Monday, November 3, 2014

Psycho-Pass 2: This Show So Far, episodes 1-4

As anyone who followed me on Twitter when Psycho-Pass season 1 aired knows, I loved its first season. I thought it was a thoughtful example of its genre, with a wonderfully-developed female lead ("You really like Akane, don't you?" said my girlfriend as I put the Akane magnet I got at GeekGirlCon on my fridge) and a refreshingly grown-up (for anime) lesbian couple I shipped hard.

This season, we get a new creepy bishounen who wants to overthrow the Sibyl System, Kamui. Kamui has his own following of latent criminals like season 1's Makishima did. Unlike Makishima, Kamui cries, sees himself as helpful to the people he manipulates (while Makishima, evil though he was, made no such pretensions) and has the ability to manipulate other people's crime coefficients so they can be unpunishable by the Sibyl System while committing actual horrible crimes. Makishima's people were just stealthy about what they did. (I just joked to my girlfriend that Kamui is like a more lesbian Makishima because he wants to talk about feelings.)

The current Division 1 team dynamic is that Akane is still a seasoned badass Inspector, Gino, now an Enforcer, is more mellow and at peace with himself for sad reasons, the woman who joined the group at the end of season 1, Mika, is now a rather dickish Inspector with 1.5 years of field experience under her belt and a thing for Yayoi, and a couple new folks, Tougane and Hinakawa, have joined Yayoi and Gino as Enforcers.

Re the two new members of the team, I don't care much about them (I don't think anyone does), but I have some thoughts:

  • Tougane's behavior is similar to Kougami's around Akane and he sure is evil-looking in the OP, but I think the obvious signs of him being ~evil~ are a red herring. Unless the writers are counting on us thinking he's a red herring and not really making him one. Unless they're counting on us thinking that they're trying to make us think he's a red herring... I'll stop. 
  • Hinakawa is voiced by Makishima's seiyuu, which either A) indicates he's ~evil~ or B) is just a way whoever made that casting choice decided to fuck with viewers. For now, I think it's the latter. I am ready to be totally wrong about either of these characters, of course.

So far, this season has dealt with a sequence of people Kamui set up to cause horrible shit for the sake of a plan that is becoming clearer.

The most recent Kamui-follower-of-the-week's case ended in a really horrific way. It is the darkest this season has been, but flows logically from what happened in episode 1 of season 1. (What would have happened if a key person hadn't been there?) The ineffectiveness of everyone who wasn't a law enforcement person in the face of immediate danger in this season's most recent episode is frustrating, but follows from what we saw in season 1 of the system fucking with most people's ability to deal with threats that the system hasn't deemed a threat. (i.e. The beating-in-public scene and Akane's inability to attack Makishima halfway through season 1 without relying on a Dominator despite what he was threatening.)

Given how much of the show has been set-up so far, I'm not ready to judge it yet. Imho, what'll make or break this season is how everyone reacts to what happened at the end of episode 4. Mika has been a dick since episode 1, but her attitude didn't result in any really awful consequences until now. Her cowardice failed to prevent the horrible thing in episode 4, and Akane, Yayoi, and Gino are pretty obviously pissed that it happened.

So yeah, Mika sure is a dick. Given how her introduction as an Inspector paralleled Akane's, I expected her to be sort of an Akane II like everyone else who watched season 1. But nope, she really hates latent criminals, including the Enforcers, and doesn't think Akane knows what she's doing.

I don't like Mika, but given her backstory, her behavior makes more sense than a lot of people think. You might recall that when we last saw her during the girls' school arc, she was mourning her murdered friend who she was in love with. And for all she knew, the killer got away. (Of course we know she didn't.) It doesn't make Mika's loathing of all latent criminals any more justifiable than Gino being shitty towards them in season 1 because of his family issues, but it does follow from her backstory. It also helps explain why she doesn't think her co-workers know wtf they're doing. Her still hating them as a group even though one of them, Yayoi, comforted her when she cried over her dead friend and saved her life after she became an Inspector, isn't unfathomable for me either because Yayoi could just be the exception that proves the rule. In real life, there are people who broadly hate certain groups while being fond of individual members of those groups, so yeah, it's shitty of her, but I can see it. Hopefully what happened in episode 4 will will jolt her into realizing she's doing it wrong.

As for her thing for Yayoi, the moment Mika's crush became obvious was funny, but I will not be a happy camper if she gets paired with Yayoi since Yayoi already has someone loads better/Shion. Given that Mika and Yayoi's most recent interaction involves Mika being cowardly despite Yayoi being like "Yo, we need to help these people" and Yayoi being pissed by having her hands tied from being unable to do anything, I don't see that happening, but let's not jinx it, eh?

Anyway, I actually think this season is interesting, but it's still mostly set-up. Hopefully the story will hold together as a whole.

Also, some Yayoi x Shion goodness, please. So far they've been separately competently doing their own thing on their jobs, but I'd like to see them lez it up together more.

Anyway, have some (partially NSFW) Yayoi x Shion fan art.

Source: zunda's Pixiv.

Source: fio's Pixiv.

Source: さいとう's Pixiv.


自动铅's Pixiv.

Shion: I'm tired...
Yayoi: Thanks for your hard work.
Shion: Thanks. Kiss me for luck.
Source: やま's Pixiv.

Text: "YayoShio, please", YayoShio being one of Yayoi and Shion's fan portmanteaus.
Sound effect: *squeeeze*
The background text says "YayoShioooo"
Source: なまあし's Pixiv and Twitter. This person is one of my favorite Yayoi x Shion artists. I have a couple of her doujinshi, and recommend keeping an eye out for her stuff if you dig this pairing, which of course you probably do if you're reading this.

And, that's it!

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