In a seemingly utopic Japan set in the 22nd century, the young and intelligent Akane Tsunemori starts off on her career path as she decides to pursue work in the police force to help keep the peace overseen by the Sybil System which searches for psychological instability and evil intent amongst the populous. As part of her job, she works alongside Shinya Kougami, an enforcer and latent criminal. As she continues to delve deeper into the darker side of her society, what sorts of mysteries will she uncover about the system she seeks to protect and can she survive long enough to learn the truth? There is a lot of tech and interesting sci-fi worldbuilding in Psycho-Pass which we will explain for those who may have watched it and missed a couple of things, or for those who haven’t seen it and are considering checking it out.
The Sybil System & Psycho-Pass
The Sybil System is akin to Big Brother in George Orwell’s 1984, in so far as to say it monitors the everyday life of Japanese citizens, measuring their psycho-pass levels (crime coefficient), as well as managing the Public Safety Bureau and the Criminal Investigation Department. The Psycho-Pass is in reference to each individual citizen’s psychological stability and latent criminal behaviour. Grading with a colour hue, it seeks out citizens who pose a future threat to peace in society by looking at how likely individuals are to commit crimes or become psychologically unbalanced. Individuals whose Psycho-Pass becomes clouded are labeled latent criminals and are treated as such. They are brought tracked down and brought in by law enforcement.
Society & Government
As the anime takes place in future Japan, it shares the appearance of the same form of governing democracy that Japan has. The truth of the matter is that as part of the Sybil System’s duties, it is in charge of designating who is to fulfill which roles in society, including the roles of bureaucrats, thereby taking away democratic choice. Japan maintains a closed-border system so as not to overtax the Sybil System with the monitoring of potential latent criminals who pose a threat or diplomatic disturbance.
As a result of the work that the Sybil System and the Ministry of Welfare’s Public Safety Bureau(MWPSB) pursue, crime is kept under control and each individual is designated a role in society, making sure that each individual is utilized in some manner. Almost like a machine, all the cogs have a purpose and when they deviate from the norm, they are corrected.
Criminal Investigation Department
The Criminal Investigation Department falls under the umbrella of the MWPSB and as a result, it is also controlled by the Sybil System. The Criminal Investigation Department is tasked with the handling of criminal activity and hunting down those with a clouded Psycho-Pass as determined by the Sybil System. The department is made up of three divisions, each with its own inspectors, enforcers, and analysts. The inspectors are the brains of criminal investigations. One must be of sound mind and high intelligence to be an inspector as part of their job is to oversee and take control of the enforcers and lead investigations. Enforcers are latent criminals released for the sole purpose of hunting down other latent criminals; they must follow every order given by the Inspectors in charge. Analysts are essentially the staff who gather data on crime coefficients from each and every latent criminal that goes through the department. Members of the Criminal Investigation Department are equipped with special firing arms that require identification by the holder and will only fire when aimed at a latent criminal. The weapon has the ability to paralyze or kill its target.
The prime antagonist of the anime is Shogo Makishima. He is a white-haired individual with an asymptomatic psycho-pass. Essentially making it so that he is completely unfazed by the regular stresses and emotions that average citizens face. He is an incredibly intelligent individual and an adversary to Shinya Kougami, the enforcer under Akane Tsunemori. He wishes to combat the Sybil system and all it stands for, believing it holds human beings back. Despite his ability to kill and commit various other crimes, his psycho-pass never changes.
We hope you have enjoyed our in-depth explanation of Psycho-Pass. If you still have not seen it, we hope this article encourages you to dive into the suspenseful and thrilling mystery that unfolds in the anime.