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Psycho-Pass: Part Two

FUNimation // Unrated // March 11, 2014
List Price: $64.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Kyle Mills | posted March 20, 2014 | E-mail the Author
The story of Psycho-Pass revolves around the life of Akane Tsunemori (voice of Kate Oxley), a young woman as the series opens is starting her very first day as an Inspector at Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Division. What the PSBCID does is that of a detective, they go after potentially criminals that the Sibyl system deems dangerous by actively measuring a person's mental state, personality, and the probability that a person will commit crimes, by scanning their brain, this test is called a Psycho Pass. If red flags are raised, the PSBCID dispatches their Inspectors and Enforcers (latent reformed criminals) with something called "Dominators", a very large gun that scans the brain and will lock if their Psycho Pass is under a certain percentage, to subdue them by any force necessary. Along with her enforcer, Kogami (voiced by Rob McCollum), Akane sets out to discover the secrets of the Sibyl system while also tracking the mysterious killer, Shogo Makishima (voice of Alex Organ.)

Spoilers for Part One.

As Part One came to a close, Makashima revealed himself to Akane and gives her an ultimatum. He has one of her best friends. Makashima will slit her throat if Akane does not kill him, and since she has no authorization to kill him (he's not declared dangerous by the Sibyl system), she has to make the decision herself. Kill him and suffer the consequences or follow her orders and watch her die. As you will know if you have watched Part One, Akane couldn't bring herself to kill Makashima, which resulted in the death of her friend directly in front of her.

As Part Two begins, the main story takes a back seat for a couple of episodes, which I was fine with as we get some nice character development for some of the characters. In the first few episodes of the set we get to know more about Yayoi and how she came to be a part of Unit One, we find out some interesting things about Nobuchika Ginoza, and we find out why Shusei doesn't entirely trust the Sibyl system, how he came to be a latent criminal and why he's an enforcer. While I was expecting to be tossed straight back into the thick of things when Part Two started, this was quite a welcome surprise, as one of the things I disliked about Part One was there wasn't enough characterization on the supporting cast. The only character that never really amounted to much throughout these 22 episodes was Shion, who we don't much about other than she's the tech expert and Yayoi's lover, which is only briefly touched upon.

When we get back into the main story, we learn the reason Kogami is hell bent on killing Makashima. Some time before the events of the series, Kogami's former partner, Sasayama, a reckless and brutish Enforcer, figured out a string of murders were connected to Makashima, something he chose to keep to himself. Instead of presenting this to the higher ups or even to Unit One/Kogami, Sasayama decided to pursue it alone, which led to his brutal and gruesome slaughter. The gruesome state that Sasayama's dead body is found in causes Kogami to have a break down as he becomes obsessed with getting revenge for his partner's death, becoming a latent criminal in the process.

While we are learning about his past, Kogomi is already hot on Makashima's trail. As he is getting closer and closer, he is abruptly ordered off the case by the Chief of the Bureau, Joshu Kasei (voice of Linda Leonard), for unknown reasons, while Unit One are given strict orders of bringing in Makashima safely. Kogami, who notices Kasei's investment in Makashima's fate, knows there is a conspiracy with Kasei, Makashima and the Sibyl System in general, decides to go rogue to go after Makahsima and put an end to it all.

After going rogue, Kasei orders all of Unit One to kill Kogami on sight, as his now a defector and criminal. While Kogami is tracking Makishima, Akane scrambles to save Kogami from his seemingly destined fate, while Unit One continues to track Makashima and get to him before Kogami can commit the ultimate crime and can never return. It's a race to the finish and it is one hell of a ride!

The series (or now, first season) has a pretty bleak (and predictable) ending which I'm fine with. Like in almost every show, the day is saved from the apparent villain, but almost all of the characters end up meeting the fates they've been fighting to avoid throughout the series. On top of that, there is a cliffhanger that will lead into Season 2/The film. By the time Psycho-Passends, the question the series has been drilling into our heads from the start still remains, "Do you want to live in a world of free will or a world where you have orderly society, not much criminal activity and no choices are your own?"

- Positives:

+ A terrific build up to the ending that never lets up.

+ A well done ending that leaves enough open for the soon to come Season 2 and movie.

+ The side characters are developed a bit more.

+ Beautiful setting.

+ Rich, well developed lead characters.

+ The way they use the episodic stories to develop the leads.

+ A fantastic series villain.

+ Excellent dub work. Several of my favorite voice actors are in lead roles, Rob McCollum, Kate Oxley, Jason Douglas, Josh Grelle, Lidsay Seidel, and Scott Freeman, whom all turn in some incredible work. The standouts for me are Alex Organ, whose work I have never seen/heard before, he blew me away as the lead villain. I honestly cannot wait to hear more from him in the future. The other standout is Rob McCollum's Kogami.

- Negatives:

- We did get some character development throughout the series for the majority of the characters, but I can't help but feel a bit underwhelmed by it all, there just wasn't enough. Some of them felt wasted.

Video and Audio:
The animation quality for the series is fantastic. My favorite aspect is the setting. Psycho-Pass takes place in a futuristic setting, and the creators were able to visually make that stand out beautifully. The character designs all stand out as unique, each one standing out in their own way. The gore is pumped up a bit and a high level of detail goes into the action shots. It's overall a terrific effort from the Studio, Production I.G.

The audio is available in two tracks. The first is a English TrueHD 5.1, and the second is the original TrueHD 2.0 Japanese track. As usual with my reviews, I watched the English track. The dub work was fantastic throughout. There were no noticeable dropouts or distortions in these last eleven episodes.

Extras: - Episode 13 commentary with Zach Bolton, the ADR director for the English dub. Along with him are Jason Douglas, who voices Masaoka, and Josh Grelle, who handles the leader of Unit One, Nobuchika Ginoza.

- Episode 18 commentary with Zach Bolton, the ADR director for the series . Along with Zach, we have Linda Leonard, the voice of the PCD's leader, Kasei, and Stephanie Young, the voice of the weapon, "The Dominator."

- Psycho-Pass at Sakura-Con: Another 20 minute interview with the creators of the series along with some highlights of the convention.

- Standard FUNimation Trailers.

- US English dub trailer.

- Textless Opening and closing themes.

As I got to the final episode of Psycho-Pass, I found myself wanting more. Sure, it's not ridiculously heavy on character development for a lot of them, but you still get attached to them. The series has a fantastic premise, a great story, a terrific lead character and villain, and an exciting finish. You can't really ask for a whole lot more than that. Psycho-Pass as a whole comes highly recommended.

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Highly Recommended

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