This two-parter sets up an exciting final confrontation, but also lets us know the limitations of a 22 episode show.
What They Say
Transparent Shadow: After escaping, Kogami visits Saiga to ask for help determining what Makishima’s next move will be. Although Division 1 is assigned to capture Makishima alive and execute Kogami, Ginoza still hopes he can get Kogami to surrender before he kills Makishima.
Where Justice Lies: The Dominator reveals the whole truth of the Sybil System to Akane. Knowing the truth, Akane must now decide how to proceed. Meanwhile, Kogami continues to pursue Makishima, who is making steady progress on his plan to bring down the Sybil System.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
These two episodes are all setup to the climactic confrontation between Shogo, Kogami, and Akane that we see hinted at in the show’s second OP. The final revelation at the end of episode 19 was so vital, and so potentially show-wrecking, however, I felt I couldn’t review it alone. Fortunately, the big reveal works better than I had feared. Unfortunately, with the direction the show has decided to take, it becomes apparent what things we might have hoped to see touched upon will never come to pass.
Kogami’s first stop after he leaves the safehouse, revolver in hand is to the home of Professor Saiga, who we previously met when Kogami took Akane to visit. Kogami explains the situation, and that he intends to kill Shogo, and Saiga takes it with a kind of resigned acceptance. He realizes that helping Kogami will taint his Criminal Coefficient, but he decides it’s worth the risk. The two try to psychoanalyze Makishima and decide what his final attempt to overthrow Sybil might be, in the five days he has before the system is restored and he becomes public enemy #1. In a plot trope we haven’t really seen before, Saiga asks an anonymous message board of political dissidents what steps might be taken to destabilize the government. It’s suggested that attacking Japan’s food supply might be the ticket.
It’s a little unbelievable. I like the idea of crowdsourcing a solution, since the show is science fiction, but the idea that Kogami is so “in touch” with Makishima that he knows what strategy he will choose is a little hard to take. The weaknesses of monoculture in agriculture and genetically modifying crops are also legitimate issues, especially to a country with national pride in self-sufficiency, but it also feels somewhat goofy when the crop is given the name “hyper-oats”.
What’s most key to the drama is that Kogami Shinya and Makishima Shogo will have their final confrontation in an all but abandoned rural district, with no one around to help and the fate of Japan’s population at stake. If it pays off, the goofiness of “hyper-oats” will be forgotten.
Episode 19 ends with a dominator that talks to Akane, saying it will reveal to her the real truth behind everything. But is it really Sybil talking, and did Sybil intend to lie? We don’t find out until episode 20, when it turns out that this is indeed the case. Akane is taken to the brain room, is shown Sybil’s true form, is told that Sybil is made of brains of freakishly demented murderers, is also told Kagari was murdered, and that nevertheless she will obey Sybil regardless because it KNOWS she believes in social stability. In response to this, in the moment we have all been waiting for, Akane finally snaps.
But even at her most shaken, Akane is still a rational actor. She will retrieve Makishima alive for Sybil, but only on the condition that Kogami is not to be killed. For dramatic effect, she even points a dominator at herself and offers Sybil the chance to find a different pawn if the conditions are unsuitable. Sybil had given up on Ginoza due to his worsening mental state, so it agrees. Or says it agrees, because it’s still Sybil, and it’s still not to be trusted. And we can be pretty sure Akane knows this as well.
Akane goes through a brief period of Evangelion-like “instrumentality” in this episode, where she has imaginary conversations with Kagari, Yuki, and Shogo himself about what Sybil means for society, and if she can really choose to believe in it. Akane has grown as a character, and a detective, and in a bit of a heavy-handed move, she’s shown transforming into Kogami in Ginoza’s eyes. Akane is able to figure out that the final showdown is due to happen in a hyper-oats field, and she heads there for the final confrontation. Does Sybil read her correctly? Will she keep her word? Or does she now reject Sybil, having seen the truth? We really won’t know until the end.
But there are some things we can pretty much guess, and one of those is that Yayoi and Shion are pretty much done as characters. Shion is ever-trapped in her lab, and during the final two episodes Akane might have a conversation or two with her over radio, but we’ll never learn her past. Yayoi might put in a heroic showing against Shogo, but there’s no time left for her to find her long-lost musician love from years past. With things coming to a head, Ginoza will never be able to figure out why Kasei’s behavior was so unusual, nor will we see him demoted to Enforcer due to his rising criminal coefficient.
The final judgement on PSYCHO-PASS will be rendered based on its ending. How will the final confrontation between Akane, Kogami, and Makishima play out? The opening animation provides some hints, but no solid answers.
In the end, the strength of PSYCHO-PASS has come down to to the strength of its characters. Akane Tsunemori has had a fantastic transformation from a goofy-looking incompetent to the determined and savvy woman we all have grown to love. Makishima is an interesting villain, in that he is charismatic, goofily intellectual, and unbending in his principles, even to the point of killing innocents to make his points. The only main character I feel is weak is Kogami, who’s only flaw is still that he is too obsessed with his duty. The other characters sadly seem to be ready to be forgotten about, though the conclusion may yet surprise me, and I hope it does.
Streamed By: Funimation
Sony VAIO 17″ HD screen