Title: Psycho-Pass: The Movie
Production: Production I.G.
Distributor: Anime Limited
Platform(s): DVD/Blu-ray Combi-Pack / DVD
Version Reviewed: DVD
Released: Out Now!
I’ve always really liked the world of the Psycho-Pass anime, but when season two of the series aired, I was put off by it not being written by original creator Gen Urobuchi and a move from animation studio Production I.G to Tatsunoko Production. So, having skipped watching the second season of the anime, I thought it was time to become re-acquainted with the series in the form of Psycho-Pass: The Movie. With Gen Urobuchi returning to handle the story and Production I.G taking it back on board, things were looking good for this revisit to the futuristic world.
Our story is set after the events of Psycho-Pass season two and sees Akane Tsunemori chasing down a group of terrorists who have snuck into Japan. After apprehending and interrogating them, Akane discovers where the terrorists are from and also learns that an Enforcer who used to work with her, Shinya Kogami, could be working with them… With this in mind Akane is sent to SouthEast Asia Union (also known as the SEAUn) and this is where the majority of our story takes place.
For those of you who are like me and didn’t watch the second season of Psycho-Pass, don’t worry because you can watch this movie quite comfortably without having knowledge of that season. The second anime did add some new characters but we see so little of them in this movie that it doesn’t matter. The majority of our time is spent with Akane and Shinya or characters introduced in this movie, so it’s fairly easy to slip into with a limited knowledge of the world.
The plot is fairly politically driven and plays on the aspect of Akane being a guest in this country, but not a welcome one. Outside of the currently peaceful Japan, Akane is given the chance to see how torn apart the rest of the world is thanks to wars between the politicians and the people. In SEAUn, they’re trying to build an area that is run with the Sibyl System, but as Akane soon discovers, not everything is as it seems here…
A big problem with the Psycho-Pass movie is that it’s rather predictable in plot and so to say too much in this review will spoil the whole thing; it’s for this same reason that I think the movie probably isn’t worth watching more than once. It’s not a bad plot but it’s not compelling enough to see through to the end more than once or twice. This is not really helped by Akane being separated from her usual team-mates, because she’s not really a great character on her own.
An issue I’ve always had with Psycho-Pass is that Akane feels less like her own character and more just a convenient plot device for the audience; she’s our eyes and ears and as she figures out the mysteries of the story, so do we. She never seems to have that much input beyond what is necessary and this is a shame because I think the movie does little but bring this to our attention all the more. However, as much as I complain about Akane, I don’t think the characters were handled that badly overall. The return of Shinya is a welcome one as he and Akane work well together. It has to be said that the Colonel from SEAUn, Nicholas Wong, is also a good character with a lot of personality that brings the movie together remarkably well. He’s intriguing and it’s fun to discover more about him as the plot advances.
The animation for the movie has been handled by Production I.G and looks pretty good overall. The backgrounds are well detailed throughout but where the studio really shines is toward the end of the movie; a fist fight between two characters (who I won’t name for spoilers sake) s done extremely well in particular. The movements are fluid and the characters in question move as you’d expect them to in such a fight; it’s a sign of experience on the part of Production I.G and it’s certainly a welcome sight.
Where the soundtrack is concerned, it has been handled by Yugo Kanno, who also provided the music for the rest of the Psycho-Pass anime and also works on the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure series (Stardust Crusaders onwards). The score on offer for Psycho-Pass: The Movie is striking and works well with the action scenes to make them just the little bit more compelling. It’s full of electronically produced sounds but there are also some nice piano tracks slipped in as well. I’m not sure if it’s the sort of soundtrack I could listen to away from the movie, but I think within the context of this film it does everything it needs to.
Overall the voice actors have also done a good job, although it is very noting that a lot of the movie is spoken in English even in the original Japanese audio track, which doesn’t really sound that good. It doesn’t ruin the movie, but because of it I’d recommend checking out the dub, which is actually pretty good. If you do watch with the Japanese audio, then definitely keep an ear out for Hiroshi Kamiya (Izaya Orihara in Durarara!!, Yato in Noragami and Edogawa Ranpo in Bungo Stray Dogs), who plays Nicholas Wong, as he does a simply wonderful job in the role.
This release comes to the UK thanks to Anime Limited, who have released it on both DVD and a Blu-ray/DVD Collector’s Edition Combi-Pack., with the latter also including a 32-page booklet. Exclusive to the Blu-ray version are also US staff and cast commentary as well as some Japanese trailers. For the purpose of this review I have been using a DVD copy, which has no extras to speak of except for trailers for various anime licensed by Funimation in the United States.
Psycho-Pass: The Movie is a welcome addition to the series. It ties up loose ends left by the first season and is very easy to watch even if you’ve skipped the second season or perhaps never seen Psycho-Pass before (although I would recommend reading up on the first season). It’s only really good for a single watch or two but if you’re a Psycho-Pass fan then it’s definitely worth viewing, especially as a third season will no doubt pull some of the developments into its story if it ever happens.
Disclosure: A copy of “Psycho-Pass: The Movie” was supplied by Anime Limited, the distributor, for the purposes of this review.