Man… we’re all familiar with that nigh-requisite scene in any cop movie, right? You know, where the frazzled chief throws the maverick detective off the case because he’s getting too obsessed? The way this episode puts a sci-fi spin on that - - conceptualizing it as a matter of behavioral percentages - - is nothing short of brilliant to me.
Taking a step back, I realize I’ve been using words like “brilliant” and “clever” and “deconstructionist” a whole lot in these write-ups; and I know that some of you lunatics have brought up that the story has left you fairly cold, emotionally. My first thought, appropriately enough, is that maybe there ought to be quantified stats system to measure which qualities a given show is satisfying. Would PSYCHO-PASS register as 25% creative, 45% intellectual, 20% thrilling, 10% humorous and then 10% sentimental in comparison to the completely different quotient for a show like... say... CHIHAYAFURU?
This isn’t a perfect show, and I’ll concede that Akane’s arc has mostly been just about her getting better at her job. And the one-off episode introducing the new detective who’s an ex-musician seems more like an exercise in world-building and concept riffing as each episode passes. The girl just kind-of stands there with nothing to contribute in these group shots.
Even as I recognize that, though, I’ll still say that the ending of this episode was quite moving. I’ve griped often before about other shows that play up romance sub-plots without apparently having the guts to see them through. Here though, PSYCHO-PASS manages to make that feel sharp, and far more in character.
When a lot of fans complain about a story lacking “emotional content,” I think a lot of the time, what they really mean is that the story doesn’t have the specific emotional journey they’ve enjoyed in the past. PSCYHO-PASS’s two main characters are an armed social pariah and a boring goody two-shoes whose most remarkable trait is that she literally doesn’t think any more than her job needs her to. The former is specifically presented as being too damaged to integrate into society, and the latter is a bureaucratic type - - just like many you’d find in real life - - who isn’t that great at self-examination.
So it actually feels more honest that their potential romance winds up being an awkward relationship that vaguely touches-and-goes between friendship and professional acquaintanceship. I feel like it's actually more moving that Kogami's really struggling to find the right words in his farewell (and is maybe even incapable of finding them). The most moving part to me, appropriately enough, is when she shoots him down with a paralyzer shot.
And I suppose that says all we need to say about the tone of this show.