Moe? There is no moe.
To serve as a heads up for people who are wondering what this moe blabbering is about, there was an interview with the director and the script writer where the word “moe” was banned from staff meetings. As a conscious decision not to incorporate any form of moe elements into the making of PP, they stated that it will be either a total hit or miss since it goes against the current trends of the industry (yes indeed). By making PP not appeal to a more casual, wider range of audience, they are certainly not playing it safe at all.
The result? I can see that they really meant what they said, PP so far is totally void of any moe. Personally I really respect that move, because it is so rare to have an anime not cater to the masses and instead opting to break the mould – By attempting to establish itself based on its own merits and not through formulas that has been tested and proven. On the flip side, they were right when they said that PP is going to be a great success or a complete failure, because there is hardly any fence to sit on – Either you love the style that PP employs, or you don’t.
Despite PP sounding like some complex, hard to understand type of show, fortunately the episode itself wasn’t that hard to follow. However to fully grasp what has happened, and will be happening in the future, the most important concept to comprehend is the term Psycho-Pass itself. Simply put:
In the not too distant future, the psychological state and characteristics of a human can be quantified – measured and converted into numbers. These numbers are then used to determine and judge an individual.
Yes you read that right. Welcome to a world where there is no escape. What was previously unseen can now be seen. Told a lie? Busted. Your mind can be now be read like an open book. That sounds idealistic, yet very scary at the same time. Just think of the all of the different possibilities, anyone in the law industry would be out of their job since there is no use for them anymore, not when a computer system can determine whether a person is guilty or not. Everything you do, all of your intentions are tracked and monitored closely. There is nowhere for offenders to run or hide. It is very interesting (at least for me) to see how such a world functions and this is where the story revolves around “the police and the thief”.
Criminal Psychology, in an anime?
Now that I think about it, PP taps heavily into criminal psychology, and that fascinates me. This is definitely doing something different from the norm. There will be mature themes, there will be moments where the situation gets slightly uncomfortable. This is not children-friendly, not for the faint-hearted, but I’m loving it already. For once can I really say that this is something refreshing for a change.
In this episode, we follow the “adventures” of newly transferred officer Tsunemori Akane (Hanazawa Kana) in her first assignment: Okura Nobuo. Again, it is so fascinating to see how this world works, how the system tracked and flagged this person as a threat, with his Psycho-Pass used to determine his mental state.
Then there’s the introduction the term “Enforcers” – criminals who are used to hunt other criminals, whose looks can be really deceiving here. So are they good or bad people? It’s hard to say right now, technically they are on the side of the law but yet they are also dangerous people as their Psycho-Pass levels tells the tale.
In order to ensure that these Enforcers do not get out of control, they are being held in check by a futuristic gun known as the “Dominator“. I can’t stress how awesome this gun is. It changes its firing mode by auto-asserting the target’s Psycho-Pass level, has some sort of identification mechanism so it can’t be misused by any unauthorized personnel. Most importantly, it obliterates a person when engaged in its lethal killing mode while being totally unable to harm any normal person. Today I learned my lesson: “I will not eat while watchingPP.”
Even though PP can be hard to get into, I was instantly drawn into it once I knew what this show is about. This episode did a commendable job at establishing the premise and settings. Apart from the point that Akane was a top trainee yet she looked so helpless as well as being a little naive was something rather questionable, but on the overall I felt that PP achieved what it set out to do – to be different from the norm.
It is no surprise that PP is one of the most anticipated shows this season once Urobochi Gen was announced as the scriptwriter. Even as someone who isn’t well-versed in the names of production staff, Urobochi Gen is simply famous for his works (Madoka and Fate/Zero comes to mind). Couple that with Production I.G and a stellar VA cast, the result is a series that is brimming with potential.
So far, I haven’t really been disappointed. The visuals looked solid, I like how PP explores the world of criminal psychology – how they think, how they react. In actuality, PP something that is more commonly found in American TV shows as opposed to anime. The style of storytelling sure feels like one of Urobochi’s Gen works, which might not sit well with everyone (in other words the absence of rainbows and unicorns), but I’m keeping a close eye on this one. Who needs moe anyway? Oh wait..
- If Psycho-Pass were real, will I be labeled as someone dangerous?
- There’s something I want to harp on, about the flaws of the Sibyl System but I’ll leave that for the next episode since this episode was already quite a handful to digest.
- Gun that gives out instructions? That’s convenient for sure.