Psycho-Pass (Japanese: サイコパス, Hepburn: Saiko Pasu) is a Japanese cyberpunk anime television series produced by Production I.G. It was co-directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani and Katsuyuki Motohiro and written by Gen Urobuchi, with character designs by Akira Amano and featuring music by Yugo Kanno. The series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 2012 and March 2013. A second season aired between October and December 2014, with a feature film titled, Psycho-Pass: The Movie released in January 2015. In 2019, Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System premiered the first of its three independent films, spanning release dates between January and March. All of the stories take place in an authoritarian future dystopia where omnipresent public sensors continuously scan the mental states of every passing citizen. A third season aired between October and December 2019 with a sequel planned for release in Q2 2020.
Cover of the first home media Psycho-Pass release depicting protagonists Shinya Kogami and Akane Tsunemori.
|Genre||Crime, cyberpunk, dystopia|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Naoyoshi Shiotani|
|Produced by||Koji Yamamoto (Chief)|
|Written by||Gen Urobuchi|
|Music by||Yugo Kanno|
|Original network||Fuji TV (Noitamina)|
|Original run||October 12, 2012 – March 22, 2013|
|Inspector Akane Tsunemori|
|Written by||Hikaru Miyoshi|
|Original run||November 2, 2012 – October 4, 2014|
|Written by||Makoto Fukami|
|Published by||Mag Garden|
|Original run||February 4, 2013 – April 4, 2013|
|Inspector Shinya Kogami|
|Written by||Midori Gotou|
|Illustrated by||Natsuo Sai|
|Published by||Mag Garden|
|Magazine||Monthly Comic Blade|
|Original run||June 30, 2014 – November 4, 2017|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Naoyoshi Shiotani|
|Produced by||Koji Yamamoto (Chief)|
|Written by||Tow Ubukata|
|Music by||Yugo Kanno|
|Original network||Fuji TV (Noitamina)|
|Original run||October 10, 2014 – December 19, 2014|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Naoyoshi Shiotani|
|Written by||Tow Ubukata|
|Music by||Yugo Kanno|
|Licensed by||Amazon Video (streaming)|
|Original network||Fuji TV (Noitamina)|
|Original run||October 24, 2019 – December 12, 2019|
Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.'s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii's achievements. The series was inspired by several live-action films. Chief director Katsuyuki Motohiro aimed to explore psychological themes in society's youth using dystopian storylines. Multiple books and movies influenced Psycho-Pass with the most notable being the 1982 American science fiction film Blade Runner. The series was licensed by Funimation in North America. Two manga adaptations have been serialized in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine. Several novels, including an adaptation and prequels to the original story, have been published. An episodic video game adaptation called Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass was developed by Nitroplus staffers in collaboration with Production I.G. New novels and another manga were serialized in 2014. A prequel manga centered around Kogami's past has been written.
The first season of the anime garnered critical acclaim in both Japan and the west with critics praising the characters' roles and interactions set within the dystopian environment. The animation has also been praised despite issues in latter episodes which required fixing in the DVD volumes of the series. On the other hand, the second series, Psycho-Pass 2, received mixed critical response stemming from its heavy use of gore as well as the characterization of the new villain.
Psycho-Pass is set in a futuristic era in Japan where the Sibyl System (シビュラシステム, Shibyura Shisutemu), a powerful network of psychometric scanners, actively measures the biometrics of its citizens' minds and mentalities using a "cymatic scan" of the brain. The resulting assessment is called a Psycho-Pass (サイコパス, Saikopasu). When the calculated likelihood of an individual committing a crime, measured by the Crime Coefficient (犯罪係数, Hanzaikeisū) index, exceeds an accepted threshold (100), he or she is pursued, apprehended, and either arrested or decomposed by the field officers of the Crime Investigation Department of the Public Safety Bureau. Elite officers known as Inspectors research and evaluate crime scenes and potential criminals with the assistance of Enforcers, who are themselves latent criminals. Both are equipped with personally activated, hand-held weapons called "Dominators" that only fire when aimed at suspects with higher-than-acceptable Crime Coefficients and then, only with the Sibyl System's choice of action. Inspectors and Enforcers work as a team, though Inspectors have jurisdiction to fire their Dominators on the Enforcers should they pose a danger to the public.
Psycho-Pass is seen through the eyes of Akane Tsunemori, a rookie Inspector within Unit One (aka Division One) of the Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau's Criminal Investigation Department. Shinya Kogami is an Enforcer under her watch during her first mission. When she judges him a threat to an apprehended criminal's life, she uses her Dominator to prevent him from decomposing the criminal. Initally ashamed of her action, Kogami thanks her for preventing what could be perceived as murder, an opinion which influences Tsunemori to stay on the force. The unit uncovers the crimes of Shogo Makishima, a prolific criminal mastermind. Makishima is Criminally Asymptomatic (免罪体質, Menzai Taishitsu) – a person persistently assessed by the Sibyl System as having a low crime coefficient despite all actions and attitudes, thus protecting him from Dominator harm. Tsunemori is accompanied by veteran Inspector Nobuchika Ginoza, a strict man who looks down on Enforcers; Tomomi Masaoka, a middle-aged Enforcer who used to be a detective; Shusei Kagari, a carefree young man who was marked as a latent criminal in childhood; and Yayoi Kunizuka, a former musician turned into a latent criminal stemming from a relationship with a terrorist.
The unit starts hunting Makishima, but it is Kogami who is most invested, having lost a friend at the hands of the villain. Meanwhile, Makishima is invited by Joshu Kasei, the android form of Sibyl, to join their ranks. He refuses and flees. Realizing this, Kogami leaves Unit One to find and kill him. The Sibyl System orders Tsunemori to capture Makishima and execute Kogami, but she agrees only on the condition that they withdraw the execution order for Kogami. Unit One now searches for both men. Upon finding him, Makishima nearly kills Ginoza, but Masaoka sacrifices his life to save him and despite Tsunemori's efforts, Kogami kills Makishima then escapes from PSB confinement, whereabouts unknown.
In Psycho-Pass 2, Tsunemori leads a restored Unit One that includes rookie inspector Mika Shimotsuki; Ginoza, who has been demoted to Enforcer; Kunizuka and two new Enforcers named Sakuya Togane and Sho Hinakawa. The team faces a new threat in the form of Kirito Kamui , another criminal mastermind who, like Makishima, intends to bring down the Sibyl System but, unlike Makishima, wants to do so by exploiting its flaws instead of wreaking havoc. Skilled in avoiding all forms of detection and capable of helping his supporters keep their Crime Coefficients low, few believe that he actually exists, including Tsunemori.
Psycho-Pass 3 occurs after the events of Psycho-Pass: The Movie, wherein Tsunemori and her team help the people of Shambala Float uncover government corruption with the unlikely assistance of Kogami, whom Tsunemori locates while he is a member of a guerilla group he believes is working to bring freedom to the people of that country. The mission results in the disbandment of Unit One and Kogami's disappearance, yet again.
An unrevealed situation leads to Tsunemori's arrest for putting the public in danger. The unfolding story and the truth Tsunemori seeks involves two new Inspectors: Arata Shindo and Kei Mikhail Ignatov. Their first case with the Public Safety Bureau involves investigating the crash landing of a passenger drone airplane that results in the death of a passenger and the discovery of a large group of immigrants. During the investigation and those that follow, Shindo and Ignatov uncover evidence of a conspiracy headed by a shadowy organization called Bifrost that uses the mechanism of a tournament game called Roundrobin in order to manipulate societal events. As evidence and knowledge about Bifrost increases, the focus of the story narrows until Shindo and Ignatov find themselves at odds with one another. This leads to a choice by Ignatov; one to be further explored in the 2020 sequel film.
The series was directed by Naoyoshi Shiotani, written by Gen Urobuchi and features character designs by Reborn! manga artist Akira Amano. It stars Tomokazu Seki as Shinya Kogami, Kana Hanazawa as Akane Tsunemori, and Takahiro Sakurai as Shogo Makishima. Psycho-Pass originated from Production I.G.'s interest in making a successor to Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell and Patlabor, hiring Katsuyuki Motohiro—who became the series' chief director—and veteran I.G. animator Naoyoshi Shiotani to supervise direction.
Motohiro wanted to return to making anime after a long hiatus but he needed a charismatic script writer. Motohiro and his staff were surprised with Gen Urobuchi's contribution to the highly acclaimed anime series, Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Motohiro was fascinated by Madoka Magica and he had read other works by Urobuchi, which persuaded him to talk to Urobuchi. In early 2011, Motohiro proposed to Urobuchi that the pair should work together. Early in the making of the series, Motohiro told Naoyoshi Shiotani not to make anything that could not be adapted into a live-action film.
Before work on Psycho-Pass started, Shiotani was busy working on the film, Blood-C: The Last Dark. As soon as his work with the film ended, Shiotani focused on the series' quality. After episode 16, which proved to be the most challenging and popular of the series, the team found themselves "out of stamina." The next two episodes were made by an outside team, which is reflected in several problems with the animation. In response to this, the producer of the episode said that while he expected problems, he worked to make it the best he could. Shiotani also apologized for the episode's quality. The original team continued working from episode 19 on until the finale, deciding to remake episodes 17 and 18 for their retail release.
The anime series was first announced in late March 2012 by Fuji TV at its Noitamina press conference. In March 2013, Shiotani stated there could be a second season if the show received enough support. Once development of the second season started, Shiotani said the new episodes were more difficult to make than those in the first season. He said, "it's more about the show's inflexibility" because the staff have to maintain consistency. For the second season Tow Ubukata replaced Urobuchi as the main writer. Ubukata mentions he was given the idea of expanding the setting in the form of a sequel. As a result of being given the scenario of the TV series and the film, Ubukata had to write the characters' personalities. Although the timeframe for the production was short, he had enough time to hold discussions with the first series' staff. Shiotani aided the team for the final episode which satisfied Ubukata. Much attention was given to developing Tsunemori as a lead character since Kogami was no longer present. Additionally, the new character who works as an Inspector, Mika Shimotsuki, was given the traits of the newcomer similar to Tsunemori, but different in a way Shiotani could not explain during development as a result of the series still premiering.
During the final episodes of the first series, Shiotani conceived the idea of a Psycho-Pass film. Urobuchi and Motohiro said the film would have to contain a scenario independent of Japan's Sibyl System society. Shiotani wanted to create the film in collaboration with the staff who had worked on the first season and with character designer Naoyuki Onda and art director Shuichi Kusamori, who also worked on the series. Urobuchi believed the ideal sequel would be a film rather than a television series but wanted to stay true to the roots of the original series. The film's setting was intended to show how a future dystopia would occur outside of Japan and without the Sibyl System. To make the story more realistic, Shiotani decided to have the foreigners speak English, in contrast with other films in which they typically speak Japanese. Both lead actors, Tomokazu Seki (Kogami) and Kana Hanazawa (Akane), were surprised at this proposal because they had multiple English lines. Shiotani wished to explore what happens when a confined society expands into other countries, bringing chaos rather than peace, which would make the audience further question this ideal. Shiotani chose Southeast Asia, thinking a country working hard to further its development would be fitting for the story.
The films Sinners of the System were first announced in Japan by Fuji TV in March 2018. Shiotani returned as the films' director. Novelist Ryō Yoshigami wrote the first film's script while the second one was written by Makoto Fukami. In regards to the first film, Shiotani picked Nobuchika Ginoza and Mika Shimotsuki as the main characters due to their similarities to the protagonists from the first television series, Kogami and Tsunemori, respectively. Nevertheless, he noted that this duo possessed a different dynamic due to Ginoza having undergone a notable character arc across the previous projects mainly due to his relationship with Masaoka and Kogami. Voice actress Ayane Sakura believed Shimotsuki was now more fitting for the role of a heroine thanks to her experience in the second television series where she was the youngest main character. Once the first movie premiered, Shiotani commented the trilogy would "broaden your perspective [the audience's]. They're those kinds of movies".
For the 2019 anime series, Shiotani entrusted the writer Ubukata, Fukami and Yoshigami with handling a new cast. Fukami and Yoshikami wrote the script while Ubukata was in charge of the composition. Fukami was surprised with the ongoing dynamic between Shiotani and Ubukata as, despite the new story and character additions not included in the original series composition, the series still felt like Psycho-Pass. He clarified that every episode of the new series handle a different theme based on Ubukata's writing, and the writers found writing the second half of the series challenging. In creating the new leads, Arata Shindo and Kei Mihail Ignatov were handled as "two good buddies" while showcasing striking differences between them. Ubukata then conceived the idea of "psychology vs. combat" making Shindo a trained mentalist while Ignatov is former military with martial arts skills. Special attention was given to Shindo's characterization as he could come across as an unlikable character based on how he leads conversations but was still caring. Ubukata wanted the two main characters to be written solely by Fukami.
When hearing the comments from Atsuko Ishizuka, director of The Pet Girl of Sakurasou, about the way the characters were first designed, Shiotani realized it was the opposite for his team, who had to create the setting first, then the characters because they "are almost being played by the world." As a result, the characters were designed by manga artist Akira Amano to balance the dark atmosphere by having them "palatable and very relatable." The staff avoided using bright colors that would stand out. Akane Tsunemori was created as the most relatable character, who would question the setting from the audience's point of view and as the heroine who would come between the main character, Shinya Kogami, and his main rival, and enemy, Shogo Makishima. Akane's progression from an innocent newcomer to a mature and haunted person was one of the staff's main objectives.
Motohiro allowed his team to use very graphic elements, even though they could reduce female viewership. He acknowledged that the series may be too violent for a younger demographic and said that he would not want his son to watch it because of its psychological brutality. He added that the team did not want to make a violent series but an "artistic series that just happened to have some violence included in it". About the amount of violence, Shiotani told Urobuchi, "just let us deal with it." Some of these violent scenes occur off-camera but whenever a protagonist was involved, the moment was developed to be memorable. The team twice had to remake scenes because the television station complained that they went "overboard."
Motohiro wanted the series to counter concurrent anime trends. The use of moe (slang) was banned at staff meetings because they appreciated dramas like Mobile Suit Gundam and Patlabor that focused on conflicts between male characters. As the series was "anti-moe," the team decided to avoid having Tsunemori remove her clothes and instead had Kogami do it. Nevertheless, the show attracted a female viewership because the conflict between the male characters appeared to attract the shonen ai genre fans. Although Shiotani also wanted the series to avoid romance between male characters, he believed the fight scenes between male characters unintentionally attracted female fans. The staff decided to focus on friendships rather than romantic relationships.
The series was inspired by several Western films, most notably L.A. Confidential. Director Naoyoshi Shiotani cited several other influences, including Minority Report, Gattaca, Brazil and Blade Runner; the latter of which he compared very closely to Psycho-Pass. Before the making of the series, Urobuchi insisted on using a Philip K. Dick-inspired, dystopian narrative. The psychological themes were based on the time Shiotani watched Lupin III during his childhood because he thought about adding "today's youth trauma" to the series. The rivalry between the main characters was based on the several dramas the staff liked. Other voice actors have been credited in the making of the series because of the ways they added traits to the characters. Since the third series was handled by new writers (Fukami and Yoshigami), the new members used ideas from their superiors when writing the script such as Ubukata's novels Mardock Scramble and Spiegel.
The staff had problems composing an opening theme for the series until someone provided some music by Ling Tosite Sigure, who was engaged to compose the opening theme. Egoist, who composed the ending theme, had debuted on Noitamina with Guilty Crown. Shiotani said they asked Egoist to record three versions of the ending theme so they could alternate them to match the episode's ending. Across the series, time limits resulted in the ending songs being removed or replaced with instrumental versions to avoid cutting scenes from the episode. When there were concerns from the producers of the songs, Tomohiro and Shiotani discussed this with them. Following the first series, Yugo Kanno made remixes of the original background themes as the staff found them enjoyable and might come across as appealing in the process.
Two Psycho-Pass CDs were included in the second and fifth Japanese home media release of the series. The Psycho Pass original soundtrack was released by Sony Music Entertainment on May 29, 2013. It features fifty-five tracks composed by Kanno. The second original soundtrack was released on March 18, 2015. A two-volume drama CD called Namae no nai kaibutsu (名前のない怪物, lit. "The Monster with no Name") based on the prequel novel was released between September 25 and November 27, 2013.
As some critics have noted, Psycho-Pass explores societal and psychological themes, such as the price of living without stress or fear of crime. Indeed, the Sibyl System targets individuals who are considering performing actions that might cause stress to others. This raises the question of whether it is morally and socially acceptable to charge individuals with crimes they have not yet committed. An example of this occurs in the first episode when a woman is kidnapped and the resultant trauma causes her Psycho-Pass to become clouded. According to Sibyl's rules, the police can decompose her, but Tsunemori delays action, choosing to bring the woman's Psycho-Pass level back to the acceptable range by speaking gently to her. This challenges the notion that the potential to commit a crime correlates with actually committing a crime. According to Anime News Network, "We are all capable of doing bad things at times—should we be punished because we thought of hurting someone before we act on it? Or because we were victims? It really all comes back to that first episode and Akane's reaction to the victim who presented as a violent criminal".
Psycho-Pass further questions the notion of overriding the individual's needs in favor of general social value by asking the audience to consider if it is morally and socially acceptable to kill individuals who may potentially commit crimes so long as we accept that the harm caused to society outweighs the harm caused to an individual who is falsely charged. In other words, the Sibyl System operates on the principles of opportunity cost and acceptable risk. Relying on the Sibyl System paradoxically creates a society which fears no crime as a whole, but individuals who personally fear the consequences of the Sibyl System's verdicts. Urobuchi himself has said that one of the series' central thematic ideas is "fear." Shogo Makishima's actions stem from feeling out of place because the Sibyl System cannot accept him as he is, labeling him a deviant within the structure of society itself.
Emotional repression is another theme explored in Psycho-Pass. The identification of latent criminals is partially based on the emotions judged by society to be negative, such as sadness or anger, being scanned by the Sibyl System. Kotaku states, "because of these scans, Psycho-Pass shows an interesting future where 'mental beauty' is as sought after as physical beauty. It is also a future where the police's job is little more than to watch the latent criminals they control—because if they did any real detective work, they might start to think like the criminals they are trying to catch and thus become latent criminals themselves." Many of the main characters feel nostalgia throughout the series. The many references to older literature, philosophy, music and theater create a "nostalgic world building for a time before psycho-passes".
The anime series produced by Production I.G. was broadcast in Japan on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 12, 2012 and March 22, 2013. Toho started releasing the series on DVD and Blu-ray formats on December 21, 2012. The eighth and final volume was released on July 26, 2013. Funimation licensed the series in North America and simulcast it on its website, first in Japanese, then weekly in English. Psycho-Pass was one of three initial shows aired as a Funimation "broadcast dub." A home media released in March 2014. In the United Kingdom, the series is licensed by Manga Entertainment and in Australia by Madman Entertainment.
On July 6, 2013, Production I.G. president Mitsuhisa Ishikawa said at Anime Expo that production on a second season had begun. The second season, titled Psycho-Pass 2, began airing in October 2014; the film was released in January 2015. Before the debut broadcast of the second season, the first season—condensed into 11 one-hour episodes— began airing in July 2014. The fourth episode was cancelled due to similarities with a real life murder. Director Naoyoshi Shiotani apologized for this in his Twitter account. Nevertheless, Funimation streamed the episode. A Blu-ray box set was announced with a scheduled release on October 15, 2014. This set contains both the original first season broadcast and the edited one-hour rerun episodes.
The second series aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 10, 2014 and December 19, 2014. The series was collected in a total of five DVD and Blu-ray volumes between December 17, 2014 and April 15, 2015.
On March 8, 2019, a third season was announced. The third season aired on Fuji TV's Noitamina programming block between October 24, 2019 and December 12, 2019, with a special program being aired on October 17, 2019. Amazon streamed the series inside and outside of Japan on their Prime Video service. Naoyoshi Shiotani returned as director, Akira Amano as character designer, and Production I.G. as animation producer. It consisted of eight episodes with each episode being 45 minutes long.
On June 12, 2015, the Chinese Ministry of Culture announced that Psycho-Pass was denied a release in China along with 38 other anime and manga titles which were deemed to "include scenes of violence, pornography, terrorism and crimes against public morality that could potentially incite minors to commit such acts."
In September 2013, it was announced on the official site of Noitamina that a second season and a new-original theatrical film project was in development, later called Psycho-Pass: The Movie. The film was rated R15+ due to its strong violence which includes murder and human bodily damage. In September 2014, the release date was announced for January 9, 2015, with Urobuchi and Fukami co-scripting. A 30-second trailer streamed on Nico Nico Douga on September 5, 2013, showing Kogami, Tsunemori and Ginoza. A two-minute trailer, the second promotional video for the film, was released on September 2013, containing footage from the original anime television series. On February, 2016, Funimation released a preview for the dubbed version and announced that the film will run in over 100 theaters in the United States and Canada. The theme song was performed by Ling Tosite Sigure.
In March 2018, it was announced in the live stream of Fuji TV that a three-part theatrical film project was in development, titled Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System. The first film, titled Case.1 Tsumi to Bachi (Case.1 罪と罰), premiered on January 25, 2019. The second film, titled Case.2 First Guardian, will premiere in February 15, 2019. The third film, titled Case.3 Onshū no Kanata ni, premiered on March 8, 2019. Naoyoshi Shiotani and Yugo Kanno reprised their roles as the director and music composer, respectively. Ryō Yoshigami wrote the screenplay for the first film, while Fukami returned from the anime series to write the screenplays for the second and third films. Production I.G returned for animation production and Toho distributed.
After the final episode of the third season, it was announced that the series will receive a compilation film titled Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector, with the staff and cast returning from the third season. The film will premiere in Q2 2020.
A manga adaptation illustrated by Hikaru Miyoshi, titled Inspector Akane Tsunemori (監視官 常守朱, Kanshikan Tsunemori Akane), began serialization in Shueisha's Jump Square magazine from November 2, 2012. Its first tankōbon volume was released by Shueisha on February 4, 2013. In November 2013, it was announced that 380,000 copies of the manga were shipped in Japan with three volumes. The manga had over 1 million copies in print as of December 2014.
Another manga titled Psycho-Pass: Inspector Shinya Kogami (監視官 狡噛 慎也, Kanshikan Kōgami Shinya) premiered in the August issue of Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade magazine on June 30, 2014. Natsuo Sai illustrated the series written by Midori Gotou and produced by Production I.G. The manga has been published by Dark Horse Comics in North America since November 9, 2016.
A novelization of the series by Makoto Fukami was published by Mag Garden in two volumes released on February 4 and April 4, 2013. Shiotani said the novels were more violent than the television series. A prequel titled Namae no Nai Kaibutsu (名前のない怪物, lit. "The Monster with no Name") was written by Aya Takaba, who worked on the television series. Before the novel was released, it was first published on the "Noitamina Novel" page on Noitamina's official website. The novel was released on February 4, 2013.
A new series of novels focusing on four characters by Ryō Yoshigami began publication in the August issue of Hayakawa Publishing's S-F Magazine on June 25, 2014. After the serialization ended, Hayakawa Bunko JA revised the novels and published them in October 2014. Other stories focused on Choe Gu-sung, Shusei Kagari, Yayoi Kunizuka and Shion Karanomori. Hayakawa Bunko JA also published the Psycho Pass Genesis book in December 2014, which revealed the origins of Sybil and Tonomi Masaoka's involvement.
An interactive visual novel titled Chimi Chara Psycho-Pass, which features chibi versions of the series' characters in original stories, was included with Blu-ray Disc volumes of the anime and is playable on any Blu-ray playing device.
In May 2014, it was announced that a video game based on the series, titled Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness, was being developed by 5pb. for the Xbox One with a PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 port announced in December 2015. The game features an original story written by Urobuchi, taking place during the time period of the anime's first six episodes and focusing on a new set of protagonists confronting a new enemy on a remote island. NIS America has localized Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness for the PlayStation 4, Vita and an exclusive PC version via Steam. It was released on September 13, 2016 in North America and on September 16, 2016 in Europe. The Xbox One version of the game was not localized.
A virtual reality game will be made in 2020 by Pretia Technologies and organized by Fuji TV's Digital Design department in anticipation of the upcoming film in Q2 2020 called First Inspector. The player controls Kogami and Tsunemori while an original character named Tadashi Kamino will mentor the player.
Fuji TV producer Akitoshi Mori said Psycho-Pass was the first work under his control. Early screenings of the series at the Noitamina Shop & Café attracted few viewers, which bothered Mori. However, as the series continued, the quantity of viewers increased. By the final episode, over 1,000 people had queued to watch the finale even though the venue could only accommodate seventy people. This made Mori happy because he realized fans were following and supporting the show; but he wanted to see a bigger audience at future screenings. DVDs and Blu-ray discs of the series achieved good sales. In April 2014, the series was nominated for the Seiun Award. In the Newtype anime awards from 2013, it was voted as fourth best title of the year. Episode 11 of the series was awarded "Best Episode" in the Noitamina 10th anniversary fan vote. Shinya Kogami, Akane Tsunemori and Shogo Makishima also appeared in such polls as winners of their own categories. Anime News Network listed it as the fifth most accessible anime series for people who have not watched Japanese animation. Crunchyroll included the series among the "Top 100 anime of the decade" list, with writer Kyle Cardine stating that the series "has had a lasting effect as a gripping dystopian sci-fi cop drama among the Urobuchi repertoire." Cold Cobra of Anime UK News picked the series for his list of "best anime of 2010s" and hailed Psycho-Pass as a "sci-fi masterpiece." IGN also listed Psycho-Pass among the best anime of the decade, and wrote that the series is "a psychological thriller with multiple layers of mystery" that "kept us on our toes through the entirety of the first season."
The first season has garnered critical acclaim. The Daily Star regarded it as one of the most iconic thriller anime due to the handling of society and the two lead characters. Rebecca Silverman from Anime News Network praised the show for its "high level of interest" in depicting its dystopian world. However, she said that its violent scenes were so gruesome they might scare viewers. Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis called it a "compelling cyberpunk mystery", praising the society depicted and the series of murders orchestrated by Shogo Makishima. However, he criticized the use of advanced technology and compared it with other science fiction films despite saying that it handled the themes better whereas Makishima's immunity to it was left unexplained. DVD Talk gave high praise to Makishima because of his achievements across the story and his personality. Certain episodes have been referred to as "filler" because they are used as a build-up to the climactic ones. Bamboo Dong of Anime News Network gave high praise stating that from episode 12, the series was "a real blast to watch" and that she was glad with the development of the protagonist, Akane Tsunemori. However, she severely criticized the plot twist regarding the Sybil System's true identity calling it "one of the stupidest revelations in the history of anime".
Thomas Zoth from The Fandom Post praised the show's focus on the relationships between the protagonists and the development from these. Tsunemori's growth across the series earned major praise by multiple reviewers. Zoth enjoyed the series' climactic action scenes between Kogami and Makishima, and the scenes portraying the status quo. He said the sixteenth episode is "Urobuchi's masterpiece." Silverman commented on the parallelism between Tsunemori's and Kogami's development, which resulted in an ambiguous ending that should be decided by the viewers. The supporting cast received similar praise by DVD Talk but the reviewer said some were underwhelming and Karanomori is the least-explored character.
During the streaming of the series, Silverman criticized the animation because of the low lighting levels that might make it hard to understand. Hiroko Yamamura from Japanator noted the series' high budget and praised the animation style and the focus on details and technology. She was attracted by its premise and expected the quality to remain consistent across the entire series. Similarly, Jacob Hope Chapman from ANN praised the animation for its high quality. Episode 18, which is known for its flawed animation, was improved for the home media release of the series.
Feedback to Psycho-Pass 2 has ranged from mixed to negative. Dan Rhodes from UK Anime Network noted that Psycho-Pass 2, while entertaining, lacked the twists of the first season and appeal of Gen Urobuchi's writing. Richard Eisenbeis from Kotaku praised the origins of the Sybil System which was unexplained in the first season. While also praising the differences between Tsunemori and the new Inspector, Mika Shimotsuki, Eisenbeis criticized the new antagonist and how much gorier the series was in contrast to the first one. Nick Creamer from Anime News Network panned the anime, giving it an overall "F" as he felt the new writer, Tow Ubukata, did not make the anime appealing despite his previous enjoyable works. He went on to say "overall, Psycho-Pass 2 stands as one of the most disappointing works I've ever watched to completion," citing it a failure as both a sequel and an independent series.
Psycho-Pass 3 has received better treatment than its immediate predecessor with kudos given for the new characters and a script that tackled such modern day topics as immigration, corporate financial mismanagement and genetic manipulation.
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