Psycho-Pass complete series review

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In a highly advanced Japan where monitoring criminal activity has become somewhat an obsession, Psycho-Pass displays a fast paced, exciting and often twisted story of cat and dog chasing like no other. In this heavily controlled world, the citizens of Japan are labelled and judged by the Sibyl System based on the colour of their ‘hue’ and ‘Crime Coefficient’. The ‘hue’ is used to determine the mental state of an individual. When compared with their ‘Crime-Coefficient’; a number which increases depending on the probability of them committing a criminal offence, the cities authorities can decide on an appropriate punishment, whether that be apprehension, confinement or even death. The story itself centres on the police Inspector newbie, Akane Tsunemori and her dealings with the city criminals, hunting and fighting alongside a team of latent criminals, the Enforcers.

screenshot_3_26196The beginning really kicks off with a bang. I’ve always found it important for a series to drag me in as soon as possible, I really can’t be bothered to wait until halfway through a story for something interesting to happen and that’s where Psycho-Pass earned its first thumbs up. The action was flowing within the first couple episodes and continued throughout, pretty much gluing my eyes to the screen. The idea of good guys vs. bad guys and chasing down the criminals is a classic story. It’s obviously been done a million times before but the creativity and interlocking storylines within Psycho-Pass take it to a whole new level. The twist on the Enforcers being ex-criminals is something I found very interesting. Each Enforcer is introduced on a very personal level, the smaller scale cast made it easier to relate to each one and watch the character developments flourish throughout the story. It’s also done in a way that makes us, as an audience, like the Enforcers and stick to their side, despite knowing the business they have previously been.

HorribleSubs-PSYCHO-PASS-07-720p.mkv_snapshot_03.11_2012.11.24_09.36.16Although I wasn’t the most fond of the protagonist Akane herself, purely because I was more a fan of the stronger characters, I cannot deny what she added to the story as a very neutral standing personality. Seeing the situation of the city from someone extremely down to earth and intelligent was almost crucial for the storyline and added a sense of realism to the seemingly unthinkable state of the country. The characters all had a very unique aspect to them which pretty much made it impossible to flat out dislike any of them. I have to add; hot guys with guns and hot girls with brains like a machine. To put it bluntly, they were all very appealing. And there was also a good bit of chemistry thrown into the mix between Akane and her dog- I mean her Enforcer, Kogami. Although there were undoubted elements of fanservice flirting and suggestive glances, I was pleased to see it not go in a direction that would retract from the true genres of the anime, as well as going against the colleague relationship status that was already put in place. But it was still fun to watch and cheer the pair on as a kick-ass duo.

CR-Psycho-Pass-11-1280x720_Dec-21-2012-8.31.13-AMAs far as the main story goes, I can’t fault the execution. The centre story is led by a very attractive villain who is enjoyable to watch, and feels fresh and exciting due to being surrounded by tonnes of little subplots, almost acting like side quests in a game. Psycho-Pass makes sure that the viewer is not going to become distracted or bored as the main plot slowly unfolds. And all that can be said for the side plots is a pretty big ‘woah’. Each was extremely clever and clearly thought out, some were downright creepy and horrific, adding a somewhat shock element to the anime. For all the suspense and action, I wasn’t expecting to be faced with some of the brutality and gore that I found in many of the scenes. Although it was a surprise, it made the series feel a lot more mature and serious, which in turn made me respect it even more. The pacing was very good throughout, nothing was rushed or dragged on, however I’d probably be pleased if any of it was ‘dragged on’ because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the drama that it’s almost disappointing when each big chase comes to a close. But all that being said, there’s definitely a lot of heart racing twists and turns.

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And further still, the art and animation in this series is exceptional. It looks as if every scene is in a heavily contrasted filter which makes everything appear dark and eerie. A main feature of the anime is the use of Dominators; special guns which can only be used by Inspectors in order to punish a criminal with the decided level of severity based on their hue and Crime-Coefficient. As if they weren’t a cool enough idea on their own, the design and animation for the guns was beyond impressive. I applaud the creative mind who came up with their chunky, neon sci-fi appearance. Along with the rest of series features, revolving substantially around the use of technology, the production team did a great job of representing futuristic technology such as computers, holograms and gadgets beyond the average imagination in the most fitting and believable way.

screen-shot-2012-12-20-at-7-05-45-pmI’ve mentioned before in previous reviews, the importance that music has within anime. And Psycho-Pass, again, hit the mark with the soundtrack. As if the suspense wasn’t enough during the hunt for crazed and dangerous criminals, the upbeat techno music would swarm in and totally lift the entire atmosphere. It made everything feel a little more desperate and fast-paced, as if running out of time. It’s unbelievable how much influence music can have on the feelings when watching anime but I can’t even begin to put into words the perfection of the soundtrack. Put it this way, I would often rewind and watch the opening sequence over and over again, because it does a perfect job of setting up everything that this show is about.

Putting everything together, the characters, the storylines, the music, the art, the animation; Psycho-Pass is an all round flawless show. For those who enjoy action, thriller and psychology, this wis right within those themes. It mixed the dream-like world of modern technology, what we would expect to be of benefit to humankind, with the realities of the catastrophe and control that could come with such advanced inventions. Sometimes it made my skin crawl, other times it made me gasp and want to scream at the screen for everything to be okay, but either way I can’t deny being thoroughly entertained and continuously impressed from beginning to end.

Psycho-Pass Complete Series One Collection is released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Manga Entertainment on 1 September.

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