“But what is it you hope to accomplish by helping these people?” asks Akane Tsunemori. Shinya Kogami responds, “I’m helping them to bring real democracy and freedom to this country.”
I was not familiar with the Psycho-Pass anime TV series when I first heard about Funimation’s limited screenings for Katsuyuki Motohiro & Naoyoshi Shiotani’s Psycho-Pass: The Movie. The show, which ran for two seasons (totaling 33 episodes), takes place in a future in Japan where it’s possible to use a cymatic brain scan to simultaneously measure a person’s personality, mental state, and the probability that he/she will commit a crime (the instantaneous assessment is called a psycho-pass). The film is a continuation of the series, following the adventures of Inspector Akane Tsunemori and the members of Unit One, a police unit of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division. I recently had a chance to see Psycho-Pass: The Movie on the big screen, and despite my unfamiliarity with the show, I was able to follow along and ended up enjoying the film very much.
2015’s Psycho-Pass: The Movie follows Inspector Tsunemori as she journeys to SEAUn (South East Asia Union) to investigate how a group of terrorists from that country managed to sneak into Japan undetected (especially since SEAUn recently started using the Sybil System, which is responsible for the cymatic brain scans used to determine a person’s psycho-pass) and to find a former colleague who may or may not be in league with the terrorists. A terrific voice cast (including those who had worked on the series) was brought together for the film’s English language dub, including Kate Oxley (as Akane Tsunemori), Josh Grelle (as Nobuchika Ginoza), Robert McCollum (as Shinya Kogami), Lindsay Siedel (as Yayoi Kunizuka), Z. Charles Bolton (as Sho Hinakawa), Lydia Mackay (as Shion Karanomori), Mike McFarland (as Teppei Sugo), Michael Federico (as Joji Saiga), Cherami Leigh (as Mika Shimotsuki), Linda Leonard (as Joshu Kasei), Jason Liebrecht (as Nicholas Wong), Major Attaway (as Desmond Rutaganda), Daniel Penz (as Chuan Hang), Leah Clark (as Yeo), Bob Carter (as Shem), Andrew Love (as Samrin), Chuck Huber (as Tadao Miyazaki), and Stephanie Young (as the voice of the Dominator handguns).
The screenplay by Makoto Fukami and Gen Urobuchi continues the series’ tackling of the role of technology in national security as well as the personal journey of Akane Tsunemori. It also showcases very intense action sequences; I was surprised at how violent the film was (not a complaint; I guess I was anticipating more of a PG-13-type film than an R-type film). Shuichi Kusamori’s production design is massive, with visual references to films such as Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, and Ghost In the Shell. Eiji Arai’s cinematography maintains the look of the series and matches the dark tone of the film, and Yugo Kanno delivers a thrilling score. Psycho-Pass: The Movie takes a while to make sense for those unfamiliar with the series, but new viewers should be settled in once the main plot kicks in. It’s an action-packed thrill ride and another outstanding anime film (I’m looking forward to future installments!).