Psycho-Pass – Masterpiece Territory: And Then, Silence

Today we finish the Rikako arc. It truly brings a tear to my eye but we must venture forth.

We begin with what is probably the best scene of this arc and one of Psycho-Pass’ best scenes overall. We have Rikako and Makishima conversing in the art room. They of course talk about the new police presence at the academy but the intriguing part of it is when they get to talking about artistic motive.

Makishima asks why Rikako chooses only victims from this academy and she responds with a long explanation about the Ousou Academy teaching methids. She describes how the academy instills virtues into it’s students befitting of a good wife, that it turns them into the artwork that is “the lady” without even considering the numerous other ways any of them could blossom (for example Mika will become an MWPSB detective). Like I’ve said before Rikako has this twisted sense of empathy, she wants to preserve her victims in a permanent state of joy before they have to lead the “boring” lives they are being set up for. Throughout this conversation Makishima is fairly visibly bored (as opposed to how excited he looks after finding out about Kogami) describing Rikako’s motivation as “an interesting perspective”. We already know what he’s thinking thanks to Kogami from earlier: “This is to boring”. Remember how Kogami figured out that the current killer wasn’t Touma because the new works lacked a sense of perverse humor? Well that’s exactly what Makishima is thinking now, her motivations are this and revenge, neither of which are particularly appealing to Makishima. On top of that he’s seen this exact nature of crime before. It would be one thing if she was killing in a brand new way (like Yellow-Green perhaps) but Makishima has already seen this done better by Touma. He probably only sees potential in Rikako’s youth at this stage, being that she’s 18, hoping that she becomes something great (she won’t though because she’ll be too dead to do so).

Another interesting characteristic of Makishima’s is shown here, his hands off approach with his proteges. It’s funny for someone who invests so much time in the likes of Rikako and Mido he never actually gives them any advice, never tries to shape them other than to unlock their murderous potential. It’s pretty obvious why, he prizes individuality above all else, creating an army of people like him is not interesting to him because he already is himself. It occurs to me now that maybe this is part of the reason he wants to kill Kogami, that two people like them can’t coexist. So why is Kogami more interesting to him than others? Well because he’s on the other side and thus is liable to pose a challenge to Makishima. If he was to shape one of his subordinates into his own image, it wold be a waste of time because they would be on his side. Kogami is just different enough to pose a threat. Also note how he mentors Akane, something Shogo would never do.

We have Akane bringing Kogami to a facility containg people with crime coefficents over 300 (the number after which they are liable to be executed). The very fact that this place exists is interesting. Given Masaoka’s age and the fact he was working before SIBYL came to be the show must be set in the late transitional period between old Japan and SIBYL. SIBYL is well established but many relics of the old society remain like this facility. It’s an incredibly important component of the series that isn’t really directly addressed. Most of the things that happen are only able to happen because we are within the time period where SIBYL is young enough that people remember what it was like before.

Then we meet Koichi Ashikaga, an art former art dealer whom resides in this facility. His design is so striking for a character we only see once, his full body is tattooed to look like he is skinless, illustrations muscles and bones adorn his body. He tells the two of Roichi Oryo’s works which leads them to Rikako. Two interesting things as well though, firstly he notes that back in his day people would have archived art deemed “dangerous” online. Even though it seemed the online community was less restricted in the Mido arc this would suggest it is in fact being policed thoroughly enough, that SIBYL allows those communities to exist online (also when we see Saiga go on the deep web later but that’s for another episode).  Also (I mentioned this before) the piece by Roichi he shows them is called “my daughter”.

So here’s something interesting and funny I found while looking for Koichi’s full name. I’m going to be quoting the Psycho-Pass wiki, enjoy:

  • In the novel, when Kogami and Tsunemori go together to visit Ashikaga, he informs them that he’s into bestiality and asks Kogami to sleep with him. Kogami replies, “Next time” and leaves without a change in expression.

After this Kogami goes charging into academy and straight towards Rikako not stopping at Ginoza’s behest leaving Akane to explain why. He’s on the hunt, he’s caught Makishima’s scent and he’s not letting it slip away. He marches to the art room and pulls the dominator on Rikako who’s crime coefficent is a season 1 high 472. The principle tackles Kogami to stop him shooting Rikako and she uses this opportunity to flee. When the principle is restrained and questions how this could be done to a student Masaoka replies “we haven’t had juvenile law in years”. Think of Kagari here, he was deemed to have no chance of rehabilitation as a child. Then we get a scene where Ginoza is asking Kogami about his actions and he straight up doesn’t seem to be paying attention. He’s looking at security camera footage to find Rikako and again Akane answers on his behalf.

After this and after Division 1 locate Rikako’s final art piece we get Makishima in the teachers lounge watching Kogami on security camera footage. He has a smile on his face as he deletes the footage of the art room camera to throw Kogami off. I’m fairly convinced that the one piece of audio that Kogami is able to recover was left there intentionally by Makishima to keep Kogami on the trail as the audio recovered mentions Makishima by name.

Quickly let’s talk about Mika. After finding out the friend she told to go to Rikako has been killed she says to Kunizika that she basically killed her herself. Kunizika offers no response other than telling her to “cry while [she] can” lest her Psycho-Pass become cloudy. This is an interesting insight into how death must be handled in the universe of Psycho-Pass. Basically you get over your grief quickly or you risk falling out of favor with society. Harsh.

Then we have Rikako walking through the same arena we will later see Kogami be hunted in, thinking she’s making a safe escape from the academy. She then gets a a call from Makishima who asks her if she knows how she’s dissapointed him. He then begins quoting some classical play which I have not read, so I don’t want to comment on what it means in this context. I’m sorry please forgive me. We then have Rikako being hunted by Senguji’s robotic dogs and gets caught in a bear trap. OK so here’s something, with her leg caught in the trap and her phone out of service range she attempts to call her deceased father. I don’t have an explanation for this that I’m confident enough in to stand by. We assume she’s delirious with pain, perhaps she wants to call him to apologize? I don’t know. If anyone has a theory for this please let me know.

Her attempts are cut short when one of the dogs slices her hand into pieces in one of the more wince inducing scenes in the series and that’s saying something. Senguji comes down to kill her off and Rikako tells him that Makishima will get rid of him as soon as he finds someone more interesting. I’ve mentioned this in my very first post but it’s like in her dying moments she sees Makishima for exactly what he is, a true sadistic psychopath. She sees that he has no interest in doing things like mentoring her and only wants to amuse himself. He tells her not to worry, he says “I’m one of the players who enjoys the entertainment”. He calls himself a player which is still below the director that is Makishima.

And then finally we have Makishima asking Choe to gather info on “the new toy” he’s found, Kogami, reffering to him as “the man from the MWPSB”. Crucially it seems he had no knowledge of Kogami before this, it was Kogami who found him first, because he thinks just like him. Makishima will pretty much say this. “His insight and ability to grasp, I get the feeling this will be interesting” is what he says to Choe about him. Insight and the ability to grasp, two things very much characterizing both Kogami and Makishima.

That concludes the Rikako arc, next up is the Senguji arc which includes my favorite episode of Psycho-Pass, episode 11. You can expect an awful lot to be written about that one.

Thanks for reading,

Psychime

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. It certainly was a defining moment seeing exactly why Makishima disposed of Rikako and that moment of clarity she had right before she finally dies. I mentioned before that I really loved this part of the story and it really is interesting looking at the characters and the society as they interact during this part of the story. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

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