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Anime: Psycho-Pass
Checking out at the psychology pass: Shinya, Akane, Nobuchika, Shusei, Yayoi, Shion and Tomomi.

"This is a world where the mental state and personal tendencies of a human can be quantified. While all sorts of inclinations are recorded and policed, these measured numbers used to judge peoples souls are often called 'Psycho-Pass'".

It's 2112. In this time, Japan is governed by the Sibyl System. A human's emotions and mental state are measured by a device called the Dominator, which identifies criminal intent in a person's soul and quantifies it into numbers. Anyone found exceeding a certain number is deemed a threat in need of therapy, or in extreme cases, execution. The numbers used to measure a person's soul are called "Psycho-Pass".

Hunting down those deemed a threat to society is the Public Safety Bureau. Composed of Enforcers, latent criminals whose Psycho-Pass has exceeded the acceptable level but have been granted permission to go outside to deliver justice on fellow criminals, and Inspectors who supervise them making sure they don't go too far, the pairs make sure latent criminals are not left to roam the streets.

Psycho-Pass is an anime series that premiered in Fall 2012 on Fuji TV's Noitamina block. The story follows the idealistic rookie Inspector Akane Tsunemori and her assignment to the Public Safety Bureau. Along with her fellow Inspector Nobuchika Ginoza, she is set to supervise the Enforcers of Unit One: Shinya Kougami, a former Inspector turned Enforcer; Tomomi Masaoka, a veteran Enforcer with deep knowledge of the Sibyl System; Shusei Kagari, a flirtatious man identified as a latent criminal at age 5; and Yayoi Kunizuka, a stoic woman of few words.

The series was written by Gen Urobuchi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica and Fate/Zero fame, with character designs by Akira Amano, the mangaka behind Reborn!, and animated by Production I.G. The series has been picked up for simulcasting by Funimation. Shortly after the anime's premiere, a manga adaptation titled Inspector Akane Tsunemori began serialization in Shueisha's Jump Square. It was also adapted into a two-volume novel.

The Blu-Ray releases also come with Visual Novel additions which show a couple of MWPSB members who are not present in the anime. There are also two spin-off novels with the first one entitled, PSYCHO-PASS/ZERO: Monster With No Name, which is set three years prior to the TV series and later adapted into a Drama CD. The second one entitled, PSYCHO-PASS Legend, focuses on Ginoza and is set prior to the events of the TV series.

On September 6, 2013, Production I.G officially confirmed that there will be a second season and a movie. On March 21, 2014, it was confirmed that the second season will air in October 2014 while the movie will be released in Winter 2015. The second season is currently planned to be 11 episodes long. The series composition has been placed in the hands of Tow Ubukata, best known for his dark Cyberpunk novel Mardock Scramble. Tatsunoko Production would be in charge for the animation for the second season, instead of Production I.G.

A rebroadcast of the first season titled Psycho-Pass New Edit aired in the Summer 2014 Anime season, with the episodes edited into 11 one-hour long broadcasts. In addition, the New Edit adds additional footage at the beginning of each episode as well as halfway through (serving as a kind of transition scene between the two original episodes it is combining together). A video game for Xbox One has also been announced.

This series provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Feminine Goals and Traits: Discussed in Episode 8, where Rikako observes that the idea of a "lady" is an archaic idea in the world of 2112, but one that still has value to rich men, so Ohso Academy still exists to teach antique virtues to young women and turn them into proper Yamato Nadeshiko to be sold off into marriage.
  • Action Prologue: The beginning of the first episode shows a wounded Shinya taking on a Mook wearing cybernetic armor before confronting Shogo Makishima, a sinister looking white haired Bishōnen. The middle of the episode is dedicated to finding the perp they are after until the end of the episode where he is killed and his victim is saved by Akane's agonizing moral choice.
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: Averted: Prof. Saiga asks Kougami what the definition of anarchy is, and his answer is that it is a denial of governing and authority, but is different from confusion and disorder. Based off of this definition, Makishima is not an anarchist because of his love of causing violence.
  • Animal Motifs: The Enforcers are often compared to predators, specifically hunting dogs, hunting their prey when going after their fellow criminals. When Ginoza and Kougami tell Yayoi they require a nose like hers in their investigation, she compares Enforcers to dogs, since they're bound to an Inspector in order to avoid rehab or execution.
    • Akane in particular has a Jellyfish motif, which is emphasized by her personal avatar and jellyfish decorations in her room: while they may appear to be cute, harmless, or out-of place (like how most people view her and her choice to join the PSB) they can be very dangerous because their stings can paralyze or kill their victims (just like her Dominator) and can be very hard to notice because of their transparency (which fits with how often she's brushed off for being "just a rookie" and may foreshadow her being criminally asymptomatic).
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: In Episode 20, the Sibyl System makes one such offer to Akane, trying to manipulate her by exploiting the value she puts on protecting the entire society while dealing justice.
    • And she doesn't refuse!
  • Anyone Can Die: Considering Gen Urobutcher was involved with all of the scripts, is anyone surprised? At the end, the dead include many antagonists including Senguji, Rikako, Mido, Touma and Choe; along with Akane's friend Yuki and her old classmate Spookie Boogie; Professor Kudama (who was killed in the episode he was introduced, to boot); Shusei and Masaoka. In the last episode, only one person dies, Shogo Makishima.
  • Apathetic Citizens (also Bystander Syndrome): The civilians in the Psycho-Pass society are so used to the comfort and safety given by the Sibyl System that they watch a woman get beaten to death with a hammer because no-one told them they should worry about it. The murderer has a helmet that lets him avoid detection by the drones, but it still counts since the bystanders just watch the murder happen. The depicted murder was probably inspired by a real one. Shingo Minamino, a music producer from Nitroplus, was stabbed multiple times and killed in the middle of the day on an extremely busy street (the assailant also killed an old woman simultaneously). Not a single person intervened, except for a woman who called the police when she saw what was happening. Writer Gen Urobuchi most probably was acquainted with the deceased producer due to their company background.
    • The final episode of the New Edit opens with a scene where Makishima muses on how surreal it is that people are so apathetic, nobody's ever attempted to bring down the Sibyl System before him.
  • Artistic License - Chemistry: The author himself admitted on Twitter that the real life process of plastination is much more complicated than just soaking the body parts in a vat for a few days. It was originally explained that the unpatented future chemical seen in Episode 7 makes the process exactly this simple (which also better explained why the suspect had to be a scientific expert, since the chemical wasn't just rare, but completely unheard of), but the lines with the explanation were cut due to time constraints.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with the Sibyl system still intact, Kougami on the run, and Akane still an Inspector.
  • As Long As There Is One Man: Akane assures the Sibyl System that one day somebody will enter their chamber with the sole purpose of pulling the plug on the system.
  • As the Good Book Says: Makishima quotes the Bible as he prepares to destroy Japan's food supply.
    "Jesus told them another parable: The kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away."
  • Augmented Reality: The world of Psycho Pass seems to operate on a combination of holograms and this, with information being fed directly to the eyes of characters from their guns for example and even hearing computerized voices in their head.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Dominator guns are incredibly powerful and can completely eliminate the target, causing them to blow apart in a shower of Ludicrous Gibs, but without a wireless connection to Sibyl they are unable to authorize action and are completely useless, so if you can't get a signal you might as well not have one. This is not just a one off problem either, it occurs multiple times in the series. And when switching to a lethal mode, the gun needs a few seconds to complete its transformation sequence. Anyone who has had to fight for their life can tell you that a split second can literally mean the difference between surviving or dying. This is most apparent in episode 11, when the "Lovecraft" attack drone nearly manages to bite off Kougami's face because his Dominator was busy first registering the target as a threat, and then transforming and then charging up a shot.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Shinya and Tomomi are very good at reading the criminal's mind and intent. It's stated to be a case of "it takes one to know one", as only latent criminals can understand the mind of other criminals.
  • Awful Truth: The Sibyl System is composed of numerous brains of criminally asymptomatic individuals (read: sociopaths and/or serial killers) connected to each other and the Internet, controlling every aspect of society as a collective. This revelation is enough to make Choe believe revealing this would shatter society, due to their reliance on the Sibyl System. It also horrifies Shusei.
  • Badass Crew: The Enforcers make for some badass combinations and team attacks, as evidenced in Episode 3.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: The uniform for the Bureau, with slight customization for certain members.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: The woman taken hostage in the first episode is so traumatized by repeated beatings and burnings and being raped that her Criminal Coefficient rises to that of a latent criminal, to the point of lethal force being approved (until Akane manages to talk her down, and she's subsequently mentioned to be responding well to therapy).
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The nation of Japan is secluded from the outside world, since it's believed the society governed by the Sibyl System is close to perfection. There are cameras, devices and drones monitoring people's Psycho-Pass almost everywhere, meaning many of the series antagonists stay indoors in order to not get arrested.
  • Bishōnen: Akira Amano did the character designs and we all know what she usually draws.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Shinya finally kills Makishima but leaves Japan for good. The Sibyl System continues to exist and mocks Akane's declaration that someone will pull the plug someday. Two Enforcers (Kagari and Masaoka) are dead and Ginoza is demoted into an Enforcer. Despite that, Akane, now the new leader of her unit, might be able to help the newly appointed inspector, Mika, change things around.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Makishima has some legitimate points about the society of Japan under the Psycho-Pass, but he's a sociopath who's out to destroy Japan's social order, and he's also sadistic for its own sake. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Welfare and the Sibyl System have brought order and prosperity to Japan, something that even Akane ultimately has to acknowledge, but it traps everyone in its "perfect society," eliminates anyone that it considers to be a potential threat, and the Sibyl System is itself built from the brains of criminal asymptomatics like Makishima and is more than willing to break its own rules and murder individuals who don't qualify for death to preserve itself. Makishima is Black, but the system he's trying to destroy is itself a rather dark Gray.
  • Book Ends:
    • Akane's narration about Shinya and Makishima's destiny. The first time the narration finishes, the story goes back to show how Shinya got to meet Makishima for the first time in years and the first time face-to-face. The second time, is after Shinya kills Makishima.
    • Akane is a new Inspector in the first episode, dealing with a crime on her first day of the job. At the end, Akane gets ready to help a new Inspector on her first day of the job, in which she must deal with a crime. It is even raining just like the first episode, and Akane's dialogue is almost identical to Ginoza's, except she tells her rookie treat her Enforcers as people, and to not underestimate them.
  • Boxed Crook: The Enforcers are latent criminals. Episode 12 has Yayoi be allowed to leave the rehabilitation center when she agrees to help the MWPSB and join as an enforcer.
  • Breather Episode: Yayoi's backstory episode comes right after Episode 11.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Shinya and Akane, while never quite becoming a couple, are set up as this. Subverted at the end, as her influence isn't enough for him to reject killing Makishima.
  • Byronic Hero: Makishima is a textbook example. Except he is the main villain, which makes him somewhat of a deconstruction, showing that when you put such character in a society which literally denies him right to exist his go-to solution would be, attempt to destroy said society, killing everyone who gets in the way.
    • Shinya Kōgami as a straightforward example.
  • Cast Full of Pretty Boys: Every major male character has some level of bishonen looks.
  • Casting Gag: In the dub, Lara Woodhull plays Akane's pink jellyfish avatar.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The helmet that Shinya picked up to stop Akane's Psycho-Pass from being copied by Makishima's mooks, is used by Akane to knock out Makishima. Later, Shinya uses it to prevent the drones from finding him.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The Psycho-Pass levels are categorized by Hues, with clear shades being healthy and cloudy ones indicating the need for intervention.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Shinya, Shogo, and Kagari all have been trained in visibly different martial arts, and are very good at disposing of people. Shogo is particularly proficient in the field.
    • If it can be taken as canon, the radio special mentions Masaoka sparring with Shinya, something that a (then-newbie) Kagari also tries his hand at (and gets his arm broken by Shinya). All Enforcers thus probably know of a few ways of neutralizing people with their bare hands.
  • Confess in Confidence: Averted for psychiatrists. It's mentioned that Ginoza's psychiatrist has a duty to report if Ginoza's Crime Coefficient trends too far up.
  • Conspicuous CG
  • Cool Guns: The Dominators are the standard-issue weapons for the Public Safety Bureau, but conventional gunpowder weapons are still used, though they're rare in the setting. Of special note is the over-under double-barrel shotgun used by Toyohisa Senguji, a Browning Citori. Much later in the series, Masaoka points Kougami to a secret stash from his old police days to help him obtain a Smith & Wesson M36 revolver.note 
    • The novelization identifies the double-barreled shotgun as being a Beretta. If you're familiar with the market for Beretta shotguns, their over-under double barrels are outrageously expensive (the cheapest models sell for around $2,700 while the most expensive model, the SO Sparviere, tops out at $90,000), which illustrates Senguji's status as one of the Fiction500.
  • Crapsack World: The society in Psycho-Pass is ruled by the Sibyl System, a system that is willing to arrest and kill people based on the possibility that someday they might commit a crime. An individual's "crime coefficient" (i.e. its potential to commit a crime) determines what kind of jobs he or she will get, whether the person will undergo mandatory counseling, be locked for life or be executed on the spot by a police officer. Things like age and criminal antecedents are irrelevant to the Sybil System. One enforcer even mentions that he was sentenced to be locked up at the age of five, and he had not commited a single crime.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Makishima gets one in his final moments.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death:
    • The unsolved Specimen Case where people were cut to pieces and went through plastination. Rikako uses the same method to kill some of her classmates for the sake of "art".
    • Getting hit with the Dominator in Lethal Eliminator mode results in copious amounts of blood and flesh.
  • Cue the Sun: Inverted, just before Makishima dies the sun sets.
  • Cyberpunk: Twenty Minutes into the Future Crapsack World where technology has taken over people's lives. This is from the studio that animated Ghost in the Shell, they know very well what they are doing.
  • Cyberspace: Commu-Fields take forums to their natural conclusion. People seem to dive into the cyber network in the form of their avatars.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Yayoi spends the first half of the series in the background, until Episode 12 focuses on her backstory.
  • Defective Detective:
    • Most of these Enforcers have a lot of emotional baggage which is why they're latent criminals in the first place. Inspectors are not exempted from this and when their Psycho-pass goes high due to the amounts of stress, they'll eventually get demoted.
    • Due to the nature of Psycho-Hazard, this is Inherent in the System. An actual detective, who understands the criminal mind, will themself become a latent criminal. Akane is the exception, which either means that she's got immense reserves of Heroic Willpower, or else she's criminally asymptomatic.
  • Digital Avatar: Everybody has one while diving into Cyberspace. There are even parties where they cosplay as them.
  • Emotionally Tongue Tied: Kougami either genuinely views Akane only as a friend, or his deeper emotions get his tongue tied, as seen on his "farewell" letter to her.
  • Engrish: Gino's digital avatar has the word "Liverty" written on it. A bottle of water has the words "ANTERCTIC DOROPS" written on it.
  • Everything Is Online: The Sibyl System relies on online communication to function. This is discussed in the drone robot factory in Episode 3. As the boss says, not using online connections in the factory is the best way to prevent hacking.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Shogo Makishima versus the Sibyl System
  • Evolving Credits: The ending credits update and change some details depending on the episode. This is easily visible in Episode 6, where the usually bored Akane gets replaced with a more vivid illustration.
  • Failsafe Failure: Dominators can only be used against people with high criminal coefficients. However, they are completely useless against criminally asymptomatic people.
  • Fair Cop: The majority of Unit 1 cops are very pretty. The males are exceptionally bishonen. Even middle-aged-to-old Masaoka still keeps the rugged good looks from his youth.
  • Fan Disservice: Pretty much anything involving Rikako and lesbian subtext, since right from the beginning it's obvious she's up to no good so scenes that would normally be Les Yay fanservice take on an unsettling vibe. Then we see her naked in bed with another girl only for it to be revealed that the girl is already dead.
  • Film Noir: Has a few elements of this. Just watch the second version of the second opening song, it's probably the most noirish anime opening you'll see. Masaoka is pretty much a stock Film Noir type detective.
  • First Day from Hell: Lampshaded by Masaoka when Akane's first case involves tracking down a man who kidnapped and raped a woman. It all ends with Akane paralyzing her Enforcer, Kougami, who is about to execute the woman due to her cloudy Psycho-Pass rate. The day after that, she feels pretty bummed about it.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The nice trick Masaoka did to counter Mido's architectural hacking (by spitting fire to the sprinklers)? Holograms react that way to droplets of water, as a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in Episode 1 (when Akane first came to the crime scene, presenting her ID to a holographically-concealed drone in the rain) shows you.
    • The second version of the second opening has Kougami holding an old-fashioned revolver. At the end of Episode 18, Kougami went into Masaoka's warehouse after leaving the MWPSB where he finds and fixes the revolver which he would use to kill Makishima later on.
    • The disembodied eyes in the second opening refer to how Makishima would remove Kudama's eyes in order to get past the biometric security at the virus lab in Episode 20.
    • The book Makishima is holding in the second opening is the Bible he reads from when he is planning to sabotage Japan's food supply.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted with Shusei and Masaoka, but played straight with the death of Choe, which emphasize Makishima's Lack of Empathy.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Akane tries to do a Memory Scoop in order to get an image of Makishima, she got too deep into her memories, relieving the time when Yuki got killed, until Ginoza slaps her back to her senses.
  • Good Is Not Nice: There appears to be a pattern concerning this trope among the main characters of Unit 1. It seems the more one is dedicated to following the Sibyl System then the less of a nice guy he is. For example:
  • Gorn: Shooting someone with a Dominator in Lethal Eliminator mode turns them into Ludicrous Gibs. Shown in full detail from the first episode.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't actually see Makishima, slashing Yuki's throat with a razor. Instead, we saw a close-up of his razor with specks of blood flying as Makishima moves for the kill. Then, the next scene pans to Masaoka, looking very concerned and alert when he heard Akane's screams.
  • Gut Punch:
    • Although the show starts off very dark, after Akane not being able to save her close friend Yuki, and watching Yuki get her throat slit is definitely a disturbing moment which helps not only enforce Anyone Can Die, but the tone of the show as a whole becomes even darker afterwards.
    • Later on, Masaoka dying to save his son, Ginoza, who lives but loses his arm. Masaoka dies telling his son he loves him, and Ginoza only manages to call him Dad after Masaoka died.
  • Heel Realization: Happens to Akane after she discovers the true nature of the Sibyl System. She hates the Sybil system but still goes along with it because she can't see a better alternative for maintaning order in the society. She even tells the Sibyl system that, someday, someone will pull the plug on it for good.
    • Another one happens to Ginoza. By the end of the anime He no longer trusts the Sibyl System and stops being a Jerkass.
  • Here We Go Again: The end has a Na´ve Newcomer join the force, and having to deal with a crime on her first day of the job, just like Akane did in the first episode.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: A major theme. One of the Enforcers comments that high Criminal Coefficients can be contagious, which is why it is so important to remove latent criminals from society. This can also apply to the Enforcers themselves, who basically admit to being latent criminals with a badge and gun. The abyss line is quoted by Tomomi in Episode 4 in regards to Akane wanting to know more about Kougami; he tells her that wanting to understand Kougami will lead to her becoming like him, and that Kougami stared too long into the abyss. Further demonstrated in Episode 9 where the mere act of learning criminal psychology could cause your criminal coefficient to skyrocket. This was a huge problem in the early days of the Sibyl System which led to the adoption of Enforcers.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In Episode 21, Masaoka saves his son Ginoza, at the cost of having dynamite explode in his hand, killing him. Masaoka does get to tell his son he loves him though before he dies.
    • Akane repeatedly shows her willingness to face stress and horror, even if it means becoming a latent criminal and being demoted to Enforcer, to get the job done. She's safer than everyone thinks she is.
  • Hologram: Holograms are a common sight and fulfill various uses. Akane's apartment has a cute jellyfish avatar that controls the systems in it, and holographic technology is used to cosplay as a Digital Avatar in parties.
  • Holographic Disguise: People can change their clothes on a whim with their handheld computer. Also, the robot/mascot disguises worn by Akane and Tomomi in Episode 2.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted throughout the whole series, except for Kasei being able to play this trope straight, due in part to being the Sibyl System.
  • I Have This Friend: Akane does this at the beginning of Episode 4 when talking to Talisman. The way he warns her to be careful with her phrasing implies that he gets this sort of thing frequently.
  • Infectious Insanity: People with high Criminal Coefficients can raise the aforementioned on other people by interacting with them. This phenomenon is referred to as Psycho-Hazard.
  • Informed Attribute: A meta-example that makes up a very significant part of the show's main theme; the Sibyl System uses the Cymatic Scan to tell the Inspectors who to kill based on their mental state, regardless of that person's actual criminal history. Naturally, many of the so-called Latent Criminals harbour no real criminal objectives, simply having a mental state that the system believes is dangerous to society, branding them criminals through no fault of their own.
  • In Medias Res: The first scene of the series. It shows Shinya fighting someone with a helmet that makes their Psycho-Pass too low to shoot them with a Dominator and then meeting Shogo Makishima to the first opening theme song. It then cuts to the title and to a case that takes place far before Shinya meets Makishima or the helmets are made available. It takes all the way to Episode 16 for us to see how Shinya got to this moment.
  • Internet Mimic: Two well-known online personas, Talisman and Spooky Boogie, are forcefully replaced by another user.
  • Irony: Quite a few examples.
    • Makishima talks with Senguji about how even though the society they live in has some of the most advanced medical technology available, human lifespans as a whole have actually decreased. The reason being that with the Sibyl System, stress management is so important that many people experience far less stress than what humans of the past used to, and as a result the body begins to break down faster because of a lack of external stimuli to keep people alert and fresh.
    • The Sibyl System was said to be a supercomputer that was superior to human thought for moral judgment, so the public would accept it. It is actually a computer that governs society controlled by a collection of human brains, specifically criminally asymptomatic human brains.
      • The Sibyl System even acknowledges that some of the brains belonged to people who did things far worse than what Makishima did.
    • Chief Kasei is a cyborg in which criminally asymptomatic brains from the Sibyl System sometimes use as a body to influence the Ministry of Welfare and Public Safety Bureau. The irony is that when this is revealed, the brain inside her at the moment is Touma, a Serial Killer from the Backstory. That's right, a Serial Killer is the Chief Of Police.
    • The Sibyl System considers themselves to be better than the majority of society, due to being individuals who don't do whatever society tells them to and follow their own individual beliefs and morals. Yet, they have turned themselves into a Hive Mind. Makishima notes the irony of this with an allusion to Gulliver's Travels.
    • The name of the last episode, "Perfect World". The world of Psycho-Pass is anything but.
      • Alternatively, this might not be intended as irony but as a statement that the Sibyl System, in spite of its flaws, has created the closest thing yet to a "perfect society".
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Makishima kills Yuki in front of Akane after she failed to shoot him in order to test if she can kill by means of free will instead of relying on the Sibyl System's judgment.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kougami portrays Sasayama in this light.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The Dominators are effectively this. They measure a person's Psycho-Pass, determine whether they're in need of therapy or unsalvageable, and enter the appropriate mode. Their wielders, however, who are the ones deciding when to pull the trigger, are not.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: In Episode 15, there are mass riots due to Makishima's helmets giving people the ability to commit crime without being found out while wearing them and normal citizens fight back against them, eventually becoming just as violent. However, this is just a distraction and Makishima's real goal is to enter the building with the Sibyl System while all the police are dealing with the chaos.
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Akane uses this gambit while threatening the Sibyl System into agreeing to spare Kogami's life in exchange for Makashima's live capture. If the Sibyl System didn't agree, it could shoot her...but it'd have to find another pawn, and it didn't really want to do that at this point.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Rikako makes her classmates into plastinated "works of art"... then her bones get used as material for beautiful, ivory-like smoking pipes.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Once Akane realizes the Awful Truth about the Sibyl System, she starts seeing it as this. While she hates the Sibyl System (and hopes that, someday, it will be replaced with something better), she also goes along with it because she sees the order it imposes as something far better than the chaos that Makishima has to offer.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Episode 20 is the episode where Akane comes into her own and reveals The Ace that she'd been made out to be from the beginning, as Kogami has gone rogue and Division 1 is without an ace detective, causing her to step into the role. Ginoza even sees her as Kogami for a second.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Ginoza loses his left arm in Episode 21. Masaoka had lost his since a long time ago and had it replaced by a prosthetic. Also Ginoza is now an Enforcer with an artificial limb after the two month Time Skip in the final episode.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The method of killing used by the man in Episode 3. He made it look like his victims had been killed by a malfunctioning drone, whereas in reality, he had equipped the drones with a program to murder them.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: There are two. Jouji taught Shinya, and the two of them taught Akane, in profiling and psychology. Ginoza mentored Akane as an inspector, but when he got demoted to Enforcer, Akane became Mika's mentor.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: The manga is published in Jump Square, a monthly magazine for the older part of the Shōnen demographic. But there is also a number of publications (linked to the anime) in Otomedia, a magazine aimed at females (including yaoi fangirls). So the franchise appears aimed at an audience best described as "young adult" of both genders.
  • Morph Weapon: The Dominators' lethality shift depends on the target and their Crime Coefficient.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The crime prevention system definitely has more than a few problems with it. The man being chased for having a high criminal factor had tried to do good his entire life, but ended up raping and torturing a woman before fleeing from and almost shooting Akane and Shinya. He became a criminal only after the system identified him as a criminal.
  • Never Found the Body: Nothing remains of poor Kagari after he was shot with the Dominators' Destroy Decomposer mode.
  • New Media Are Evil: Played with, Makishima thinks e-Books lack character. Makishima is the Big Bad and he didn't say e-Books were evil.
    • On the other hand, in New Edit Episode 10 (which is the original Episode 19/20), there is an added scene where Akane and Yayoi discuss the nature of history and the difficulty of looking up information on the Internet. Yayoi says looking things up online is tough because everything is so disorganized or redacted and that this is intentional on the part of the Sibyl System. Akane then realizes this is probably why Kougami prefers to read books written on paper, where information is organized together in a coherent, understandable manner and requires more effort to alter than just the push of a button.
  • No Mere Windmill: Ginoza never really believed Makishima existed as the evidence related to him was extremely sketchy at best, until Kougami finds the audio clip of his voice after the Ouryou Rikako case. In the New Edit episode 5, there is an extra scene where he even apologizes to Kougami for doubting him.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The boss of the drone factory overlooks the bullying of his employees because it allows the bullies to relieve stress. He also prevents Nobuchika from investigating the deaths of his employees as anything but accidents because it would cause the loss of time and money.
    • Chief Kasei counts as well.
  • Oddly Small Organisation: The MWPSB consists of only 7 Inspectors & 13 Enforcers total, according to the show's novelization.
  • Official Couple: Shion and Yayoi. Well, official sexual partners, at any rate.
  • Off Model:
    • Some scenes in Episode 14 and 17 suffer with this most especially on Akane's and Shinya's faces.
    • Episode 18, to the point where the director Naoyoshi Shiotani apologized to fans over Twitter and promised to correct it all.
    • Episodes 17 and 18 contained, among other things, impossible physics, impossible anatomy, skipped animation frames, and characters' faces being completely different.
    • The Blu-Ray release apparently fixes everything in at least Episode 18.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: Shinya and Masaoka, who are more experienced in the field, are usually paired with the rookie Akane, despite her position as an Inspector. But Akane interacts with Shinya the most due to his acknowledgement and respect for her actions during the first day on the job.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The Sibyl System vs. Makishima. Specifically, Lawful Evil vs. Chaotic Evil.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Akane's response to the Sibyl System in the final episode is that humans are better than it thinks they are, and that some day some human will come up with a better system than they've got, and come to shut them down.
  • Peace & Love, Incorporated: The Sibyl System controlled Japan definitely fits this, though instead of a Megacorp, it is a government that has spread its facade of "peace and love" to all of society.
  • Pop The Tires: Akane shoots the tires of a big truck that the culprit Makashima is trying to make his get away in, while clinging to its' side. This works really well, especially since trucks are hard to turn, and he couldn't shake her off.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: There's some of it in the series, though the show mainly focuses on crimes so it is much more Cyberpunk. Some examples are that holograms are incorporated into everyday life providing numerous people access to an Unlimited Wardrobe and there are advanced online chat rooms allowing people to live out digital lives in a vast digital world. There's even cyborg technology sold by a company to help replace limbs or let some people become full-body cyborgs. Though the person in charge of the cyborg limb company is a psycho.
  • Precrime Arrest: People who have a high "Psycho Pass", but haven't committed any crimes, are called "latent criminals". They generally have two choices: arrest, or work for the police.
  • Product Placement: Episode 12 prominently features a bag of Ernie Ball 2223 Super Slinky electric guitar strings. It's an exact replica of the real-life product, so the company was actually acknowledged in the credits sequence. Apparently, Ernie Ball Inc. is still active in the 22nd century and exporting its products to Japan from the U.S.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Many viewers were skeptical at how a man could get away with beating a woman to death in the middle of a crowded street with nobody attempting to help, citing it as unrealistic. However, there a number of recorded cases of this happening in real life, and it is the result of an actual social psychological phenomenon called the Bystander Effect. Also see the murder of Shingo Minamino, music producer of Nitroplus, an event that most probably inspired the murder depicted in the show.
  • Recruiting the Criminal: The Enforcers who are latent criminals hired by the MWPSB to do the actual detective work due their capability in understanding the criminal mind and to act as stand-ins for the Inspectors who are required to keep their Psycho-Pass rate clear.
  • The Reveal: The Sibyl System is a collection of disembodied brains of criminally asymptomatic individuals controlling a super computer as a Hive Mind.
  • Rock Beats Laser: When Shusei enters an area that blocks all wireless signals, his Dominator essentially becomes a piece of junk since it can't establish a connection to the Sibyl System. He's forced to steal the nailguns the criminals are using.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Makishima and the Sibyl System show what happens when these philosophies are used without empathy for others, and applied on a societal scale. Makishima is romantic, and loves bringing out peoples' individual dreams, but enjoys chaos to the fullest even the darker side of chaos like destruction, hence he enjoys making people even act on their cruelest impulses. The Sibyl System is enlightened, but forces their views of a perfect society on others without care for what they feel or think, and has no qualms about killing those they feel are not beneficial towards the whole or could upset the status quo. Shinya, on the other hand, shows a balance of romanticism and enlightenment, being a Knight in Sour Armor who has both ideals and cynicism as well as showing bursts of emotion but also logical thinking. And finally, Akane is an Enlightened figure who supports the society of the Sibyl System and can't deny the order that it has brought. However, Akane also rejects its ruthless utilitarianism, and dreams of the day that she can finally pull the plug on it and replace it with a better world.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Yuki, a minor character who was introduced as Akane's friend outside the Public Safety Bureau, is used to lure Shinya in one of Senguji and Makishima's "hunting games". While she and Shinya manage to kill Senguji, Makishima captures her and shortly after kills her in front of Akane as punishment for the latter's inability to shoot him.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Shusei Kagari in Episode 16.
  • Sequel Hook: "The chain of justice—the system—never ends... Sibyl still continues..."
  • Sherlock Scan: Professor Saiga performs one on Akane in Episode 9. He immediately deduces she's a girl who was close to her grandmother and that her parents opposed her joining the Public Safety Bureau.
  • Shout-Out: The show makes mentions to mythology, philosophy, music and theatre, especially through Makishima.
    • The Sibyl System is possibly a reference to the prophetesses from Greek Mythology. Masaoka refers to the Dominators as "Sibyl's eyes".
    • The second opening sequence is very clearly inspired by the opening of Cowboy Bebop.
    • The name on the OS disc used by the killer in Episode 3 has Johnny Mnemonic written on it.
    • Talisman's stage in Episode 4 is set on a turtle swimming through space, atop elephants.
    • Some of the Avatars seen in episode 4 are shout-outs as well. Spooky Boogie's handle and Halloween Town-esque Commfield recall The Nightmare Before Christmas, while Melancholia looks an awful like the Ted Kord Blue Beetle.
    • Rikako's murder of Yoshika Okubo in Episode 6 is explicitly inspired by the death of Lavinia in Titus Andronicus. Twelfth Night and Macbeth are also discussed.
    • The entire story arc inside the girl's school is basically, down to the details, a summary of the plot and setting of Kara no Shoujo, a fairly famous detective-based visual novel.
    • The tattooed criminal in the detention center who helped Shinya identify the killer in Episode 8 looked like tattoo artist and model, Rick "Zombie Boy" Genest.
    • The house that Professor Saiga lived is based from the Fallingwater designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
    • Senguji's hobby and motivations for pursuing it make him an up-to-date Count Mecha.
    • One of Senguji's hunting dogs was named Lovecraft.
    • Episode titles make few references as well. What makes this a bit weird is that while one arc only makes references to one source, all of the episodes may not make a Shout-Out.
      • Episodes concerning Rikako Oryou reference Hamlet (e.g. "The Rest Is Silence").
      • Episodes concerning Senguji Toyohisa reference The Bible (e.g. "The Fruit Of Paradise").
    • The glorious Ninth has been the music of choice for other sociopaths.
    • The entire idea of being able to sniff out criminals with specific readings and tests and numbers is similar to the tests in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, another cyberpunk novel, used to find hiding androids.
      • In Episode 15 the novel is referenced by name by Makishima, with Choe Gu-Sung recalling that it was the basis for "an old movie".
      • On the subject of Blade Runner, the Public Safety Bureau's tower is exactly like Police Headquarters in the film, which is especially noticeable in the overhead shots. Appropriate for a special police unit hunting a white-haired criminal intent on disrupting the social order from the top down...
      • As long as we're on the subject of Phillip K Dick, the overall premise of the story also greatly resembles the short story "The Minority Report" (and the film based on it) in which advanced technology is used to arrest potential criminals before they ever commit an actual crime.
    • In Episode 12, there's a music venue called the "27 Club". It's a little morbid, but there's a so called "27 Club" in real life as well; it's the "club" musicians like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Winehouse "joined" when they all died at age 27.
    • Episode 15 contains a perfect shot of a blood-stained crooked gold baseball bat.
    • Episode 15 also references dystopian novelists.
    • The way a person with a high Criminal Coefficient can corrupt other people by interacting with them is referred to as Psychohazard.
    • The last episode has Shinya owning a copy of Swann's Way, a book with a prominent theme being memories that involuntarily keep coming up of one's past.
    • The year is set in 2112, which also happens to be the name of a Rush Concept Album set in a Dystopian future where machines control what music is allowed.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Kagari to Choe Gu-Sung in Episode 16.
    • Akane to the Sibyl System in Episode 20.
  • Sock It To Them: In Episode 15, this is mentioned as a possible weapon for defense.
  • Society-on-Edge Episode: Psycho-Pass shows the Sibyl System controlled Dystopian Japan to be a society where most people don't think too much about how bad their society is, due to believing they are always safe since the Sibyl System can even monitor peoples' thoughts and "take care" of anyone who would commit a crime. Then comes Episode 14, in which a man kills a woman in front of numerous people in contrast to the other crimes shown up to this point in the series, which were hidden from the public. He is able to do this due to having a helmet which allows him to be undetected by the Sibyl System while wearing it. Although the criminal is caught, Episode 15 shows people discussing the crime, the internet is flooded with footage of the crime and people worrying that the Sibyl System does not protect them anymore. Worse, numerous criminals get helmets like the one in Episode 14, and riots begin. The citizens have to fight back against those with helmets to survive, and soon violence and crime sweeps over the country that once had very few people ever worry about crime.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Ode to Joy is played four times in four episodes. At first, it revolves on Rikako's motives. But in the end, it eerily fits Senguji who enjoys hunting and the chorus is played on his last moments in Episode 11 right before Shinya kills him with the Dominator.
    • The final episode has very calm and serene music playing while Shinya executes Makashima, bringing their blood feud to a close and exiling himself permanently from society. And the song's title is "Rakuen", which is Japanese for "Paradise."
  • Spell My Name with an S: Despite that the correct spelling of the system is Sibyl as seen in its logo, most fans would still spell it as Sybil.
  • The Stinger: A few episodes have a short scene after the ending credits.
    • The final episode has a shot of what appears to be Kougami hiding out somewhere, and a cut to the words 'The Chain of Justice never ends—Sibyl still continues...'
  • Stun Guns: This is one of the three modes of the Dominator. Subjects that elicit this reaction from the Dominator are incapacitated and taken into custody to receive therapy. However, if the target is qualified to be too dangerous, a less-friendlier mode comes into place...
  • Surprisingly Good English: The second opening theme, "Out of Control" by Nothing's Carved in Stone, has the whole song entirely in English which is pronounced correctly and easy to understand.
  • That One Case: The unsolved Specimen Case which involves the gruesome death of Sasayama, an Enforcer under Shinya's care when he was still an Inspector. This is what resulted in Shinya's demotion to an Enforcer.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: Kougami asks Tsunemori's friend Yuki to take off her clothes in Episode 10. She initially thinks he's some sort of pervert, but he has in fact realized that what he needs to escape the dungeon they're trapped in is in her clothing.
  • Technology Porn: Very evident. Aside from the Dominator, we see the wonders of holographic technology where you can change your room design or change your clothes anytime and anywhere, automatic cars in which the driver doesn't need to actually operate the steering wheel and virtual reality social environments.
  • This Is a Work of Fiction: Despite the anime being set in the future, there's always a disclaimer after the end of the credits:
    "This story is a work of fiction. The name of all individuals and organizations that appear in this show are fictitious and any similarity to those in existence in the real world is purely coincidental."
  • Those Two Girls: Akane's two friends, Yuki and Kaori, who first appear in Episode 2 are completely ordinary and serve to show us a bit of Akane's everyday life outside work. As of Episode 11, however, Yuki is killed.
  • Throw the Book at Them: In Episode 17, Makishima throws a book at Kasei/Touma as he explains his refusal to join the Sibyl System.
  • Time Skip: There is one in the final episode of two months before the epilogue.
  • Tron Lines: The container holding the Dominators lights up with these upon opening. Also, the Dominator itself does this when changing modes.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The exact time is unclear, but security robots are a common sight and people's souls can be quantified. Wordof God says that it's 2112, so exactly 100 years from when it first aired.
    • To be exact, the series occurs from late 2112 to early 2113. These can be seen thanks to specific dates that pop up on datascreens every now and then.
  • Twisted Christmas: Episodes 10 and 11 take place on December 24, 2112.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: The logical conclusion of the clothes-altering technology. Anyone can wear pretty much anything they imagine.
  • Villain Has a Point: Makishima puts up a convincing argument that the Sibyl System is fundamentally flawed, and it's actually caused humanity to regress rather than advance.
  • Villain Takes an Interest: The Sibyl System reveals its true nature to Akane and forms an alliance with her, and keeps it even after she fails to save Makishima, because her outside viewpoint has proven incredibly valuable to it.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Akane loses her lunch over the bedside after reliving a horrifying memory through the Memory Scope.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Dominators fire off very deadly beams. How dangerous they are depends on the target's Crime Coefficient.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: Averted. When Kogami takes a few rounds of buckshot to the side and arm, Masaoka administers first aid treatment (stops the bleeding, gives him blood), but says it would be best to let actual surgeons remove the bullets, lest he risk nicking an artery.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Makishima
  • Wham Episode:
    • Episode 11 reveals that Makishima has a pure Psycho-Pass rate and his Crime Coefficient continuously goes down to zero when he does something sinister. This becomes a big problem for the MWPSB because the Sibyl System can't judge him as a latent criminal.
    • Episode 14 has Makishima giving helmets to criminals that allow them to trick the Sibyl System into believing they have clear Psycho-Passes by copying other nearby Psycho-Passes. A criminal kills a woman in the street while everyone looks on, and this is uploaded to the internet, proving that the Sibyl System is not reliable to at least some of the public so far. The problems can only get worse, since Makishima says the worst is yet to come and what happened was "nothing".
    • Episode 17 gave us a revelation about the Sibyl System which is made out of the brains of individuals who are criminally asymptomatic (e.g. Makishima). They also encouraged Makishima to join them but the latter refuses and escapes.
    • Episode 20 has Akane learning the truth behind the Sibyl System, as well as being forced by the Sibyl System to try to bring in Makishima alive to spare Shinya; and Makishima finally arriving at the location he needs to be at to destroy Japan's food... with Shinya right behind him, and the rest of Unit 1 not far behind.
  • Wham Line:
    • Episode 11:
      Shogo Makishima: My Psycho-pass has always been pure white. It has never been clouded in the slightest, not even once.
    • In the ending of Episode 16:
      Kasei's Dominator: (pointed at Kagari) "Enforcement mode: Non-Lethal Paralyzer. Aim calmly and subdue..." *warps into Destroy Decomposer Mode*
    • Episode 17:
      Joushuu Kasei: You know us all as the Sibyl System.
    • Episode 19:
      "Inspector Tsunemori Akane... I will now tell you the truth about everything."
  • What Would X Do?: In the Episode 21 showdown, Akane realizes that she's made the wrong call about where Makishima would be because she figures that Shinya was better than her, and if he'd come to the conclusion that Makishima would be in the control room, he'd have gotten there first.
  • Wicked Cultured: Makishima is rather fond of classical music and is very well-read. He also has been shown to enjoy formal meals and taking tea in a high-society-esque manner with his criminal companions.
  • Wretched Hive: The block the criminal ran off to in the first episode has no relays (meaning the police drones can't go in there) and supposed not to be inhabited (meaning it's full of homeless people and possibly criminals). And it is pretty sizable.
  • Written by the Winners: The talk about history that Akane and Yayoi have in New Edit Episode 10 has Yayoi revealing to Akane that information on the past found online is heavily edited by the Sibyl System in order to present a version of history where a system like Sibyl would have been inevitable. Any lines of thinking that society could possibly function without Sibyl have been redacted out. Keeping this historical fiction true is also why Sibyl keeps Japan as a closed society that maintains no foreign relations.
  • X Meets Y: Minority Report meets Judge Dredd.

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