Case Closed Reviews: Fall 2014

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First impressions are great but what about our thoughts after we’ve watched an entire series week to week? We figured our listeners might want to hear our final impressions as well so we’ve created the Case Closed Review podcast. Just like the S.W.A.T. Reviews, these will be mini-podcasts and completely off the cuff.

Here are the shows we finished from the spring and summer seasons:

Listen – Final impressions of Rage of Bahamut: Genesis from MAPPA. It is streaming on Hulu and Funimation.

Listen – Final impressions of Gugure! Kokkuri-san from TMS Entertainment. It is streaming on Crunchyroll.

Listen – Final impressions of PSYCHO-PASS 2 from Tatsunoko Productions. It is streaming on Hulu and Funimation.


3 thoughts on “Case Closed Reviews: Fall 2014

  1. Ink says:

    It’s implied during your discussion on Psycho Pass 2 that going back to Production IG is a good thing (along with the return of Urobuchi), could you expand on what you didn’t like about Tatsunoko’s handling of the series?

    • reversethieves says:

      I want to get this out of the way before I answer the question above. I don’t have a problem with Tatsunoko Production in general. Gatchaman Crowds had its problems but when it was on fire it was amazing and Ping Pong got almost universal critical acclaim for good reason. So theoretically I feel that as a studio Tatsunoko Production theoretically could make a good Psycho Pass entry.

      The problem is the team they assembled was not able to do that. To boil it down Psycho Pass 2 is a bad story set in the Psycho Pass universe. I would even go as far as to say that they did grok the original Psycho Pass.

      I’m sure you ever read or watched side material for a big franchise with lots of different writers on it be it Gundam, Star Trek, or Superman you know what I am tlaking about. There is side material that is amazing, horrible, and everything in between. But the most infamous entries are usually the ones that seem to fundamentally miss why people like the material in the first place. Look at any piece of the volumes of criticism about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel movie and while there are a metric ton of flaws with the movie usually one of the biggest ones is that the movie fundamentally seems to misunderstand what the titular character is all about. I would go as far as to say that is the same problem with Psycho Pass 2.

      Psycho Pass 2 does not understand what made the original Psycho Pass a good story. The Psycho Pass 2 fundamentally misses the mark on the sequel. First of all the way Crime Coefficients go up and down feels different and seems to misunderstand the power of the original setup.

      The Public Safety Bureau seems to be written fundamentally stupider than they were in the first series. They went from a competent police force who were unaware of the true nature of the system they worked for to a bunch of Keystone Cops outside of Akane and her core team members. Mika Shimotsuki is emblematic of this. She is just a moron for no adequately explained reason other than just to be nothing more than a constant road block. She is written to make the worst decision every time no matter what information she is given.

      Flipping Sakuya Togane. He is just a mustache twirling evil villain with the absolutely no depth of complexity. His puppy murder training is sort of the climax of the silliness. But most of all his greatest sin is he is boring in his over the top evil. If you’re going to make that sort of character at least do it with style.

      Kirito Kamui was at least an interesting outsider from the Sibyl System. They could have just used him a little better. It does not help that his followers seem to dodge the system for must less well explained reasons. Also Mizue Shisui’s stockholm syndrome seems rather quick and convenient. The fact that they never just deactivate Mizue Shisui’s ID as an Investigator is just the worst kind of plot convenience.

      Sho Hinakawa was probably the best new character but like all the other good side character from the first season he mostly sits on the side lines and twiddles his thumbs expect for a few key scenes.

      But the most pervasive sin is that the Tatsunoko Production seems to misunderstand the general philosophy and mechanics of the Psycho Pass universe.

      So this is not all negative Akane’s growth was good. They took who she was at the end of the first season and showed how she would have grown into a powerful detective in her own right. Sadly that good move was one of the few times they moved the story forward properly.

      I’m not saying that Psycho Pass movie is guaranteed to be good. The thing is Katsuyuki Motohiro, Gen Urobuchi, and Production I.G have shown they have the potential to make a good Psycho Pass story. The follow up might not be as good but I believe it COULD be.

      As for who to blame I think it is hard to tag any individual member of the team for the mess that Psycho Pass 2. I think a lot of people want to point their finger solely on Tow Ubukata. But I think now that anitwitter has started looking at who writes certain anime more the finger is quick to go there. Look at any show that has Gen Urobuchi or Mari Okada as a writer and you will see the knives come out no matter what the quality of the show is. That said I do see a bit of Tow Ubukata’s thumb print on the show. He is surely not blameless.

      But everything about the show in general seemed sort of lackluster. The opening was super terrible and the rest of the show felt very workman like. All productions have a lot of people working on them and it is almost impossible to separate who is responsible for what.

      I more get the impression that this team might have felt like benchwarmers for the movie and cranked this out more like busywork assignment than something they wanted to do. But that is pure speculation.

      Naoyoshi Shiotani, Tow Ubukata, and the rest of that Tatsunoko Production team have proved they fundamentally don’t understand what makes Psycho Pass work. Theoretically they could look back on what worked and did not work and do things differently. But there is no guarantee that would ever happen.

      A new team (even one made of different Tatsunoko Production staff and freelancers) could possibly make a good Psycho Pass series. I just don’t think the current Psycho Pass 2 team could.

      – Alain

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