Season 1 and Season 2 continue to diverge in their structure and focus of narrative function. If Psycho Pass was an investigation into the nature of the Sybil System and its inherent flaws – the prioritization of biological motive over mental fortitude and situational consequences – then Psycho Pass 2 is about the power of wielding the truth. It begs the question, “If you can’t overturn a system from the outside, how do you combat it from within?”
Let’s talk about the power of knowledge a bit. Akane is the only character we’ve seen so far who knows about the Sybil System and how it runs. While bound by the fact that the Sybil System indeed does construct a prison for humanity and scours any signs of chaos to prevent destabilization, she also wields the truth as a weapon, ensuring her own safety (see Episode 22 , Season 1). Psycho Pass 2 takes that a step further as we watch Akane try to balance her own life philosophy – taking into consideration that people are capable of overcoming their inner demons – and Sybil’s philosophy, which rules every person as a latent criminal and condemns them when their Psycho Pass proves that they are not innocent. To Sybil, human are ticking bombs. To Akane, they are complex creatures capable of making better and constructive choices. It clearly shows us the difference of knowledge held by a human being and by a system of numbers and calculations.
This seems to also however, be the focus of Kamui, who sincerely believes that every human being has the potential to possess a clear Psycho Pass, hence the abbreviation WC, which stands for White Color. As mentioned in the previous post, Kamui takes advantage of the blindness and dependency of technology whereas Akane uses it with constraint and fear, knowing full well what the Sybil System is capable of. This makes the battle between Kamui and Akane personal, whereas Makishima was a direct foil to Kogami as both characters seem to be working to achieve the same thing, albeit different ways. The only unknown factor is what Kamui knows – is he aware of how Sybil works, or is he just condemning it for its inequality and is attempting to blatantly show its faults through deceit?
Akane takes advantage of her knowledge and uses it to the best of her ability, which is what makes her a good detective. She checks the background of each of her Enforcers and thus places them in a comfort zone where they can perform to the best of their ability. This is in contrast to Mika, who relies on her knowledge but not her own knowledge – she instead, strictly abides by what she’s been taught rather than reaching out with her own eyes to intuitively seek what is around her. This is the difference in quality between Akane and Mika as well as the other detectives in Division 2, whose knowledge is constrained by their dependency in technology. While this ignorance is a bliss in some aspects, it consistently hinders their ability to question outside the boundaries of what the Sybil System is capable of. Akane’s knowledge is both a gift and curse in this aspect; with it, she can make more informed decisions and rely on her own intuition rather than on a safety net, but at the same time, her increased awareness also risks stress.
This brings us to the placebo effect that both the Sybil System and Kamui’s strategy, which lures us into a false sense of comfort. For the Sybil System, knowledge is both denied and distorted as to give the general population the idea that they are safe. Its propaganda is enforced by the idea that technology is failsafe – a concept even the investigators hold as they rely on Sybil’s eyes as knowledge alone. Kamui however, seeks to break down that perception by creating his own placebo effect, through the use of the drug LACOUSE that allows people to lower their Psycho Pass when committing criminal acts. It obviously does not stabilize their mentally or make them healthy, but it does deceive Sybil’s eyes, just as his Holo image did. What then, is the point? Kamui is not actually helping people get better, so his efforts seem contradictory in nature. This has yet to be answered, but we can guess that Kamui’s desire to either abolish or manipulate the Psycho Pass system has to do with it and Kamui may be an extreme idealist who believes in the best of humanity, whereas Makishima believed in the worst.
His actions, however, unlike Makishima’s in the first season, do not deceive us. As an audience, we are bestowed (that is, if we have seen season 1) with the knowledge of what Sybil is and what it can do. Our eyes are Akane’s eyes, which can reflected in the direction these past two episodes, which allows us to watch Kamui’s efforts to bring down the Sybil system. We are allowed to understand that Kamui is up to something, but we know neither who he really is, what he seeks to do, and the full details of how he accomplishes his plans. Psycho Pass 2 thus plays with us as much as it plays with its characters – to what end however, remains to be seen.