Time for another one that’s currently airing. This time it’s Psycho Pass, the cyberpunk cop show written by Urobuchi Gen (nicknamed by some as Urobutcher, for good reason) who is most notable for writing Fate/Zero and Mahou Shouko Madoka Magica.
IN A WORLD where your state of mind and the likelihood of you committing crimes can be measured by a computer and you get locked up if the latter number (known as a Crime Coefficient) gets too high, an intelligent young woman named Tsunemori Akane joins the police. Police work is rather different to what we’re used to seeing; most of the really dirty work is done by Enforcers, people judged by the great computer to be too likely to commit crimes to run free but also suited to police work. Naturally there has to be someone holding their leashes; that’s the Inspectors, which Akane is now one of. It’s dangerous work, and not just because criminals want to kill them – one of the occupational hazards is staring into the abyss long enough that it stares back and raises one’s Crime Coefficient. This is what happened to at least two of the Enforcers in the cast.
Akane with her trusty weapon
And then there’s their weapons: gunpowder and ballistic lead guns are a thing of the past. The cops now wield Dominators; energy weapons with settings ranging from a simple stun to obliterating the target. But it’s not the wielder who decides what mode to use, or even whether or not the person it’s pointed at should be shot at – the great computer makes that decision. What could possibly go wrong?
What happens when the computer decides on a lethal mode
It starts off a relatively run of the mill police procedural in a futuristic setting, but as it goes on we begin to see the downsides of the mostly peaceful society, and the negative implications of the computer determining just about everything. And then we run into some killers who the system just can’t deal with, and shit really gets real.
The setting is pretty well thought out, with the implications of all the technology explored in everything from criminal investigations to day to day life. I’ve heard it compared to Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, and this is a fairly apt comparison. The technologies on display are a bit different, of course – fewer robots generally, and a lot less in the way of overt transhumanism. It’s also on the whole a much more peaceful society, but where it’s not it’s considerably more brutal.
The characters are all pretty interesting, too – every one of them could just as easily be the star of their own story. I found that it started off interesting enough, but not particularly outstanding, but now that the plot’s kicked in and it’s a bit less case of the week, it’s brilliant. Well worth checking out if you haven’t already seen it or picking up again if you dismissed it after an episode or two.