Fair warning, like most reviews in existence my review is quite biased and I was influeced by the "hype" factor concerning this particular anime. Quite a few factors influenced my hype for this title including the production studio (Production I.G), the setting (futuristic cyberpunk) and the writer (Mr. Urobutcher himself). Pretty much what I was expecting was Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex season 3, with awesome plot twists. What I got... wasn't completely unexpected, but at the same time I couldn't help but feel disappointed with it.
Story- As I mentioned before the story takes place in a futuristic cyberpunk setting, not too different from the aforementioned GitS. You've got your cyborgs, androids and ofcourse advanced technology which is a very big part of the story. Infact the technology is so advanced that a lot of the safety precausions that we have nowadays and guards and locks are obsolete due to the mysterious Sybil system. This system not only moniters the day to day lives of the people living in the city where this story takes place (I imagine some sort of Neo-Tokyo), but also tracks their mental state through something known as a psycho-pass. If your psycho-pass is a clear color that means your mental state is good and your not a danger to society, however if it starts to get murky well you might just get the MWPSB after your ass.
The MWPSB are the people that track down "latent criminals" and either arrest or just kill them depending on the "crime coefficient" of their psycho-pass. What do they use to do this you ask? Well that would be their good friend the Dominator, it not only measures someones crime coefficient on the spot, but also changes modes depending on it. If the level of danger is low then it will stick to stun mode, but if its exceptionally high then it will go into a executioner mode, where it functions pretty much as one of those Gantz guns. Aim shoot and watch the body parts fly. These officers and enforcers (who are latent criminals themselves, but under the jurisdiction of the MWPSB) are what the story focuses on. We follow them on their cases and watch them "grow and develop" and while some episodes are self-contained we do get a proper main story arc that reveals itself near the end of the series. While I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with the story, the way it is told, could have been much more interesting.
Instead of focusing on the how they solve the cases or even the specifics of how the world works, instead it opts to drag the story and slow the pacing with tons and tons of unecessary dialogue. While much of the dialogue is needed for exposition to actually make sense of the story and setting I honestly believed that a lot of it could be avoided and that would help to make this show into a more engaging watch. Another problem I had with the show was the tone or atmosphere. I felt like it was trying to puff off a super serious tone similar to that of GitS, however this could be a double edged sword as it's hard to strike a balance between serious and boring.
Animation- Ignoring the the mishap with episode 17, the animation is quite consistent. The colors are pretty toned down and "dark" which fit the atmosphere of the show. However I still had a few gripes with the visuals. The character designs while fitting the atmosphere for the most part, opted for kind of a josei feeling with bi-shonen male characters as protagonists and even the main antogonist, which just didn't feel right for this kind of story. While the females of the show all have these strange droopy eyes, which kind of makes them look both depressed and bored. Another problem in terms of atmosphere was the fairly frequent use of "cute" avatars or images like in the first major arc concerning the internet avatars, Akane's house avatar and the odd design for the police droids in the series. What I did like though was the healthy amounts of blood and gore. Whether it be someone just straight up exploding or losing a limb here or there the action scenes and especially the more violent ones felt very satisfying.
Sound- The in-anime OST was extremely forgettable for me, I literally don't remember any tracks standing out. The voice acting was good all around, but the Op and Ed themes were also pretty generic. I did like the first Op though and how it forshadowed some of the deeper themes of the series.
Characters- One of my main problems with this series. Lets talk about our main character, like GitS they opted for a female main character in the form of Akane. Unlike Major Kusanagi however she isn't really much of a fighter, instead I see her more as a... spectator character. She is a new officer of the MWPSB. I could say she goes through some decent character development phases... but by the end of the series I feel like shes the same as she was when she first started. The other main character of the series is Kogame, a young enforcer who is under the command of Akane. I found this character more relatable to Akane and with fairly more development. However like many of the male characters I feel like hes sometimes exploited for "manservice" and that slightly lessens his character for me. There are several side characters in the form of various other enforcers and officers and ofcourse our main antogonist. The side characters recieve very little development with perhaps an episode or 2 dedicated to them. My favorite out of these has to be a senior enforcer by the name of Masaoka, who IMO knows whats up in terms of the problems with the world. There are a few villains in this show, but the end boss so to speak is known Makishima, a charismatic young bishonen who seems to have the strength of Kenshiro and the wit of Light Yagami. Although I feel like he is trying to "overcomplicate" his character using bombastic dialogue and referencing famous works, which no doubt inspired the world of psycho-pass.
Overall- This series has its fair share of ups and downs for me and while I enjoyed quite a few episodes, there was many where I felt like I wanted to drop the show. So I guess I'll just end with basic pros and cons
-Cool futuristic sci-fi cyberpunk setting
-Great premise concerning the psyco-pass, latent criminals and the Sybil system.
-Consistent animation (aside from ep 17)
-Very dialogue heavy at parts
-Inconsistent in terms of atmoshpere
-Fairly unrelatable characters
I know a lot of people enjoyed this more than me, so I guess it's not really my place to say if you'll find pyscho-pass entertaining. The best advice I can give is to not expect another GitS like I did and try to be open-minded and maybe you'll find a lot more in this series than I did.
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