New chapter is up today! And at 1883 unique reads currently; I'd love to see if we could hit 1900 today! :)
It's up! Go read it!
Apologies for the lateness of the last update. It was unavoidable, but better late than never and I hope you enjoy both it and the new one. Some crazy stuff is about to start happening as we gear up for the real weirdness and horror!
And while I don't mention it here much, I update KINDLING DAYS, my Japanese-style cellphone novel about firefighter Shunta Arashiyama's career and family-related struggles, twice a day usually, so I hope you check that one, too. It's a story I'm enjoying writing very much.
Number four in a series of posts on Stuff I Like.
Not reviews, necessarily, just talking about things I like, cuz I can.
You've probably heard of this, I assume. It's been sort of kind of famous, over the last year or two, until it was in the news when Psycho-Pass: The Movie (the third installment in the series, the previous two being two seasons of a TV anime) was announced as having a US theatrical release - a truly rare phenomenon.
It's an anime series (original, not an adaptation of a manga or game or chewing gum [think I'm kidding? Google "Lotte gum anime"]), based on the premise that Japan has taken its cyberpunk undertones to the maximum level and created a society, a century from now, that is governed entirely by an AI and whose people are immersed 24/7 in various levels of digital escapism. Sure, there's still jobs and money and having kids and so forth, but people lives in homes that are the holodeck from Star Trek, and even wear holographic clothing they can change on a whim instantly, escape into full-dive-style VR any time they want a break from utopia, etc. It's basically the internet's wet-dream future.
But of course there's drawbacks.
See, that AI I mentioned that Japan is controlled by, Sybil, had the idea at some point in the past that society's problems stem from people's poor mental health. Crime, bigotry, etc are all aspects of mental dysfunction. Which is probably true to a certain extent, viewed from a specific POV. Taking its hypothesis to the logical extension, Sybil is entirely focused (supposedly) on people's mental well-being, ensuring people are mentally healthy and getting them the help they need when they need it and isolating people who can't be helped whenever possible. So far it's worked.
Worked so well in fact that the concept of "keeping your hue clear" (meaning, keeping the results of your psycho-pass scans optimal) is the basis of the entire society. It has replaced most laws, in fact: people with clouded hues are sick and need help, so they are arrested and taken for treatment. Unless they can't be treated, but that's something I'll let you see for yourself.
Anyway, it's what the society is based on... so what happens when someone comes along whose hue won't cloud no matter what they think/say/do? Even when literally killing someone in front of an audience, their psycho-pass registers as clear and their "crime coefficient" remains low to non-existent? Sybil can't judge this person, so it can't control them, so they don't exist within society's structure. There is no place for them... and that's true power in this new world.
That's the premise for the first season. Akane Tsunemori, a rookie Inspector (the PP equivalent of a police detective) with the MWPSB (Ministry of Welfare Public Safety Bureau), learns the ins and outs, as well as the secret inner workings, of the world she lives in while trying to run down and capture a dangerous serial killer the Sybil system can't judge so can't do anything about.
It takes a few episodes to get going. After the first couple I wasn't sure what the big deal about the series was; it simply seemed like a futuristic police precedural. But it gets going after that. Believe me, it gets going and it's great.
Written by Gen Urobuchi, creator of numerous visual novels, novels and manga, as well as creator of Puella Magi Magoka (yes, the anime about magical little girls; no, I haven't seen it), the series wears its influences on its sleeve, but it's never a bad thing.
PP is like the world of Minority Report, with Bladerunner-esque sensibilities, and a sort of Catch Me If You Can storyline, but rather bloody and gruesome and awesome. The characters are mostly interesting, though only Akane and Shinya Kogami, who acts as both a mentor and sort of a sidekick to Akane, are truly developed to the level of "real fictional people" as I like to say. It asks a lot of questions about the fundamental nature of human beings, about the concepts of free-will and morality, and as the characters find their own answers, or don't depending on the character, the viewer is left to find their own, too. It's an exciting ride and I heartily recommend it.
One of the complaints I have about the series is the character designs, at least in the first season. Men are depicted fairly realistically, while women (many of them, anyway) have weirdly-huge (even for anime), strangely-shaped bug eyes that are just... kind of hard to look at. Despite this, we're told in dialogue over and over how cute Akane is, when she's really not. Her not being cute isn't a problem, but I found it somewhat jarring when there's something serious going on and fairly-realistic looking characters are speaking/acting/whatever and then it shifts to freakishly-cartoonish Akane. It occasionally took me out of the moment and it took a few episodes for me to get over it. Thankfully, the character designs were tweaked slightly for season 2 and Akane's eyes and nose (which was nearly non-existent first season) are more naturally rendered.
Season 1 came out in English in 2014 and season 2 just came out this month, while the film that completes the series came out in theaters just this past week and will be out on DVD later this year. Soon, I hope, because I'm eager for it. Until then, though, do yourself a favor and watch seasons 1 and 2 and let me know what you think. I'm sure you'll love it because I know I did.
First, the new chapter of NERVOSA, chapter 33, is up so go read it! And remember, sign up for the website to get updates directly to your phone or email so you never miss a chapter of this or KINDLING DAYS (which updates twice a day, usually, sometimes more).
Next, if you like horror and weird fiction, I'd love for you to check out the Kickstarter for a new magazine, Ravenwood Quarterly. It includes not only a brand-new Lovecraftian weird tale by myself (entitled "Christmas Eve in Arkham"), the table of contents includes the below authors, plus more TBA.
AND a fantastic cover by Dave Felton, artist on my book THE CASTLE-TOWN TRAGEDY.
Check this sucker out!
Rewards include not only the first issue itself, of course, but also subscriptions for future issue, limited edition HARDCOVER COLLECTOR'S EDITIONS of the first issue and things such as art and even being written into a story by one of the other authors.
Ravenwood Quarterly promises to be a bright new star in the weird fiction firmament, so if you're interested in getting in on the ground floor, I'd strongly recommend you consider donating.
Click below to be whisked away to weird!
I'm Brandon and I write comic books, prose and poetry. I own dozens of clever and interesting t-shirts.