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Anime Review: Psycho-Pass (2012)

Updated on September 29, 2020
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Natalie is a writer who works at her local library. She enjoys writing reviews, watching anime and TV shows, and playing video games.


Quick Info

Directors: Katsuyuki Motohiro
Studio: Funimation Entertainment
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Runtime: 550 minutes
Availability: On Blu-Ray and DVD, Buy on Amazon or buy off Funimation’s website, streaming on FunimationNow

Story Summary

Psycho-Pass is a Japanese anime set in the future where Japan has isolated itself from the outside world. The Sybil System runs everything in Japan and depending on your test scores; the government decides what job you will have after college. Crime is also stopped by the Sybil System and the Ministry of Welfare and Public Safety Bureau.

Akane Tsunemori is a new recruit and works with her partner, Enforcer Shinya Kogami to solve crimes and try to prevent them using weapons known as Dominators, weapons that can evaluate a person’s psychological state of mind and based off their mental state, known as a psycho-pass, and based off their threat level, the Dominators will enable the Inspectors’ and Enforcers the ability to stun or kill the target.

It’s an Interesting Idea, but Pushes the Viewer’s Suspension of Disbelief if You Think About It

Psycho-Pass sounds like a really interesting idea, and it is. A society run by a computer system that determines your mental and psychological state is a fascinating idea.

But it doesn’t work in the real world if you take the time to think about it. The characters base their lives around the Sybil System and while we the audience can see what is wrong with that in the story.

The fact that the story makes the characters’ unwilling to question the system is kind of annoying because in the real world, the Sybil System wouldn’t be allowed to exist because privacy advocates all around the world would speak out against it.

And while Japan has become an isolated country in the story, I don’t think they would just give their lives over to a computer system for the sake of their safety.

You’ll enjoy this series more if you can suspend your disbelief more, especially once you learn what the Sybil System actually is, because once you learn the truth, this story is either very deep and philosophical, or just plain silly.

This Anime Seems to Be Very Slow-Paced in the Beginning

I did enjoy this anime, but it did take time to grow on me, it did start a little slow, but as the anime continued, it became more interesting and the main villain was an excellent one.

The slow pacing of the story could annoy some viewers because it does take this story a few episodes to hit its stride and introduce us to the main villain.

It’s a great anime; it’s just very slow paced.

Two interesting characters of the series, and one of the only smart ones.
Two interesting characters of the series, and one of the only smart ones. | Source

The Character Development Is Interesting

I liked the character development for both Akane and Kogami. I also liked the relationships between Inspectors with good psycho-passes, and Enforcers, people who have higher crime coefficients but are not criminals, they’re latent criminals.

The dynamic between the inspectors and latent criminals is interesting, because latent criminals are ostracized for what they might do, not what they’ve actually done.

What’s also interesting is that any character in the anime could become a latent criminal, so everyone’s trying to keep their stress levels down, even though law enforcement can be a very stressful job.

It’s dynamics like this that make Psycho-Pass an interesting anime to watch.

Psycho-Pass Season 1 Premium Trailer

The Animation Looks Good

The animation was top notch and it looks really great, the action is intense and the fight scenes are very well animated. I also like the character designs and the world design as well.

Production I.G. animated this series, and it does look pretty good. What is always jarring to me is the conspicuous CGI for the vehicles as it’s obviously CGI and not 2D animation.

Overall, the animation looks pretty good, but Production I.G. has always excelled when they animate science fiction or steampunk, like the Ghost in the Shell franchise.

An interesting hero and villain.
An interesting hero and villain.

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English Reviewed (available on FunimationNow)
English (available on FunimationNow)

The English Dub Is Pretty Good

Funimation’s English dub is pretty good, it’s not their best dub, but it’s very good. It’s so funny, rewatching this anime, in my initial review I felt Rob McCollum was miscast, such as Shinya Kogami., I felt he didn’t fit the role, but on my second time watching the anime, he didn’t feel miscast to me at all. I still enjoyed Akane Tsunemori’s actress and what she did with her role, the first time I watched it, it did take a bit for Kate Oxley’s voice to grow on me, but I did come to like her acting.

I enjoyed Alex Organ’s voice acting as Shogo Makishima, he did a great job and played a fantastic villain and if you like good villains, he is definitely one you’ll enjoy the English dub.

The Music Is Good; I Don’t Like the First Opening

Yuugo Kanno’s music is really good and I really like the soundtrack for this amine. It’s very intense and fits the scenes it’s used in. It’s very good music.

The first opening is "abnormalize" by Ling Tosite Sigure. I don’t like it because the singer screams too much; it sounds more like screaming and less like singing. The second opening is "Out of Control" by Nothing's Carved in Stone and I enjoyed it because the singer was better.

Both the endings are sung by EGOIST and they are "Namae no nai Kaibutsu (名前のない怪物; Monster with no name)" and "All Alone with You”.

Parental Warning

Psycho-Pass is rated TV-MA for language, blood, gore, violence, and sexual content, it’s recommended for adults because it’s a crime show and it’s for a mature audience.

Psycho-Pass Tries to Be Deep and Thought-Provoking, but Can Come off as Pretentious or Silly

Psycho-Pass tries very hard to deep and thought-provoking when it comes to the themes and the setting of the story. And Psycho-Pass is a very interesting anime. Until you find out what exactly the Sybil System is, then it’s either even more interesting or just plain stupid.

I won’t spoil it, but when you know just how the system works, it makes everything in the story look really ridiculous and characters just look stupid for blindly trusting in the Sybil System.

Gen Urobuchi who wrote the anime is often known for lots of navel-gazing with a lot of thoughtful speeches, but all the philosophy just sounds silly since the truth is just hilariously funny, which is completely unintentional.

The fact that crime coefficients can drop if you make the person calm down and none of the law enforcement besides Akane use this method is stupid because it’s obvious that this is a good solution, but because of the idiot plot that requires people to blindly believe in the Sybil System, it makes everyone else besides Akane and Shinya look like the smart people on the good side.

While a lot of people feel Psycho-Pass is deep and thought-provoking, I think it could have been so much better if it didn’t make society look so dumb and mindless in the story and setting because of the story's plot twist reveal.

Psycho-Pass Is Decent, but It’s Not My Favorite

I recommend Psycho-Pass to anyone who enjoys crime dramas, it’s intense, has a good mystery, and excellent characters. Even though this is not one of my favorite English dubs, if you enjoy the original Japanese language, it’s worth watching. I’m not going to buy it, but I feel it was worth my time to stream it, it’s worth your time, not necessarily your money. I watched this on Netflix Streaming, but it may not be up on the site, but it’s available on Hulu or Funimation’s website. Check it out, watch it at least once, it’s interesting and I felt it was very interesting concept, but the story is only deep if you suspend your disbelief a lot, especially after the plot twist.

It’s a very good anime, but not one of my favorites.

Quick Summary

What What Work:
What doesn't Work:
Good story, world-building
The suspension of disbelief is ridiculous
Interesting characters, worldbuilding
Tries too hard to sound deep and philosophical
Good soundtrack
Tthe plot twist can ruin the story
Good English dub

Final Rating: B-

Psycho-Pass is an intriguing story with excellent visuals and voice acting. The soundtrack is good and it has an interesting story and setting.

The writing tries to be deep but is completely undermined by its own plot twists. It’s ridiculously pretentious and comes across looking silly because no one in their right mind would accept something like the Sybil System in the real world, especially once you learn the truth about what it is. But I won’t spoil that for you.

If you want to watch it, then stream it on FunimationNow, it’s not quite on my must-buy list, but it is very good. It’s definitely worth watching, but not necessarily a place in your anime collection.

My Rating:

4 stars for Anime Review: Psycho-Pass (2012)

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