PSYCHO PASS 17 — Brains


So you guys called it last week. Sibyl is a collection of brains.

But not just any brains. The brains of criminals. Since they live outside of society, they’re the only ones fit to judge society.

No one predicted that part. Probably because it’s so dumb.

Seriously? The only ones fit to judge other people are the criminals? What?

In the first five minutes of PSYCHO PASS, the Sibyl system was a bit morally ambiguous. If you could stop all crime preemptively, then maybe that would be a good thing.

Then Sibyl decided that the rape victim deserved to die. From that point on, as far as I was concerned, Sibyl became unambiguously evil.

But now Sibyl is not just unambiguously evil: it is downright stupid. Setting criminal brains up to pass judgement on society? What? You’ve got to be kidding me.


On the bright side, Sibyl does make Makishima seem slightly more sympathetic. He was pretty cool when he killed the chief. Still, this is like saying that Stalin was a good guy because he fought against Hitler.

You Could Call It… God!


This is one of the catchphrases that annoys me the most about anime, although less than the one I hate the most, “You’re you, you!” Anytime some powerful robot or computer comes along you know they’re going to trot out this line of thinking. And then God is going to die.

To be fair, I guess you could call it God, if words didn’t have meanings. I mean come on, these brains can’t even cling to people’s backs and possess other people’s bodies. Lame.

Detectives Under Sibyl

For me, the most interesting part of the episode was the initial discussion with Akane.



Detectives are, in a way, the polar opposites of Sibyl. Sibyl solves crimes beforehand, while detectives can only solve them afterward. The detectives have already lost, since the crimes have already been committed. But Sibyl convicts people who are not criminals. I think that is a bigger loss.



I hadn’t even thought of this, but the society in this show has no need of a justice system. Sibyl is judge, jury, and executioner. I guess it’s not actually an issue though, since when someone like Makishima shows up they just get absorbed into Sibyl.

24 thoughts on “PSYCHO PASS 17 — Brains

  1. Ah, Makishima. You are as badass as you are misguided.

    Have to admit, the Chief being Touma did surprise me a lot. guess it makes sense now, since the chief did know who Makishima is.

    But yeah, this definitely looks like Minority Report: The anime. If you haven’t seen it Draggle, it really is so much like this. In fact, now that I look at it…. Psycho Pass isn’t exactly an original show. Thank goodness Urobouchi is a good writer.

    1. Also, I’d like to know why you think the Brains of Criminals are a bad choice for what constitutes Sybil. I can agree with what you are saying, but I feel like I am missing the how and why?

      1. These people are supposed to be the ones to enforce the law. Would you choose a former mafia boss to be the chief of the NYPD? Same idea here.

    2. I think I saw half of the Minority Report at some point. I should probably watch the whole thing at some point.

      I never would have guessed the Chief was (partially) that criminal we saw a while ago either. I wonder if we’ll see some of the other old criminals making returns.

  2. It’s not as simple as people classified criminals are eligible as Sibyl system, just a brain which cannot but judged by the Sibyl system (or at least a lower level set of tests to avoid a bit of a chicken/egg situation). Absolutely no reason why a “good” neutral citizen couldn’t have the same psychological characteristics to allow them into the Sibyl collective; and indeed, perhaps the system did start off in a controlled fashion with a donor who wasn’t a criminal but got ambiguously corrupted as they needed to expand the system in order to cover a national scale.
    It might just be criminals more frequently present themselves as Sibyl candidates because they get caught and the system isn’t so evil such that it pulls off random law abiding people off the street and puts their brain into a jar.

    1. Oh, I see, this makes slightly more sense then. But still, you’d think they would exclude criminals. It doesn’t make much sense to have a mass murderer serve as a judge of who else is a criminal.

  3. They are criminally asymptomatic ,but we don’t know if all of them are criminals, so it’s wrong to say that being one is a requirement.
    But even if they are, their brains to judge crimes is the best choice.
    Also, Sybil can’t judge these people so the best way to controll them is to incorporate
    them into the Sybil system and use their distinctive abilities for the system’s benefit.

    1. I guess it depends on how much they can actually guarantee that the new members will go along with the ideas behind the Sibyl system. Say Makishima had gotten in, what if he just decided to screw up the system and decide Akane was a criminal? The brains apparently retain their own will, so this seems plausible. If someone does something for such unknownable motives, who’s to say they won’t do something incorrect as a member of the system? Also, the system is supposed to figure out who’s going to engage in illegal behavior. Using a mass murderer to accomplish that seems questionable at best. The show asserts using these minds to judge crimes is the best choice but I can’t see how.

  4. Like the good people above said, Sibyl isn’t made up of just the criminals’ brains; those that are asymptomatic, like Akane, were probably taken in as well.
    I wonder what makes her different from other people though. She seems pretty normal…

    1. So Akane is asymptomatic too…? I hadn’t thought of this before, but you’re probably right. I wonder if she is going to be the next to join the Sibyl system in the college of brains…

      1. It was pretty obvious, seeing as they’ve been saying it from the start. Her friends, “Your P-P never gets clouded, Akane!”, and then when she did that whole memory recount (or whatever it was called), her P-P got a little higher, but then immediately went down again. That’s why she was wearing the helmet, so that the other criminals wouldn’t copy hers. And I think Makishima said something too, though I’m not really sure if I just imagined it…:P

        1. Yeah, I hadn’t connected the dots, but once you pointed it out it’s clear that she must be asymptomatic as well. For the rest of the series I had simply accepted that she didn’t lose control easily. I wonder if she’ll go on a crime spree now!

  5. Imma bet that Akane will eventually become part of Sibyl and her moeness will destroy it from the inside or something.

  6. This episode makes me realize how similar I am with Urobochi and it makes me a bit… I don’t know… shivering?
    I mean that explain why I like Urobochi works and why many of them disappoint me, yet I keep watching and read it…

    It is a bit too easy to guess that it is human brains (I have 3 expectation: Combination of several human brains make for a giant brain, alien brain, or simply alien), though I must admit that I don’t predict it to be arranged like a beehive…
    This revelation disappoint me because it can only mean it will be called God then the God will be killed…

    Also this show no longer a grey anime because we have a full black villain (an aspect that always bother me from Urobochi) in addition of making Enforcer usage very stupid…
    It was explained that they need human to operate Sybil yet they use human brain to make Sybil…
    It might be used as processor, but the reasoning of needing human to operate is still nullified…

    1. I tend to like his works as well. Lots of twists and people dying, it’s great.

      God seem to always get killed of easiest in anime, it’s weird how it works that way.

      In Fate / Zero Urobochi did a pretty decent job at having everyone be a shade of grey. In Madoka and in PSYCHO PASS that definitely didn’t happen though.

  7. Sibyl System being a collection of brains seems stupid to me, as well. For two reasons:

    1) I think it is possible to predict human behaviour to a considerable degree already today. We can infer future decisions statistically from past decisions, as amazon does when it suggests products. We also can “read” people’s state of mind by its physical manifestations, e.g. stres is indicated by a larger iris. Both, however, is better done by computers than by humans as it involves lots of number crunching. Sibyl being a computer would also explain why it could be tricked by the helmets.

    2) Admittedly there may be something as a “gut feeling”, an emotional component, which cannot imitated by a computer. But the idea that this emotional element can be reduced to a brain in a pot of water seems outlandish to me. It reminds me of Gunnm, where brains are switched between cyborg bodies like you would switch a USB stick from one decive to the other. Sibyl system, as it is presented here, depends on the maverick personalities it is composed of. I doubt a personality could exist unchanged if you separate the brain from the body.

    Still, the episode looked excellent and was a very good watch.

    1. 1) Yeah, maybe human brains are good at drawing inferences, but they are *terrible* at multi-tasking compared to humans. There’s no way two hundred brains can simultaneously evaluate the PSYCHO PASS of all of Japan. Plus, human brains don’t always return the same result for computation. The idea that human brains can instantly calculate a precise numeric value for anything is ludicrous. This is a task much better suited to computers than humans.

      2) Yep. It’s kind of silly. But hey, whatever, this is sci-fi, I can accept stuff like this. Who really knows what would happen if you separated a brain from a body? But we do know how the human brain behaves, which makes (1) bother me more than (2).

  8. Well…
    There is a possibility that ‘Touma’ was lying to Makishima. I don’t it’s to possible to retain one’s self, when his brain has been plucked out and being used as processor. The main computer copies all sort of information from the brains, and used it to analyze people. Those brains probably no longer think. Yup, human brains can’t possibly judge millions of people. I think those brains are only being used as blueprints / reference books.

    1. That’s possible. He might not have even been lying. He may have fully believed he’d retained his own self, but had it overwritten by the computer. If that were the case, though, why couldn’t just any brain be used for the Sibyl system? It seems like there is something supposed to be special about these peoples’ selves which is why they were selected, overwriting that seems to defeat the purpose.

    2. When does someone lying in Psycho-Pass?

      While there are many psycho, they never lie and seem to enjoy long philosophical monologue in addition to tell about their personal history…
      Can’t believe someone finally lying now…
      Also, even if there is someone lying (possibly the chief in factory and Oryou Rikako) they don’t lie when talking about philosophical thing and personal believe (plus history)…

      1. Haha true. That hunter guy even talked for a while about how he enjoyed hunting and killing people. Psycho Pass definitely hasn’t relied much on deception so far.

  9. >”To be fair, I guess you could call it God, if words didn’t have meanings. I mean come on, these brains can’t even cling to people’s backs and possess other people’s bodies. Lame.”

    The word God has no set meaning, all the definitions are self-contradicting. No one can agree on what God is, therefore debates can be shown to be meaningless. Saying it’s all mysterious sidesteps the problem of admitting that the definitions don’t agree, and that God himself never comes down from the heavens to hammer out a working definition of what he is. Not with strong evidence anyway; apparently he appeared on a mountain in a desert once before the most primitive and savage tribe of illiterate Jews. Not before the Chinese who could read and write, and already knew a thing or two. Then he promptly left without informing the Chinese or the Native Americans that he wanted to save them, damning billions to suffering because he wouldn’t deliver his message himself. You have no choice but to believe that as a Christian.

    I offered to instruct you with skepticism in the problems with your thinking, but you chickened out of a debate about religion, preferring to stay in the same safe space you were born into, talking mainly to Christian friends and avoiding disagreeing voices. All other religions to you are just flawed manifestations of what you believe, and your interpretation of God just happens to support what you believe in. Your God just happens to say whatever you want to believe in.

    Which means you’re another hypocrite of the cafeteria Christian variety who will believe in whatever you want just because it makes you feel better. You are not much better than the other Christians you make fun of for their illogical thoughts.

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