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Fun With Names: Sibyl System

Don't you sometimes wish you could see into the future?

Welcome to Fun With Names, where I will be picking apart the various names in anime to find out what greater significance they may have in the series' context. Today: the Sibyl System from Psycho Pass. This one didn't take very long to uncover, but it is one that could go unnoticed. Since I'm into various kinds of mythology, I appreciate this particular name for the instantaneous "Ohhhhh, right" it produces when one puts the pieces together.




Psycho Pass is an intense anime set in the distant future where society is largely supervised by an advanced technology known as the Sibyl System. The system determines the trajectory one's life takes for the most part, but it is also used in the justice system, where it has created a means to determine the latent criminal potential in each citizen. This potential is identified by something called the "Psycho Pass", which assumes different colours depending on one's behaviour and mental state, which allows the authorities to subdue or eliminate any threat to society using high-tech weapons known as Dominators. Tsunemori Akane is a young woman starting out as an Inspector, hoping to uphold justice, but this becomes difficult when she realises that Sibyl's judgments aren't as perfect as others assume, and her very sense of justice is put to the test when she considers how far justice can prevail under a corrupt system.

nameless beast

Onto the name of the system which stifles Akane's understanding of justice - Sibyl. This is much easier than most other anime names specifically because a) it isn't Japanese, and b) it is a mythological reference. In day-to-day English talk, "sibyl" is a noun referring to women in ancient times who were thought to utter divine prophecy or tell the future. The well-known Greek Sibyl was a high priestess at the Temple of Apollo in Delphi, a figure commonly known as "The Oracle of Delphi". In the Psycho Pass series, the Sibyl System is used to predict and accurately assign work to citizens, in addition to guiding other facets of life and making predictions on the likely trajectory of a person's life and actions. Much like an oracle, the Sibyl System sees into the future of the citizens in society. For the Greeks, the sibyl's divine inspiration would come from chthonic deities, which ties in to the aspect of the Sibyl System being physically located underground, affecting the world above.

What's in a name? Only everything.

sibyl system psycho pass fun with names anime Op-ed

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