LanceMaxx here, and I want to share some of my past writing with you. Over the past Fall college semester, my first semester, I had a Composition One class. For this class, I wrote an essay on my, then, favorite anime series, Psycho-Pass. Here’s what I wrote:
September 5, 2016
Dr. William Netherton
Not Just Your Average Anime:
In recent years, a popular television and movie genre among teenagers has become Japanese anime. There are many anime TV programs to choose from, and the majority of them are either quite silly or have boring plotlines, and seem to encourage vacuousness. However, there is one particular anime series, called Psycho-Pass, which caught my interest. What makes it different from many other anime series? The presence of well-defined characters who possess moral standards, and who challenge what the society they live in sets as the status quo. This series, through the use of brilliant characterization, encourages its viewers to value human life, to stand up for the right thing, and to challenge what at first seems to be ‘the norm’.
The most prominent character, featured through both seasons of the show, is Akane Tsunemori, an Inspector for Tokyo’s Public Safety Bureau, Division 1. Her job as Inspector is to direct Enforcers. Enforcers are those who were once deemed by the Sybil System (a system which uses brain scanning technology to determine the likelihood of the commission of crime by every individual, measured as a ‘psycho-pass’, and based on that measurement determines the person’s eligibility to remain within society), to be dangerous to society, or ‘latent criminals’, and because of their criminal history are deemed the best persons to catch latent criminals. One aspect which separates Akane from most is her view that the Enforcers are people with logical minds and feelings, rather than simple hunting dogs. Another aspect in which Akane differs from her society is the philosophy that, in any situation, there are always options. In several instances toward the end of season one and in season two, Akane finds creative ways of lowering the psycho-pass readings of latent criminals from lethal to knockout levels on the Dominator (a transformable gun which measures a person’s psycho-pass, and based on that reading concludes whether the person is a target for enforcement) in order to give them a chance. Hence, Akane prefers to use logical reasoning, rather than a Dominator reading, to determine a person’s societal eligibility. Akane, unlike her society, values human life.
Another main character, prominent only through season one, is Shinya Kougami, a former Inspector, demoted to Enforcer. What stands out about him is the fact that he is quite stubborn and won’t give up once he has a mission in mind. Also, he is one of the best Enforcers of Division 1 because of his uncanny ability to understand the minds of criminals. On multiple occasions during season one Kougami puts himself in extreme danger to enable his team to take out an antagonist. Toward the end of season one, while on the case of the most prominent villain of this season, Kougami goes rogue in order to find the assassin and kill him, though his orders are to bring him in alive. Kougami does this because those in charge in the Sybil System will not destroy this person since they can use him. By taking this task upon himself, Kougami destroys the villain, but also prevents him from reentering society, although he did the right thing. The Sybil System views the act of an Enforcer going rouge as sufficient cause to destroy them, much more the act of that Enforcer killing someone which the System deems necessary. Kougami is a prime example of the nobility of standing up for the right thing in the face of danger, societal rejection, and even death.
The final prominent character to make an impression is the primary villain of season one, Shougo Makishima. He is characterized by a criminally asymptomatic nature, meaning that, unlike the rest of the people in his society, when he commits a crime his psycho-pass does not rise. He is disassociated from any emotional response to his actions. While a vicious killer and known to influence the heinous acts of several other less prominent criminals featured in the season, Makishima also makes an interesting point with his criminal acts. The message Makishima conveys is that those in his society have become too dependent on the Sybil System, and are no longer able to judge basic morality for themselves. He also makes the point that humans devoid of free choice are basically just animals who either just do what they are told or live to serve themselves. Perhaps the reason Kougami is able to defeat Makishima is that Kougami thinks for himself and fights against the odds, unlike most of his society. Makishima illustrates the necessity of free choice and people building character through establishing boundaries.
Psycho-Pass is a TV series which encourages morality and free choice. Though not appropriate for all audiences, given the graphic depiction of violence and gore throughout the show, this anime contains many valuable character-building lessons. The characters have complex personalities, the plot is varied and interesting, and it is an overall refreshing contrast to the other anime programs which I have watched. I always remember this when making any important decision: “It’s not the final judgment of “good” and “evil” that’s important. What matters is that you come to that decision yourself. That you agonize over it and eventually accept it” – Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass.
I hope you liked it. Tell me what you think in the comments.
Ryan L Maxwell