Thursday, May 16, 2013

A look at volume 1 of the Psycho-Pass manga, some Yayoi x Shion goodness, and some rambling on doujinshi

This post started as one thing and ended entirely another. I decided to add some fan art and a link to a good fanfic about Psycho-Pass's yuri couple below this review, and hey, an artist who does fan art I really like of said couple is releasing a doujinshi of them at GLFes (a yuri doujinshi event in Tokyo on May 26) and here's a translation of its preview pages, and here's some more info about GLFes.

The Psycho-Pass manga adaptation, re-titled Kanshikan Tsunemori Akane (Inspector Tsunemori Akane), is currently running in Jump Square, a magazine aimed at the oldest subset of the shounen demographic, late teens. As someone whose first exposure to Psycho-Pass was through the anime that premiered last fall, like most people who've tried at least one iteration of Psycho-Pass' story, it's hard for me not to compare Miyoshi Hikaru's manga adaptation to the anime.

As in the anime, the manga's story takes place in Tokyo in 2112. The government has implemented the Sibyl System, which monitors every citizen's psychological state (or psycho-pass) to deduce whether they will commit a crime. If one's psycho-pass becomes too "clouded", one is judged a latent criminal. In theory, latent criminals with low enough crime coefficients can be rehabilitated through therapy. In practice, they're fucked, and have next to no chance of returning to normal society.  The Sibyl System, unsurprisingly, has very flawed criteria for judging people. (Btw, I love the people who criticize this story on the grounds that a society enabling such an obviously flawed government institution is implausible enough to constitute a plot hole. Yup, that never happens.)

It's disappointing that the most extreme example of Sibyl screwing up isn't included here- Kagari Shuusei telling Psycho-Pass's protagonist Tsunemori Akane, a non-latent criminal, that he has been a latent criminal since Sibyl judged him one at five years old. That information not only illustrates how much the Sibyl System can mess with people's lives, it's Kagari's only background information and gives more context to his resentment of the amount of choice Akane has had.

At least in the manga we still get Karanomori Shion mentioning that she had a medical license before she became a latent criminal and Sibyl figured she'd be most useful as a physician/lab and data analyst for the Public Safety Bureau's Crime Investigation Division; see Kunizuka Yayoi reading a guitar magazine (which alludes to her past as a guitarist in a band, as the anime later shows in a flashback illustrating what Unit 1 of the PSBCID was like when she joined them); hear Masaoka Tomomi's explanation of his past as a detective who became too good at what he did; and see hints of what made Kougami Shinya into a latent criminal, which fuels his vendetta against the story's main villain.

Akane, just out of school, joins the PSBCID as an Inspector. Inspectors go after latent criminals and plain old criminals on Sibyl's behalf. They work with Enforcers, latent criminals Sibyl judged as having the aptitude to catch latent criminals and criminals. Enforcers aren't able to leave the PSBCID unaccompanied by an Inspector. The other Inspector in Akane's unit, Ginoza Nobuchika, sees latent criminals as subhuman while Akane wants to work with them as equals. This becomes a source of tension between them.

Chapter one covers Akane's first day on the job, in which she and her co-workers deal with a hostage situation that escalates- thankfully, not as badly as it would have if Akane weren't willing to make up her own mind rather than follow whatever Sibyl says.

Chapter two covers the anime's episode two, in which Akane deals with her guilt over having hurt Kougami to save the hostage's life. As in episode 2, she and Masaoka arrest a latent criminal at the mall. In a weird story change from the anime, Kou, who should be recovering his ability to move in a hospital bed, having been hit with a heavy duty stun gun, decides Akane and Masaoka arresting a run-of-the-mill latent criminal is enough reason to break out of the Public Safety Bureau (something he took elaborate measures to do in the anime, for a much more crucial reason) and run to the mall so he can help. This scene is supposed to make him look like a badass, but just makes him seem like kind of a drama queen. The low amount of danger Akane and Masaoka are in aside, the idea of instantly recovering from being temporarily disabled because of sheer willpower is stupid- that's not how being disabled works- but again, I guess the editor or someone thought it would seem cool.

Chapter three brings us halfway through the story covered by episode three, in which Akane and the other members of Unit One investigate a series of suspicious deaths at a drone factory. Not being able to connect to Sibyl or any outside communication within the factory puts them at a disadvantage.

I've only mentioned the changes I don't like. ^^; Better changes: seeing the day Akane found out what Sibyl considers her viable career options, and seeing her break the news of her choice to her parents, who weren't pleased but stopped opposing after she told them why she wanted it. (Her parents' opposition was only alluded to in the anime. Also, now I wonder what would happen if someone said they wanted to do a job outside the range of what Sibyl deemed appropriate for them. That was kind of sort of answered with Rina. She sang anyway and- assuming she isn't a special psycho-pass snowflake like Akane- I guess stayed free by dodging getting her hue measured by staying in the underground scene of a less regulated area of Tokyo?) We also briefly see Akane's training at the Academy and her meeting her boss before being sent to her first day on the job.

That said, time to bitch about another change! Yayoi and Shion, who are lovers in the anime? The first scene indicating that they're together in the anime is toned down here. So you better understand, here's a visual comparison.

I shouldn't need to explain the difference, but there are people who missed the point of that scene in the anime even though it was as clear as the sun is bright for most viewers. In the manga, Yayoi isn't putting the last touch on getting dressed while leaving Shion's office and Shion isn't lying on her office's couch while pulling her pantyhose back on. The fact that she's pulling on thigh highs instead of regular pantyhose also makes a difference, and it's impossible to contrast these scenes without sounding like a perv isn't it. Ah well. I've already translated the first part of a smutty doujinshi (that I'm buying) below, so I suppose I'm past the point of no return already.

Tl;dr, there are many good things about the anime and some of those good things are still here- but going from this volume, this is still the beta version. I didn't read this volume looking for a carbon copy of the anime. I wanted some changes, since I might as well re-watch the anime for the exact same take on P-P's story, but I wanted the changes to more consistently not make me go : \

But whatever, I still really like the anime. (Reader: "What the hell was the point of this review, Katherine?")

This review also gives me another excuse opportunity to post fan art, as well as a fanfic rec. I found a really good fic on how Yayoi and Shion got together, "In Darkest Red" by Jen.

And some of the fan art is nsfw-ish, so I'm placing it all under the cut below.

Source: Himegawa Ayami's Pixiv.

Source: Marisa Beautoy's Tumblr.

Shion: Hi! ♡
Kagari: Hello!
Shion: Doumo.
("Doumo" = literally "thanks", but in this context, more of an acknowledgement of Kagari's greeting.)

Kagari: Kunicchi, what do you want to eat for lunch?
Yayoi: Udon.
Akane: I want udon too!

Source: Junmei's Pixiv.

Source: Rosso's Pixiv.

Source: Randou's Pixiv.

Source: Komachi's Pixiv.

Definitely no moe.
Source: Kiriko's Pixiv.

Source: Arima@Tsuita's Pixiv.

Source: possumomo's Pixiv.

Source: 808's Pixiv.

Source: Kurage's Pixiv.

Source: BW's Pixiv.

Source: Maru's Tumblr.

Source: Rin Real's Pixiv.

Yayoi: Shion.
Shion: Yayoi kawaii!!

Shion's thoughts: This work is never going to end! I want to play! With Yayoi!
Yayoi's thoughts: This udon is delicious. I want to have Shion too. She's the best...
Shion: Yayoi.
Yayoi: Yes.
Shion: Train.
(As in the railroad kind that gives off puffs of steam.)
Yayoi: ?!
Shion: Breathing cigarette smoke up the nose.
(Congratulations Shion, you've discovered the ultimate mood-killer.)
The picture above was drawn for Hanami time.
Source: Timadeath's Pixiv and Twitter. Many thanks to @Ichigo_69 for pointing her work out! ^^

And GVFRTYULVDXKYL, Timadeath's doujinshi.

For anyone curious about what it's about (I know there are other people interested in it), I've translated the preview pages Timadeath released of it.
Shion: I'm sorry Yayoi, it'll be a little difficult to have dinner together this evening.
(Text next to Shion's head: Sorry. ♡)

I hate to ask this, but could you go home ahead of me?

I'll get home as soon as I can, so hang in there.

Text in box: After work... ✩

Yayoi: Pafun~ (This noise is too cute to translate.)

Even though she promised we would eat dinner together...

Yayoi: I know she's busy and it can't be helped, but...

I want to see Shion. *mope mope*

I can smell Shion's scent. *sniff...*

The remaining preview images don't have text.

Yeah, I know, that bunny censor. It won't be in the final doujinshi. A few more NSFW pages can be found here and here.

Needless to say I want this. I had a good experience ordering some doujinshi and a calendar from last winter's Comiket through Doujin Press and they're able to make it to this month's GLFes, so I've arranged for them to pick this up for me, fyi anyone else planning to get it. Even though the price of this book hasn't been released yet, DP estimated its price at 500 to 700 yen on Twitter, so I'd mention that when sending your request for this book if you decide to do so. The circle name is ちまちま, and in this event's case, you don't need to give a location beyond the event's name.

Amano Shuninta is also going to sell some books at GLFes under the circle name TETRA. She'll bring her philosophia series, her アラサーOLが、プールで。 book, and a new as yet untitled book, as written on her blog. You can see the covers and prices for her philosophia and アラサーOLが、プールで。 books in her blog post for last winter's Comiket. (Looks like she doesn't charge any more than 500 yen a book.)

For more info on GLFes/its circles, you can visit GLFes' website. You can browse art by different circles attending GLFes through the GirlsLoveFestival9 tag on Pixiv (Thanks to @NetBrianT for pointing it out!), as well as the GLF9 tag.

If you have further questions about doujinshi event-shopping, feel free to ask!


Overlord-G said...

With Summer Vacation one day away, I will finally have the opportunity to see this show. Thanks for the review dood. I might give the manga a go sometime but the anime is a must.

Katherine Hanson said...

@Overlord-G- The anime isn't for everyone (this is a crime drama written by Urobuchi, so people suffer and die in horrible ways; remarkably, though, the lesbian couple doesn't), but I really found myself caught up in it as it aired. Hope you like it too!

Overlord-G said...

Japan has a death fetish as they have shown numerous times. Heck, Shingeki no Kyojin, as good as it is, pretty much defines this fetish.
Anyway, the shows on my blog may make it seem that I am lighthearted but I have ventured into the darkness and survived.

Still, thanks a lot for the warning dood.