Thoughts on Psycho Pass and How it Correlates with Police Abolition Narrative

Recently, I’ve been rewatching season one of Psycho-Pass, a police sci-fi show partially written and composed by one of the most well-known anime writer, Gen Urobuchi. I’ve been meaning to rewatch it for some time because I don’t quite ‘get’ it the first time that I watched it (also I’m kind of a Urobuchi fan.)

While I was watching the first episode, I suddenly felt conflicted. After the death of George Floyd due to police brutality, many people called for complete police abolition and condemn mainstream media for glorifying the police as the arbiter of justice. While Psycho-Pass is about exploring hypothetical society, the show’s primary lens in exploring that society is through the lens of law enforcement officers. Inevitably, there is always going to complication of whether or not this show is merely depicting cops or glorifying them. Me watching this show, in turn, potentially propagate the glorification of police.

I still have a bit of reservation because of this, but as I watched the show, and remembering some of the show’s plot twist down the line, I actually found several interesting things about the show’s world-building that correspond to the narrative surrounding police abolition. In fact, based on my findings, while the society of Psycho-Pass is a pretty extreme fictional portrayal of hypothetical society, it probably is the closest to the ideal of a police-free/crime prevention society than our current society.

(Warning: Spoilers from here on)

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Oregairu and Me in Retrospect

Few months really late, but it has recently come to my attention that Oregairu‘s final volume was finally published after a long hiatus (Thanks again Frog-kun for the summary!).

First off, wow! It’s finally over! Second, I can’t believe it’s almost been about five to six years since I first watched the anime. I once wrote a post about the series, but it was so amateurish and cringey that I am really embarrassed to share the link here.

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I Have Few Thoughts to Share on Heaven’s Feel I. presage flower

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(Warning. Slight spoiler alert)

When it comes to the Fate franchise, I have always considered myself a casual fan. My first exposure to the franchise was when I watched scattered episodes of Deen’s Fate/Stay Night on my cable TV (Back when I still watch TV. Internet and video game is everything I need nowadays). I remember that I enjoyed the anime, despite some criticism from the fandom regarding its adaptational choice. What I like about that anime basically sums up the entire appeal of the franchise for me. Some cool shonen action, likeable characters, interesting flesh-out world of magic, and the meta-textual appeal of seeing famous mythical/historical figure interpreted into an anime character.

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Powerful Men and Their Ego: Thunderbolt Fantasy

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With the current political climate as it is, what’s with the presence of Donald Trump and the #MeToo incidents, it is safe to say that human beings will do anything to sate their ego.

Its hard not to see why. Pleasing your ego feels good, whether it is through exerting or gaining power over others or loudly pronouncing your talent and your existence to the world. Especially if you are people in power where you don’t have to get your comeuppance for your wrongdoing because of your privilege. And it is easy to see it as the only thing that matters in life.

Ultimately however, it is a harmful illusion. Not just for the people over around you, but also how empty it all ultimately is.

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I AM WRITING ABOUT MY WORRIES AND I DON’T KNOW THE TITLE TO COME UP WITH IT

I spent a lot of time worrying. Worrying about myself, worrying about my future, and worrying about others (well, not so much about their well-being as it is their thoughts about me).  The list of things that I always worried about includes (but not limited to): future jobs, grades, relationship, social status, the “right” answer for so many aspects of living,  my feelings and so on and so forth.

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My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness and the Nature of Misfortune

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I’ve had the pleasure  of reading My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, from here on referred to as MLEwL, not too long ago. Framed as a “report”, the story is an auto-biography chronicling a 20-ish college dropout who struggles to live her daily life of swinging from one part-time job to the next while dealing menagerie of mental health issues (from depression, self-ham to eating disorder) and trying to live up to the expectation of everyone around her, whether that’s her family or society at large. Part of what makes the manga compelling is the self-aware insight that the author provides and there’s a sense of honesty and earnestness to the writing which makes it feel very much real. The very same honesty which I strive to always have in my writing, both fictional and non-fictional.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Empowerment

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(Warning: Slight Spoiler)

Power can means a lot of thing and manifest itself in many different ways. Whether it’s physical prowess, wealth, or political influence. But one of the most important expression of power is the capability of controlling your path and taking control of your life. Not abiding through society restriction or genetical make-up. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a 1997 series created by Joss Whedon, centers itself toward this very theme. More specifically, the theme of female empowerment.

One of the expression of that theme is through the portrayal of Buffy as, for its time, one of the rare female main protagonist in a action-horror show. This is nothing new by modern standard, but the series goes in greater length than merely having female action protagonist in the spotlight.  What’s also important about Buffy is her determination to do things her way.

Throughout the show, again and again, Buffy violates the tradition or the norm of the Slayer in her battle against evil. Instead of living in a lifestyle disconnected from society, she opts to always be close to her friends and family. She refuses the guidance of the Watcher council whose policy she disagrees which resulted her independence from the council entirely, and later on, essentially makes the council works for her instead.

This all culminates in the final season of the show in which Buffy rejects the entire notion of the Slayer itself. The first instances is when she refuses to gain more power in exchange of her humanity by merging herself with a demon, something that was done to the first Slayer by a group of male shamans (a scathing commentary on the nature of patriarchy). The second is where she opts to activate the power of every potential Slayer in the world in an effort to defeat the series final villain.

But what’s most important however, is that Buffy’s own action isn’t necessarily deem “right” by the series. This is emphasized in the later seasons of the comic version in which Buffy’s action essentially change the world, and with it, its own set of consequences and repercussion which Buffy has to responsible for. Empowerment can means a freedom right for humans to take any choice or action, but they also need to be responsible for consequences that stem from that action. Power always comes with a price.

Regardless however, the idea of choosing your own path in life is something that’s always going to be relevant. Within society that’s so often rigid and demanding regarding what person should or shouldn’t be, the expression of individualism is something that cannot be expressed enough.

Side Note:

  • If you want my standard review, I really like the series. While they had different pet themes and writing style, Whedon’s writing strangely reminds me of Urobuchi’s, in the sense that they’re probably two writers that I know of who has mastery over basic storytelling fundamental and drama.
  • It took me quite a while to get around watching the series, even after recommendations and my love for The Avengers movie.
  • Favorite Character: Tara. I love her development from being shy socially awkward to being a caring guardian for the scoobies and the most emotionally stable of the group.