Psycho-Pass 2 is almost the perfect sequel. I love Psycho-Pass because it shows us the need for empathy and the human factor in daily life. As a lifelong nerd, some days I prefer data to people, and Psycho-Pass allows me to live in my fantasy while viewing all its failings. But for those of you who watch anime for fun, rather than to ponder the dystopian view of society, here are the lovely details.
What sells Psycho-Pass 2 as the almost perfect sequel is the development of relationships. Akane Tsunemori matures from a naive girl needing protection to a mentor in her own right. However, she still misses Shinya Kogami to the point of lighting his brand of cigarettes just for his smell, much to the delight of fans who ship the pair. I personally love Akane’s growth, especially after watching her compromise her values a bit at the end of Psych-Pass. In addition to watching Akane’s continued development, we get to see Mika Shimotsuki grow up into the ideal Sibyl citizen. She does not question the system but maintains her inner compass by believing that Sibyl is right, a big pivot from the intrinsically motivated Akane. Mika pushes her doubt and guilt down, and perseveres through blind faith. It would be so easy to label her as evil, rather than deluded, but Psycho-Pass 2 does an excellent job of expanding into the gray area associated with the desire for the greater good, compliance, and survival.
In Psycho-Pass, we had the ideal antagonist/ protagonist pair, Shinya Kogami and Shogo Makishima; the former whose Crime Coefficient rises due to his obsession with solving a crime and latter who is Criminally Asymptomatic and thus escapes justice. It was this pairing that started the internal dialogue while watching this anime and gave clear lines between right and wrong. It can get get a bit confusing. Our main villain, Kamui, is not really a villain. He kills a bunch of people and brainwashes the masses, but he does this to challenge the Sibyl system and is ultimately a force for good in a “I murdered tens to save millions” way. Which is still grand but robs us of a true villain. But all is forgiven because we are given an ideal but secondary pair with Akane and Sakuya Togane. Akane maintains her clear aura despite the filth of the surrounding world, while Sakuya has been painted black from childhood. These elements could have been fleshed out more, but it does not detract from the overall story of Psycho-Pass 2.
Another thing that caught my eye about Psycho-Pass 2 is its ability to convey mood swings in an almost cartoonish manner. I emphasize the word almost because despite the hyperbolic facial features, I never wrote off any character’s mood. I felt Akane’s pain when she missed Kogami, I felt Kamui’s martyr complex through the veil, and I saw the distrust and quiet tolerance in Mika’s eyes. I felt without feeling coerced into emotions and that mood was achieved through the animation. The next thing I love about Psycho Pass is the use of ruby red and vibrant blue colors. They are a unifying theme to show that the cool blue, blindness of justice calls crimson to it, much like how the Pied Piper calls the rats to their death. This show is not light on crimson and is much gorier than its predecessor, which was a necessary component due to Kamui’s ultimate role. Mutilation, death, and reveling in the chaos illustrates the contradiction of Kamui’s peaceful mission achieved through bloody methods. This is in contrast to Sibyl’s self serving actions that are accepted by society. Why is it okay when Sibyl puts people down because of the horrors they saw, but offensive when Kamui let’s his patients act out?
With all my love for Psycho Pass 2, I was slightly let down because I didn’t get the one relationship I wanted. Kogami was nowhere to be found and some of Division 3 was gone with no warning nor explanation. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it.