Psycho-Pass is a Japanese cyberpunk anime series produced by Production I.G studio, co-directed by Katsuyuki Motohiro and Naoyoshi Shiotani and written by Gen Urobuchi. The story is set in a totalitarian dystopian future, where the sanity of every citizen of Japanese society is quantified using ubiquitous computer devices to spot would-be criminals. The story revolves around Shinya Kōgami and Akane Tsunemori along with the other members of Unit 1 of the Public Security Bureau (PSB).
It aired on Fuji TV in the noitaminA time slot between October 2012 and March 2013. A second season of eleven episodes aired between October and December 2014, followed by an anime film in January 2015. A film trilogy titled Psycho -Pass: Sinners of the System was released between January and March 2019. A third season airs between October and December 2019, followed by the animated film Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector in March 2020. A new animated film titled Providence is in production.
In this article, we are going to give you a thorough insight into the Psycho-Pass anime series. You’re going to get all the necessary information, as well as a complete guide to watching the whole series, including the four anime movies that are part of the franchise.
Psycho-Pass watch order by release date
In this section, we are going to bring you an overview of the Psycho-Pass works in the proper release order:
- Psycho-Pass (anime, 2012–2013)
- Psycho-Pass 2 (anime, 2014)
- Psycho-Pass: The Movie (movie, 2015)
- Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System (movie trilogy, 2019)
- Psycho-Pass 3 (anime, 2019)
- Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector (movie, 2020)
- Psycho-Pass PROVIDENCE (TBA)
In the next part of this article, we are going to tell you how you should watch the series in chronological order.
Psycho-Pass chronological watch order
In this section, we are going to give you a chronological overview of the works in question:
Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – First Guardian (movie, 2019)
Enforcer Teppei Sugo is a distinguished former military officer. He acted as close air support for a Navy ground force alongside Itsuki Otomo, another pilot and a communications officer. Together they formed a close-knit military family, including Rin, Itsuki’s wife, who was the squad’s ground commander.
The team was sent on a military strike outside of Japan, but Sugo loses Itsuki during the fight. Sugo is devastated by this loss and is tortured because he was ordered to abandon his comrades. He is confronted by the MWPSB officers Aoyanagi and Masaoka, who tell him that he is a primary suspect in a terrorist attack apparently carried out by his MIA commander, Itsuki.
They find out that the army tested a biological weapon against the enemy which also led do the deaths of the rest of the strike team. Itsuki had some knowledge about the attack beforehand and put his memories in an android for revenge, but he is stopped by FBI forces. Rin tries to assassinate the military commander, but he kills her instead. However, the Presidium marks the Commander for a high Psychopass and ends it. After these events, Sugo’s stress level increases and he ends up becoming an enforcer for the MWPSB.
Psycho-Pass (anime, 2012–2013)
The plot of the first season, consisting of 22 episodes, is divided into two parts – the first, which follows the work of Inspector Division 1 and gives an insight into the characters and their mutual relationships, and the second, which gives the final twist to the story and shows the fight against Shōgo Makishima.
Akane Tsunemori, the main character of the anime, arrives at her new job as the second inspector in the team led by Nobuchika Ginoza. After informing her about the case, Akane leaves with the Enforcers to find the suspect, where we learn about the importance of the Dominator as well as the relationship between the inspector and the Enforcers.
Akane demonstrated very early on her extremely strong moral integrity, love of justice, and willingness to consider the Enforcers as colleagues rather than tools. Due to her attitude, she often came into conflict with the cold Ginoza, who shared opposing views. The first few episodes show the sporadic cases Division 1 is working on that don’t make sense until the deaths of several online avatars prompt a deeper investigation.
When you add mutilated corpses turned into “artwork”, Shinya Kōgami, formerly an inspector and now an Enforcer, discovers a connection between these murders and an earlier case that got him demoted to Enforcer. The investigation continues successfully and Department 1 discovers that a genius criminal named Shōgo Makishima is behind it all.
Although Akane manages to find and almost arrest Makishima, she discovers that he is actually immune to the Dominators and that his Crime Coefficient, despite his criminal activities, is actually – 0. We soon learn that Makishima is actually “criminally asymptomatic”, in fact a person who in no way it cannot have an elevated coefficient, regardless of its effect (the best comparison is with psychopathy).
Despite the many problems, the situation becomes even worse when unknown criminals in helmets begin a series of crimes without the scanners reading the disturbance in Psycho-Pass. Although the PSB manages to arrest some of them, Makishima, who is also behind this, distributes the helmets to more and more criminals and thus causes chaos.
The problem with helmets is that they pick up the low Psycho-Pass of surrounding observers and thus grant the wearer immunity from Dominators. Makishima’s plan is to cause complete chaos and bring down the Sibyl System, which he almost succeeds in after he and his associate break into the building where the Sibyl center is located.
While Makishkima creates a diversion, his associate, Choe Gu-sung, goes to the center of the Sibyl, but is followed by Enforcer Shūsei Kagari. Choe and Kagari manage to get to Sibyl and discover his secret, but at that moment the head of the PSB, Jōshū Kasei, appears and kills them both. Meanwhile, Makishima is arrested.
Chief Kasei, in a conversation with Makishima, offers Makishima to become part of Sibyl, thus revealing to him the secret that Sibyl is hiding from society. Makishima deduces where he is and manages to escape, crashing the carrier he was flying in. After that, he contacts Kōgami and informs him that he survived. Boss Kasei, actually a robot regenerated every time by Sibyl, bans the investigation into the carrier crash and orders Ginoza to arrest Makishima.
Makishima’s new plan is, through bioterrorism, to destroy the Japanese economy and cause total chaos that will lead to the collapse of Sibyl. It soon becomes clear that the current laws are not enough to eliminate Makishima. Meanwhile, Ginoza’s Hue becomes troubled, while Akane receives a personal call from Sibyl, who reveals his secret to her and asks for her help in apprehending Makishima – life. With a little help from dr. Saige, Ginoza and Kōgami’s former criminal psychology professor, Department 1 manages to find out where Makishima is and what exactly he is up to.
They go to an agricultural factory where Makishima plans to use a virus to poison all of Japan’s crops and thus create chaos. However, Makishima, even though he is alone, proves to be an extremely complex opponent and almost escapes from them. While Akane wants to save his life, not for Sibyl’s sake but for her own moral convictions, Kōgami has no doubts about what to do.
He manages to follow Makishima who made it to the top of a nearby hill, where he calmly waited for Kōgami. After they exchange a few lines, Kōgami kills Makishima with a pistol shot, then disappears. Akane is in charge of reporting to the boss, namely Sibyl, as we see Kōgami escape on an unknown ship. The season ends the same way it began – a new, young inspector arrives at the crime scene where she is greeted by Akane, now the chief inspector, while Ginoza is demoted to Enforcer.
Psycho-Pass 2 (anime, 2014)
Unlike the previous one, the second season of the anime has only 11 episodes and begins with the narration in medias res. An explosion in one of the city’s squares caught the attention of the PSB, even though it did not lead to human casualties. PSB investigators, inspectors Akane Tsunemori and Mika Shimotsuki, work together with the Enforcers on the case and manage to connect one of the witnesses to the explosion with the person who sent the threats in the video.
It’s Akira Kitazawa, an engineer who knows explosives. During the chase, Kitazawa seemingly takes a hostage, who is soon released. Akane’s team goes after Kitazawa, while Inspector Mizue Shisui and her Enforcer Yamatoya go after the woman. While Akane manages to calm Kitazawa down enough that she doesn’t have to kill him, Inspector Shisui reveals that the hostage is actually a hologram, or trap, just as Akane predicted.
Behind the hologram stands a man whom the Dominator does not register at all, who stuns the inspector and uses her Dominator to kill Yamatoya. A message written in blood was left at the place of the incident – “WC?”. In order to get help on the case, Akane calls Dr. Saiga, but the situation suddenly becomes complicated when the PSB has to let Kitazawa go.
However, the investigation itself does not stop, and Kitazawa, before Inspector Risa Aoyanagi kills him, pronounces the name “Kamui”. Akane meanwhile found a “WC?” on the wall of the room in his apartment, but the investigation did not reveal anything. Soon after, she realized that the message was an acronym for “What Color?”.
We soon discover that Kamui took Inspector Shisui and implanted her eye so he could wield the Dominator. He also discovered that he knew a method to permanently lower the Crime Coefficient, regardless of the actual stress level. Kamui profiled himself very early on as a noticeably different criminal than Makishima; despite the same goal (a society stripped of Sibyl’s control), Kamui is much less a maniacal psychopath and more of a precise scientist, trying to test Sibyl’s limits and prove his unsuitability in that context.
When he proves that Sibyl is not perfect in herself, then society will no longer blindly follow his judgments. The consequences of his actions are evident through a series of chaotic situations through which he tested his theses, and created a whole series of problems for the PSB. So there was an incident at the pharmacy that resulted in a massacre and at the robot factory, when Akane first met Kamui, but he successfully escaped.
The further course of the case gradually profiles Kamui’s plan – he wants to measure Sibyl’s Crime Coefficient and thus prove the existence of a collective Psycho-Pass, which would make Sibyl’s existence meaningless. During the development of the plan, details from Kamui’s past are learned that explain the fact that the Dominators do not register him at all, but also the secret plan of Enforcer Sakuya Tōgane is revealed.
Kamui demonstrated nobility when he went to eliminate Tōgane, but was stopped by Akane, who showed him enough respect and took him to Sibyl, where Kamui proved the imperfection of the system by measuring Sibyl’s Crime Coefficient.
The resolution was interrupted by Togane, who tore off his finger to free himself from the handcuffs. Before they kill each other, Kamui sends a significant message to Akane, reemphasizing her role in reforming society and the system. The season ends with a conversation between Akane and the once again restored boss Kasei, in which Akane once again shows her moral strength.
Psycho-Pass: The Movie (movie, 2015)
In the year 2116 the Japanese government begins to export the drones of the “Sybil System” to countries in difficulty and the system spreads all over the world. A state in the middle of a civil war, SEAUn (the Union of South East Asia, pronounced “shian”), agrees to introduce the “Sybil System” as an experiment. Under the system, the coastal town of Shambala Float achieves internal security and temporary peace.
But then the SEAUn government sends a group of terrorists to Japan, who infiltrate the system to attack it from the inside. The shadow of a certain man falls on the accident. As police chief, Tsunemori decides to go to Shambala Float to investigate. The truth behind justice in this new country will soon become clear to her.
Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – Crime and Punishment (movie, 2019)
Enforcer Nobuchika Ginoza and Inspector Mika Shimotsuki of Unit 1 find a traumatized woman and it quickly becomes clear that a drug has altered her mental state. Akane Tsunemori’s team is ordered to take her back to a special trial prison, which is actually the location where the woman worked as a therapist. Akane sends her colleague, Inspector Shimotsuki, along with two of their Enforcers, Ginoza and Kunizuka, to examine the prison while she and the rest of Unit One go to investigate the case in Tokyo.
Using a new combination of medicine, therapy and work, the prison has produced a different type of society in which latent criminal inmates act in harmony with each other – keeping their delinquency coefficients below 90 in the most cases and doing valuable work for society as a whole. Mika sees the woman as a criminal worth killing, but she and Ginoza realize that the woman has used herself as bait to seek sanctuary for a small child.
Mika and Ginoza discover that the warden is exploiting the prisoners to harvest nuclear waste buried under the prison, causing the prisoners to die from radiation. Mika records the guard’s confession to his actions and reveals them to the inmates. Mika then murders the warden, but the inmates go on a rampage. Mika and Ginoza chase after the rest of the conniving staff and then get to work protecting the inmates. They later find out that the Sybil System knew about the Warden’s motive since the prison is located above the System’s old nuclear waste dump.
Psycho-Pass: Sinners of the System – In the Realm Beyond/On the Other Side of Love and Hate (movie, 2019)
Shinya Kogami travels the region of Tibet and the Himalayas as a freelance mercenary. He saves a bus full of guerrilla fugitives, including a half-Japanese girl, Tenzing Wangchuk. She asks him to teach her martial arts so that she can take revenge on her parents’ murderer. Kogami agrees but warns him not to take the path of revenge like he has done in the past.
He meets Frederica Hanashiro of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who is believed to be looking for Kimin, Japanese people stranded outside the country, with the goal of bringing them home if they are of good color. She helps Kogami protect the fugitives, but he is injured and saved by Garcia, a mercenary who worked for the peacekeeping mission of the UN peacekeepers.
As Kogami gets better, he thinks about his past actions of revenge by killing the criminal Shogo Makishima when he left Sybil. During the peace negotiations, Tenzing tracks his father’s killer to a meeting with Garcia, who secretly sabotages the negotiations. He seriously injures her, but she informs Kogami of Garcia’s plan. Frederica supports Kogami on the condition that he work with her. After killing Garcia, he returns to Japan with her.
Psycho-Pass PROVIDENCE (TBA)
Based on the poster and the post-credits scene of First Inspector, we speculate that this movie might cover the eveents from 2118, i.e., two years prior to the start of Season 3, which would also explain the suicide of Shindo’s father, the death of Ignatov’s brother, and the incarcertation of Akane Tsunemori. This is only speculative, though.
Psycho-Pass 3 (anime, 2019)
The Public Safety Bureau assigns newly appointed agents Arata Shindo and Kei Mikhail Ignatov to Unit 1, now headed by Mika Shimotsuki. The team of Enforcers, now consisting of Tenma Todoroki, Kazumichi Irie, Mao Kisaragi, and Sho Hinakawa, encounter them and are surprised at how Arata can examine people through his mental track.
During the season, Unit One investigates a case involving the idol Karina Komiya, who is elected as the new governor of Tokyo. While pursuing the criminals who attempt to kill them, Unit 1 encounters the Department of Foreign Affairs’ Directorate of Law Enforcement, a branch that oversees international crimes such as smuggling and terrorism.
Led by Frederica Hanashiro, the Ministry gives the protagonists information on fox-skilled criminals from the secret criminal organization Bifrost. While investigating a cult, Ignatov and Kisarage are kidnapped by their leader, the son of a Bifrost member. Ignatov’s wife, Maiko Maya Stronskaya, is also taken hostage. Since the leader wants to take advantage of Ignatov, he is murdered by Maiko instead.
This makes Maiko a latent criminal and remains hidden with her life. As a result, Bifrost is reduced to three members who also conspired against each other; Shindo’s late father is soon revealed to have been one of them. Unit 1 allies with the Ministry to stop Bifrost and Shindo is chosen as Komiya’s bodyguard, fearing that she may be the next target.
Ignatov meets Shizuka Homura of Bifrost, who offers his wife’s reinstatement at the expense of helping her. Meanwhile, the former Inspector Akane Tsunemori is still imprisoned for an unknown crime, but claims she picked Shindo as her successor to solve a crime as both are immune to the value of the Sybil System. The series ends on a cliffhanger when Bifrost’s Koichi Azusawa stages a car crash to attack former Unit One member Yayoi Kunizuka. The plot of the series continues in the movie Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector.
Psycho-Pass 3: First Inspector (movie, 2020)
Koichi Azusawa of the mysterious Bifrost crime group plans an attack on the Public Safety Bureau with Chiyo Obata, along with a couple of Pathfinders, whose names Jackdaw and Vixen. At the same time, Shirogane returns to Bifrost, where he prepares to bet Shizuka Homura on the outcome of the heist.
Azusawa locks the office headquarters and uses Obata to free the criminals in the cells and arm them to attack the detectives as a diversion. After the first attack, unit one is left without its inspectors, unit two is destroyed by the scouts, and unit three is trapped outside the building. Azusawa also takes Unit 1 Inspector Arata Shindō as a hostage.
Meanwhile, Inspector Kei Milhail Ignatov is contacted by Shirogane, who promises to reveal to him the truth about his brother’s death in exchange for his loyalty. Shugo follows Ignatov to the rendezvous where they are both ambushed by a sniper turret. Shinya Kogami and Nobuchika Ginoza of the State Department’s Law Enforcement Branch arrive and work with Ignatov to foil the ambush and ensure public safety.
Azusawa requests that Governor Karina Komiya resigns or everyone in the building would be killed. The Boy Scouts capture office manager Harumi Hosorogi to force the issue, but instead of becoming Azusawa’s persona, she jumps from the top of the building and dies. At the same time, Shion Karanomori and Karina Komiya locate and free Arata.
Ignatov and the Suppression Squad use a State Department helicopter to attack the drone’s sniper turret and manage to destroy it, but also cause a series of explosions. Ignatov and Kogami cross the roof, where they reunite with Kisaragi and Irie, and Shindō informs him of the current situation. Shindō leads Karanomori and Komiya to the server room and they are intercepted by Jackdaw, but they are able thanks to escape with the assistance of Ignatov and other detectives, including Shinya Kogami.
This allows Shindō to escort Komiya and Karanomori into the room to restore internal communications. Azusawa calls Ignatov and offers him a deal to trade the governor for his wife, but Ignatov refuses. Komiya and Karanomori reach the room, but the room is sealed with poison gas. Taking advantage of the challenge of defeating Azusawa, Karanomori is able to restore one third of the system but is then knocked out by the gas.
Then, Ignatov arrives with Irie and Kisaragi and saves them. Meanwhile, Shindō saves En Owanee from a battle robot and deduces that the gas filling the lower floors of the building is harmless, so he calls Azusawa’s bluff. Public Safety decides to use Ma-Karina, Karina’s AI duplicate, to fake her death, although Ignatov secretly sends Ma-Karina’s data to Homura at his request.
At the same time, Shindō “follows” Azusawa and learns there is a connection to his father. Through his trail, Shindō recalls his father Atsushi making a deal with Bifrost to protect him from the Sibyl System after finding out he was criminally asymptomatic, meaning the organization would remove his brain. He deduces Azusawa’s wish, who exchanges information with the Ministry about the Peacebreaker remaining overseas. In Bifrost, Shirogane realizes that Karina is not dead.
Kogami and Ignatov kill Jackdaw and Vixen respectively and prepare to arrest Azusawa, but Shindō wants to confront him himself. Azusawa and Obata confront Shindō. Azusawa reveals to Shindō that Ma-Karina’s development was part of Bifrost’s plan to open a new mine in the Sibyl System and that his ultimate goal is to become part of Sibyl.
Bifrost was originally a debugging unit in the early days of the Sibyl system, but its members began to abuse their position to exploit Sibyl’s vulnerabilities. Homura reveals that he used Ma-Karina to counter Shirogane’s AI-assisted inversions, resulting in Shirogane’s death. Homura then appoints Sibyl as the next member of Congress to destroy Bifrost. Shindō takes Azusawa to the heart of the Sibyl System, where he asks to join the Sibyl System.
However, Sibyl refuses him as Azusawa is not criminally asymptomatic and is arrested by Shindō. Afterwards, Karina explains to the audience that the attack on public safety was orchestrated by anti-Sibyl terrorists. Yayoi Kunizuka and Karanomori survive and agree to go live together after Shion is relieved of her duties as an analyst at her own request.
Homura is picked to replace the missing Kasei as the new head of Public Safety, and former inspector Akane Tsunemori will be assigned as Enforcer. She is released from her confinement and is picked up by Kogami. Shindō and Ignatov admit that they are keeping secrets from each other, but promise that they will eventually tell each other the truth. In the film’s post-credits scene, Tsunemori contacts Shindō and Ignatov, stating that she will tell them everything about the event that occurred two years prior.