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Psycho-Pass Part 2 Anime DVD/BD Review

6 min read

Psycho-Pass Season 1 Part 2Wait…the government has a dark secret!? I’m stunned!

What They Say:
The Sibyl System was meant to grind all criminal activity to a permanent halt, but something’s gone horribly wrong. A deranged genius known as Makishima has mastered the art of justifying his own heinous deeds, leaving the Dominator powerless to stop his reign of terror. At the first sign of the system cracking, thugs take to the streets, terrorizing the innocent while wearing special helmets that prevent their cruel intentions from being detected.

With their futuristic weaponry powerless to stop the bloody rampage, Inspector Akane and her Enforcer, Kogami, must take an old-fashioned approach to the law. While Akane infiltrates the Sybil System to discover how far the corruption has spread, Kogami doggedly tracks Makishima, setting the stage for a violent and shocking final showdown!

Contains episodes 12-22.
The Review:
For this viewing, I took in the English dub, which is offered in 5.1 surround; the Japanese tracks are both offered in 2.0 stereo. The BluRay discs are encoded in Dolby TrueHD audio, and the sound is clean through the whole range. There is a nice mix among the channels for both sound effects and dialogue. The DVD tracks are a little more basic in their mixes, and (obviously) aren’t quite as crisp as the BD, but it sounds perfectly fine too.

This is a gorgeous release. It is dark in nature, and it shows good range through the blacks and other muted colors with no artifacting. There are some really great effects with the Dominator gun, and the few colors on the lighter side of the spectrum contrast really well with the darks. I only did a spot check on the DVDs, but those looked to be well done as well.

The four discs (two DVDs and two BDs) come in a single BD case with two center inserts that each hold two discs. The front cover has an image of Kogami and Makishima looking ready for action. The back has a few screen shots, the series summary, and the technical details. The cover is reversible; the reverse side is almost all black, but has blue line drawings of Makishima (front) and Kogami (back) which looks really cool. There is also a slip cover that looks the same as the main cover.

The main menu for the BD discs are the standard interactive BD discs (in that there’s no transition between menus as submenus just pop up on the main screen). To the right of the screen is a shot of the city that goes through various holographic distortions while some moody music plays in the back ground. The selections are on the left side on a vertical bar and show up well against the rest of the menu. Submenus just popup on the same bar when selected. The DVD menu is far more basic, with just the series logo set against the same green background from the cover image and the selections offered along the bottom. It’s functional, but not as nicely designed as the BD menu (and not just because of the lesser technology—just less effort obviously went into it).

There are a decent amount of extras on this releast. Aside from the standard clean songs and trailers, there are also commentaries for episodes thirteen and eighteen from various members of the English dub cast. Also provided is the second part of a piece recorded during Sakura-Con 2013 with the Japanese production staff on hand for a panel and Q&A to promote Psycho-Pass. It’s a pretty fun follow-up to the first part in the previous set.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
This release is a BD/DVD combo pack of the second eleven episodes of Psycho-Pass, which was released the same day as the first part. After watching the first half of the series, I was really more interested in the mechanics of the world than what was actually happening. That’s not to say that the story was bad—far from it—it’s just that I am fascinated by utopian stories and am always interested to see the way society will break down. That became a major aspect of the progression of the story in the second half.

After the Sibyl System failed to register Makishima as a threat, thereby allowing him to murder Yuki in cold blood right in front of Akane, questions about the veracity of the system begin to be raised. Soon after his escape, helmets make their way onto the streets that confuse the Dominators, allowing the average person to also register as a non-threat, effectively rendering the tools at the disposal of the CID useless, forcing them to find new ways of combatting the criminals. Understanding that these helmets must be just the first part in a larger plot of Makishima’s, Unit One know they must stop him in order to bring peace back to the country.

As mentioned above, what fascinated me most about the first part was the Sibyl System and the realities of the society created by it. In this system, everybody has a place, and nobody is left wanting. It seems like the perfect solution. However, when Makishima registers as having a non-threatening Psycho-Pass, despite all of the murders he has committed, it becomes obvious that there is a flaw in the system somewhere.

Getting to the bottom of that flaw becomes just as big a story in the second half of the series as trying to find Makishima. Part of his goal is to expose the realities of Sibyl to the world, thereby freeing everybody from what he sees as oppression. Unit One find themselves in a position where they don’t exactly trust what Sibyl is trying to accomplish, but are forced to rely on it in order to keep doing their jobs. It’s a really interesting dynamic that keeps the stakes high throughout.

Of course, the one wildcard here is Kogami. He’s the one person in the team who has never been afraid to play by his own rules if it meant being able to catch the criminals. When it is ordered by Sibyl to arrest Makishima and avoid killing him at all costs, he loses whatever faith in the system that he had left and goes rogue. This gives the team another issue to deal with, as they are ordered to also track and kill Kogami.

What this gives us is a multi-faceted story where everything is falling apart; Sibyl is seemingly scrambling and throwing everything at the wall in the hopes of maintaining both its secrets and its power, while at the same time there are a few people in very prominent positions that would be happy to see Sibyl collapse. And despite being an unrepentant murderer, there were plenty of times where I wanted to see Makishima actually accomplish his goals.

In Summary:
The first half of Psycho-Pass fascinated me, and the second half did nothing to change that. I love the world that this is set in, and the story is filled with some great characters and tension. I was a little surprised at how the whole thing panned out when all was said and done, but I was fine with it too. And while I am happy with where we are with it, I am also very happy that they are working on a second season. I’m definitely looking forward to that. Highly recommended.

Japanese Language, English Language, English Subtitles, Commentaries on Episodes 13 & 18, PSYCHO-PASS at Sakura-Con Part 2, Textless Opening & Closing Videos

Content Grade: A
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A-
Menu Grade: A-
Extras Grade: A-

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: March 11, 2014
MSRP: $64.98
Running Time: 225 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Native HD Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Sony PS3 w/HDMI Connection, Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System

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