Why Psycho-Pass's ending suits its story

A/n: Hi everyone, and yes, it's my first essay on this blog. What?! You are probably crying out - I didn't sign up for this! [sad laughter in background] Anyhow, this is an analysis and evaluation of Psycho Pass. I know a lot of my friends and other people weren't very happy with the ending, but I feel as if that misses the point of the series.

Here's why.


"Psycho-Pass" by Gen Urobochi, is in fact a highly successful, well executed anime due to its application and subversion of dystopian conventions and character/relationship dynamics which hence, supplement its conclusion.

"Psycho-Pass" is a dystopian anime in the same vein as those of "Ghost in the Shell" and western texts such as "Blade Runner" and "1984". This type of genre is an exploration of humanity and society. Created typically during or after times of social upheaval, the dystopian genre is a reflection of the fear of the consequences of current events or similar issues that are prevalent at the time. As a result, "Psycho Pass" looks into the consequences of a society which has eradicated most crimes and unfortunately too, human creativity. It also explores the subjugation of the basic, darker human nature. These are done through the actions of the various characters within the story. Though most citizens are law abiding, there is still an "underground" in which those with a high "Crime Coefficient" lurk. Most of these are detained in high-security facilities in order to "rehabilitate" them - though many stay within these bars. The system itself is admittedly flawed - those who strongly believe in the righteousness of their actions (the criminally asymptomatic such as Makishima and many argue, Akane too) are free to commit crimes mostly undetected. Yet shockingly, these types of people who are "morally ambiguous" have their consciousness taken from them and used as part of the Sybil System, which judges what is right or wrong. This idea, in which society's justice system is actually determined by those who should be "extremely unjust" upholds the grey area of morality prevalent in most dystopian. The ideas, too, of an "Enforcer" reflect the ideas of "Blade Runner" (if one argues that Deckhard is a replicant) in which someone who has a high Crime Coefficient is sent to hunt down one of their own "kind". However, "Psycho-Pass" succeeds as a dystopian not because of its adherence to some dystopian conventions but the subversion of them.

The subversion of the genre can be seen in the character dynamics. There is a stronger focus on the development of the characters, which is less common in those of the same genre, but allows the commentary upon their society to become more successful. Though Shinya is put down as the protagonist, it is arguably Akane who is the main character of this anime, and her character development reflects her understanding of the society she lives in. Her journey from naive newbie to jaded, but hopeful, leader, also marks the changes that she has and will try to do for her society. Her rivalry with Makishima throughout the series is also of interest as Makishima is the catalyst for major change within society, while Akane too aims for change but one that works with the current context. The main concern with Makishima's ways is that his aim to change society works against the context - the anarchy and rebellion against the government is outdated and extremely destructive, also assisted with his desire to see the darkest sides of humanity. Akane, while she cannot conduct definite change for her world, can instead become the precursor who assists with the change necessary to IMPROVE her world by building upon it as opposed to pulling it down and starting all over again. It is for these reasons that Akane and Makishma show differences - while they both aim to challenge their society, Akane believes in the preservation while Makishima believes in destruction. Neither of them are basically wrong - in a different context, Makishima's aims could have been better, and parallels can be seen between this and the rebellion in another contemporary dystopian, "the Hunger Games". And yet - neither of them would restore society to a perfect world - but they can restore it for the better. 

From this, the genre and character relationships also tie in with the success of the ending. The conclusion of the anime reflects society's inclination to change for the better through the will and actions of countless individuals. These actions are not always the most easily successful ones - in this case, Akane aims for change through gradually working within the MWPSB to change the mindset ingrained within her force and eventually society's. Thanks to this, Akane is a heroine in her own right as she may not outright change the way her world functions, but her actions will influence others to improve their society for the better. The parallel between Akane as the jaded Inspector in the last episode and Ginoza in the first (though a little too obvious for my liking) link to how society will fundamentally be the same, but have minor improvements (eg Akane's positive view of the Enforcers). Society cannot change so dramatically overnight, as even with Makishima's intervention, the nature of society is to move on and forwards (also shown in the ending of Death Note). Humanity cannot be completely subjugated, and while this can have terrible consequences in the lashing out (for example, the lack of reaction from bystanders as a woman was beaten and murdered in front of them and the turning of society against those who wore helmets) this is also a strong point of human nature. This is the aspect which strives for change, not through the destruction, but the continual improvement of the current society. The anime's ending promises change - simply not within their characters' lifetimes. This allows for a satisfactory resolution as "Psycho-Pass" fulfills its purpose as a dystopian in which it reflects and analyses society's workings, no matter what the social dynamic.

In conclusion, the success of the anime comes from its application and subversion of the dystopian convention, and the dynamic relationships, to assist the ending's integrity with the rest of the series. Though this is not popular with some viewers in that it is not a "happy" ending, it is a very satisfying, hopeful and ultimately thought-provoking conclusion.


  1. This seems like an interesting story. This kinda makes me want to get back into animes!! I have fallen in love with dramas which is what takes up my time now as well as SAT pratice =( I might start watching some again this summer!


    1. Ah exams huh :( It's a great anime ^_^ thanks for visiting~