“When something impossible happens, there are only two possibilities. Either your assumptions are wrong, or you have gone crazy.”
Psycho pass is undoubtedly one of the best cyberpunk sci-fi animes out there. It may even be one of the best anime series of all time. Its futuristic style, complex characters, and compelling storylines make for a very interesting watch.
The show explores a dystopian Japan where technology has developed to an unimaginable degree. People’s lives are under the control of an omniscient AI overlord, the Sibyl System. The story is told from the perspective of a CID recruit, Akane Tsunemori. She is a straight-laced, bright-eyed, young woman with a very optimistic worldview.
Enter our second protagonist, a cigarette-smoking, shit-talking, inspector turned enforcer, Akane’s assistant, Shinya Kogami. He is one of the most beloved Psycho pass characters. Let's dive a little deeper into the enigma that is Shinya Kogami and find out the man behind the name.
*Spoiler warning for Psycho pass Season 1*
Kogami ’s Personality
Kogami is tall and muscular and has grey eyes and dark brown hair. He is usually dressed in a black suit and tie. When in the field, he adds on a grey coat.
Aside from being quite the looker, Kogami is an excellent detective. His quick thinking and combat abilities make him a valuable asset to the Public Safety Bureau.
We know very little of Kogmai as an inspector but during his days as an enforcer, he is usually calm and detached. His superiors and colleagues are often impressed and appalled by him at the same time as he often uses very risky methods to solve cases.
Despite his usually serious demeanor, Kogami has a humorous side to him as well. He often teases Akane on multiple occasions.
His motto is to be gentle to others and strict to himself. He perfectly embodies this as he often gets his hands dirty so his colleagues wouldn’t have to. He keeps training himself to always be physically strong as he believes,
“A man should be stronger than the weapon he holds.”
Kogami went to school with Nobuchika Ginoza and they became friends after he saved Ginoza from bullies. He majored in Social Sciences and took up Kick-boxing and wrestling as hobbies. Following in Ginoza’s footsteps, Kogami joined the Public Safety Bureau after graduating at the top of his class.
Three years before the events of Psycho pass Season 1, Kogami was an inspector for the PSB. He worked with an enforcer, Sasayama and the two became close friends.
One fateful day, during an ongoing case, Kogami discovered Sasayama’s dead and dismembered body. The trauma of it all caused a decline in his psycho-pass. However, he refused to receive any treatment. Consequently, he was demoted to being an enforcer himself. Even so, he continued to work the case obsessively. Three years later Kogami met Akane Tsunemori on her first day of work and the events of the show transpired.
In the 13th episode of Psycho-pass, Kogami is seen reading ‘Heart of Darkness' by Joseph Conrad. This seems to be a metaphor for His own journey. He joined the PSB with a sense of duty to protect and help people. After his enforcer’s sudden killing followed by his demotion, Kogami becomes obsessed with the man behind it all, who later turned out to be Makishima. Much like the protagonist of ‘Heart of Darkness’, Kogami descents into a mad obsession with vengeance.
Like Makishima, Kogami is well aware of Sibyl’s shortcomings but unlike the criminal mastermind, Kogami prefers to bear the consequences of his own actions. Moreover, he is an empathetic person. He doesn’t want to involve Akane or the others too far deep into chasing the sheer darkness that is Makishima. He is worried it might affect their lives and psycho-passes.
Shinya Kogami has a strong sense of justice and personal responsibility. However, he also seems to be seeking an eye for an eye as he chases Makishima at the cost of his own future.
Final Thoughts on Shinya Kogami
Kogami seems to be fearful of the similarities he and Makishima hold. Makishima does bring out darker aspects of Kogami’s personality. At some point, he even asks Akane to kill Makishima brutally with a helmet.
He is able to think exactly like Makishima which often helps the investigations of PSB. Moreover, both Kogami and Makishima share a mutual hatred for the very flawed Sibyl system. Kogami proves this by using an old-school gun to end Makishima’s life since Sibyl was incapable of judging him.
Kogami is one of the most compelling characters on the show. His convictions and actions make him a man of very strong character. With his career, a potential love life, and comfortable existence for himself, Kogami gave it all up just to find justice in a world that would close its doors to those who needed it the most.
Shinya Kogami refused to be a cog in the machine. For that, he has more than earned everyone’s respect, including Shogo Makishima and undoubtedly us, the audience.