Friday 10 October 2014

First Impressions: Psycho-Pass 2

Psycho-Pass 2

It's only been a few weeks since I wrote up my review of the "New Edit Edition" of the original Psycho-Pass, but we're finally back again for the brand new second season of the series - appropriately titled Psycho-Pass 2. It's been two years since the original first aired, and since then writer Gen Urobuchi has been a rather busy man so head writing duties have been passed on to Tow Ubukata (whose works include Mardock Scramble and Ghost in the Shell: Arise). Animation duties have also been handed over to Tatsunoko Productions, taking over from Studio I.G.

It's been over a year since the events of the last season, with Akane now fully settled into her role as an Inspector of Unit One. The Sibyl System is constantly evolving how the Psycho-Pass works, as even a Hue change through mental illness can lead to citizens being labelled latent criminals. This first episode of Psycho-Pass 2 sees the Akane, the two other surviving Unit One members (Enforcers Nobuchika Ginoza and Yayoi Kunizuka) and some new faces take on a bomb attack where the culprit has somehow been able to keep his hue clear as he planned his attacks.

It seems the animation moving over to Tatsunoko hasn't done anything to affect the cyberpunk world Psycho-Pass is set in, with the brightly lit night-time city looking as rich and vivid as ever. Very little has changed aesthetically, with the only real noticeable difference for me being the more fluid and extravagant transformation sequence of the Dominator weapons. One of the biggest highlights of the original was it's well-crafted world with thought-provoking systems, and I hope these are things that will be continued to be expanded on in future episodes. The mention of how mental illness can now affect hues and the drug LACOUSE may have only seemed like a passing reference in this episode, but it's placement makes me think it'll play a bigger part in the overall story.

 Meanwhile Akane may muse that this is the time "where she finds out who she is", but from these 20 minutes alone it's amazing to see how far she's come as an inspector. Throughout the last season we saw her uncertainty chip away bit by bit, and now we're left with a competent and pretty badass inspector that knows the Sibyl System better than anyone else, leading her to comprehend situations faster and more effectively than her partners. Likewise Ginoza has gone through a big change, now emulating his late father more than the stern inspector he once was. However we have a new face to oppose the way Akane works, in the form of the inspector we saw join at the very end of the first season. She very much takes the views that Enforcers are simply tools to be exploited and criminals should never be given a second chance, and given how she outright calls Akane wrong at the end of the episode suggests we'll probably see some butting heads very soon. On the other hand time will tell on the new Enforcers, as the episode didn't really give them a whole lot of exposure.

The case itself was fairly self-contained but in true Psycho-Pass style is quite clearly the first piece in a much bigger puzzle. The post-credits sequence seems to already be setting up a new big bad for the season with new mysteries on how flawed the Sibyl System is. Whether a second season can live up to the hype and reputation of the original is still up in the air, but as far as first episodes go Psycho-Pass seems to still be at the top of its game.

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