was directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro and written by Gen Urobuchi.

    The story takes place in a future dystopia where everyone’s lives are controlled by the Sibyl System that scans the Psycho-Pass of every individual to decide if they are criminals or need therapy. We follow Akane who is a rookie cop on the Public Safety Bureau who works with latent criminal enforces and is pulled into the greater events of the world.

The Pros: The Animation – The animation is absolutely beautiful. Production I.G. did a great job designing and producing this show and it flows seamlessly and doesn’t have any moments where the tone is inconsistent.

The Soundtrack – The Soundtrack feels like an 80’s sci. fi. and it is wonderful in how it captures the moments of terror or reflection. Yugo Kanno did a fantastic job.

The Writing – Gen Urobuchi is a fantastic writer and this show is no exception. All of our characters go through arcs and the world where everything takes place in changes over the course of events.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of the show and what make it a great. I’m curious how they are going to handle Season 2 given the changes that happen over the course of the show.

Unit One – Unit One are the main folks we follow who Akane is the rookie in. They all have great relationships to one another and change each other in different ways over the course of the story.

The Sibyl System – This system is creepy as it made from the minds of murders and criminals and countless others that work as one God-like Mind. There is a creepyness to it and it’s power and influence over others is to the point that it shapes what careers people take and how justice is met out.

Inspector Nobuchika – The Inspector is a bit unstable and is dealing with the fact that his father was made an enforcer. His arc is making peace with his old man as he eventually finds himself as an enforcer when he is unable to calm his hue and in doing so becomes a latent criminal. He goes through the most loss in this series.

Tomoni Masaoka – He is the Inspector’s old man is one of the best characters on the show. He’s always wresting with the why and is a fantastic philosopher. Sadly he doesn’t make it as Shogo eventually takes him out with a grenade when he grabs it to protect his son. What a great character, he is the wisest of the group and has the greatest influence on Akane.

Kagari – Is the young enforcer who was never given the choice as he was dubbed a latent criminal at age 5. He hates the Sibyl System and the murders he hunts and is the joker of the group. He sadly dies when he discovers the truth of how the Sibyl System runs and what it is. Though his legacy lives on as he is the martyr for the greater truth.

Yayoi – Yayoi has the least development though it is cool how she was once a punk rocker and I love her relationship with Karanomori the tech. She is the bitter perspective within the group and is the calmest. Through the series she comes to respect Akane and trust.

Karanomori – I love this character, she’s my favorite character on the show besides Tomoni. She’s a red dress, a cigarette and has hooked up with most of the folks in the office. She doesn’t care and even though she’s trapped being a latent criminal, finds freedom in how she can help hunt down criminals and in the relationships she forms at the office. She’s super cool and I can’t wait to get to know her character more.

Shinya Kogami – Shinya is the standard bitter ex-cop out hunting Shogo and it’s personal. He decides to kill in the end and leave the system behind and we gather he finally finds the freedom he was always seeking. He’s a bit of a cipher as his being emotionally scarred is so much a part of his identity.

Akane – Akane is the rookie who becomes leader of Unit One by the end of the series as she is trusted enough by Sibyl that they approach her and show her who they are and we see her take control of the Unit as it is falling apart as well as her tactful forms of resistance against Sibyl throughout the series. She’s a great protagonist and I look forward to seeing what she does next season.

The Villains – Besides the Sibyl System Shogo is the main baddie and the different pawns he uses like his hacker friend, a serial killing girl and a man who replaced his entire body with a machine. They are all compelling in their own ways.

Shogo Makishima – Shogo is a great villain. He’s a bit of an anarchist, a bit of the joker and an all around dangerous character who will turn on his allies just as easily as anyone else. He actually hurts the Sibyl System when he destroys one of the member brains. He wants the total collapse of society but is stopped by Unit One. He’s well read, strong and smart and his conversations are some of the best in any anime.

The Philosophy – Philosophy is key to this series as Plato, Descartes and countless other theories of the self are expressed and explored by different characters through the series. This is what really sets it above most other action animes as it doesn’t just focus on one thing but explores so many aspects of what meaning is.

Free Will and Choice – This is a major theme as the Sibyl System decides everything for you unless it believes you’d be apt at different ideas. We see this in how characters are used and how what it means to be a person is explored.

Tyranny and Freedom – This is another theme brought up by the Sibyl System’s existence as it is full tyrannical control and with it stability. Characters are a slave to it and it sees it’s main purpose as making society healthy and happy. The show explores this extremely well through the eyes and thoughts of the Enforcers, Akane and Shogo.

I highly recommend this series, or at least Season 1 of it. If you like Gen Urobuchi work like me this is easily one of his best and I think when I do eventually  re-watch it I’ll discover even more about the ideas, themes and characters than I did before. There was nothing to dislike about this show. But I will give a warning that it does graphic and brutal times so it certainly is not a show for everyone.

Final Score: 10 / 10

Ranma 1/2 – Season 1, Episode 2 – “School is no Place for Horsing Around” – Akane Rocks

SchoolisNoPlaceforHorsingAround18

   “School is no Place for Horsing Around” is mostly setup. It introduces us to the cool character of Dr. Tofu and the drama king Kuno as well as establishing ways in which Akane and Ranma are similar…if it had just been this it would be great, but it ending on a cliffhanger brings it down to simply good.

     The episode involves Tendo’s girls going to school and Renma’s first time as well since he’s going to be in the area for a while. Once they get to school a group of males attack Akane to claim her love and our easily beaten until Kuno arrives and Ranma realizes that he may have found someone as good as him at fighting.

The Pros: Dr. Tofu – He is the school doctor and a pretty chill guy. He also is super quiet and experienced at martial arts as he sneaks up on Renma and Renma can’t sense him. He is a bit of a mentor to Akane and her possible crush.

Kuno – This guy is dramatic about everything and in charge of the Kendo Club. He is a dick and thinks he’s entitled to Akane, which she has none of as she has defeated him countless times and kept his challenge to be with her open. The episode ends with him and Ranma falling into a pool in their search for a place to duel after getting kicked out of class.

Ranma – Ranma shows that he can be a good guy in this episode as we see him respecting Akane’s space and every time anyone asks about them he only says he is a guest. It isn’t until one of Akane’s sister mentions their engagement that people react and even than he is fighting that rumor since he doesn’t know if wants it or Akane wants it.

Akane – This is Akane’s episode and we see why she is so hard as she had to fight off suitors for a long time in High School. She’s a great martial artist and we see her softer side in this when she opens up to Ranma about Dr. Tofu inspiring her and also Kuno’s sick challenge, which hardened her even more. The episode ends with her being worried about Ranma.

  This was good but not great. It could have been better if we had more character moments. The comedy is good though as well as the fact that Ranma and Genma are always fighting and knocking each other into water. Kuno is the arrogant prick so seeing being brought down is always a lot of fun.

Final Score: 8.3 / 10

Ranma 1/2 Pilot – Season 1, Episode 1 – “Here’s Ranma” – Establishing the Relationships and the Crazy

Here's Ranma Ranma S 1 E 1

     “Ranma 1/2” is going to be insane, and I think I’m probably going to like it. The relationships are never what they seem and all the characters are unhinged and the relationships are complicated. It’s a nice change of pace from what I usually watch in regards to anime where there are usually clear antagonists. This was a show that quite a few friends recommended to me, so it feels good finally getting started on it.

     The episode involves Soun Tendo setting up his daughters so that one of them will be the fiance of the famous martial artist Renma. Instead of Renma showing up as himself a red haired woman arrives with a Panda. After chaos and hot water it is soon discovered the red haired woman is Renma and that she changes back into he when hot water is poured on her and cold is when the Panda turns back into his father Genma.

The Pros: Soun Tendo – He’s a well meaning father just trying to save his Dojo and I never felt he didn’t care about his daughters. He actually faints when the red haired girl says she’s Renma as he feels betrayed by Genma. In the end it is established and he’s cool with them and the only cool head in the room.

Genma – Genma is Renma’s dad and is violent but never in a harmful way. He’s playful with Renma and always pushing him to be better and is very much a child as he is constantly trolling him.

Akane – Akane is the youngest of Soun’s daughters and the one uninterested in having a relationship. She actually makes friends with Renma when Renma is a she but feels betrayed after the hot water turns Renma back and comes to hate him because of it. She is openly violent and knocks Renma out after Renma insults how she looks and that she looks better as a she than Akane.

Renma – Renma has a huge ego and most of his/her problems are on him/her. Renma is always fighting and trolling and like Akane doesn’t want to be in a relationship since he’s been in so many already that he just doesn’t care anymore. Renma does grow to at least have an inkling of something for Akane though, I think it’s cause Akane can fight and Renma respects that.

The Cons: The Other Daughters – Kasumi and Nabiki are ciphers and don’t really have any personality. I hope they are made to be distinct later, if not there isn’t any point to having them around in the show.

   This was a good start to the series. It establishes that it is a relationship show and that all the characters are crazy in different ways…creating conflict right out the door. I’m curious to see how the relationships develop though, especially between Akane and Renma and I really like how Renma is comfortable being both a man and a woman. It makes Renma a great character.

Final Score: 8 / 10. Solid start to the series.