So I was reading Harukami Murakami’s Underground and while I was digesting its content, a point struck me that made me think of Psycho-Pass. For those who aren’t familiar with him, Murakami is a novelist. Post-modernism is a pretty broad and oft ambiguous genre of storytelling, and Murakami in particular is well-known in contemporary literature for his post-modern brand of literary treatment. If there’s one common thread in the post-modern literary genre that could be pinned out, it’s that it often entails a challenge to the status quo, a shakedown of the assumptions that people take for granted: about themselves, the world, and their place within it.
In one way, Underground is a departure. Murakami’s career up until then was in fiction, not non-fiction. In another, it is not. Many of Murakami’s works deal with the recurring thread of the underground, the underworld that, if not quite belies, runs underneath, clandestine, interior to the exterior of the trappings of the external civilities of societies and individuals, specifically those of the culture of Japanese. It’s like the difference between tourism and immigration to Japan. The Japanese take to the former more warmly over the latter. The title of his is Underground, the setting is the underground Tokyo subway system, and the theme is the underground of people.
Underground specifically deals with the Tokyo Sarin Gas Attacks of March 20, 1995, specifically those of the cult of Aum Shinrikyo. Kunihiko Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum makes visually explicit allusions to it, and there are obvious thematic parallels that could be made between anime and event, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Gen Urobuchi reflected on what that incident exposed when he wrote Psycho-Pass, and specifically Episode 14 of Psycho-Pass, “Sweet Poison...”