We’re here. We’re finally here. The Senguji arc. This arc contain my favorite episode of the show, episode 11 and I’m really exited to watch it again with the analytical lens I have been viewing the series through during this rewatch.
Why? Because I’ve been finding so much in the details. By extrapolating from 1 off comments by people in the show we can see how deep the writers have thought in constructing the world and characters. I’m actually somewhat surprised to not have found any inconsistencies or plot holes so far. Maybe I’m just missing them but I was expecting to find at least a few.
Anyway onto the episode proper.
We actually begin this episode with Division 1 still in Oso Academy. Akane tells Kogami that with Rikako on the wanted list that she’ll be captured soon. Kogami’s only response is that “she’ll disappear”. If you’ve been following this series you should know the drill here, Kogami knows that Makishima will kill Rikako because of their aligned mindsets.
After this Ginoza takes Kogami aside and actually apologizes to Kogami for doubting his Makishima theory. Kogami says to him “if you took everything your enforcers said seriously you wouldn’t be a good inspector”. Maybe I’m just too much of a cynic but this seems like a sly half truth on Kogami’s part. What makes Ginoza a good inspector to SIBYL makes him a bad one in Kogami’s eyes (Akane will later ask him whether solving crimes or maintaining his Psycho-Pass is his priority, echoing this sentiment). Kogami also tells Ginoza that he can smell his prey and he feels the best he has in a while. The smile on his face here is reminiscent of Makishima’s whenever Kogami is mentioned. They both love the hunt.
Then we have Akane trying on outfits in preparation for bringing Kogami to see Saiga. Her personal AI assistant asks if she’s going on a date and she tells it to delete it’s memory. It’s a cool way of showing how the inhabitants of the world are so linked to technology but have a degree of control over how linked they are. It also makes Akane’s physical attraction to Kogami clear whilst stressing the fact that it’s not romantic interest, at least that’s how I interpret it.
She watches the “recommended” video whilst she eats breakfast which is an interview with Senguji about cyberizing ones body. He brings up some interesting points about how the reporter in front of him is basically half cyborg because of how integrated she is with technology, the real life comparison here should be obvious. The cyberization question is interesting but not too touched upon, probably because that’s Ghost in The Shell’s shtick. It’s really more a question of what immortality is to any given person. At it’s most basic it’s the continued existence of ones thoughts and ideas over time. To Senguji that means that his body is of no consequence, why would he stay in one so frail when he can just take his memories to a metal one? For Makishima it’s why he won’t join SIBYL, when his thoughts get diluted it ceases to be immortality for him and becomes such a thing for an entirely new consciousness. By leaving a mark instead on other people his ideas will stay in the world a lot longer through those people’s continued survival. Kogami himself says he wouldn’t want to be immortal because being a latent criminal forever didn’t sit well with him. He has different goals than Makishima even if their way of thinking is similar.
There is a real question this brings up to in regards to Sibyl though. Does the SIBYL system have a turnover rate? Let me explain. The reporter says that human brains can only live up to 150 years and (from my recollection) there’s no suggestion SIBYL has a way of overcoming this. It’s a collective of brains so in theory it has an expiry date. It would explain why they’re so desperate to collect Makishima. When SIBYL started they must’ve rounded up every suitable candidate know to them to create it. By inferring from Masaoka’s comments about the system being introduced during Ginoza’s youth we can tell that SIBYL hasn’t been in place for longer than 25 years. Being that you need the members to be capable of critical thinking all your brains would have to come from people over the age of 18 probably early twenties at the youngest. So if they round up all the brains they can they will have plenty of old brains being that people live quite long in Japan. 25 years on and some of these brains are reaching their end. And it’s not like they can just go out and replace them. They can’t find these people under normal circumstances to start and even if they had a way of identifying them these suitable people are not born all that frequently. So when they find Makishima they are willing to do whatever it takes to get him to ensure their continued survival. I don’t know if this is true, maybe they do have a way of keeping the brains alive but if they don’t then it’s a very interesting aspect of the SIBYL system.
When Akane comes to collect Kogami he complains about the drone beside him harassing him when he tried to smoke. We see this constantly, since SIBYL is so young it’s still trying to shape soceity and it does so by allowing these pseudo freedoms. You can buy ciggarettes but you’re actively condemned for smoking, you can choose what to watch and eat but you are told what the recommend video or meal is to ingest in either case. When the current generation begins to accept these things kids who grow up without knowing a time before SIBYL will have it ingrained in them and SIBYL will be strengthened even further.
We arrive at Saiga’s house slightly outside of Tokyo. If you pay attention you’ll notice a campsite just before we get to his house, probably people who would be latent criminals who left Tokyo when SIBYL came in. Saiga offers coffee and when his offer is taken up he says “good ’cause coffee’s all I got”. He’s probably growing all his own food because he doesn’t want to get caught by anything that could report him to SIBYL. Now as soon as Akane sits down Saiga takes one look at her and has her all figured out down to the fact she can’t swim. Look, I’m all for someone who’s perceptive but this is a bit much. Don’t get me wrong I like Saiga as a character, especially when he gets to profiling with Kogami but what he did simply is not possible in the way it’s shown. I can tell you because I do this a lot. Both my parents are psychiatrists so I have a habit of trying to figure people out as soon as I meet them. It involves a lot of extrapolation and guess work. I’m usually fairly accurate in my assessment but I’m never 100% so. And obviously I could never tell someone can’t swim just by looking at them. I wish they’d toned this down slightly and made it more obvious how Saiga may have goaded her in to revealing answers by asking leading questions. For instance when he starts talking about how “either [her] grandmother or grandfather….[must have been close to her]” he can probably tell which one by the way her facial expression changed at the mention of them individually. This is my first real criticism of the show so far but it’s not anything major and can be easily forgotten.
Kogami asks Saiga for a list of his past students (and to teach Akane) because he thinks Makishima may have learned under him. I don’t even feel like I have to explain this further but I will anyway, Kogami assumes that the guy who thought him how to think (in certain aspects) also thought Makishima, they’re very alike. The conversation the two have about Makishima is fascinating. Firstly, Kogami describes Makishima as being like “a music conductor” when it comes to crime which fits into my idea of Makishima as a repressed artist. He talks about how Makishima doesn’t kill with his own hand (that’ll be important in episode 11) and how he uses his charisma to lure people to him. Saiga asks Kogami what charisma is and when he is not satisfied with Kogami’s answer he defines it himself. Crucially he’ll say that charismatic people have the “nature of a hero or prophet” and Kogami will agree with this saying Makishima has all three of the things Saiga lists as criteria in spades. The nature of a hero or prophet, not that he actually is one, he’s much more of a false prophet spreading messages to those he wants to use without believing in them himself.
On the way back from Saiga’s Kogami will tell Akane the reason Saiga lives out by himself, because his lectures clouded the Psycho-Passes of most he thought. This strengthens the link between Akane and Kogami, we know that Kogami must have been able to learn from Saiga and keep his Psycho-Pass clear, there’s no way he got out to meet him as an enforcer. And likewise Akane is able to do so and keep a healty mind. She’s actually even greater than Kogami was as a detective in this regard, Kogami will give her an analogy about diving into a murky swamp to see the bottom and whether or not one is able to resurface in relation to Saiga’s teaching. Akane says that Kogami seems like the type of person who could reach the bottom and still resurface and he says that he’s not so sure “Sibyl has decided I can’t come back”. This is because at the bottom of that swamp is Makishima’s mindset, when he came face to face with it it tainted him, he wasn’t able to resurface after that. This is why Akane is greater, when Makishima kills Yuki in front of her she is able to resurface even after going through it again to get a clear image of Makishima for the MWPSB.
Then we get a quick scene with Senguji and Makishima. Senguji is smoking a pipe made out of Rikako’s bones which is pretty morbid or in his words “stimulating”. He talks about how humans are the hardest, and thus most rewarding, species to hunt and he does so as he believes it keeps his mind active and alive. Makishima lets him know that his next prey (Kogami) will be particularly stimulating. I’m convinced that Senguji probably funds Makishima’s deeds as Makishima is able to sniff out prey such as Kogami for him. He had to have funds to build all those helmets from the second half of the season, they probably came from Senguji.
Back to division 1 and Ginoza gives out to Kogami for bringing Akane to see Saiga. Akane stands up to him and poses the question I mentioned earlier about Ginoza’s priorities. Akane then goes to file a complaint about his behavior before Masaoka stops her showing some parental concern. He tells Akane about Ginoza’s situation and how he felt betrayed by his father (who we will later learn is Masaoka) and Kogami. On the rewatch this not only helps Akane understand but gives us insight into how Masaoka seems content with Ginoza treating him the way he does. He understands what his son has gone through and maybe he feels guilty for putting work ahead of family and letting it turn him into a latent criminal. He will say that the more involved inspectors get with their cases the more it turns them into latent criminals like the inspectors and criminals are two sides of the same coin. This is where my belief that Kogami was not being entirely starlight with Ginoza earlier comes from. The better an inspector you are the less you are able to do your job because SIBYL will make you an enforcer. He also tells Akane that Kogami “may be oblivious to everything other than Makishima” now that he’s become an enforcer. He’s seen how Makishima changed him.
And finally we end with another scene of Makishima and Senguji. He tells Makishima that he will kill Kogami if he can and asks him if that’s really OK to which Makishima says of course. I think Makishima sees Senguji as a test Kogami must pass in order to get to him. Senguji mentions that Makishima smiles at the mention of Kogami’s name which of course makes him smile. This episode opens with Kogami smiling at the thought of capturing Makishima and ends with Makishima smiling at a very similar notion. Parallels parallels parallels.
I don’t even have the strength for conclusions after this one, just know that the next one will be long. It’s my favorite 2 episode stretch in the series culminating in my favorite episode. Get ready.
Thanks for reading,