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12 days of anime #11 – Mr. Butcher has earned my trust [Psycho-Pass]

15.12.2014

It’s pretty clear, slice of life is a genre that I feel comfortable with, and most of the time I love watching the rose-coloured daily lives of those airheaded high schoolers in anime. So who would have thought that this certain writer could easily win my support?

This year, or the catch-up of Psycho-Pass to be more exact, marks my trust in Urobuchi’s talent as a storyteller. Sure, this guy has received a multitude of praises over the years; his Fate/Zero was thrilling, and his Puella Magi Madoka Magica proudly took the 2nd spot on my top list. But I still wanted to triple-check his ability.

That was where Psycho-Pass showed up. And gosh, this series definitely delivers.

Psycho Pass 1 - newbie Akane
I wouldn’t go as far as claiming Psycho-Pass to be the best of Urobuchi (my love goes to the Madoka series), but I really see it as a valiant attempt to create a great cyberpunk.

I can see the strengths of Urobuchi. He knows how to take good control of the whole plot, which is why the ideas in his work will make more sense afterwards and events will eventually click into place. He’s clearly aware of anime clichés, all the while navigating his way through them to write serious scripts that impress anime fans. Not to mention that with a wide knowledge, Urobuchi has a lot to offer.

My problem is, his characters are somehow lacking. They’re dead serious and completely indulged in their own ideals. For example, Sayaka’s got the concepts that, personally, I find most appealing. She’s a music lover that happens to be both a fallen hero of justice and a desperate mermaid princess. But when Sayaka appears on screen, she is this stubborn and stupid schoolgirl that just falls flat. Without the ideals, she would be just another one in a mass of bland characters. Kyouko from PMMM and Rider from Fate/Zero are exciting personalities; however, they are somehow of little importance to the story and will sooner or later be killed off before the series’ finale. Meanwhile, Homura and Kiritsugu coldly sweep away all obstacles to pursue yet a pyrrhic victory.

Tsunemori Akane, I believe, is an improved version of Urobuchi’s main characters. Like other fellow MCs, she’s still got some ideals to hold on to and demonstrates the professionalism to take responsibilities and fulfil her job. Akane vows to protect the society, but unlike Kiritsugu or Homura, she’s concerned for the individuals and won’t blindly strive for her goal by hook or by crook. This is where a lot of conflicts stem, and it also leads to how she matures as the series progresses. The thing is, besides her role in the plot, Akane is also portrayed in her daily activities and conversations. In the big picture, she’s got determination. When we look closer, she’s got habits, tastes, relationships, a fair deal of interaction with others, showing actual care instead of a deadpan face. Here is another strong, talented main character, but this time also with a varied range of facial expressions and emotions. I just can’t commend this girl enough.

Therefore, I cannot believe it: Urobuchi could actually write a relatable, friendly, kind and sweet main character. He did mess with her, of course, by bringing up the Makishima incident in episode 11. But ever since the scream in said episode, her character’s constantly developed into a mature badass police inspector. Unarguably my favourite female character of the year.

It’s weird, but I like Urobuchi Gen.

Just look what he’s done to my moe Akane.

Psycho Pass 11 - Akane arc

…Please keep up the good work, Mr. Butcher.

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