A First Impression: Psycho Pass Episode 1

note: not Reborn

Our noitaminA entry is an original from everyone’s favourite master of suffering, Gen Urobuchi. Set in a gritty, cyberpunk future where the law seems to be governed entirely by a super-computer system called Sybil, rookie Akene Tsunemori is on her first day of her job as a law-enforcer of sorts. In this future everybody has something called a Psycho-Pass that measures the possibility that they could be a danger to society, alerting an arrest. In other words, people can be arrested for crimes they haven’t committed yet, guilty of only the possibility. One such man resisted arrest, so Akane’s first big mission – which she was roped into due to staff shortages – is to help find and capture him.
However, the job of an ‘enforcement officer’ is nothing like what Akane learned about; she’s aided by men that Sybil has predetermined as criminals (using the logic that criminals are the best at catching criminals), the man has a hostage, and she’s going to march right into a moral dilemma.

exactly why was this her career goal again

The art-style in Psycho Pass may look familiar, and that’s because Amano Akira, the mangaka of Reborn!, was the original character designer for this project. The plot may also seem familiar- it’s definitely something which isn’t particularly uncommon in scifi movies (Minority Report, anyone?), so I’m hoping Urobuchi has something else up his sleeve. Knowing him, he almost certainly does, and I’m sure he’ll give us a few more episodes before inflicting horrible despair all over everyone.
I had high hopes for this show – being a huge fan of Madoka and Fate/Zero I’d been eagerly anticipating Gen’s next project – but at this point its still too early to tell how good this could be. There’s positive flags – the animation is great, the backgrounds and setting look brilliant and capture a great Blade Runner-esque mood, and it’s also interesting to see Urobuchi working on this kind of scifi detective drama since fantasy always seemed more his thing. But I couldn’t help feel that the writing came across as very clunky in setting up exposition; characters basically explain things that Akane clearly ought to already know to her solely for the benefit of the audience. Granted, the first episode of Fate/Zero was basically one giant shining example of this problem so it’s not too hard for me to give Psycho Pass the benefit of the doubt right now and look forward to the writing improving once the plot really gets moving.
It’s hard to really see what the plot is going to be exactly but it’s likely going to focus more on two of the male characters that were shown at the start (you know, the ones that are going to be fueling doujinshi from now on). While it’s a good deal grittier than the fare I usually go for (a warning; there is an implied rape scene in this episode, plus a guy literally exploding) I’m definitely going to stick around and see where things go, I’m looking forward to plenty of classic Urobuchi plot-twists and believe that he can turn this not-particularly-original premise into something great. There was a lot of pre-airing talk about how this show would revolutionize modern anime or somethingorother, and it isn’t doing that right now but it certainly does make me interested. (Granted I’m pretty sure someone said this about Guilty Crown before it aired and well.)
Yet, I don’t think I’ll be blogging it; I find this kind of show quite difficult to write about. This First Impression review was hard enough.

Comparisons to BladeRunner are, of course, inevitable.

Out of 5,


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