Blurbs: PSYCHO-PASS (2012 – 2013)

by jh

In order for this blog not to die, I’ve decided to include shorter impressions. You can find these under the Blurbs tag.


Sleek, dark, noiresque sci-fi about a future Japan where everyone’s crime potential is scanned by some infallible, impartial computer system (hint: it isn’t). Our protagonists are government agents who are tasked with implementing the system’s judgment (whether that means arresting someone whose “psycho-pass” level is too high, or killing those who are too far gone). We learn about all these characters and their ideals and their back stories (all of which seem to have been affected by this system). I appreciated that although there a few one-off episodes, all of it is more or less connected to the larger plot arc of the show.

The show’s protagonists are in love philosophizing their way through dialogue scenes, bringing up what’s implicit in the action of the show and then commenting on it at length (what is this, a Christopher Nolan movie?) Gen Urobuchi, the show’s writer, also seems to be in love with references; Shakespeare, Rousseau and Terayama are all name-checked at different points throughout the action. Granted, the references are not random, and actually help to illuminate what’s going in the show, but I just thought it was prevalent enough to mention it.

Psycho-Pass’ strengths ultimately is not its philosophical inquiry, but rather its portrayal of the maturation of its lead character from rookie to professional. It’s surprising that that’s what ends up the thing that I take away from the show, and not none of the free will, police state technology shenanigans. It might just mean that the show’s engagement is more shallow than it at first seems. However, this does not prevent the show from being massively entertaining.

How To Find It

The series is licensed by Funimation and can be streamed through their website.

Psycho-Pass  (2012 – 2013)

22 episodes

Production I.G.