Psycho-Pass Collection 1 (Blu Ray) Review

Back in the late 80's and early 90's when I first started really immersing myself in the world of anime,  one genre seemed to be the next big thing and all but promised to be the quintessential theme when people mentioned the word 'anime'. The genre in question is cyber-punk which, while it still seems to have left its mark and influenced films such as The Matrix (which in turn influenced a new generation of cinema), makes its way to the screen far less frequently than I anticipated as a teenager. Perhaps the reason for this is that we're quickly catching up to the technology that the cyber-punk genre makes seem so fantastical. One of the forerunners in the cyber-punk genre and the production company responsible for Ghost in the Shell, Production I.G, is back and with them comes the next big thing in the genre, Psycho Pass.

In somewhat of a cross between Ghost in the Shell and Minority Report, Psycho-Pass shows a humanity which has evolved its technological ability to a point where it can predict the likelihood of a person committing criminal offences. A persons "Psycho-Pass" is a level of latent criminality inherent in all people. The Sibyl System is an algorithm within a computer system which detects a persons latent criminality and passes a edict on whether the person should be released, taken into custody or killed. Akane Tsunemori, the rookie on this team, seems to have a hard time relying on the system and it's often up to her sidekick Shinya Kogami, a criminal himself, to make the hard decisions.

This series does come across like a spiritual successor to Production I.G's Ghost in the Shell. While the creator of Ghost in the Shell, Shirow Masamune, obviously had nothing to do with this series, the two share many themes and a similar aesthetic. Psycho-Pass doesn't share the same focus on cybernetics however, robotics and an underlying high-level mystery make for a similar experience. This undercurrent of intrigue ties the entire series together, bringing seemingly individual and disparate stories together. Suffice it to say that after 11 episodes, I can't wait to get my hands more. Thankfully Madman have licensed the entire series. We can only hope that they'll also license the recently announced second season and feature film.

Of course, expectations are high when you're talking about a series from Production I.G and they impress to no end with Psycho-Pass. Throughout the 11 episodes of Collection 1, it exhibits feature film quality animation in both design and execution. For a completely original series, having not graced the pages of a light novel or manga, Psycho-Pass delivers some very original settings, characters and items. Sure, the motorbike/cargo crate doohickey isn't anywhere as cool as a tachikoma, but it's still pretty damn cool. Dotted around this futuristic 2113 city are drones that are used for everything from trash collection to security details as well as search and rescue.  It's the little things like that and the awesome design of the Police issue "Dominator", which resembles a bad-ass Law-Giver from Judge Dredd, that make this series so visually immersive.

While seemingly not as psychologically disturbing as writer Gen Urobuchi's previous work, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Pyscho-Pass does raise many questions about the morality of technologically reliant law enforcement. A very tight script, rousing score, psychological intrigue and grade A animation make for one hell of a release and what's more, a brutal cliffhanger in episode 11!

- Ryan
Psycho-Pass Collection 1 is available on Blu Ray and DVD now from Madman. Madman have also released a special edition which includes the Psycho-Pass Complete Collection on either Blu Ray or DVD and the CD soundtrack. 

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