The Disruption of the Sibyl System in Psycho-Pass {OWLS BLOG TOUR}

Hey guys, it’s Pink!

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So, I recently joined a group of anibloggers in their mission to promote acceptance of all individuals. And for our first blog tour, the theme (courtesy of Lyn-sama) is “Disruptors”.

Now hopefully, you may have seen other posts from this blog tour floating around. If you haven’t, here’s a list of the participants and their dates for our January blog tour. Enjoy!

Jan 9 – Venus (Japanime Talks)

Jan 13 – Arria Cross (Fujinsei)

Jan 16 – LynLyn (Just something about LynLyn)

Jan 20 – Crimson613 (Crimson Blogs at Night)

Jan 23 –  Naja B. (Nice Job Breaking It, Hero)

Jan 25 – Pink-chan (Pinky’s Palace)

Jan 27 – Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)

Jan 30 – Lita (LitaKino Anime Corner)

And now, for my post…

“To disrupt” has a negative denotation, but rather than looking at the verb in a negative light, we are going to use the verb in a positive way. It’s like the word, “protests” which has positive and negative connotations depending on the perspective of the person.

Disruptors: An individual or a group disturbing a system or social norms/conventions that they believe is destroying what is morally right.

Although there are countless examples of anime where the characters disrupt or protest to the world around them, I chose one of my personal favorites to deeply examine this month.

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Justice, and the enforcement of it has changed. In the 22nd century, Japan enforces the Sibyl System, an objective means of determining the threat level of each citizen by examining their mental state for signs of criminal intent, known as their Psycho-Pass. Inspectors uphold the law by subjugating, often with lethal force, anyone harboring the slightest ill-will; alongside them are Enforcers, jaded Inspectors that have become latent criminals, granted relative freedom in exchange for carrying out the Inspectors’ dirty work.

Into this world steps Akane Tsunemori, a young woman with an honest desire to uphold justice. However, as she works alongside veteran Enforcer Shinya Kougami, she soon learns that the Sibyl System’s judgments are not as perfect as her fellow Inspectors assume. With everything she has known turned on its head, Akane wrestles with the question of what justice truly is, and whether it can be upheld through the use of a system that may already be corrupt.

The anime described here is, of course, Psycho-Pass.

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This beautiful work of art is home to one of the most corrupt and perverse societies in anime. However, I cannot successfully analyze the disruption that takes place in this anime without first explaining the show’s biggest antagonist – the Sibyl System.

The Sibyl System

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“That which needs to be done is carried out by those capable. Such is the grace bestowed upon mankind by Sibyl”

What is the probability of someone committing a crime? The Sibyl System has a definite answer.

In the world of Psycho-Pass, The Sibyl System has complete control over law enforcement and even the future of the city’s citizens. This system analyzes the criminal tendencies of every citizen and harshly judges them.

A person’s crime coefficient is a numerical measure of said person’s probability/propensity to commit a crime. It is one part of a person’s overall psycho-pass. The Public Safety Bureau uses this measurement to determine if a target is a latent criminal or otherwise. It is calculated and determined by the target’s stress level and other biological readings via cymatic scan by the Sibyl System.

Level of Crime Coefficient

  • Under 100 ‒ Suspect is not a target for enforcement action. The trigger of Dominator will be locked.
  • 100 to 299  Suspect is classified as a latent criminal and is a target for enforcement action. Dominator is set to Non-Lethal Paralyzer mode. Suspect can then be knocked out using the Dominator.
  • Over 300 ‒ Suspect poses a serious threat to the society. Lethal force is authorized. Dominator will automatically switch to Lethal Eliminator. Suspect that is hit by Lethal Eliminator will bloat and explode.

Think this system is corrupt? You’re right, it definitely is.

The System and Society

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“In order to have a perfect society, you need perfect people. Unfortunately, perfect people do not exist.” 

The Sibyl System was designed to mold the individuals of society into perfect citizens who are fully dependent on said system. And for those who aren’t perfect? Well, they get punished. The Sybil System ruthlessly executes those with a high enough crime coefficient, regardless of whether they’ve actually committed a crime. How is this right, you ask? Well, it isn’t.

And so, in a society full of people dominated by a system, only a very select few have the courage to rebel.

These are our beloved disruptors.

Disruptors

Akane Tsunemori

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“It’s not the final judgment of “good” and “evil” that’s important. What matters is that you come to that decision yourself. That you agonize over it and eventually accept it.”

When she first starts out as an inspector for the Public Safety Bureau, Akane is portrayed as just another sheep who is dependent on Sibyl. She does not question the system and its decisions, and with her perfect stable life, why should she? Although she doesn’t always agree with Sibyl’s judgment, it has been proven time and time again that Akane has a very strong (and naive) faith in the Sibyl System.

However, there is one thing that sets Akane apart from everyone else.

Yes, she abides by Sibyl’s judgments. But unlike the rest of society, Akane has her own concept of right and wrong – a concept completely separate from her duties to the Sibyl System. And although she shouldn’t, in fear of risking everything, Akane acts on her own judgment by constantly challenging the system’s decisions throughout the anime.

By fearlessly doing what many others have been afraid to, Akane is rightly labeled as a disruptor to a system that she has full faith in.

This faith, however, is tested when Akane finds out who the real brains behind the Sybil System are and is given the the power to bring an end to the corrupt system. And using her own judgment, she chooses the decision that feels most right to her.

Wanna know what that decision is? Well, you’ll just have to watch the anime.

Shougo Makishima

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“If the system possesses the power of life and death over you… you’re no longer a human. You’re livestock. No matter how hard a rancher tries to pretend otherwise, they never recognize their livestock as friends. It’s a mystery to me… How is it that these people, treated as livestock in this boring society, have not tried at all to destroy it?”

Makishima, although the obvious “bad guy” of the first season, disrupts the Sybil System in his own way. Basically, he kills and orchestrates the deaths of lots of people.

Yeah, he’s a horrible person. But his motives aren’t so horrible.

Makishima realizes how perverse and corrupt the Sybil System is and commits equally terrible acts to expose the system’s flaws and hopefully draw out someone who will willingly stand up to Sibyl. Unfortunately, the criminals that he works with are too vain to see the bigger picture and instead kill for selfish reasons. Because none of them show the pure desire and intent to take down Sybil, he eventually sabotages and gets rid of each of them.

He’s kind of like an obsessed fanboy for revolution if you think about it.

Shinya Kogami

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“As long as I’m a detective, I can’t touch him. This case made me aware… that the law can’t protect people.”

Kogami is definitely the most obvious disruptor of the Sibyl System. Although many might not believe this, Kogami isn’t exactly the gallant hero that fans make him out to be.

Yes, he disrupts and rebels against an immoral system. But what is his true motive? I’ll tell you.

Revenge.

That’s right. Almost every rebellious action Kogami does is an act of revenge against a system that has failed him over and over again. He believes that Sibyl is incapable of effectively arbitrating justice and that he must take justice into his own hands.

But is vengeance really the answer?

Conclusion

In a city tyrannized by a corrupt system, the above characters from Psycho-Pass really emphasized the whole “disruptors” theme to me. Although they each had different backgrounds, motives, and intentions, Akane, Kogami, and Makishima can truly be credited for disrupting and protesting against a very immoral system.

And that’s it, folks! Hope you liked my first OWLS post!

Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming Disruptors posts from Takuto of Takuto’s Anime Cafe and Lita Kino from Lita Kino Anime Corner!

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40 thoughts on “The Disruption of the Sibyl System in Psycho-Pass {OWLS BLOG TOUR}

  1. Psycho-Pass is probably one of my favourite anime of all time and I’ve probably rewatched it over 10 times by now but I still feel like your post has added a perspective that I’ve never even thought about before.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Something about this post keeps making me come back to it over and over again, and as such stands out as one of my favorite OWLS post we’ve seen yet. Perhaps it’s my love for this superior, masterfully-written sci-fi thriller, or a huge surge of excellence in your writing . . . heck, I like to think it’s both! My favorite part is the way you work those clever quotes into the post to accentuate each characters’ ideals. Psycho-Pass is loaded with genius quotes, so picking out ones that would most strengthen and represent each character best is impressive. Especially with the way you talk about Sybil. This is one of your bests, Pinky, and I can’t wait to catch up on what I’ve missed out from you lately~!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pinky, good job on this tour post. I haven’t watched Psycho-Pass yet, so I can’t comment much on the plot. (It’s on my to-watch list, though.) That Sibyl System does sound horrible. I would never want my psychological tendencies to be converted into a numerical data ranking. I consider myself a creative and I think that a lot of creative people have the weirdest and most curious thoughts and thought patterns. I think that the Sibyl system would not support people like me or like us, for that matter. It’s also interesting how you included one disruptor character whose sole reason for rebelling is for revenge. Revenge is powerful motivation. On one hand, it’s a thirst for upholding justice for the wronged ones which I support depending on the situation but on the other hand, it is a weapon that hurts not only the person who did wrong but also the person seeking revenge. Great post, Pink. Thanks for writing this. I’ll move up Psycho-Pass in my to-watch list near the top. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re very welcome, Pinky! Yes, I love psychological stuff. I’m not currently watching any new anime that I haven’t watched yet, but I’ll be sure to watch Psycho Pass given the time. Thanks very much. Good job again on this post. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed the show and your post. Akane, Shougo, and Kagami were all disruptors and interesting characters. Even if you disagree with their beliefs or intentions, you can’t help but ponder on and understand what motivated them to act as they did. At least, that’s how I felt.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome post on the topic disruption. I have not seen psyhco pass makes me intrigued to check out this series. As when it was hyped up I was not that interested, seriously screwed up justice system they have reminds me of ergo proxy in a way this show, I was thinking about as I was reading your post. Good Job !! on this post !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I seriously loved this show! I always found they Kogami and the rest of his crew to be almost Sybil’s own way of disrupting her own system. I mean she is ultimately forcing them to do the things she claims not to want anyone to do. That double standard has always been very interesting to me. Nice one Pink!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t really see Kogami as a disrupter of the system. He certianly defies the system but as you said its for an entirely self-serving reason and his goal isn’t to change the system, merely to gain personal satisfaction. Even is Akane had left him alone, his actions wouldn’t have changed or disrupted the system overly much becaue his ambitions were far too narrow and personal.
    Makishima on the other hand kind of defines someone who exists to disrupt only his goals don’t exactly seem like he has anyone’s best interest at heart and really he’s rebelling without a clear view of what he’d like to see come next.
    Thanks for an interesting and thought compelling post.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Nice anime choice Pink! I never watched this anime but after reading this, I want to see it. I haven’t seen this movie but the system reminds me of Minority Report where police in the future uses technology to predict criminals and stop them. Justice is a heavy topic. I really like main character you described. She sounds really interested. Congratulations on this blog tour. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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