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Psycho-Pass: The Movie

Japan, year 2113. A country where everyone’s state of mind is quantifiable and analysed regularly, highlighting their sanity and innermost desires, to name a few areas. The government/dictator running the show is also known as the Sibyl System. Once that number exceeds the limit, you’re determined to be a potential criminal and sent for rehabilitation. Worse still, if the police (Public Safety Bureau Inspectors or Enforcers in this case) and their specialised guns determine that you’re a potential criminal, you can be shot on the spot, either paralysing or killing you immediately.

Japan is a dystopian nation but by the end of Psycho Pass’ second season, the system has been forced to rethink its idea of justice and has acted appropriately. For people who might want to watch the Psycho-Pass movie on a whim, do catch seasons 1 and 2 of the anime first. The movie is a continuation after all and the series isn’t run on an episodic basis like Gintama or K-On! for example.

For fans of the series, the movie is a return to form, literally and figuratively. Most of the team handling the first season of Psycho-Pass returned to create the movie, probably realising that the second season produced by Tatsunoko Production wasn’t stellar, to say the least. If you’re fond of Production I.G’s style and loved the first season, you’ll like the movie, visually at least.

Psycho-Pass: The Movie takes viewers out of the grim and dull Japan and into a fictional island of Shamballa Float, located in the tropics of SEAUn (Southeast Asia Union). It’s a sight for sore eyes, seeing the sun shining brightly, lush greens, rice fields and temples, rather than your usual host of Matrix-esque skyscrapers and overcast skies. The movie even highlights this change in pace subtly, with a starting sequence set in Japan before moving to Shamballa Float for the next 1.5 hours.

Why this change in environment? Japan’s Sibyl System is being used in the war torn state, both as a trial to see how well it works outside of Japan and return the country to a state of peace. Protagonist Tsunemori Akane returns, together with junior Inspector Shimotsuki Mika and their unit of Enforcers from the anime’s second season. Everyone’s beloved protagonist, Kogami Shinya from season one re-appears too and has significant screentime, along with Tsunemori Akane.

For viewers who loved the dynamic between these two characters and sorely missed it in season two, Production I.G has heard you. It’s clear that the pair is the movie’s driving force, showcasing two different perspectives and two very different solutions to a single problem the state is facing. This is the least that can be revealed without spoiling the movie entirely, but if you’re worried that the movie suffers from having too many villains vying for the spotlight like the second season, you can put those worries to rest, it isn’t that confusing.

However, Psycho-Pass: The Movie isn’t flawless and the heavy use of English detracted from the experience. Although there were characters who sounded like native English speakers, there were those who had me pausing multiple times just to read the subtitles because of the verbose nature of their lines. Throw in their unfamiliarity with the language and it proves to be a headache. 

There were even characters shouting commands in Thai/Vietnamese/Burmese during firefights. The attempt to create a more authentic atmosphere might’ve backfired but the voice actors’ efforts are clearly visible and they aren’t just lazily going through the motions even though English isn’t exactly their forte.

Psycho-Pass: The Movie was an excellent ‘apology’ to fans and even hinted to viewers that a third season or second movie is on the cards. Hopefully, Production I.G and the original crew will return to work on the series again and maybe fans will fully forgive the forgettable second season then.

Written by ET

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