Psycho-Pass Season 1 Episodes 19 and 20 Liveblog Chat Thingy!

How to participate in the liveblog chat:  Option 1: Whenever you watch the episode, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting! Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! We’ll be watching Psycho-Pass and commenting there starting at 2:00 p.m. EST.

I’ll update this post with the log after the chat.

ETA: Chatlog after the cut!

Episode 19

[14:02] <Sylocat> When we last left off, Kogami had been unofficially authorized to go rogue
[14:02] <Arrlaari> That plan failed, Kogami is doing this on his own
[14:03] <mere_oblivion> That’s such a wonderfully self-contradictory phrase (“unofficially authorized to go rogue”)
[14:03] <Arrlaari> Left a letter basically saying “hey, next time you see me you’ll have to shoot me dead and you probably should. Sorry.”
01[14:04] <Froborr> Speaking as someone who lives near and works with quite a few federal employees, there’s been a lot of that going on IRL lately.
[14:04] <Sylocat> Ah, right
01[14:04] <Froborr> (“Unofficial authorizations to go rogue” I mean.)
[14:04] <Sylocat> I bet there is a lot of that
[14:04] <Arrlaari> Both for good or ill – ICE and CPS are on the loose
[14:04] <mere_oblivion> Oh, good. I was afraid you meant “next time you see me, shoot me dead,” Froborr.
[14:04] <Sylocat> Anyone have ads? I’m paused at end of OP
[14:05] <Arrlaari> ad
[14:05] <Sylocat> Paused at 2:20
01[14:05] <Froborr> Also paused.
[14:05] <Arrlaari> paused after ads
[14:05] <Sylocat> Okay…
[14:05] <Sylocat> Click
[14:06] <Sylocat> Kogami was his partner?
01[14:07] <Froborr> Parent/child partner team seems like a bad idea.
01[14:07] <Froborr> Oh, wait, no, duh. He’s talking about Kogami, not his dad.
[14:10] <Arrlaari> ad
[14:11] <Sylocat> I wonder what the spinning discs on the screen represent
[14:11] <Sylocat> Paused at 7:07
[14:11] <Sylocat> The letters below the discs made it look like a cipher wheel
[14:12] <Arrlaari> This liquor brand is the only buyer in my ad market
[14:12] <Arrlaari> and they are not running more than one ad
01[14:12] <Froborr> It might be some kind of decryption thing, or a very complex version of one of those circular personality graphs.
[14:13] <Arrlaari> Paused after ad
[14:13] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[14:13] <Sylocat> Click
[14:13] <Sylocat> It wouldn’t be a cop show without shots of coffee
[14:14] <Sylocat> “So you think he’s going to do something more?” That’s basically a rhetorical question at this point
01[14:15] <Froborr> Hey, a work of fiction describing anarchism accurately!
01[14:15] <Froborr> Rare.
[14:15] <Sylocat> Indeed!
[14:16] <Sylocat> So they’ve figured out that Sibyl made Makishima an offer?
[14:17] <Sylocat> Hahahah
01[14:17] <Froborr> Oh, I am LOVING this!
[14:17] <Sylocat> Some nice meta-gags there
[14:18] <Sylocat> He can control his Psycho-Pass? I thought it was just always white no matter what he did
[14:19] <mere_oblivion> Good question.
[14:19] <Arrlaari> ad
[14:19] <Arrlaari> And: Makishima is waiting in that same building, because he returned to his old teacher
[14:19] <mere_oblivion> If he can control it, he reminds me a little of Killgrave, including the sense of alientation from others and from himself (in that he wishes he didn’t have this special power)
[14:19] <Sylocat> Paused at 12:37
[14:20] <Sylocat> (in that he *claims* he wishes he didn’t have this power, and that’s a very suspect claim)
[14:20] <mere_oblivion> True dat.
[14:21] <Arrlaari> Paused after ad
[14:21] <Sylocat> Okay…
[14:21] <Sylocat> Click
[14:22] <Sylocat> I wonder what defying an unjust law or corrupt authority does to one’s Crime Coefficient
01[14:24] <Froborr> Given that authority decided how to calculate a crime coefficient, I imagine any defiance of authority would raise it.
[14:25] <Arrlaari> Aw, I was wrong, it’s just a lead
[14:25] <Sylocat> Is that supposed to be 4chan, or…?
[14:25] <Sylocat> Oh, that’s clever
[14:26] <Sylocat> That was a great exchange. “They all look like stupid jokes.” “Then find the joke you think is funniest.”
01[14:28] <Froborr> Oh, interesting. This is a real problem–the overwhelming majority of the calories consumed by humanity come from just four species of plant.
[14:28] <Sylocat> Yeah… nice commentary there
[14:28] <Arrlaari> Huh, the bubble policy returns
[14:30] <mere_oblivion> “The truth about everything”?!?
01[14:31] <Froborr> Hmm, is that the surprising consensus Sibyl reached, or the current occupant nof the chief rebelling against that consensus?
[14:31] <Arrlaari> Very likely this “truth” will be a crafted fiction
[14:31] <Sylocat> Huh. Interesting that they put two “breather” episodes in such close proximity
01[14:31] <Froborr> Also, bonus points if the truth about everything involves several days of laughing about frogs.
[14:31] <Arrlaari> Crucially, it will not divulge the cyborg collective, but will instead claim Sybil is an entirely synthetic strong AI
[14:32] <Arrlaari> Also: IIRC the English language website 4chan is a direct derivative of the Japanese language website 2chan
01[14:33] <Froborr> Yes, though very different culturally as 2chan was never the target of an infiltration operation by Stormfront.
[14:34] <mere_oblivion> Will the truth about everything include how to make the perfect cheesecake?
[14:34] <Sylocat> Remind me to try that Japanese cheesecake recipe at some point
[14:34] <Arrlaari> The only thing I ever read about 2ch culture had to do with observing a connection between anime fan culture and right wing (especially xenophobic) politics. However, that article focused on a different website
01[14:35] <Froborr> I think it might be more philosophical, like “There is no perfect cheesecake, only the cheesecake which is perfect for you. And here’s the recipe.”
[14:35] <mere_oblivion> Excellent!
[14:35] <Sylocat> Perfect.
01[14:35] <Froborr> Oh yeah, don’t get me wrong, fandom is The Worst in every culture. It’s a universal.
01[14:37] <Froborr> I really don’t understand how people like Jenkins and Galbraith do it–how can one study fandoms for years upon years and NOT develop a searing hatred for them?
[14:37] <Sylocat> Jenkins and Galbraith?
[14:37] <Arrlaari> I only recognize the name Galbraith in the context of US foreign policy
01[14:38] <Froborr> Henry Jenkins is one of the founders of the discipline of fandom studies, he’s been doing it since the 90s.
[14:38] <Arrlaari> I don’t remember exactly who he was, but my impression was that he was on the left side of US foreign policy consensus, which itself is quite a ways to the right
[14:38] <Arrlaari> I doubt that same dude studied fandom
01[14:38] <Froborr> Patrick (I think?) Galbraith studies anime fandom specifically.
[14:39] <Sylocat> Ah, according to Google, Patrick Galbraith wrote a book on… what Froborr said
[14:40] <Arrlaari> At this point, I fear I must concede that my longstanding guess that Makishima was personally known to profiling teacher was incorrect.
[14:40] <mere_oblivion> Fwiw, it always made sense to me.
01[14:41] <Froborr> *nods* It’s seeming that way, yeah. Unless the teacher is up to something.
01[14:42] <Froborr> This is the conspiracy genre, after all–the all-devouring black hole of narrative. I’m sure you can find a way in which the teacher’s behavior not only doesn’t disprove your guess, it actually confirms it.
[14:42] <Sylocat> Heheh… indeed
[14:42] <Arrlaari> So, this episode revealed something very substantial about Japan under sybil: The city and the nation are identical (resolves some curious elements of Makishima and Choe’s dialog) and Sybil fully isolated in order to secure control
01[14:43] <Froborr> Yeah. It’s a little strange seeing as we’ve definitely seen some non-urban environments (the factory way back when, for example), but maybe it’s more of a city-state type arrangement.
[14:44] <mere_oblivion> And we saw lots of farmland in the montage about potential agricultural disaster.
01[14:44] <Froborr> And they mentioned there’s a ban on importing food.
01[14:44] <Froborr> So yeah, there must be rural areas.
[14:44] <Arrlaari> The rural areas are fully automated, no people live out there
01[14:44] <Froborr> Did they say that?
[14:45] <mere_oblivion> They did indeed. Good point.
[14:45] <Arrlaari> So the city claims and controls likely the Japanese islands, at least the entire largest island
01[14:45] <Froborr> Hmm, okay, that works out then.
[14:45] <Arrlaari> But the actual citizens are concentrated in one city, almost certainly Tokyo
01[14:45] <Froborr> Tokyo or Tokyo-having-expanded-and-absorbed-its-nearest-neighbors.
01[14:46] <Froborr> (Back in high school I ran an RP where part of the premise was that the entire DC-Boston corridor had, as a result of steady urban expansion, fused into one massive city.)
[14:46] <mere_oblivion> They also mentioned that there was enormous pressure for everyone to move to the city
[14:47] <mere_oblivion> Froborr, i wonder how far the DC-Boston megapolis (or at least DC-NYC) is from reality.
[14:47] <Arrlaari> I recall part of a story I once heard
[14:48] <Arrlaari> I forget if it was “there was a fiction in which a guy lands in an uninhabited part of Japan, but that’s bullshit because there are no uninhabited parts of Japan” or if it was “A guy tried to find an uninhabited place in Japan to land and couldn’t”
01[14:48] <Froborr> Pretty far, mere–there’s quite a bit of empty Maryland and empty Pennsylvania you go through driving up 95, even more if you take Route 1.
[14:48] <Arrlaari> I’m pretty sure it was the former, but the main point of the person telling me this story is that Japan doesn’t have an empty quarter or wasteland, the way the US does
[14:48] <mere_oblivion> Somehow that’s very reassuring, Froborr
[14:49] <mere_oblivion> I believe Japan rivals Indonesia for pop. density, Arrlaari?
[14:49] <mere_oblivion> Or exceeds it?
[14:49] <Arrlaari> All I know is that Tokyo proves that everyone saying San Francisco can’t get any denser is full of shit
[14:50] <mere_oblivion> SF can get denser, but i don’t think it can get any more expensive (but then people have thought that for a long time, and it keeps, well, getting more expensive)
[14:50] <Arrlaari> (but Earthquakes, they say. It’s a solved goddamn engineering problem, San Fran should remove the statutory height limits and focus on enforcing the distinct earthquake codes)
01[14:50] <Froborr> It also occurs to me that Japan has, IIRC, the fastest trains in the world. With sufficiently high speed rail that makes no stops, two urban areas with miles of automated farmland between them could be, politically speaking, one city.
[14:51] <mere_oblivion> Good point.
[14:51] <mere_oblivion> Both Arr and Fro: good points!
[14:51] <Arrlaari> That would be a point of vulnerability – separate the part with Ministry buildings from the other, and control is lost
01[14:53] <Froborr> True, although somewhat mitigated if there are multiple train routes or the Ministry has access to other means of travel (e.g., fast helicopters). But yes, it’s a vulnerability.
[14:53] <Arrlaari> Sybil’s Avatar has claimed that Japan City is the only place on earth still ruled by law, probably and exagguration, but the professor and Kougami take it for granted that if isolation ends there will be refugee pressure
[14:53] <mere_oblivion> So this is partly about Japan’s absolute loathing of outsiders? (Or has that been obv. all along?)
[14:55] <Arrlaari> When Choe was speaking to Makishima before the assault on Sybil HQ, he mentioned that “as a foreigner” he “should feel grateful just for living in this country, but”
[14:55] <Arrlaari> Likely Choe is a descendant of the Korean-Japanese who have been living in Japan since shortly before WW2
01[14:55] <Froborr> Yeah, I read that the same way Arr. Also, I think it
01[14:56] <Froborr> ‘s telling that the majority of literature references have been to non-Japanese authors.
[14:56] <mere_oblivion> That’s right, Choe is explicitly Korean–talk about a particular outsider fraught with significance for Japan
[14:56] <Arrlaari> To European & American authors – nothing from China or Korea
01[14:56] <Froborr> True.
01[14:57] <Froborr> Still… maybe this is me projecting current American politics onto it, but I feel like there’s a critique of authoritarian opposition to diversity here.
[14:58] <mere_oblivion> I’ve sensed that as well–and wondered if it was my own projection
[14:59] <Arrlaari> I sense a generalized suspicion of enforcing conformity – Yayoi’s focus episode was about suppressing culturally marginal art
[15:00] <Sylocat> There could definitely be a critique there, just remember that “diversity” means something completely different for every region
[15:01] <Arrlaari> Recall also Sybil’s Avatar describing the system to Ginoza as something that has “achieved the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people” – phrasing right out of foundational Utilitarian texts
[15:01] <Sylocat> Urobuchi is certainly fond of critiquing Utilitarianism
01[15:01] <Froborr> Indeed.
[15:02] <Arrlaari> I think the core of Urobuchi’s thought is that he is afraid that Utilitarianism is right
01[15:02] <Froborr> That’s an interesting take. I can see it.
[15:02] <Sylocat> Huh. That does make sense
[15:03] <Arrlaari> I follow someone on Tumblr who refuses to watch Madoka Magica because of an interview he gave, and the quote she objects to is materially identical to part of Kyubey’s monologue trying to justify his system to Madoka

Episode 20

[15:07] <Arrlaari> Huh, that’s the secret basement
[15:07] <Arrlaari> Sybil is actually revealing itself to her
[15:07] <Sylocat> And it requested she come there
[15:08] <Sylocat> Is it going to invite HER to join it?
[15:09] <Arrlaari> I don’t think so. It’s betting that she will defend it as an Inspector and work to capture Makishima for assimilation even if she knows the truth.
[15:09] <Arrlaari> Which it feels certain Ginoza wouldn’t
[15:09] <Arrlaari> ad
[15:09] <Sylocat> Paused at 2:22
[15:10] <Arrlaari> Sybil likely calculates that knowing the truth would at least push Ginoza into Latent Criminal hue, if not actually motivate him to rebellion.
[15:10] <mere_oblivion> So it sees her as fundamentally obedient in a way it knows Ginoza not to be?
[15:11] <mere_oblivion> And is the stability of her hue the basis of Sybil’s belief in her as an ally?
[15:11] <Arrlaari> Oh, it’s the 10 minute grill iron ad. Gonna skip it.
01[15:12] <Froborr> I’ve been wondering if she’s actually sort of a lesser version of Makishima–like, her Hue isn’t totally immune to changing, but it’s resistant?
[15:12] <mere_oblivion> They do keep coming back to that
[15:12] <Sylocat> That was my theory a few episodes back… I’d assumed it had started when Makishima killed her friend in front of her
[15:12] <Arrlaari> I think the key difference is that her hue is not unreadable, she just genuinely cannot be made to do crime
[15:13] <Arrlaari> Like, Makishima is Criminally Asymptomatic, Akane is Symptomatically Acriminal
01[15:13] <Froborr> lol
[15:13] <mere_oblivion> And that also makes her one of a kind?
[15:13] <Sylocat> Hahah
[15:14] <mere_oblivion> I mean, is she Uniquely S.A.?
[15:14] <Arrlaari> Paused after ad.
[15:14] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[15:14] <Sylocat> Click
01[15:15] <Froborr> Oh, that’s clever.
01[15:16] <Froborr> Yeah, a huge monoculture like that would be INCREDIBLY vulnerable to pests and disease, so of course you engineer a virus that defends it… but that virus needs to be targetable, so if someone changes the target…
01[15:16] <Froborr> Yeah, that’s pretty plausible.
01[15:16] <Froborr> Wow, they really showed it to her.
[15:16] <Sylocat> They’re being awfully straightforward
01[15:17] <Froborr> Ooh, nice parallels with the grain.
01[15:17] <Froborr> Stability has vulnerabilities that metastability does not.
[15:19] <Arrlaari> I’m going to have to restart
[15:19] <Sylocat> Oh?
[15:19] <Arrlaari> Frame dropping, subtitles delayed
[15:19] <Arrlaari> pause at 08:15?
[15:20] <Sylocat> Ok by me
01[15:20] <Froborr> OK.
[15:20] <mere_oblivion> So, instead of crushing diversity, co-opt it. Or as Macheath says in Threepenny Opera, “What is killing a man compared to hiring a man?”
[15:22] <Sylocat> Welcome back
[15:24] <Sylocat> Are you re-synced?
[15:25] <Arrlaari_> not yet, ads
[15:25] <Sylocat> Ah… right.
[15:26] <Arrlaari_> 08:15, right?
[15:26] <Sylocat> Yep.
[15:26] <Arrlaari_> Am paused at 08:15
[15:26] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[15:26] <Sylocat> Click
01[15:27] <Froborr> Yep, Arr called it.
[15:29] <Arrlaari_> ad
[15:29] <Arrlaari_> And I mis-called it before I called it
01[15:29] <Froborr> Paused at 11:02.
[15:29] <Sylocat> This is certainly more interesting than I’d feared a Conspiracy plot would be
01[15:30] <Froborr> Indeed. Manipulatively revealing the conspiracy exists is a good one–it’s a trick that’s been used in real life, but I’ve rarely seen it in fiction.
01[15:30] <Froborr> BRB
01[15:32] <Froborr> Back.
01[15:33] <Froborr> Still waiting on ads?
[15:33] <Arrlaari_> paused after ad
[15:33] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[15:33] <Sylocat> Click
01[15:33] <Froborr> Flashback?
01[15:34] <Froborr> Oh right, this was in the first episode, wasn’t it?
[15:35] <Sylocat> Is it a dream?
01[15:35] <Froborr> Or just a sequence of memories she’s thinking about while making her decision.
[15:38] <Sylocat> …Well.
[15:38] <Arrlaari_> ad
[15:39] <Sylocat> Paused at 16:18
[15:45] <Arrlaari_> paused after ads
[15:45] <Sylocat> Okay then…
[15:45] <Sylocat> Click
01[15:46] <Froborr> Damn, Akane. Well played.
[15:46] <mere_oblivion> That’s tellin’ ’em!
[15:46] <Sylocat> Indeed
01[15:46] <Froborr> Of course there’s the quesiton of whether she can still trust them once Makishima’s brought in.
[15:46] <Sylocat> Or whether she’ll be able to bring him in alive
01[15:47] <Froborr> The Sibyl System can override the gun to kill someone who should only be stunned, can it override the gun to stun someone who shouldn’t be shot?
01[15:48] <Froborr> I mean, they apparently can’t tell it’s Makishima the gun’s pointed at or they would have stunned him before, but if Akane says it’s Makishima and they hear her…
[15:48] <mere_oblivion> She’s become the leader already
[15:48] <Sylocat> Though it did take physical contact from the robot chief’s body to override the gun before…
[15:50] <Sylocat> Oh shit he’s already there
[15:50] <mere_oblivion> EYe-dent! Another connection to Minority Report
01[15:52] <Froborr> So… next time is the last two episodes!
[15:52] <Sylocat> Indeed!
[15:52] <Arrlaari_> of the first season
[15:53] <mere_oblivion> What did Makishima say at the end of the credits just now?
01[15:53] <Froborr> “Let’s get started.”
[15:53] <Arrlaari_> We know there’s a second season, and it sure looks like Makishima has completed his sabotage before Kogami arrived – hence, one may expect that the hyper oats will be destroyed and Sybil’s isolation forcibly ended
[15:53] <Arrlaari_> Which becomes the second season hook
[15:53] <mere_oblivion> Ah-hah
01[15:53] <Froborr> True, but that’s all we’d initially decided to watch. (I’m assuming, since it’s the norm for anime, that the end of the season is the end of the storyline, and the next season is more sequel than continuation.)

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