Shogo Makishima- does he just want to see the world burn or is there a method to his madness?
The year is 2112, society is run by an all-knowing AI overlord, the Sibyl System. Sibyl constantly surveils its citizen’s mental health status and the potential of them becoming criminals. Any latent criminality gets nipped in the bud and people live preordained lives. Psycho-pass follows the story of Akane Tsunemori. She is a recruit to CID and her enforcer and assistant is Shinya Kogami. They follow a string of unusual crimes to discover the man behind it all, Shogo Makishima.
Now here’s the catch! Sibyl is unable to judge Makishima as a criminal. In other words, he is criminally asymptomatic. This sparks the show’s central conflict between the three, exploring various aspects of humanity. It’s easy to get lost between the characters and narratives in the complex web of ideologies and clashing philosophies of Psycho-pass. That being said, let’s explore our “villain” Makishima and see what makes for a compelling antagonist.
Who is Shogo Makishima?
Makishima is a tall, slender, young man with amber eyes and white hair. He usually displays a relaxed, uncaring attitude. However, his face can show quite a range of emotions depending on the situation. Aside from looks that could kill, Makishima is physically quite strong and agile. He was able to defeat Kogami in mere seconds during a fist fight, for instance.
Shogo Makishima is very well-read. He often quotes famous authors and philosphers on various occasions. He can be insanely persuasive and manipulative. Using these abilities, he can get people to commit the most heinous of crimes for him. What separates him from the rest however, is his crystal-clear psycho-pass. His conscience remains unsullied even as he slits the throat of a completely innocent human being.
Makishima detests unoriginality and is a big fan of free-will. This puts him at odds with a world where every single aspect of everbody’s life is pre-determined by an all-knowing Sibyl. In Shogo’s own words, he wishes to “see the splendour of people’s souls”. He believes people’s actions only hold true meaning when they are taken with individual agency.
To this end, he keeps on scouting people willing to defy Sibyl in often criminally reprehensive ways. Makishima however, bears no moral or ethical weight of any of his horrific actions. He justifies them through his twisted views on humanity and free-will. That being said, Makishima’s conviction in his beliefs and the charisma with which he delivers them, makes him a very compelling character.
Even Sibyl recognises Makishima’s abilities and tries making him a part of itself. Sibyl tempts him with the offer of getting to rule and control the game by becoming a part of the all-controlling hive-brain. Our antagonist, however, refuses this as he does not want to control anything. Makishima sees himself as a mere observer. He simply wishes to witness the originality of people’s action unhindered by Sibyl.
At the end of the first season of the show, Kogami catches Makishima after a climactic event. In his final moments, Makishima asks Kogami if he’d be able to find a replacement for their one of a kind relationship and Kogami is left speechless. This speaks to the rarity of finding people with such originality. Under different situations, these two might not have been enemies at all. Makishima is the catalyst to Kogami and Akane’s transformation. We could say, Akane is able to envision a world without Sibyl because of Makishima’s actions.
That said, nothing can justify Makishima’s horrific deeds. Even so, we can not simply discard his thoughts and words. Makishima is able to show some very powerful and uncomfortable truths about humanity. And that is the magic of psycho pass! It blurs the line between good and evil, friends and enemies, right and wrong. More importantly, it makes us question our own beliefs about these things and makes for a very interesting watch.