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Case.1 Crime and Punishment

Movie poster

Case.1 Crime and Punishment is the first installment of the Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System trilogy.[1][2] The film debuted in Japan on January 25, 2019.[3] The story focuses on Nobuchika Ginoza and Mika Shimotsuki as they investigate a case at an isolation facility in Aomori-ken.[4]

Synopsis

In the Winter of 2117, an out-of-control vehicle careens into a building. The driver is Izumi Yuzaka, a psychological counselor at the isolation facility for latent criminals in Aomori prefecture (the Sanctuary). However, Yuzaka's immediate repatriation in the fading night is decided right before the interrogation. An inspector heads for Aomori prefecture for Yuzaka's repatriation, along with an enforcer. Waiting for them there is a "False paradise."

Plot

Crime and Punishment picks up around six months after the events of the movie. Things have more or less returned to normal when a strange latent criminal suffers a psychotic break mid-surrender. While it is apparent that a drug has altered the woman's state of mind, Akane's team is suddenly ordered to give the woman up and return her to an experimental prison--the very one where the woman used to be a therapist.

Knowing that something is off, Akane wants to accompany her team as they inspect the prison, but can't because she is only one of two police officers who know the secret of the Sybil System -- which is that it's composition is a collection of preserved criminal brains, making it the perfect crime predicting mechanism. She also knows that it is far from perfect.

In the world of Psycho-Pass, Akane is the answer to the question: “Who watches the watchers?” Even though the system can judge itself after the events of S2, it still recognizes that a viewpoint outside its own is necessary. Akane is perfect for the role because she believes the system is inherently flawed, but also knows that bringing it down would cause irreparable harm to the normal population. And without a better system to replace it, she reluctantly allows it to continue.

While this means Akane is able to directly confront the Sybil System when it does something questionable, it also means there is always the looming threat that Akane will deem the system unsalvageable and attempt to destroy it. Thus, it is dangerous for her to do things that may cause the impression that she's gone rogue -- like Shinya Kogami -- which is why she dispatches fellow Inspector Mika Shimotsuki, along with Enforcers Nobuchika Ginoza and Yayoi Kunizuka, to investigate the prison while she and the rest of the team cover the Tokyo end of things.

The prison expands the world of Psycho-Pass even as it serves as character development for the Sybil System itself. While we, the viewer, see the Sybil System as an omnipresent antagonist, it thinks itself a force for good, keeping society safe and peaceful. While this has been more or less achieved for most, there is still the issue of latent criminals, especially those who have done nothing wrong. Thus, the system always seeks improvement in treatment.

Through a new combination of drugs, therapy and work, the prison has produced latent criminals that behave in harmony with one another, keeping their criminal coefficients under 90, in most cases. At the same time, the prisoners perform valuable services for society at large and as the Sybil System cares more about results than how those results are achieved, the prison has a large degree of autonomy that has led to some shady practices, as Mika discovers during her investigation.[5]

Analysis

Though the film points out Akane's and the Sybil System's roles in both the narrative and greater world at large, the main focus is a deep dive into what kind of person Mika is after the events of Psycho-Pass 2. While Akane's morality considers all people to be human beings with reasons for their behavior, Mika is a fully indoctrinated member of society under the Sybil System, "dealing as necessary" with anyone marked as a criminal or latent criminal while leaving her crime co-efficient unchanged. Mika, like Akane, knows the secret of the Sybil System, but because she believes the system is infallible, she aligns her beliefs to its methods. In Crime and Punishment, we see this influence going both ways as she has the ability to twist the system itself into a framework that suits her beliefs.

Mika does, however, evidence growth during the case. Though her Enforcers are still latent criminals, she now views them as human beings, though of a lesser quality. It is the investigation into the drugged therapist's condition that creates her greatest shift of mindset. At first, Mika only views the woman as a criminal worthy of elimination, but as secrets are uncovered, she begins to identify parts of herself in the victim. Her understanding of humanity and criminality alters in a dramatic way and she begins to see that latent criminals may possess noble motivations worthy of protection, the ultimate goal of the Sybil System. Ergo, she must follow suit.

In the end, while Mika still believes the Sybil Systerm is infallible, she recognizes that it is trying to evolve. But she also realizes that in doing so, it may become less than perfect and that is something she cannot condone.[6]

Note: Plot and Analysis are revisions of original text.

References