Psycho-Pass 06 – Behind closed doors
November 19, 2012 Leave a comment
Someone who can play the system, find the loopholes, the blind spots and the flaws will always remain anonymous. They are the kind of person who can work from the shadows, or if they are particularly good, in plain sight of those who are supposed to be keeping the peace. In particular, when you are presented with a system such Sibyl or even the Psycho-Pass system, there are numerous ways with which to use and manipulate it for your own ends. That the system is heavily and perhaps inherently flawed may be obvious to many, but it is the faith that inspectors like Ginoza place upon such a system, which may ultimately lead to its and their own downfall. There are simply too many ways with which it can be manipulated and used for other purposes, and in reality, the system is restricting the ability of those who wish to catch the criminals. In particular, this and episode three help to demonstrate how the system is not all encompassing and how the state has created numerous areas free from the influence of the internet and therefore not connected to the Sibyl system. These areas are created for a specific purpose, and the government appears to perceive them as neutral areas, or at least those that they can easily control.
The drone factory was separated from the global net and Sibyl system in order to maintain order and reduce the possibility of their systems being hacked. However, the conditions that such isolation created lead to the creation of a ‘bully system’, whereby one staff member was used by the others to let off steam and overall reduce their stress and Psycho-Pass readings. Such a system was endemic to the entire structure of the factory, with others who were bullied simply transferred to some other facility. In this example the government is manipulating the Psycho-Pass system for its own needs, and using it to drive production and profitability. The most recent example of a closed off or walled community is particularly interesting however, because of who is involved. By creating a girls school that is isolated from the rest of society so that those who attend will grow up without the stresses that the Psycho-Pass system places upon them seems almost counter intuitive. If the system was infallible and meant to help police and order society then everyone should be under constant surveillance.
However, by creating such a school, we are seeing a ruling elite, or at least influential element of society who view the system itself as destructive and dangerous to their own well being and particularly the mental health of their daughters. By creating a school that is so isolated from society, we see a clear message that many people view the Psycho-Pass system as a danger. The girls who attend such a school are supposed to be free from external influences that could cause undue stress and thus hurt their future prospects. Furthermore it also demonstrates another way with which those with the power and influence to do so can abuse these apparently all-encompassing systems. Anyone from a poorer family would never have the chance to attend such a school, and will be subject to the inherent pressures of society. Something that serves to further reinforce the highly stratified nature of the society in Psycho-Pass and arguably may lead to a clear divide between those who can afford ways with which to avoid or counteract the Psycho-Pass system and those who cannot.
The Public Safety Bureau aren’t really set up to deal with complex crime or look at the links between crime. This is partly because of their reliance on the Dominator and Sibyl systems, with any real investigation worked sneered upon, and people who are unable to determine who criminals are without first pointing their gun at them. However, there is also an element of the system itself causing problems and blocking the ability of this department to truly investigate crimes and find any and all links between them. As with the revelation during last weeks episode that Kougami was once an Inspector rather than an Enforcer it is becoming ever clearer that to go against such a system won’t work. It is a system that doesn’t allow for proper investigation, because to do so would lead to your Psycho-Pass becoming ever clouded and eventually lead to demotion and the destruction of your career and life.
Kougami’s dedication to one particular case is fascinating, although he is arguably obsessed with every little detail to the point of becoming blind to everything else. However, his obsessiveness has lead to some potentially connections between the case that appears to have lead to his demotion and the current cases. But, because Ginoza is so dedicated to the Sibyl system, there is no room or guesswork or other hypotheses. Ginoza is arguably bound and controlled by the system, although based on his brief conversation with his boss there are other reasons for his strict nature. But, by adhering so strictly to the Psycho-Pass systems, Ginoza overlooks key details that would link cases and suspects together. The Enforcers are equally as guilty, but they are also a product of the system, and because the conditions surrounding their current lifestyle cannot go against the will of an Inspector. To do so would potentially lead to life imprisonment or worse, thus demonstrating how self-constricting the system is.
The problem in any society with laws and rules will always be those who refuse to follow them. As the group who is supposed to keep the peace, the Public Safety Bureau is bound by a series of rules and regulations that the criminals they are after can freely ignore. However, in this particular case the rules and regulations are so constricting that they further help the criminal mastermind behind the recent murders. Although calling him a criminal mastermind is a little curious as it would imply that he was somehow directly connected to every one of these crimes and had a vested interest in them. Shougo is only loosely implicated in these crimes, supplying the tools and means with which to carry them out, but taking a distinctively hands-off approach. There seems to be neither rime nor reason behind his involvement with the incident in the drone factory or with the person who was obsessed with virtual avatars.
He appears to get nothing from either of these crimes, seemingly providing the necessary tools to the perpetrators just because he can. There may well be a motive behind his actions, although one has yet to present itself. However, Kougami argues that perhaps there is no real motive, nor anything specific to gain from helping these criminals, rather it is merely an act in playing with the inherent weaknesses of the system itself. He has no reason, nor motive, but instead finds those who have the motive and provide them with the tools. Shougo is perhaps creating crimes because he can; he is playing with the system and seeing how far he can push before being caught. In doing so he once again demonstrates the inability of the Public Safety Bureau to link everything together, along with the restrictive nature of a system that they must adhere to when working.
By simply following what the system tells you and believing in the infallibility of the Psycho-Pass and Sibyl systems, it almost seems inevitable that someone like Shougo would exist. The idea that you can easily quantify an inherent ‘criminality’ in a person seems absurd, and as we have already seen in previous episodes, the system itself has created the perfect conditions for criminals to exist. By trusting the ability of the Psycho-Pass system to discern criminals from the rest of the population, while also creating areas where such a system has no influence the society itself has created a way for criminals to hide. We as the audience know that the case Kougami has been relentlessly chasing, and the murder committed by Kanehara and Mudo are connected, but the characters do not. Once again their reliance of the system stops them from making the links, with Ginoza dismissing Kougami’s assertion that the cases are linked. He suggests that they cannot be linked since the first involved resin, while the recent cases involved software and hacking other systems. This sort of simple thinking further demonstrates Ginoza’s narrow-minded nature and inability to see any bigger pictures within crimes.
He may perhaps be sticking to the system rigidly due to a past problem with his father, but by ignoring or dismissing links between crimes Ginoza is only further reinforcing the flawed nature of the system. Furthermore, by creating zones away from the Sibyl systems authority, the government has in effected created the perfect place for criminals to hide. To see Shougo and Ouryou Rikako hiding there in plain view, while also living the lives of ‘normal’ people also suggests that the system can be bypassed in some way. It is unclear how Rikako is linked to the case Kougami has been chasing after, but she is certainly criminally minded and rather warped. This case also suggests that while the Psycho-Pass system may create and reinforce social inequality, thus creating the conditions for ‘criminals’ (in the eyes of the system) to flourish, it doesn’t account for anyone who lives at the top of perhaps outside of the system. It therefore suggests that the Psycho-Pass system cannot determine who is criminally minded, and those who are caught are the stupid or slow, the ones who do not know or understand the system. Indeed, the ones who can play the system do not get caught because they have the skills, knowledge and power to continue with their current lifestyle without fear of being caught.