Psycho-Pass 3 Review: Incredibly Underhyped.

4 stars
I love the first season of Psycho-Pass.
It is a riveting anime with an amazing story, characters, and themes that just gets better every time I watched it.
The second season is, well, none of that.
The only thing I can give it credit for is that it succeeds in being the most disappointing follow up to a great season I have ever seen.
So, when the third season of Psycho-Pass was announced, and with new characters taking the leader, I was naturally concerned.
Sure, the original director was returning, but that did not guarantee quality.
And this was all I heard about the season for a while, until I saw one of the reviewers I had subscribed to on YouTube reviewing the first episode.
It was a definite, “wait, this came out moment?”, for me.
It felt like there was almost no hype behind this season, which is a shame because it is a vast improvement on the second one.
Yes, it is not as good as the first season but it was never going to be.
You just can’t top the level of quality in that season, especially with the great chemistry between the two main characters Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa) and Shinya Kogami (Tomokazu Senki), and the antagonist Shogo Makishima.
However, the characters of Psycho-Pass 3 are still excellent and, given more time, they could become just as beloved as the original cast of inspectors and enforcers.
I will start with the two lead inspector characters, the quirky Arata Shindo (Yuki Kaji) and immigrant Kei Mikhail Ignatov (Yuichi Nakamura).
The season follows these two as, under the Sibyl System, they investigate the mysterious organization known as Bifrost.
The two’s friendship, and how it progresses throughout the season, is perfectly handled and I am anticipating to see where it goes.

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Arata and Kei’s bond only gets better as the season progresses.

As for the new enforcer characters, they are just as great, especially Tenma Todoroki (Akio Otsuka) and Kazumichi Irie (Junichi Suwabe).
I really came to respect these two characters, just as they came to respect Arata and Kei over time.
Then there are the old characters who are present, yet working in the shadows rather being active participants in the plot.
They are all integrated pretty well, which leads to my biggest surprise of the season, which is that I found Mika Shimotsuki (Ayane Sakura) tolerable.
I absolutely hated her in the second season because she was an absolute jerk for no reason.
Here, we can see why she is acting the way she is, which allows us, as the viewer, to sympathize with her.
She’s not just trying to backstab Akane because she doesn’t agree with her for no reason anymore.

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The most surprising thing about Psycho Pass 3 is how tolerable Mika is.

Although, I will say that this change in Mika does make it feel like we missed some character development from her, which is unfortunate.
Another unfortunate thing is that the villains did not really stick out for me this season.
I knew they could never be as fantastic as Makishima but I was still disappointed in how they failed to stand out compared to the main characters.
But, hey, at least they were not awful like Kirito Kamui from season two.
Along with having great characters, for the most part, the third season of Psycho-Pass also has a great story with a fantastic usage of themes and political commentary.
One feature I was very impressed by was how the season reflects and comments on how many celebrities are getting into politics nowadays and how this would work within the Sybil System.

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Psycho Pass provides great commentary through one of its main players being a pop idol who is trying to become Governor.

However, not everything was so amazing because there are some things that bring the season down slightly.
The biggest of these issues is easily Arata’s mental trace ability, which allows him to view crimes from a criminal and victim’s perspective in a supernatural way.
Now, I have never been a fan of the supernatural in Psycho-Pass, as evidenced by my extreme dislike for Kamui.
So, when Arata was revealed to have this ability, I hoped that they would give it some kind of scientific explanation.
But, no, they just have to implement some kind of supernatural ability when it does not fit in with the themes and commentary at all because why not?
Thankfully, Arata’s Mentalist ability was not enough to derail the season for me.
Psycho Pass 3 is an almost return to form, despite a few hiccups, and I am interested to see where the story goes from here, as well as how these new characters continue to grow and the world of Psycho Pass along with them.

Psycho-Pass: The Movie – This Should Have Been Season Two.

3 and a half stars
I love the first season of Psycho-Pass.
It is an intense cyberpunk anime with great characters and thought provoking material.
Psycho-Pass 2, on the other hand, is a complete mess with terrible new characters and incredibly dumb storytelling that has numerous plot holes.
As a result of this disappointing sequel series, I was put off watching Psycho-Pass: The Movie but I finally got around to watching it the other day.
Coming into the film, I was both hopeful and concerned.
Hopeful because the directors of the original season, Katsuyuki Motohiro and Naoyoshi Shiotani, were returning.
Concerned because this would be a follow up of the second season.
So, how did Psycho-Pass: The Movie deal with the terrible story telling from its predecessor?
Why by completely ignoring it, thank god!
This time around, the story sees Akane Tsunemori travel from Japan to the Southeast Asia Union, meaning the events of Psycho-Pass 2 are barely acknowledged.
And while the terrible character of  Mika Shimotsuki is still there, she mercifully gets barely any screen time.
No, that screen time goes to Akane and Shinya Kogami, who it was great to see return.

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It was fun to see Akane and Kogami working together again, especially after Kogami’s absence in Psycho Pass 2.

Both remain great characters with a lot of depth and the crime they are investigating is just as interesting, along with its commentary.
I was very intrigued to see how the Sybil System was being implemented in other countries and the implications of this.
Although, I will say, it does feel a little rushed.
It would have been better if this was a series rather than a movie because there would have been a lot more time to flesh out the story and villains.
Honestly, I wish this had been the second season and Psycho-Pass 2 never existed.
However, despite the rushed quality, I was still intrigued by the commentary and the action is decent enough to keep viewers engaged.
This results in an entertaining film that, while nowhere near as brilliant as the first Psycho-Pass season, feels like a nice return to form.
I do have to advise you to watch the English Dub though.
I prefer the Subs when watching the series but the Dub is definitely better when watching the film.
This is because many of the characters speak English and, since they are voiced by Japanese voice actors, their pronunciation is pretty laughable.

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The Sub is often hilariously terrible, due to the awful English.

If you want to take the movie seriously then you should watch the English Dub first, before watching the Sub to get a good laugh.
Psycho-Pass: The Movie is a definite step up from the second season, and gives me hope for more good things to come in the Psycho-Pass universe.
Especially with a third season coming soon, which I am very eager to see how it will turn out.

 

Psycho-Pass Season One Review: Criminal Commentary at its Best.

4 and a half stars
Crime Dramas are some of the most loved and successful shows on television so it was natural for anime to take a stab at it.
But with Psycho-Pass, the genre is taken a step further with Science Fiction, Cyberpunk elements incorporated to make for a great piece of commentary on criminality and justice.
Directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro, The series is set in a future where Japan is ruled by the Sibyl System, which scans people’s mental states to see if they could potentially become a criminal.
If a person registers as a latent criminal through the System’s scanners, they will either be arrested or killed, depending on the situation.
Those who are not killed are either confined or given the chance to join the MWPSB as Enforcers to work under the detectives and hunt down their fellow latent criminals with high Psycho-Pass readings.
One detective, Akane Tsunemori (Kana Hanazawa), is new on the job and thrust into a world of extreme violence where the system pulls the trigger.

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Akane taking on a job as a detective forces her to change, from a naive newbie, to a hardened detective in some great character development.

For this review, I will be solely focusing on season one rather than the entire series.
This is because I have heard season two is disappointing in comparison with the first, and since I love season one so much, I do not want it to reflect too negatively on my review of it.
Season one of Psycho-Pass is nothing short of a powerhouse season, with an amazing story, characters and commentary.
The story is absolutely enthralling with its various violent and disturbing cases that push the main characters to their very limits.
However, this also makes Psycho-Pass not for the faint of heart because of the messed up things in this series.
For example, episodes six to eight focus on a teenage serial killer at a girl’s school and this provides some of the most disturbing things I have seen on screen in a long time.

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The serial killer episodes from six to eight are the scariest in Psycho-Pass for me, with one of the darkest female characters I have ever seen.

With these constant moments of human depravity, it is no wonder the characters struggle so much, especially Akane, who changes from a naive girl to one of the strongest characters in the series, over the 22 episode season.
We can also see how the cases have affected her fellow detectives and enforcers, with Shinya Kogami (Tomokazu Seki) being a particular focus on how these cases changes a person.
The series even shows how the criminals are affected by the laws, with destroying the system being the main villain of season one Shogo Mikishima’s (Takahiro Sakurai) goal.
Mikishima is a great villain, with a scene between him and Akane in episode 11, “Saint’s Supper,” making him one of the most interesting characters in the series.

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Not only is Mikishima a fantastic villain, but his conflict with Kogami is set up and executed perfectly.

Both those on the side of the law and those against it come together in Psycho-Pass to create some truly great commentary on criminality and the justice system.
We see the extreme flaws of the Sibyl System and what it pushes people to commit, and yet, it is the only thing keeping order in Japan.
This commentary makes Psycho-Pass a very thoughtful series.
The season is so good that I only have one problem with it, and that is episode 12, “Crossroad of the Devil.”
This episode focuses on the backstory of a side character Yayoi Kunizuka (Shizuka Ito), who I never found to be all that interesting.
On top of this, her backstory does not serve much of a point in the series.
I felt it would have been better giving a backstory episode to Mikishima, or, better yet, Shuesi Kagari (Akira Ishida), who could have used one, considering where the writers take his character.
Still, even though I did have problems with “Crossroad of the Devil”, it is just a single episode so it does not completely damage my opinion of the anime.
Psycho-Pass is a great anime with some excellent commentary on criminality and the justice system.
It just might be too extreme for some people.
Enjoy it… if you have the stomach to.