30 Day Anime Challenge Day 2: Favorite Anime

Damn, I’m starting to see why this challenge is hard. I don’t have one single favorite anime, to be honest. I can narrow it down to 15 or so. However, there are days where I like one of those 10 or 15 more than the others. So my one “favorite” changes by the day. Let’s see… today, I think my favorite is… let’s go with Psycho-Pass! (Other contenders included but were not limited to Naoki Urusawa’s Monster, Shin Sekai Yori, Parasyte The Maxim, Madoka Magica, and Code Geass.)

I first watched Psycho-Pass in early 2014, and loved it immediately. I went into it looking for blood, death, and disturbing crime to wake me up from how horribly empty of all emotion I felt. Psycho-Pass did give me those things, but it also gave me so much more. I was given an unforgettable experience of profound psychological, philosophical, and emotional nature. I felt alive and inspired again. But why exactly is it my favorite? I can give numerous examples. Let’s stick to four, though, for brevity’s sake.

1. My Admiration for Akane Tsunemori

She is a character who goes into her new job with a ton of courage and grit, plus strong morals. As the story progresses, Akane almost loses faith in her beliefs and becomes disillusioned of the Sybil system, society, and its ideas of justice. However, she bravely keeps her innate sense of justice, while also adapting it and herself to participate in the largely corrupt system. She hates being a cog in the machine when the machine is so wrong about things, but she takes her place nonetheless, and tries to make small changes from within.

I can’t say enough how much I envy and admire the mental strength, resilience, and adaptability that Akane personifies so perfectly. I became disillusioned of my field of work and of society in general after college, but I despaired and basically gave up, unlike Akane. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever go back to working in my original dream field, but characters like Akane make me think that someday I can, when I’m just a little more strong and stable.

2. The idea of the Sybil System

I of course don’t agree with how the Sybil System runs things in the world of Psycho-Pass, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love the idea of the way it works. Believe or not, I correctly guessed the twist about the Sybil System and how it works just before Kagari died. Besides animal science and some psychology, the science I love most is neuroscience. I already knew that only human brains working together could comprehend and compute the amount of data that the Sybil System goes through every minute. When Makishima pointed out that the Sybil System was centralized in one place, where there was no evidence of a super-computer, that’s when it clicked. When Kagari was killed for seeing the “true form” of Sybil, my suspicion was verified.

Anyway, the Sybil System is a network of human brains preserved in a living state, rather than a massive super-computer. Together, the brains sort through all the information from every street scanner in the city and all information from Dominators; plus, it has various other roles like montoring security of computer systems and internet networks all over the city. The entire country of Japan in this dystopian world is run by Sybil, but I suspect a lot of the computing for areas outside the main city (basically a future Tokyo) is done by programs created by Sybil. The idea that Sybil is one made of many, a joined consciousness, is fascinating, as is the way the system effectively controls the country.

3. Thrilling action, pacing, and fight scenes.

I was on the edge of my seat for every minute of Psycho-Pass, and I’m still excited by it each time I rewatch it. (I’ve seen it from start to finish 6 times.) Part of this is due to the characters and their growth and unique perspectives, and part of it is because the themes are so interesting. A third piece of why Psycho-Pass is so thrilling is the way the story is structured. I have no complaints about it. It’s riveting. Finally, the show is gripping because of the terrific fight scenes and action sequences. Two of my favorite fights ever in any anime are Makishima vs. Kogami in episode 16, with hand-to-hand combat, and again in episode 22, with knife-fighting. It really gets my blood pumping! The animation is amazing, too!

4. Numerous interesting themes.

I don’t want to dive too deeply into this for the sake of what was supposed to be a short post. The fascinating themes in Psycho-Pass include but are not limited to freedom, the nature of humanity, the significance of an individual’s life, stress, mental health, revenge, justice, morality, abnormal psychology, crime, and the differing philosophies of key characters.

In summary, Psycho-Pass is my current favorite anime because of the character of Akane, the Sybil System, the awesome action, and the show’s motifs and messages. Those are only four reasons of about ten I could write about. (Others, for example, might be: the awesome villain Makishima, the character contrasts and parallels between Makishima and Kogami, the perspective of Matsuoka the old-fashioned detective, the lesbian characters Yayoi and Shion, and more!) Anyway, that’s about it for Day 2 of the 30 Day Anime Challenge. Ja ne! Mata ashita!

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