After the first series defined the Sibyl System, the flaws embedded in its human powers of judgment and reasoning, Psycho-Pass 2 develops its own internal investigation and asks the next logical question; one of the hazy hues of good and evil. A new adversary, Kirito Kamui, is creating an idol of himself, even while he coerces his followers into acts of terrorism, and Inspector Akane Tsunemori must compromise between acting for the greater good and for herself, as she piques the mastermind’s interest.
With Akane standing in as reference to the potential dangers in blind loyalty, it’s difficult to reason for the new blood on her team. Though we saw her as a high school student in the first series, Mika Shimotsuki has stepped up as a CID inspector, with familiar cop-drama tunnel vision over sticking to the rules. Despite her stringent values and confrontational attitude, she doesn’t deserve the level of hate that’s sprung up for her character in some online spheres, but she’s developed no further than as a drab device to inevitably take a wrong step on her perceived straight line towards justice.
The show seems to take on such a device, in a shift towards the security of action tropes, to present opposing ends of the judgment spectrum; Akane’s naïve purity and Shimotsuki’s naïve ignorance, where Kamui shifts between as an indefinite symbol of self-centred, self-validating human nature. He’s a victim of tragedy and self-doubt who finds his place in the world as a charismatic despot. He believes everyone, including Sibyl, is innately corrupt and that accepting this is freedom. He remembers no other way, and Akane’s sturdy hue presents itself to him as a challenge.
Placing her square in the centre of this struggle for the societal balance, Psycho-Pass 2 naturally comes into focus as an exploration of Akane’s internal conflict, coming to terms with the fact that even she has limitations in keeping her colour on an even keel. The inset treasure of this series is the faith she holds in humanity, its power in upholding its own integrity. But between Production I.G’s steely intellectualism and Tatsunoko Production’s Gatchaman legacy, it isn’t thematically possible to break through to the warmth necessary for such a character study. Because of this, the drama never quite reaches catharsis, and the personal and wider victories fall away hollow.
The lasting impression is the ideal that’s put in place for future instalments, based on Akane’s belief in society. There’s an acceptance that feels relevant in our age of offence by the anonymous swarm, that there must be a justice system for humanity as a whole, rather than the individual. One might say, a Psycho-Pass tout.
Extras: 56-page art book; commentaries for episodes 4 & 8; video commentary for episode 10; trailers and clean opening & closing songs