Psycho-Pass – 14

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It’s probably no coincidence that the episode after the chief confirms that Makishima is rare but not unique in his ability to confound Sybil, brutal crimes start cropping up that are committed by those with similarly clear Psycho-Passes. Unlike Makishima, they’re wearing helmets, so it much be a question of technology and not genetics.

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It’s later determined that the helmets run scans of everyone and copies the lowest Crime Coefficient among them, so as far as any technology with AI is concerned, the one wearing the helmet is a good law-abiding citizen above suspicion, even as he’s shoving scissors or pens into pharmacists or stripping and beating a woman to death with a hammer. The system is being well and truly gamed.

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It’s not surprising there’s extant tech that can, if not flummox Sybil, at least deceive her by copying a clear Psycho-Pass. What is truly chilling is how all of the witnesses to these horrible crimes stand there and do nothing, as the helmet-wearer’s associates film it all. Chilling because years of depending on Sybil to maintain peace has rendered the average person incapable of even fathoming what a murder is, let alone do anything to stop it.

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While the helmets are yet another tool Makishima uses to enable would-be murderers and thugs, the effect of the crimes being committed on the city are far more than the sum of their parts. In addition to raising the area stress levels, which could render entire neighborhoods latent criminals if kept up, it is a means of planting public doubt in the system; a crack in the dam that could lead to a deluge.

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Of course, that’s precisely what Makishima wants: not just to expose Sybil as a sham, but to demonstrate that humanity has been torn from its natural state into a withering limbo of boredom; boredom he’ll cure. And if anyone manages to catch on and try to stop him, so much the better. The status quo is his bane.

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Kogami pulls off some nifty detective work here, studying the recorded scans of the crime to determine the Psycho-Pass was coming from someone other than the culprit, and narrowing their search by identifying someone with the motive to harm the victim. Akane’s role here is small, but amusingly consists of literally staying away from the action, lest the perp copy her Psycho-Pass and render the Dominators inert. In this case, having Enforcers who could successfully target and administer justice to “themselves” proved essential.

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Psycho-Pass – 13

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After reading Ginoza’s report about Akane’s Dominator malfunctioning, the Bureau Chief has a simple response: as far as the public is concerned, that malfunction never occurred. After Ginoza vouches for Akane’s aptitude, the Chief has little choice but to let her pupil in on what the next level up knows.

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Specifically, roughly one out of two million people are like Makishima: “criminally asymptomatic” and immune to the Dominators’—to Sybil’s—judgement. That is not a public fact, nor is it ever meant to be, since the Sybil system must be perfect in order to justify society’s acceptance of it.

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That perfection is, of course, a farce, and so various means are employed to come as close to perfection as possible, including having humans rather than drones handle Dominators. That requires enforcers who aren’t bound by a clear Psycho-Pass, as well as inspectors who risk theirs by being so close to crime.

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It also requires a rather inelegant protocol in the event an asymptomatic criminal is found. Makishima is not the first; the last one, Touma, is officially “missing”, but let’s not kid ourselves: he was quietly eliminated and swept under the rug, and the chief has the same fate in store for Makishima. All Ginoza has to do is fetch him for her.

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I don’t think I have to point out the irony of a system of supposed moral perfection requiring morally suspect methods to survive, or the real-world parallels. Suffice it to say, Sybil is a lie, and closer people are to its true workings, the less trustworthy they become. But even so, for now, Ginoza, Kogami, and even Akane are going to stay the course.

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I was worried that Akane’s experience would turn her into an enforcer, but she recovers remarkably quickly. Not only that, she’s all gung-ho about undergoing a “memory scoop”, essentially reliving Yuki’s murder so they can process an image of Makishima’s face, because her memory is the only lead they have.

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She comes right out and says she’s willing to become an enforcer if it means nabbing Makishima. However, her Psycho-Pass never reaches the danger zone during the scoop and recovers incredibly quickly afterwards. At this point, and with all the now-realized doubts about Sybil swirling in my head, I was wondering if Akane is “under”-symptomatic; if Sybil has an incomplete picture of her soul.

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That could, in theory, eventually make her a target of Sybil’s minders, just as Makishima is. After all, when pursuing perfection, why only go after the asymptomatic? Why not go after the weak readings next? Still, for now, Akane’s still within the dark about all that, and still an Inspector, and her primary goal is to capture Makishima. The photo extracted from her memory breaks the case wide open.

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Wanting to know more about Akane from someone who spend more time with her, Ginoza asks Masaoka, and in their conversation it’s revealed that they’re father and son, which…makes sense, actually. I can’t recall any past dialogue that would contradict it. It also explains why the dude is always so uptight: he shares office space with the living embodiment of his potential future.

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End-of-Month Rundown – September 2014

Click Here to see our September Chart
Click Above to see our September Chart

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall. Thanks to an assist from Franklin, Summer was our most proliific season of RABUJOI, reviewing over 200 episodes in all. It was a bit exhausting at times, we must confess. So how did it all shake out? Let’s hear it from the staff. As you’ll see on the chart, the season can be broken up pretty cleanly into three groups: those rated 8 and above, 7.5 to 7.9, and 7.4 and below.


Hannah

Five seemed to have soured Zankyou no Terror for many, but in hindsight I never really minded her. She was the wrench Sphinx’s best laid plans needed so that things wouldn’t be so easy for them, and bad English aside the airport chess episode was one of the more thrilling outings of the entire season. That said, when it was time for her to bow out, she did, and in the very end Nine and Twelve ended up joining Five in the afterlife, but not before they made a considerably more forceful impression than she did, digging up the secrets of the Athena project before they went. I’m also happy this wasn’t spread out over eleven more episodes. Sometimes one cour is plenty. Heck, this show could have done okay with just 8-10 episodes.

Damn you, Aldnoah.Zero! Here I thought we were going to get a concise, 12-episode run, and things were drawing towards a satisfying resolution to the immediate conflict, if not the entire Terran-Martian war. When Inaho and Seylum are both killed relatively quick succession, it only reinforced my belief that this was The End. But noooo, you had to have another season, didn’t you? And what am I going to do…not watch it? And then Franklin tells me he doubts the lead couple is really dead. In any case, Slaine is a jerk.

Rail Wars! did now wow in any particular area, but it was, for me at least, a consistent source of entertainment, and offered something unique and quirky with its extensive train-lore…the show also made every one of the trains it featured characters in and of themselves. The harem was silly, but the show never took it that seriously anyway.

Sword Art Online II‘s BoB/Death Gun arc slowed to a pedestrian crawl, to the point were were considering dropping the show out of disgust. First you neuter Sinon, then you have episode after episode of nothing but exposition cut with scenes of her ass. The thirteenth episode brings the Ballet of Bullets to a satisfying enough close, but I’ll admit I’m just glad that part is over. As for Sinon/Shino’s impotence as a self-actualizing character, this is a show with Kirito in it so it was always going to be about him saving her from getting raped in the real world by her so-called friend Kyouji. What interests us is what comes after that rescue, with Shino ostensibly safe.


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As shows wind down, even shows I’ve liked, I tend to get more forgiving, simply because the season is changing and I’m rearing for the new. Barakamon is a case of this, offering a finale that, as Franklin mentioned, missed the Sei-Haru interactions that were the heart and soul of the show. In my case, a little goes a long way, as Haru’s hope for Sei to return over the phone last week, and their one last scene where she tells him it’s fun when everyone is around, still moved me deeply. It was a genuinely funny and moving show that doesn’t come around often.

One of the Summer’s stronger endings belongs to Hanayamata, which brought back Hana right after taking her away without it seeming to contrived…or rather, the elation of having everyone perform on the big stage and share a moment of triumph trumped whatever plot calisthenics were required to make it happen. Every member of the club grew and learned something through the show’s run, and each had one or two loved ones see that growth for the first time. Nice finish.

Space Dandy followed up its season masterpiece with a ho-hum effort about dancing, then gave Dandy-Scarlet shippers the romance episode they’ve been hoping for (complete with a Gundam pilot stalker!), then another very bizarre story of Dandy’s seemingly impossible past relationship with a 4D being, then a surprising two-part finale, the first part was a kind of retrospective of Dandy’s adventures and relationships in courtroom drama form, followed by a part two that was almost all action, space battles, chases, rescues, and a little more metaphysics thrown in for good measure, as Dandy is the Man Who Would Be God, but wasn’t, since gods can’t frequent Boobies. In all, a great month for the show, and a better ending.

Ao Haru Ride seemed to be hinting a little too much at a second season for our tastes, but aside from that, Futaba finally succeeded in cracking open the door Kou had been stuck behind, where he feared loving anyone after his mom. The results are almost instant, with Kou making a more concerted effort to be a part of the group and studying to avoid summer courses, while also finding a way to reconnect with his brother and dad. There’s no concrete mutual confession of love with the couple, but we leave them in good shape.

Glasslip got pretty weird there in the end, but I think it came down to Kakeru and Touka figuring out what kind of futures they want to have, with the possibilities coming in the form of those “fragments”, some of which they shared, including the first, which was likely the most important. Kakeru goes off with his mom rather than joining Touka, but there’s every indication they’ll be back together before long. As for the other couples, they also seemed to have come out of the summer in better shape than they went in, which is to say they matured, and their relationships matured with them. This wasn’t anywhere near as good as Nagi-Asu, but I still enjoyed it.


Preston

Akame ga Kill! has gone from weekly bad guys who are simply evil and awful to an “evil” equivalent of Night Raid itself, the Esdeath-led Jaegers; a no less colorful collection of characters than our good guys. The death NR members have been replaced by Susanoo and Chelsea, both with interesting backgrounds, while we continue to learn more about the others. Finally, the thirteenth episode marks the unexpected reunion of Esdeath with her beloved Tatsumi, a pairing that’s always welcome, considering the combination of dread, danger, and romance it entails.

Majimoji Rurumo‘s finale was a great culmination of the show as a whole: it was never about the magical mumbo-jumbo, but the humanity of the characters, and how Rurumo and Kouta were a couple that made each other better. It pulls a “world without Rurumo” scenario for much of the finale, but it’s revealed as a temporary magical review for Rurumo and not explained any further than that. Kouta’s life had gotten to the point where even with his memories of her blocked for a day, her absence was very much noted, with the effect of him missing her even though he wasn’t sure who he was missing.

Six episodes in and Sailor Moon Crystal still doesn’t have a complete set of sailor scouts, but Jupiter was a welcome addition, and despite all the new recruits, Usagi learns that she can contribute to battles with her power to bring people together. Still no sign of the titular crystal, the princess, or Queen Beryl’s boss, but the romance, such as it is, between Usagi and Tuxedo Mask is proceeding apace.

Like Hannah with Aldnoah, Tokyo Ghoul is a show I enjoyed but a second season wasn’t on my radar, nor did I consider it a necessity. However, with Ken just turning into “Rize-Ken” at the very end and a lot of manga left to draw from, I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets a second season too at some point, in which case I’ll probably give it a good look.


Franklin

Final words on Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun , Sabagebu! and other shows in the comments below.