What’s it about?
In the year 2113 almost everything is decided by a computer program called the Sibyl System. It decides the type of job you spend the rest of your life doing. If you become a musician the Sibyl System decides what genre of music you will suit most. Best of all, thanks to the efficiency Sibyl System, most crime is prevented before it happens.
You could say nearly all stressful decisions in your life are made for you and the populace live happy in the knowledge that the Sibyl System is keeping them safe in exchange for their compliance. A huge part of the how this works is what is called the Psycho Pass. A machine that reads each person’s mental state, the score of which determines if you are likely to become a criminal. If your PsychoPass becomes so high you maybe labelled as a latent criminal and detained, if your PsychoPass gets too high the police are authorised to kill you on the spot.
This too is decided by the Sibyl System which is linked, in real time, to the officer’s weapon so it can’t even be held, much less fired, by any unauthorised person. Based on your PsychoPass score the Sibyl System alone, again in real time, chooses whether the officer’s gun is set to non lethal or lethal. Such is the practically perfect circle of protection of the Sibyl System. Sounds great doesn’t it? What could go wrong?
What’s the story?
The story follows Inspector Akane Tsunemori on her very first day on the job. Her aptitude is as high as it comes and she could have had any cushy, top level, well paid job she wanted but instead chose the police force. There is a murderer on the loose who has a knack for slipping past the sensors that read a person’s PsychoPass.
Not only can the murderer travel seemingly undetected but has a habit of leaving his victims bodies out in the open, coming and going without a trace and while avoiding every sensor in the city. When hunting a criminal it helps to think like a criminal, which is why she is partnered with Enforcer Shinya Kogami, a permanent latent criminal whose choice is a life in prison or work as an Enforcer. Together they hunt down a killer who doesn’t seem to exist.
Is it awesome?
It is extremely awesome. One of the best ways I can say it is that it’s clever. It is very clever. Everything about the story is extremely well thought through from start to finish. The way the social structure revolves around the Sibyl System feels eerily accurate. The murders are methodical in planning and execution. In the first episode a woman is kidnapped and the trauma of her experience puts her PsychoPass through the roof so even though she is completely innocent the system decides the poor girl should be executed as a criminal, a verdict and sentence to be carried out on the spot. There is so much trust in the Sibyl System that Kogami accepts the ruling without question.
What I like best is how the city that the story is set in seems almost too good to be true yet it still reads as a chilling vision of future; with more and more of our privacy and safety and social lives becoming more and more dependant and revolving around technology it’s easy to imagine how we can put so much trust into a computer program.
If you like mysteries and thrillers you will not be disappointed. There is a second series and a film in development so look out for those. Personally I think this would make an epic live action, here’s hoping.