Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Anime Review: Psycho-Pass Season One

When I first began watching "Psycho-Pass" it was because I randomly chose it off of Netflix based upon the description and the fact that I wanted a new anime to watch (New in the sense of one I hadn't seen before)   I watched maybe six episodes or so and then took a break from the show.   I liked it but it was just kind of there.    Then one day, I decided I wanted to watch an anime and instead of starting something else from the beginning I thought why not finish "Psycho-Pass" first.    I came to find that "Psycho-Pass" was leaving Netflix in just three days and I had something like sixteen episodes to watch before it did.   I searched the internet, the library and without buying the DVD it seemed like this was my only chance to finish this season so I buckled down, took a snow day and finished the first season marathon-style.

The idea of the "Psycho-Pass" itself is somewhat similar to that of the universe built around the character Judge Dredd.   There are two people in the field together- one the inspector and one the enforcer.   The inspector is essentially the cop while the enforcer is essentially a criminal.     Both are issued guns which read a person's "Psycho-Pass", which can tell whether or not someone is a criminal or has intent to commit crimes.     In this way, the city is governed through video cameras and tests which need to be passed even if you do something as simple as leave your house.    This has made outside a rather safe place but it has also become complacent.

Between the obvious elements of science fiction comes the crime factor, which also brings upon it that mystery, and there are moments of pure humor as well.  (When watching with subtitles on it always laugh-out-loud funny for me to hear the audio say "Ah, Spooky Boogie", as if the character pauses every time before saying it on purpose)    The first season, admittedly, didn't really pick up for me until about halfway through and then I realized, yes, I needed to be watching this and I couldn't stop.     There is one main criminal in here who is behind most of the bad stuff and the way his mind works or his emotions or whatever he is capable of passing the "Psycho-Pass" regardless of what he is doing.    So even if he's killing someone his hue remains intact and he doesn't post a threat as far as the system is concerned.    This also locks up their guns, which further complicates things when trying to catch him.

In a lot of ways it doesn't just remind me of that Good vs. Evil classic idea but also the whole thing from "Death Note" with L where you begin to wonder who is on the side of good and who is on the side of evil.   Combine that with action and a story which eventually leaves you on the edge of your seat and I think this is one of the best animes I've ever seen.    There is also a lot of quoting of philosophers and writers in here.   At one point, there is this rather long rant about how reading a book digitally just isn't the same as holding a book in your hands.    And while this seemed to be somewhat out of place (A writer's push of his own beliefs into a series?  Never!) I still find myself agreeing with the overall idea of it.    Holding that paper in your hand, the sensation of turning the pages and other factors transport you to another world which you simply cannot get from a computer screen.

Though the first season was taken off of Netflix shortly after I finished watching it, I am going to be on the lookout to buy the complete series one day on either DVD or Blu-Ray.   The second season is on Hulu though, so I will be watching that soon enough and while I don't understand why each platform gets a season I'm not going to argue with it because at least I can still watch Season 2 somewhere online legally.

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