Psycho-Pass – Masterpiece Territory: Return Of The Psychotic Prince

This episode was the one that grabbed me the first time I watched Psycho-Pass. Rikako is a fantastic supporting character but it’s again that build up to Makishima’s final reveal in episode 11 that is so interesting. It really starts here, we more so see what Makishima is not than what he is, namely he is not like Rikako. Let’s just get into it.

Episode 6 – Return Of The Psychotic Prince

That title. Psychotic. Not psycho but psychotic. Other translations have it as lunatic but it implies the same thing, that Makishima is insane. Now do they mean this literally or figuratively? Now I talked to my mother about this (a psychiatrist), people with narcissistic personality orders can have episodes of psychosis to cope with anything that might not concur with their own narcissistic tendencies (EG if they lost a card game they might construct a version of events where they win or some external factor caused their loss). Now because this isn’t sustained it can’t be considered full blown psychosis. This is the only way in which I can see (so far) that he might be psychotic. I’ll come back to this if I find anything to note about it.

Kogami wakes up after a nightmare covered in sweat. We can see how not being shut down like he was in episode 1 affects him, he has to deal with what happened to Sasayama, his enforcer. We can see how his indirect encounter with Makishima has twisted him. Also Kogami is not seen to be smoking in the photo with Sasayama here. Sasayama is and Kogami smokes while looking at it, an nod to how he is now an enforcer. Also, and I can’t exactly verify this but in Sasayam’s files I found out that Sasayama is either 3 or 4 years older than Kogami was. If it’s 3 then Sasayama was 28 when he died, the same age Kogami is now. Was this intentional? I’d say so but I can’t be sure. Makishima seems to be enamored with those who can find him not those he finds, Sasayama was able to find him and we know from a spin off novel that Makishima personally disembowels him instead of leaving it to Touma who was commiting the Specimen murders. I think this is indicitive of Makishima constantly trying to search for someone who can give him the justification he desires. The system won’t offer it to him so he must find someone able to, enforcers who exist somewhat outside the system Sasayama ultimately fails because he loses to Makishima but Kogami does end up being that person. Makishima is like a child destroying things because it’s parents won’t give them attention. Another point that I’m going to add to this section retrospectively, Kogami is created in his current state by Makishima killing a friend of his. He will later kill Akane’s friend Yuki in front of her eyes but the same thing does not happen to her. She becomes more resolute. This is what makes her so strong, especially when she learns from Kogami. SHe can do what he does whilst still remaining in SIBYL’s favor which will put her in a unique position towards the end of the series (and season 2 but we don’t talk about season 2)

To me the MWPSB always seems like a nuisance to SIBYL. They’d much rather strap dominators to robots and let them run around but that would run the risk of people not trusting in the sytem, which is vital in making it work.  This is why SIBYL seems to try it’s utmost to keep it’s inspectors down like when Chief Kasei mentions to Ginoza that he should be careful not to make the same mistake as his father (Masaoka). Constantly reminding the inspectors who deal with a stressful job to manage their Psycho-Pass keeps them form doing their job properly, like Ginoza doesn’t at the start of the show.

We hear of Rikako before we see her, talking to a student via text. She mentions how she prefers Shakespears tragedies over his comedies. Not only does this let us know over her cruel artistic side but it is a very early hint about the circumstances of her death. So I think it’s safe to say Kogami is able to profile the criminals in the series because he thinks like Makishima, in fact he will later on in the series talk as Makishima to Saiga to profile him. So how does Kogami find out Rikako was a different killer than the one from the original specimen case? He says that Rikako’s art lacked a sense of humor that Touma’s possessed, that it lacked originality. This is why Makishima is disappointing in her and why he’s happy to kill her when he finds Kogami as an ample replacement.

Kagari’s room in shown to us next. It should be noted that this room is designed to show how much he hates SIBYL and how it restricted his freedom. It’s all vibrant bright colours, filled with retro games and such. He cooks “real” food and has “real” alcohol, clearly because he dislikes SIBYL or more accurately how it might try to deprive him of such things. Important note, Akane laughs when Kagari asks her if she’s in love with Kogami. This is an early indication that, just because they are the male and female lead it does not mean that is ultimately going to be the nature of their relationship. It’s not what Psycho-Pass is about and having that happen would seem disingenuous to the show’s themes. When Kagari says he might talk if she drinks with him, Akane actually accepts. This is odd as in episode 5 Kogami mentions that alcohol is something Akane can enjoy “when she turns 20”. This means, barring her turning 20 in the interval (possible due to the Mandatory Happiness game taking place between this episode and episode 5 which means we know time has passed) then she’s drinking underage. This means A: that the show allows this to happen and I appreciate that given the amount of Anime that won’t acknowledge these things happen and B: that she’s willing to bend to rules for and in front of her subordinates something someone like Ginoza would never do. Also Akane easily downs the drink and holds it very well (especially compared to Kagari), echoing that theme that she is a lot more capable than she may seem. She’s an inspector for a reason.

We get a scene with Akane out with her friends. She talks about how it seems like Kogami was once exactly like her, in terms of their inspector roles and is then surprised when Yuki suggests that they might have similarities. This goes along with that Akane-Kogami and Kogami-Makishima dynamic. Each dynamic contains two people that are very alike, yet the better of the two never wants to admit it. Akane doesn’t want to admit that she’s like Kogami at first even when he clearly recognizes it from early on. Similarly Makishima recognizes how Kogami is like him even though Kogami does not want to admit that. Individuality is important, that’s what this gets across.

So I said it earlier, that Rikako was not like Makishima. Well it’s not 100% true. She does posses certain similarities to him, just not the ones he wants her to. We see the charisma she posses in a scene with Mika, where she is adorned like a celebrity by the school’s populace. The only one who sees through this is Mika (which makes her portrayal in season 2 confusing but then again season 2 doesn’t exist). She posses a desire to kill as well, enabled by Makishima true but that desire was innate within her. So what does she not offer Makishima? We see that out of all of those he plays with, the people who he has the most fun with are the ones he cannot control, Sasayama and Kogami. Those that think like him are able to challenge him. Choe gets to stick around because his hacking skills are unrivaled, Senguji because his funds back Makishima’s plans. But every other pawn Makishima cultivates is quickly dropped when a better option presents itself or they naturally run their course. When they stop entertaining Makishima they are disposable. To Makishima Rikako’s reasons for killing do not interest him (we will see this in episode 8) and as such when Kogami comes along she will be killed. She doesn’t offer Makishima the entertainment he seeks.

To further examine Rikako, we find out that her desire as an artist is to “preserve” the beauty of those she kills. She takes those who have turbulent lives and thus cloudy Psycho-Pass’ (Like Yoshika, the girl who was being harassed by her step-father), offered them reprieve by comforting them and then killing them, as to capture that moment in time. We will see that most of her artworks will have her victims with a content expression on them. Rikako seems to see this as a way of freeing these girls from their own pain whilst flexing her murderous muscles. This is a big thing that seperates her from Makishima and the criminally asymptomatic. She possesses a very twisted form of empathy.

I find it funny, while Rikako talks to Yoshika about her favorite Shakespearian play, in which Lavinia is killed by her father, comparing Yoshika to Lavinia it’s obvious that this is also a metaphor for Rikako getting killed by her mentor Makishima. Another thing you only catch the second time around.

Finally to close it out we have a scene in which Kogami mentions that Makishima had no motive in helping Mido, Touma and the others, that the people he helped were the ones with the motive. Makishima has no motives people! He just wants to watch the world burn. (There are a lot of Joker comparisons to be drawn with Makishima actually)

That finishes Episode 6. I was very sick this week, throwing up left,right and center. I couldn’t even watch anime it was so bad! But I’m feeling good enough to write again so hopefully things are back on track from now on. This episode breakdown was long enough on it’s own so I thought that I’d give it it’s own post, otherwise you might’ve been staring down a 5,000 word, 3 episode long breakdown of the Rikako arc. Would you prefer longer arc by arc breakdowns? Or should I break it up into episodes when I see fit? Let me know.

Thanks for reading,

Psychime

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4 Comments

  1. I won’t mind however you end up breaking up your thoughts.
    This particular arc was one of my favourites because I think it is where Makashima stopped being so much an enigma and his true nature (as someone who really is just playing with people) started emerging. Prior to this arc you could try to justify his actions or possibly see some sort of reason, but this arc makes it very clear he has no interest in anything outside of his own amusement – which is interesting because the focus isn’t on him yet but his interactions with Rikako more or less confirm it.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pretty much my sentiments exactly on the arc. I find it fascinating how well the entire first half of the show serves as a build up to Makishima’s “full unmasking” if you will, though Rikako was one of my favorite subvillains. I’ve found it a bit perplexing how some people have seemed to think Makishima is righteous and not entirely self serving, almost like the viewers get sucked in by his charisma like Rikako, Mido etc. do. I’ve an article for that planned though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think he’s just an interesting villain because at least he isn’t the cape swirling cackler that we are used to. He’s educated, sophisticated, well planned and organised. It leads people to think that being educated must be on par with some sort of defendable motive even if the motive is never made clear. While I loved Makishima’s taste in literature and some of his statements were marvellously phrased to avoid commitment to any particular ideology, he really doesn’t have any grand plan for reforming the broken society. He just feels neglected by it and so has decided to find his own fun even if that involves bringing it all down.

        Liked by 1 person

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