In the last video, I broke down all of the ways in which Psycho-Pass 2 attempted to copy the formula of its predecessor, while delivering a less-satisfying product. In this video, I’ll be diving more into the specifics of the second season’s many failures–from its structural and visual presentation, to the myriad logical problems of its script.
—Part Four: No, Seriously, What the Hell Happened?—
A lot of the problems with Psycho-Pass 2’s presentation are made far more apparent by its comparison against the original series. Tatsunoko Productions is by no means a terrible animation studio. What their recent output lacks in high-quality artwork and animation, it makes up for in uniqueness; however, their work can hardly be considered to be in the same class as that of Production I.G. Tow Ubukata has somehow met the misfortune of writing on two different sci-fi franchises for which he is by far the least talented author, making all of the flaws in his writing style far more apparent than they might have been otherwise.
Psycho-Pass 2 is not necessarily an ugly show, but its highly detailed and tonal sci-fi universe, and the cinematic style of director Naoyoshi Shiotani, seem to have been more ambitious than what the studio’s talent could handle. Regardless of the fact that Psycho-Pass 2 is a sequel, its poor use of shot composition, color design, and overall cinematography give it a drab, boring, and unmemorable feeling. The fact that it is a sequel, however, makes it easy to see how the setting and shot compositions should have looked, had they been handled by the team which originally gave the series life. I’ve already made a separate video in which I broke down the differences in shot composition between the first and second seasons, so I won’t go too heavily into detail about it here–but I will talk a little bit more about the overall design sense.
The creative team behind the first season of Psycho-Pass has stated that they wanted the characters to look appealing and relatable in contrast with the darkness of the show’s story and setting. This was a brilliant decision, as it not only allowed viewers to grow more attached to the characters, but also allowed for the series to easily transition between relaxing and intense scenes, without either type of scene feeling out of place in the show’s world.
Psycho-Pass 2 changes the character designs in a way that makes them look more serious and dark, which robs them of a lot of the contrast that made them great. Whereas season one’s Akane could relax in cute pajamas at home, and then turn into a hardass at work when the chips were down, now she is permanently trapped in serious mode, and her character experiences no levity whatsoever over the course of the second season.
Even though it took place in an urban metropolis, the first season of Psycho-Pass was typically brightly lit, with no shortage of different-colored lights injecting unique life into each scene. Even when Kougami was trapped in an underground dungeon, there was a lot of interplay between different colors to give the location a vibrant look and keep it from getting boring. Psycho-Pass 2, meanwhile, is always muddy and dark… and boring.
The difference I feel when watching episodes of each show back to back is like night and day–even though, once again, it’s not like Psycho-Pass 2 is an outright ugly show. It’s just that the first season went so far above and beyond what anime is typically capable in the name of creating the most visually engaging product possible, that every single way in which the sequel fails to live up to that quality becomes glaringly apparent.
Likewise, going back and watching the first season of Psycho-Pass after sitting through all of season two gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the dialog and pacing of the original. Even though people like to accuse Urobuchi Gen of loading his dialog down with exposition, almost every conversation in the original series is also sprinkled with natural dialog in order to make it flow more expressively. There are no shortage of scenes wherein characters are just hanging out and having a conversation, regardless of what the viewer might learn from it–which allows the characters to come into their own as believable people.
What critics seem to ignore when they complain about expository dialog is that a lot of real life conversation is, itself, expository. Communication is largely a way of conveying information and sharing ideas between two parties. The characters in Psycho-Pass tell one-another things because there are things that they need to know. They make extensive literary references for the same reasons that people make literary references in real life–to help to build on and flesh out their ideas, using context which they’ve gleaned from other sources. In a series centered around social and psychological analysis, it only makes sense that the characters would discuss and reference other sources and concepts related to those practices. Never once in the course of watching Psycho-Pass did I feel that the dialog was unnatural, or that I was being loaded down with an excessive amount of exposition all at once.
Psycho-Pass 2, meanwhile, is a series with no breathing room. It tries to get so much done between all of its characters, plot threads, and action set pieces, that it never gets a chance to shut up for a moment and allow the characters to operate naturally; or to give the viewer time to sit back and process the information which they’ve been presented with. Psycho-Pass may have been a fairly wordy series, but it was one which had a natural ebb and flow between quiet character moments, loud action sequences, and even a fair deal of suspense. Psycho-Pass 2 feels like it’s shouting at the viewer constantly with an endless stream of exposition, action, violence, and drama. As a result of being so one-note, each episode quickly becomes exhausting, and the series seems to drag on and on without any moments that stand out.
Psycho-Pass managed to consistently introduce and play around with new concepts in nearly every scene–be they expansions on our knowledge of the setting, plot, or characters, or simply bits of dialog that allow the characters to express their unique personalities–and it does this without any scene or piece of dialog feeling unnecessary. Every scene has a purpose, no matter how small, which allows the moment-to-moment experience of the series to remain engaging, even before we are privy to the grand overarching narrative of what’s going on.
Meanwhile, in spite of screaming at the viewer constantly, a lot of what happens in Psycho-Pass 2 is either boring or unnecessary. It spends so long building up the mystery of its plot and characters without giving the viewer anything to chew on that it feels like one long waiting game. Most of the concepts which it does bring up are things which the first season already covered, and the characters spend more time wondering to themselves about what might be going on than they spend discussing the possibilities. The entire story of Psycho-Pass 2 feels like it could’ve been told in half the episodes with no loss of information, if the script were tightened up.
Now, before I start majorly tearing into all of the logical problems that occur in the script of Psycho-Pass 2, I think it’s important for us to talk about suspension of disbelief. Essentially, a viewer’s suspension of disbelief is the extent to which that viewer is willing to buy into the logic which a story presents them with. In order for a viewer to remain engaged with a story, they must be willing to accept that the events which happen in that story have a logical flow in the context of that story. In other words, the story has to make sense–even if the things which happen are not necessarily realistic.
From the ground up, Psycho-Pass is a series which asks a lot of the viewer’s suspension of disbelief–and I have seen no shortage of people who said that they dropped the series just because they couldn’t buy into the idea that society would allow itself to be controlled by something as deeply flawed as the Sybil system. There are some pretty silly and out-there things in the first season, such as Senguuji’s robot hunting dogs, or the industrial weaponized mechas, or even the dominators themselves–which for some reason can make people explode from within. However, I am going to make the case that while Psycho-Pass may have some pretty out-there sci-fi concepts, it also has a high degree of purchasing power when it comes to suspension of disbelief.
You see, a bit part of what makes the sci-fi and fantasy genres work is that the concepts behind them are interesting, and often have some kind of applicability to the concepts of reality. While it may take some suspension of disbelief to buy into the setting of Psycho-Pass, it is because of what that setting says about reality, and the ways in which we relate to it, that the setting is interesting. We are willing to become invested in the stories of this world because this world is interesting; and likewise, as the characters and storyline prove themselves to be interesting, we can allow ourselves to engage on an even deeper level.
Suspension of disbelief is like a tightrope that each viewer walks across over the course of a series. Blowing in from one side is the wind of fantasy–while counterbalancing it is the wind of logic. If the fantasy gets to a point where the logic no longer justifies it, then the viewer stands a higher chance of falling from the tightrope and losing interest in the story. Not every viewer can balance on the tightrope in the same way. Some viewers will easily buy into the logic which a series provides, or even might not care whether the story makes logical sense at all. Others will have their suspension of disbelief broken easily and lose their ability to connect with the story.
The reason I’m explaining all of this is that the first season of Psycho-Pass never broke my suspension of disbelief. While there were some things which I found to be kind of cheesy, there were so many relatable and interesting elements to the story that I was able to remain wholeheartedly engaged from start to finish. It is possible that there are more logical problems in the first season than I realize; and it is also possible that some of the logic which I was capable of buying into is stuff that other viewers just couldn’t accept.
Psycho-Pass 2, however, shattered my suspension of disbelief into a million pieces. Maybe it wouldn’t have happened if I’d been more interested in the story or characters, or if the presentation had lived up to that of the first season. Whatever the case may be, because the series failed to engage me with its storyline, I found myself thinking more about its many logical fallacies than I did about its main narrative. It’s possible that all of the things which I’m about to describe did not bother others at all, or that others didn’t even notice them. However, these many illogical details were, more than anything, what ultimately left me angry, bitter, and disengaged for the majority of the time that I spent watching Psycho-Pass 2.
I’ve already talked a lot about how Mika Shimotsuki’s personality is completely irrational, so I won’t get too deep into complaining about it again; but in the first episode, Mika claims to have been working as an inspector for a year and a half now. This would mean that she’s been working alongside Akane for long enough to be well aware of Akane’s methods and their effectiveness; yet she spends the entire episode reacting to Akane’s actions as if they are a big surprise. This also raises questions about what happened to the two enforcers that were working under Akane and Mika for the past year and a half. At the end of season one, when Mika shows up for her first day on the job, we see four enforcers step out of the van–but only Yayoi and Ginoza’s faces are shown. However, at the start of season two, Akane says that Shou and Togane are being brought into the field for the first time. What happened to the other two enforcers, and how has Mika only just now started reacting to Akane’s methods? If Ginoza’s explanation for why he’s changed is that it comes naturally from working with Akane for so long, then how come Mika hasn’t been effected in this way as well?
When the criminal in this episode is attempting to make his escape, Kamui poses as his hostage and frees himself–which the inspectors conclude is a distraction after realizing that the hostage can neither be detected by the system, nor appears to be a real person. The trick here is that Kamui himself cannot be detected by the system, and is wearing holo-suits of nonexistent persons in order to disguise himself while he works. However, where the logic falls apart is in that the inspectors assume that the hostage is literally nothing more than a hologram.
Up until this point, it has always been suggested that the holograms in this world are being projected out of something. All of the holograms which we’ve seen have either been stationary, or have been overlaid onto a person or robot underneath. The idea that something can be just a hologram doesn’t make any sense. The scanners would ordinary detect either the person underneath the hologram, or whatever robot is projecting it. When the inspectors realized that the person was not detectable by the sybil system, their first reaction should have been to try and capture this hologram to figure out how such a thing might be possible, because there’s no way that a hologram could just be walking around without being attached to anything.
At the end of this episode, we see the first in a great deal of cases wherein someone’s crime coefficient rapidly escalates at the drop of a dime purely for the convenience of facilitating more explosive deaths. This enforcer’s crime coefficient rockets upwards of three hundred merely at the realization that he can’t shoot Kamui, and that he is being targeted–even though similar revelations were had by no shortage of inspectors and enforcers during the scenes wherein the city was falling apart back in season one. I know that stress is supposed to be able to raise someone’s crime coefficient, but to see a professional officer become so psychotic so quickly, and for it to happen a number of times, strains the concept to the point of tackiness.
Throughout episode two, Risa Aoyanagi and the other inspectors seem ready to bend over backward to find reasons that a person whom the system can’t detect can not exist. What confuses me the most about the inspectors’ reactions to the idea of Kamui, is that it’s not like the first season didn’t set a massive precedent for things like this to happen. While these inspectors may not be aware of the existence of criminally asymptomatic people, they have all seen that technology could be created which masks a person’s psycho-pass. It doesn’t seem like a huge leap in logic to assume that someone might find a way to deceive the system by making themselves undetectable.
This episode also contains one of the most bizarre plot holes in the entire series, which I admittedly wouldn’t have noticed until watching it a second time. While the criminal Akira Kitazawa is being detained at the MWPSB, his crime coefficient is mysteriously wiped clean, even though the only person to have visited him was the MWPSB’s resident psychologist, Riku Mukoujima. It later turns out that Riku was actually Kamui in disguise, and that Riku is merely one of his aged-up holograms. This makes no sense whatsoever.
First of all, Riku was already a recurring character in the series back in season one, as the guidance counselor whom Ginoza visits whenever he’s under a lot of stress. All of Kamui’s holograms are aged-up version of people who died as children fifteen years ago; meaning that all this time, the resident psychological care provider for the MWPSB has been Kamui in disguise. I’m sure I don’t need to explain how irrational this is as an idea, considering that Riku is assumably a registered and documented member of this society, but it leads to even more logical problems when you think about how this person has been moving around, even within the context of this episode.
For Riku to have made it into the room wherein he evaluates Akira, it would be improbable to expect that he never had to step in front of a cymatic scanner. He uses the fact that he appears in the security cameras as proof of his innocence; yet somehow no one notices that he hasn’t been detected on any of the scanners, ever. Also, it’s assumed that he must have done or said something to Akira in order to cleanse him, so how come none of this shows up on camera? When you watch this episode under the assumption that Riku is really a counselor with no connection to Kamui, then it appears to make perfect sense–but when you watch it with the knowledge that Riku is Kamui in disguise, the logic completely falls apart.
It’s worth mentioning that in episode three, Risa and Ginoza share what is perhaps the most natural-feeling conversation in the entire season, with the biggest attempt at character development on the part of Risa. The scene ends kind of awkwardly, with Risa appearing to sit down for a drink, dispense her feelings for about a minute, and then just get up and leave; but if nothing else, it felt like this scene was meant to be the starting point of Risa’s character arc. It’s too bad she dies in the very next episode.
This episode also gives us the first tidbits of Tougane’s development–except that once again, it lands us in the middle of a plot hole. Chief Kasei reveals to Akane that Tougane has had the highest crime coefficient ever recorded. At this, Akane’s immediate question should have been, “then why is he still alive?” Throughout the entire series, the Sybil system’s policy has been to instantly eliminate anyone with a crime coefficient over 300–so why hasn’t Tougane been killed already? This character completely contradicts the nature of the story, for no reason other than to give him the stylistic attribute of being the person with the highest recorded crime coefficient. The closest thing we get to an explanation for this is that Kasei considers him a good case study, which seems like a totally asinine excuse to break the logic of the entire system.
Later on, Risa shows up, accompanied by two enforcers, at a building where she’s been told by Shisui to meet up. Before going in, she tells the enforcers to stay outside so that they don’t “make things worse.” Unless Shisui specifically asked for her to come alone, then I don’t understand why the enforcers had to be left behind. Even if she wanted to give the appearance of being alone, it would make sense for the enforcers to at least be on patrol inside the building in case anything happened, rather than to be waiting outside where they will ultimately prove useless. The only logic I can see in this is that it’s convenient for the plot.
A bit over seven minutes into episode four was the moment when my suspension of disbelief was first shattered beyond the point of engagement when watching this series for the first time. Risa wakes up in the middle of a situation wherein a crazy guy is randomly murdering a bunch of people inside of a healthcare facility, while another guy is being forced to hold her at gunpoint with a nailgun. For a moment, this guy decides to shoot the crazy man, but Risa tells him to stop because she’s totally gonna save everyone herself–and then she eyeballs her dominator.
At the end of episode three, Risa already pointed her dominator at the crazy man, only for it to have no effect. No matter how strongly she might doubt that such a thing is possible, it should be clear to her at this point that the dominator may not be the most effective tool in this situation. This kid has a clear shot of the perpetrator, who is without question going to be capable of inflicting more damage to everyone around him during every second that he is left alive. Even in the time that it would take for Risa to somehow get out of her handcuffs and get onto her feet, this man could easily kill one or two more people–whereas if this kid shot him, then at worst this kid’s criminal coefficient might go up.
There is no context in which Risa’s decision to go for her dominator would protect the highest number of people. Even if the dominator did work, then it would still be more effective to kill the crazy person now–but because we know that the dominator won’t work, Risa just looks like that much more of a complete moron.
Outside of the building, Mika and Yayoi have met up with Risa’s enforcers, and all of them have concluded that there is some kind of bad situation going on inside of the building, and that everyone inside may be a target for enforcement. When the idea of busting into the building from the outside is brought up, one of them claims that the situation might get worse if the people inside the building were able to escape; but that wasn’t really the question of the matter. It’s not like busting into the building means you have to ram a tank through the wall; why can’t they make a hole big enough for one person to go inside, while the others stand outside and guard the door? Do they really think that it would be a better idea to let this situation play out inside the building with no idea what’s going on, than it would be to get someone in there to check it out?
Back inside the building, sure enough, at least one more person is brutally beaten before Risa manages to get her hands on the dominator. As expected, it doesn’t work, and Risa is so shocked by this that she doesn’t even attempt to defend herself before this guy throws her through a stained glass window. Later on, when Risa finally does attack the guy, she is subsequently blown up by dominators right after opening the building’s shutter doors, as is every single person in the building.
We will later find out that the guy who was planning to shoot the crazy man was actually Kamui in disguise; meaning that when Kamui pointed the nailgun at the man, he fully expected for Risa to stop him and try to do things her own way. Kamui says that his master plan with this scenario was to find out whether or not an inspector could be judged by the dominators–even though he already saw that Shisui was considered a target for enforcement action by her own dominator back in episode three. This also raises the question of why Kamui was willing to facilitate so much civilian death in order to act out this plan, when he could easily have captured and tormented Risa just as he had done with Shisui. Kamui continually says things to suggest that he doesn’t want to see people get killed and that he works to purify people, yet doesn’t seem to mind when his actions lead to the mass murder of innocent civilians. Again, it seems like the only logic behind this scenario is an excuse to display an excessive scene of violence.
Episode five has Chief Kasei send the majority of her inspectors and enforcers out to an artificial island–formerly used as a port, and currently used as a testing facility for military drones–for reasons which remain unclear to me even after watching the episode twice. I’m fairly certain that they’re trying to find Kamui’s hideout or something, but I have no idea why the entire police force was sent–especially considering that Akane and Tougane are the only ones who accomplish anything. Like every other set piece scenario in the series, it seems like the only logical reason for this is to facilitate the massive amount of violence to come.
Other than that, almost none of the dialog in this episode is of any importance. Kasei says some mysterious stuff that tells us nothing, Kamui says some mysterious stuff that tells us nothing, Mika does one hell of a lot of complaining, and both Akane and Jouji find themselves asking empty questions into thin air about what’s going on. It’s not until the end of the episode that anything relevant happens–and this is where we transition into what I would consider to be the single worst episode and scenario in the entirety of Psycho-Pass 2.
The idea here is that Kamui has somehow hacked into all of the military drones, and is feeding their controls into the newly-released sequel to a popular mobile game called Hungry Chicken. Players are seeing what is essentially a video game overlaid onto the actual camera footage which the drones are filming. All of the people whom the drones encounter are billed as enemies; ergo, the players murder everyone in sight, unaware of what’s really going on.
I won’t bother asking how Kamui has gotten control over all of these drones, or why there aren’t any failsafes in place for this kind of thing happening. Let’s just assume that he’s a super duper hacker who can get away with these kinds of things. I won’t even ask how the application is able to re-render camera footage to look like video game footage in real time. We’ll just assume that there’s some incredible supercomputer somewhere running this thing. I won’t ask about the distribution channels of the game’s release, since according to Shion, it’s being reuploaded to new sites at a faster rate than they can try to take it down. I guess that regardless of the fact that the game is a previously-unannounced fake sequel from a different publisher, the popularity of Hungry Chicken is enough that people are willing to hunt it down en-masse.
I do have some questions, though. First, just how many drones are there? Does every single person playing this game have access to a drone? Was the release of this game online somehow limited exclusively to people inside of this city (not that this would be implausible, I’m just asking)? When someone gets a game over, can they start over with a new drone, or does the game just become unplayable? If the players are seeing through the eyes of the drone’s camera, then why is the game set in third person instead of in first person? In the game, the chicken is only capable of moving its entire body, and not its head; so does this mean that the drone only has a forward-facing camera which cannot move? Why does the bullet spraying pattern of the chicken look nothing like that of the drone? What’s up with the HUD overlay?
If the engine of this game is just a graphical overlay placed on top of what the drones are actually seeing, then why is everything so simplified? On what grounds does it decide which objects need to become simplified? How does the system decide how to display different elements as different objects? For instance, regular military workers are displayed as a different enemy type–which one of the players refers to as, “small-fries”–whereas the inspectors and enforcers are another type. Does this mean that the drone is equipped to differentiate between MWPSB officers and regular military personnel?
It’s hard to tell whether this may be the case, but do the players actually have a full range of aiming? Assuming that they move with one thumb and shoot with the other, how can they aim in three dimensions? We see the drones firing in three dimensions, but it’s not clear how this would be possible with the game’s controls. Is this supposed to be an online game? Because surely these players will quickly notice that they are all playing in the same map, and that they are all working towards the same goal. Would this cause the players to team up, or would it cause them to play competitively? Would they strategize together? How long will it take them to realize that this game is incredibly badly designed and boring?
Towards the start of the episode, Akane is running from one of the drones on foot, even though the drone is on wheels. Its aim is so bad that she manages to escape its minigun fire and duck around a corner, getting far enough away somehow that there’s plenty of time for Tougane to move into position and destroy it. In fact, all throughout the episode, we will see Akane somehow making narrow escapes from an enemy which should be far faster and more lethal than she is, with her impractical escapes being obfuscated by constant scene transitions.
We also see that Kamui has created some kind of device which allows him to use a Dominator because it recognizes him as Shisui. You know, I wasn’t going to bother asking how he managed to put Shisui’s eye into his own head, or how both of Shisui’s eyes are somehow still linked by the dominator, or even how Shisui is still able to use the dominator when it’s connected directly to the Sybil system and would be aware of every single usage she makes of it; but I do have to ask–how can it be so easy to imitate an inspector, to the point that you can trick the system into believing that there are two of the same inspector running around? What in the world is this device on Kamui’s hand that makes this possible?
While we’re at it, when Shisui shoots Kaede, why is his crime coefficient over 300? Kaede has just taken out one of the drones, which does not constitute any kind of criminal activity, so why is he a target for lethal elimination? Back in season one, there was a scene wherein Kougami shot a criminal who was mimicking his own psycho-pass, and his crime coefficient went up to 285. Kougami remarked that it had gotten that high because he was honestly considering murdering this man, and he says that he’s glad the number didn’t go over 300. Kaede is just doing his job normally and isn’t even fighting a human opponent, so how has his crime coefficient gone up so high?
Halfway through the episode, it’s suggested that the game has now marked Akane as the main target for all the of drones to attack. Was this a pre-scripted event, or is this change being made in real time? If it’s the latter, then who is updating the program in real time, and how? It can’t be Kamui, because he’s busy murdering everyone and taking their dominators. Around here we also hear the line, “eight playable holos, each with fifteen holo layers.” What is this referring to, and what does it mean?
We then see a drone come busting through one of the walls. Was it conveyed to the player in the game somehow that busting through a wall would be possible? Are walls of a certain thinness just not portrayed in the game engine? If not, then how? For that matter, if the player can only see what the drone’s camera sees, then how did it know that Akane was on the other side of that wall? What’s the deal with the in-game perspective in this shot where Akane vaporizes one of the drones? It’s not only in third-person, but the camera is off to the side of the player–and instead of shooting a ball at the player, she’s shooting a beam of lightning. How is the drone’s camera interpreting this?
So, after a ridiculous scene wherein Akane and friends take out the majority of the drones, the players are given a continue screen, and now suddenly have control over police robots. Once again, I won’t ask about how Kamui hacked into the Sybil system’s own robots–we’ll just assume that he’s a super duper hacker. I won’t ask how he accounted for the completely different control scheme of the robots, or about the fact that the robots don’t have any guns, but instead only have electric tendrils which ought to be much more complicated to control. I do have some questions, though.
Why are there suddenly tons of these robots on the island; and in such close proximity to Akane and the others that they’re immediately on the run from them? We didn’t see any of these things the entire time while Akane was easily escaping from military death machines on wheels; but now that she’s running from police robots, there are suddenly three of them on her tail. Also, did Ginoza just destroy one by punching it in the face? I know he’s got a metal arm, but what kind of force would he have to use to do that?
If the goal of the hungry chicken game is still to take out MWPSB officers, then why do players also get control of a bunch of random robots all over town? Why are innocent civilians now targets as well? Wasn’t the point of this that Kamui wants to collect dominators, and possibly to kill Akane specifically?
So finally, Shion and her crew activate their plan to dispel the graphical overlay of the video game so that the players will see what the actual cameras are seeing. Right away, this whole conceit goes out the window when we see three players holding their tablets, and all three of them have the same image of a dead inspector on them. Nevermind the fact that the players have been constantly on the move, or the fact that this footage would have come from one of the drones which has already been destroyed, considering that the inspector is full of bullet holes; but even if we did assume that there for some reason were three drones camped around one guy’s dead body, they wouldn’t all be seeing the exact same image.
So now we’re given the impression that Shion is not, in fact, feeding the real footage into the game, but is just showing the players a random clip show of what they’ve been doing. Now bear in mind that the risk involved with this plan was that if people saw what was really happening, then it would cause the area stress to skyrocket all throughout the city. However, if it’s possible for Shion to just broadcast whatever footage she wanted into the game, then they could have just given everyone a blue screen of death and killed the game that way. Pretty much anything which made the game unplayable would have sufficed, assuming, as the show seems to, that there’s no possibility or motivation for the villains to get their own system back online.
The situation only becomes even more confusing at the start of the next episode, when we see that some players are actually still playing the game even with the real life camera mode, as their crime coefficients go up. There is no way to reconcile this contradiction–we clearly saw before that Shion was feeding pre-recorded video into the game; but now the game is somehow being played the way she said it would, with the real cameras. It’s like the writer wanted to have his cake and eat it too by going through with this concept, while also having the more dramatic visuals of people watching inspectors get killed on video.
At the end of the episode, Akane and Tougane have Kamui at their mercy by gunpoint, but Akane doesn’t want to shoot him, and Kamui escapes by boat. Wouldn’t it have been easy enough though for Akane to radio in like a helicopter or a speedboat, or at least to report the name of the boat and what direction it’s headed in so that it could be tracked or captured or something? Would it even have been difficult to follow Kamui’s movements when they know, for at least a moment, exactly where he is and what direction he’s headed in?
To me, this episode is representative of everything wrong with Psycho-Pass 2. It speaks to how much the presentation and writing of this season was bent to fit with whatever ideas Tow Ubukata wanted to force into the story, without consideration for whether or not those ideas actually made sense in the context of the setting. Psycho-Pass may have had some silly and over-the-top moments, but all of them fell in line with the logic of the show’s universe and characters. Psycho-Pass 2 has the writers deciding that they want to have a scene wherein players unwittingly murder a bunch of MWPSB officers through a video game, and the logic of the scenario was built around this idea, instead of the idea itself having been built out of the logic of the setting. This, I think is the key to understanding the difference between the writing styles of Gen Urobuchi and Tow Ubukata, and will continue to define the problems with Psycho-Pass 2 moving forward.
After an episode like that, I think we need to take a little break, so catch me in the next video wherein I’ll continue to break down the logical problems of Psycho-Pass 2, before finally drawing my conclusions about this whole comparison and wrapping things up. If you like these videos, then please consider supporting me via patreon or paypal, or just by sharing these videos around. I’ll see you in the next one!
You should do one of these on Eureka Seven AO. God what a fucking disappointment of a sequel.