And by “falls”, I don’t mean him being kicked on the dirt by Makishima, no.
This thing right here is the WORST he could tell Akane.
Shinya is being so unbelievably selfish and I think he’s going to get stuck in that mode for the rest of the series, if not go even deeper. The opening sure implies he’s going to change for the worse.
He’s asking Akane to betray who she is and what she believes in and do the thing his weak self couldn’t do. All to see Shogo dying.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the gifs.
Once upon a time, Shinya believed this for Akane:
He believed that her judgment was the right one, because it was her OWN judgment.
Not only that, he also put her up in a pedestal in front of other people.
Right there, he says that he believes that Akane is the answer to this fucked up society. A better person, full of hope and faith for a better tomorrow.
And as if him praising her as a person wasn’t enough, he believes that she’s a true professional in her work.
In case you have forgotten, let me remind you what exactly Shinya means by “detective”.
This dichotomy returns in this episode.
Shogo Makishima, the man he despises more than anyone, actually comments on his prioritizing bringing someone down, rather than figuring out WHAT his scheme is and destroying it, thus saving all the innocent people who suffer in the streets because of him.
I can’t either, Shogo.
You know that a character has fucked up royally in his choices when the antagonist himself expresses disbelief when said character betrays his own mindset in front of him.
Right at that moment, Shinya threw all the values he had out of the window. For revenge. Not justice, no. Revenge. These two are never the same. Revenge means satisfying your own desires, while justice means keeping the established order by applying punishment accordingly.
At that moment, Shinya says “screw justice”.
Right at that moment, Shinya stopped being a detective.
And I think that deep down, we all knew that this moment would come.
The moment when Shinya and Akane grow apart and eventually, against each other.
Let’s break this down.
We know that what fueled Shinya throughout the series is his desire to kill Shogo. Fair enough.
However, this is the first time we see how low the guy can get in order to have his goal fulfilled.
It has been stressed again and again that Shinya isn’t well in the head and that moment above proves it.
The man who knows Akane’s way of thinking better than anyone, the man who encouraged her to continue thinking this way, the man who pulled her out of her dark thoughts in episode 14, tells her to kill someone.
Not just that. He tells her to kill a man who is already down, unconscious and defenseless. Guilty of murder or not, that’s just monstrous.
Shinya would do it. The only thing that stops him is the crack Shogo gave him. He’s unable to reach his goal, which is so close, so he turns to Akane.
He tells her to become like him. A man who preaches justice, but practices revenge.
But, this action isn’t completely unjustified.
One could argue that this line of action was encouraged by this line of Akane’s:
Maybe he thought that what she meant was that she would fall as much as he would be willing to fall. Deep into the lake he talked about in episode 9.
If he did so, then either he DOESN’T know Akane that well, or he is THAT arrogant. He thinks that she will fall for his sake, because deep down they’re the same, right?
They were both prodigies that had high marks, believed in justice, had a dear friend killed by Makishima (Akane even more directly than him) and decided to do anything in their power to catch him, even if it meant their career going to waste.
Add to that the fact that Shinya took her to his own old teacher to let her get a glimpse inside his mind and how he profiles people and you get the picture:
Shinya views Akane not just as a partner, but also as someone he “can show his everything to” (HA!) and maybe someone even better, since she’s raw potential and unknown future, while he has a history already done behind him.
Maybe even as a soul mate. Yes, it sounds corny, but until now, Shinya has been very corny. Go and watch all the scenes he talks about her. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
It sounds sweet and even romantic/paternal (depending if you ship them or not), but in fact, it becomes incredibly toxic in episode 16. He hasbecome toxic.
This isn’t the face of someone sane, someone with high ideals, someone who protects. Shinya isn’t right in the head.
The series has spelled out to us that Akane getting close to Shinya means only bad things.
And it is in episode 16 that this became true, when Shinya asked Akane to become him, entirely. Even down to his darkness. He asked her to join him the path of revenge, the path of no return, because once you kill someone, the act is irreversible.
This isn’t romantic or thoughtful. This is seeing someone else as an extension of yourself and expecting them to act just like you.
This is how many terrible parents think of their children.
He had thought that she would do what he failed to do, because he used himself as a reference point. And hey, Akane’s trauma is much more recent and she had her friend killed in front of her and by Shogo’s hand, unlike him, who found Sasayama’s body and Shogo is guilty by association only.
"By all means, Akane should do it."
That’s what Shinya thinks at that moment.
So, when Akane makes her own choice and doesn’t kill him, it speaks VOLUMES of her character, of how DIFFERENT she is and of how LITTLE Shinya actually DOES know Akane.
For all their similarities that undoubtedly do exist, Shinya and Akane are not the same in their core.
In Shinya’s core lies a man who is WILLING to be a killer.
In Akane’s core lies a woman who will never kill.
I think this is the first crack in their relationship. Up until now, they were in tune, with Shinya mostly guiding her through difficult situations and her being a beacon for him.
Again, corny, I know. But, cheese, your name is Shinya Kougami, so don’t come screaming at me for being biased. The biased here has been Shinya, whether you like it or not.
However, there is always the other side. Seeing Shinya only as this monster who will “pollute” Akane’s mind with “darkness” (the writing of this series can be so bad at times…) is seeing only a part of the picture.
There’s a bigger picture there. One of a man full of tragedy and fatal flaws.
You see, Shinya himself hadn’t wanted Akane to fall. He hadn’t wanted her to become like him.
When episode 14 aired, I was shocked to see that Shogo would meet with Shinya on his own volition. If the plan was Shogo going to reveal himself to the Bureau, what was Akane’s ordeal in episode 13 for? Why did the writers make Akane go through the procedure of getting Shogo’s face on screen?
It was to show that no, Shinya wasn’t a one-dimensional monster that didn’t give two shits about Akane’s mental health.
Akane followed his steps under her own volition and Shinya panicked. He wanted to stop her. He didn’t want her to fall into the same abyss and ruin her life like he did. He didn’t want her to become like him.
The camera eye hides his face, exactly because Shinya has his back to the others as well. Shinya hides the anxiety he felt over Akane’s tribulation by being cool, or refusing to see the others in the eye. Go and watch this scene. His seiyuu has put a TON of emotion in his voice, showing Shinya’s anger and frustration and fear over Akane’s fate.
(We should know it by now: Shinya isn’t someone to let his true feelings show, especially if they’re tender. He bathes Akane in compliments when she isn’t around, one could easily take them for worship, but when they’re together, the best thing he can come up with is a slap on the back in episode 14. Really, Shinya?)
This is why the scene with Akane and the photofit picture existed. To illustrate that no, Shinya’s character isn’t that simple. He genuinely cares for Akane.
Want more proof? See this.
We didn’t know what that unfinished business back then, but we know now. It’s killing Shogo. Shinya pretty much admits that he remains alive only to kill someone. That’s the only thing he still draws breath for and that’s the reason why everyone and their cat advised (or, in Gino’s case, shouted) Akane to stay away from Shinya. He lives to kill.
Now, let’s look at this:
Eyes off the nipples, people.
In the scene, Shinya has just whined how his body feels heavy, “as if it isn’t [his] body”. In other words, he feels unable to move. He has just got shot in various places Masaoka says that are very dangerous for his life, he’s passed away once already from blood loss, he’s a mess. Again, Masaoka says that he’s surprised how Shinya is still alive over the “phone” with Ginoza and Shinya is there and listens. He knows that he’s very close to death’s door.
And what does he do?
He asks where Akane is and starts to get up to go to her. Shinya, the man who “cannot die no matter what in a place like this” (the fact that the maze is similar in the colours and twist and turns with the alley Sasayama was found doesn’t escape me), the man who “has unfinished business to take care of” (sounds like a ghost, doesn’t he?), puts his life on the line to go and help Akane, to make sure she’s alright. He’s ready to lose his life he knows is fragile and thus his revenge for Akane’s sake. Masaoka has to headbutt him to stop him from going.
At that moment, Shinya put Akane over his revenge. At that moment, Shinya was a true detective. And by God, I swear, I could ship them romantically and call them healthy.
(Also note that Shinya had no idea that Shogo was there. So, we cannot attribute his insistence of going to him at all. It was all for Akane.)
I don’t think I need to tell you how enormous this was for Shinya’s character.
So, here’s the big question: what happened?
What happened and in episode 16 Shinya told Akane to kill? What happened and he practically told her to gaze into the same abyss he had been gazing into, when, a day before, he phoned her trying to stop her from doing exactly this?
It’s not even a change that happens in the span of an episode. It happens in less than five minutes.
Look at this:
Akane is hurt and Shinya is very worried. The shot of them both down, with him trying to reach her reminds me too much of a dramatic romance, with the two leads in a pint, trying to reunite. She, however stops him and tells him to go ahead. Shogo, the man Shinya has been searching for is there, just a few floors above, so close. And yet, when he sees Akane down, he needs her to tell him to go on.
He even tries to argue against his going to Shogo, because she’s hurt on the leg, an injury hardly serious. I had to take a double look to believe it. Shinya had been grinning like a madman in the beginning of this episode, excited that he would be able to kill Shogo (it sounds monstrous, doesn’t it?).
And yet, once Akane’s injured, he hesitates.
She has to resort to her higher rank to convince him to go, something that she had never, EVER done before with him, because that’s the whole point of their relationship: they aren’t an Inspector and an Enforcer, much less a hunting dog and his owner. They’re partners and that’s how Akane always viewed and treated him: as an equal and as a person.
She has to order him, for the first time in the entire series to go to get Shogo, the man Shinya threw his life away for whose death.
Akane. Order Shinya to get Shogo. Otherwise Shinya wouldn’t have gone. Had hell frozen in Psycho Pass?
And look at how he looks at her when she does order him:
An image is worth a thousand words, so I think you can see what I mean. Focus on his eyes.
There is a trope I was reminded of at that particular moment, "Hero’s Muse". Go, read and see how it applies here, we have all the time in the world.
Returning in Psycho Pass, let’s remember that it’s Urobuchi who writes. He is well-known for taking cliches and tropes and turning them around, almost always creating tragedies. In this case, the “Hero” (Shinya), failed on the quest Akane gave him, (it was hardly a quest she gave him in the first place), was defeated by the “Villain” whom he found he has many common traits with (more on that later), he acted hardly as a “Hero” with his mania to kill him and had to be saved by his “Muse”. And when he had?
Shinya betrays everything and Akane herself and asks her to do what he wanted to do: Stop being a detective, something Akane values a lot and he knows it.
What happened to him? Five minutes ago he was putting Akane above Shogo and now he’s attempting to make her fall. Why?
A meeting that was presented in the very first episode. Sixteen episodes were only the build-up to Shinya meeting Shogo. The whole story until now existed solely to reach this moment. It’s the turning point. From that moment on, things change completely.
Three things to say here.
First, when a meeting is described as “fateful” it’s because it brings some enormous consequences, not only to the parties involved, but, possibly, to many other people. Maybe even to the world. Akane here narrates this in the past tense. This means that she remembers that moment from a point in the future of this scene. And she sounds really grave. (In another note, the Past Simple tense is used to refer to dead people. Just something to think about.)
So, this meeting has consequences. Grave ones. And we know now that the world’s order is at stake, because of the unknown, but terrible true nature of the Sibyl system.
Shinya meeting Shogo affects Sibyl’s existence. Most probably, it destroys it.
Second, Akane says that Shinya and Shogo understand each other better than anyone else. Yet, the person Shinya has formed a bond with throughout the entire series is Akane. As I said above, he was open to her, completely. Enough to tell her that he wished Shogo to have the same fate as Sasayama and that he didn’t regret his way of thinking. This is a confession one does not make to just anyone.
But, Akane herself here says that Shinya has found the one person that understands him in Shogo and it happened in that moment.
Oh, yes, it did.
(You’re going to be even more unhappy in the future, Shinya.)
I’ll say it in another way:
Shinya understands Shogo, a psychopath and a cold-blood murderer (Crime Coefficient = 0) completely and is understood by him completely.
What do we really deduct about Shinya from this fact?
You know, when someone meets the one person they connect to so well, they are usually content, happy and feel complete. Or, at least, this is how it happens in stories. But, like I said above, this is Urobuchi: he takes tropes and cliches and turns them into tragedies.
Shinya and Shogo agreeing in anything is a tragedy for Shinya. He wants to kill the guy he would be able to connect with. Or, the guy he loathes is someone he can connect with. An interview said that if Shogo wasn’t involved in crimes, he and Shinya would be best friends. I believe it.
However, more than just a tragedy, Shinya and Shogo being similar is stuff nightmares are made of. It doesn’t make Shinya happy, nor it makes him complete. It puts even more hate and anger in him.
Enough to ask Akane to become like him in the name of his revenge.
Enough to become another Shogo and ask someone to kill for his own goals.
Exactly as Shogo has been doing until now.
Third, Shinya and Shogo have zeroed at each other. This is how Akane is able to sneak up Shogo. The same happens to Shinya. When he tells Akane to kill Shogo, he doesn’t see her in front of him. No, he isn’t blind, but he doesn’t “see” her, as in, he’s become oblivious to her as an individual person. He just wants her to do what he wants.
Point is, we already knew that this would happen.
Masaoka is a prophet (or, his age gives him wisdom. OR, he’s a walking forshadowing. Probably that one).
It’s safe to say that we can kiss thoughtful Shinya bye-bye. Him asking Akane kill to Shogo is only the beginning.
And here’s where things get truly tragic for Shinya. He won’t be happy to find himself agreeing with Shogo more and more when he won’t WANT to and not be able to help it. He won’t be happy to alienate Akane, the woman he WANTS and actively TRIED to open to and connect with. Shinya is doomed to be understood by the person he hates the most in the world. Whether he will be aware of all the above or not remains to be seen. The series went through a lot of pains to show that Shinya isn’t the typical cold, aloof dark and broody bishounen type we usually see in anime series, so yes, he will become aware of what exactly he asked Akane to do. And he’ll regret it. The question is, if it’s going to be too late for it to salvage anything.
The opening says yes.
Well, the opening tells us a lot of things about the future, actually. None of which are good.
The team we know was united until now. They are all the same blue colour.
But then, Shinya stops looking at the same direction as them. He starts becoming back and white.
The team has one mission: bring justice.
Shinya stops doing so and the reason is the person that made him turn his head away from them.
Just then, Shinya leaves their side and so does Akane. This narrates what happened in episode 16: from the whole team, they were the ones who went after Shogo.
Look at the colours. Both Shinya and Shogo have the same black and white theme. This episode showed clearly how much alike they are, as if Akane’s narration in the first episode wasn’t enough. Akane, however, has her own, vivid red/pink colour. It shows that she is different both from the team and from the Shinya/Shogo duo.
Do I really need to explain this?
Which one of the two very similar white guys are you going against, Akane? The one who simply stands there, or the armed one, who can pull the trigger on you any time he wants?
What do you guys think?
And then, there’s this:
Gee. I wonder if it symbolizes Shinya alienating himself away from the team AND Akane and coming closer and closer to Shogo’s mentality. /sarcasm
And while Akane has the team’s colour (blue) when she’s with them, she gets her own red one when she’s alone, meaning that she can be part of the team (Sibyl) AND keep her own individuality, which is different than theirs. The team has blue colour, the Sibyl colour. Akane has the opposite colour: red. She appears to be one of Sibyl’s followers, but her ideals are vastly different than it. Shinya, on the other hand, cannot fit with either the team or with Akane. He can fit only with Shogo. They truly “understand each other better than anyone else”.
Shogo is the one Shinya truly “can show his everything to”, because all Shogo needs to do is look at himself and vice versa.
And that’s something Shinya despises. And yet, he’s going to become more and more similar to him.
Shinya is going away from the team and he’s going to choose to do so. Because, just like with all of Urobuchi’s characters, that’s his personality. That’s how he’s written. Urobuchi writes characters with fatal flaws, personalities that bring the characters down, drowning in the tragedies their own choices created, because that’s how their personality is. He has already done this with Akane in episode 11: Akane failed to save Yuki because it’s in her character not to kill with her own hands. This otherwise virtue of hers became the flaw that led Yuki to her death and Shogo being able to continue his plan. This tragedy happened because Akane made a choice according to who she is. She truly wanted to save Yuki, but failed, because that’s her character: she. doesn’t. kill. And that’s her tragedy.
The presentation of Akane’s fatal flaw happened in the middle of the series and decided the flow of the story later. Shinya’s fatal flaw is set to appear clearly, in all its glory and horror at the end of the series. It’s going to happen not because he would WANT it to happen, but because of who he is as a person. And that will be HIS tragedy. Guess who’s going to pay the price. Akane? The whole team? Sibyl? The whole country?
We’re in for a ride.
When Akane’s fatal flaw happened, however, she was able to pull through and become a stronger person. Episode 13 was dedicated at showing this.
Shinya, for all its physical strength, isn’t as mentally strong as Akane. Remember, he has harboured hatred for Shogo for three years. That’s too much for it to be hatred, even. Because it’s an emotion, hatred is impermanent. Emotions fade away with time. That’s the normal thing to happen. Shinya’s stayed and was turned into a mental condition that puts him at the same line with a dangerous psychopath: Shogo Makishima.
The opening doesn’t show Shinya realizing what he’s becoming, but, as I said above, I doubt that he’s going to turn into an unfeeling asshole who will see the team being wiped out and not give a damn. He’s going to respond, all right. Only, it’ll be in a bad way.
Just like he responded to his failure to kill Shogo in this episode: he asked someone else, he asked Akane, the person he trusts and cares about to take the ultimate fall for him.
It’s already begun. Shinya has started to fall and it is with his own volition. We can’t truly blame Makishima for it, since it was Shinya’s choice to pursue, to open his mouth and tell Akane to kill. He’s a 28-year-old adult man, he’s responsible for the choices he makes. Shogo is a catalyst, certainly, but the ultimate choice of what to do is his.
And personally, I can’t bring myself to hate Shinya for it. I can’t.
Because I know that beyond all that, Shinya, for the past three years, has been totally and unbelievably…
Think about it.
He was close with Sasayama who died in a horrible way. Shinya swore he would catch the man responsible. Touma, the man who did the deed has officially “disappeared”. Shinya got no closure, on the contrast with Akane, who got the murderer himself. Shinya was left hanging with his hatred turning into mental illness, going deeper into the story that killed Sasayama and started searching for Shogo. As he was doing so, no one believed him.
Ginoza, bless his glass heart that I have no doubt he has, didn’t believe him. He called his research “delusional” and later he said to Akane that he “couldn’t save him”. For all his good intentions that again, I do believe he has, Ginoza screwed up royally with Shinya. He believed that convincing Shinya that there was nothing there, the latter would give up and forget. I suspect that Ginoza shouted more than once to Shinya for this case and his insistence to continue the investigation.
What’s worse, Ginoza was the only colleague Shinya had during that time. They joined together and they were both Inspectors for more than five years before Shinya was demoted. Kagari wasn’t part of that team back then and the women, Shion and Yayoi do not seem to be too close to him. Ginoza tried to save him with the worst way possible. There was literally no one for Shinya during that time. He regressed and lost his life and future alone.
Enter Akane three years later, someone who was interested in what he had to say, someone who believed him, believed IN him, someone who ignored the one who called him and his research delusional and stood up to her choice to stay by Shinya’s side.
Yeah, I think Ginoza ate his own words in episode 13…
That moment with Shinya’s reaction was small, but right there he saw in Akane not just someone who finally believed him and listened to him, but someone “he could show his everything to”.
That’s why he latched on Akane and said whatever he said in episode 2. That’s why in episodes 10 onwards he acts like her fanboy (he did, let’s be honest here) and is willing to risk his life to make sure she’s safe.
Remember that scene?
My heart broke for Shinya at that moment. Akane openly offered her hand to take and walk together. Finally, Shinya wasn’t alone anymore.
(This is also why he was reluctant to leave her behind in episode 16: getting Shogo was her goal, too.)
From someone he trusted with his thoughts “he couldn’t show to anyone” (1st opening), she became someone he walked along with. She suffered the same fate in Shogo’s hands, she didn’t just sympathise, she empathised with him. That’s how Shinya was seeing Akane. A comrade in arms.
And in the episode 16, it is the moment where he’s going to lose her. And it’ll be his fault. Again, not Shogo’s. Shogo can only provide the dilemma. The choice will be Shinya’s. Just like with Akane: Shogo gave the dilemma of killing him or losing Yuki and Akane involuntarily chose, because of who she is.
If we think about it, something similar with the Sasayama case is going to happen, only it’s going to be worse: Shinya will be alienated again, only to hurt Akane and be hurt as well in a much deeper way than with Ginoza, because he developed a bond that went deeper. And the stakes are much higher. Sibyl, the world’s order and its true nature has entered the game. The youngest of the Enforcers, Kagari, a child that in the end, never truly lived died.
All because the characters have the personalities that they have. Because that’s how Urobuchi writes.
So, I can’t, I CAN’T hate Shinya.
I can only feel sad for him, for Akane, for Kagari, for Ginoza, for the whole team, and maybe even for Shogo,
but his fans won’t let me.
Closing with a reminder: in an interview, it was said that the script Urobuchi wrote for the last episode made the whole stuff cry.
I’ll get the booze. We’re gonna need it.
And remember: Akane rises, Shinya falls.
See you in the tag, I guess…