Welcome once again as I return with another Rio Olympics theme’d genre, murder mystery! Alright alright that was probably darker than it needed to be, but frankly I really don’t care about sports. At all. The horrible Rio jokes are all I have for the next two weeks. Questionable segues aside though, I jumped straight from Erased to The Perfect Insider despite what I said about theme moderation. I was fully planning to do something different but I had my eye on this and no one was talking about it, so what the hell. Is this quiet little show forgotten or just unloved? Let’s decode this mystery and go right to another Tokyo Transmission.
The Perfect Insider (Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider) – Episode One
Genre: Mystery, Psychological
A tired teacher and love struck student working for the Saikawa Research Lab organize a trip to a remote island in order to meet a genius scientist living in isolation. On arrival they find themselves caught up in a murder mystery as the two of them work together to discover the islands mysteries only to find more questions, and that not everything is as it seems.
Souhei Saikawa (Yasuyaki Kase) lives a life of board meetings and tedium at the Saikawa Research Lab, only broken up by his bubbly young student Moe Nishinosono (Atsumi Tanezaki). Despite her attempts to get closer to the tired professor, he only seems to be interested in the works on the isolated genius Dr. Shiki Magata. After revealing to him that she had actually got to speak with Dr. Mataga (Ibuki Kido) during a live interview, she orchestrates a plan to meet the scientist in person, and cause Saikawa to feel jealous for not paying attention to her. Thanks to her wealthy family background and a few pulled strings, the two set off together on the university’s seminar trip to the island where Dr. Magata has been living in isolation for twenty years.
Currently the only characters worth looking into are our two leads, Moe and Saikawa. Both can be seen as opposites of each other in many ways as Moe is the bubbly young and quirky student to Saikawa’s older tired persona as a rather wise yet bored professor. Saikawa immediately came across to me as the more interesting character despite Moe having more mystery set up around her. Is this because I’m also a tired old man inside? Probably to some degree. I don’t know exactly what it is but Moe dances the line between endearing and just sort of annoying to me. She’s from a wealthy family, she’s shown to be very intelligent and to top it off she’s kind of immature all while running after a man probably twice her age. On paper she doesn’t read as very likable…and that’s not to say I actually didn’t like her, but she feels like a few character tweaks away from just a spoilt rich kid at times.
Saikawa really doesn’t give us as much to go on at first unlike Moe. He’s simply a more relatable character from one world weary guy in front of the computer to another. Saikawa spends much of his time reflecting on true freedom of the mind, and the realities that trap all of us in this life. Going so far as to describe aging as dying mentally, believing people born as geniuses and they grow dumber with age. It sounds rather dour but in reality he’s a tired professor who clearly sees the cage around him in the form of work and life, and imagines escape as many of us do. He clearly opens up the first episode with the kind of questions this anime wants to throw at us, so right off the bat it feels like this is a good indication of the coming themes. All things considered however, it currently makes no sense to me why Moe is in love with the man. Maybe this is explained better but logically it doesn’t really add up so far, at least to me.
There are a few minor characters but the only one who deserves mention is Dr. Shiki Magata. Look it’s basically the only way to describe the show going in, so this doesn’t even count as a spoiler, but she will be dead. I mean this is a murder mystery, we do know of her death coming into this show. With that out of the way, it will be curious to see how that all turns out when the gang get to the island. The good doctor has been living in isolation for a long time, and clearly hints towards a connection with Moe, or at least her father. While we have little on her character, she clearly has the most going for her now in terms of mystery.
As with many mystery anime’s, it’s rather hard to say much about the show at the moment. The show itself is set in more or less modern Japan as Moe and Saikawa get ready to immediately leave it for an island. The island does bring out some of the standard questions though with murder mysteries, most presently being I assume they get stuck on it. Given the slower nature of this show though I will be interested to see where this takes them, both through the story being set up and many of the themes already that have started being explored. I can’t help but wonder if computers and virus’s will become a central theme carrying forward as well. Early on Saikawa has to deal with a computer virus on the campus, as well as Dr. Magata being a computer genius. Plus, the opening and closing credits have computer themes…you get where I’m going with this. If it’s in the credits of an anime, subtlety has usually gone out the window from the get go, let’s be honest. Who knows, maybe Magata’s just an AI or something. If that’s true, then I totally called it. Anyway, I’m interested in seeing where this all goes, I just hope it doesn’t become too cliché with the island murderer angle.
Art and Voice
The show looks pretty nice all around, it tends to carry a more washed out tone as it seems to be going in for a more grounded feel to the shows atmosphere. There are some clear CG effects throughout the show, which honestly my brain usually just tunes out in most anime’s. It’s a little harder to ignore this time as Saikawa smokes more times than people have been mugged during the Rio games and is rarely seen without a cigarette in his hand or mouth, and with that comes a lot of CG smoke. CG is used for other elements like cars and such but it’s not rare for vehicles to be done like this in anime these days. Either way there is a noticeable mix of effects, I had no issue with that but if anyone out there has a particular dislike of that, it’s around.
Aside from the CG effects though, the animation and art look decent in their own right without really standing out. Though in all fairness the characters really don’t move much or even really change location often in the first episode. Looking at the scenery though, I get the impression that decent effort has actually been put into smaller details and sets given the, literally, slower nature of the show. It’s an odd thing to point out really, but some details in the background catch the eye more with some nice details for that extra effort.
In regards to the opening and closing credits, I was actually surprised to see them in episode one. It’s been so long since I watched a show not skip them in the opening act. Neither were exactly what I expected either, with the opening being more upbeat and catchy than the show would suggest. It merges the style of smoothly animated sketches with the fuzz of computers and older technological themes. The closing went all out on the latter theme, as it uses those hideous old windows interfaces to create patterns and symbols, spreading out like a virus or creating faces. It even had that blue pixel explosion that…actually makes me feel old now that I think about it. Both of them surprised me and there were some very creative approaches to both. I don’t know how well they fit into the show as a whole but it stood out from another generic open and close music video. If nothing else, it brought some fresh visuals to the table that I enjoyed.
Did I like it?
I honestly don’t really know what The Perfect Insider is about still. I mean it is a mystery anime so that doesn’t have to be bad, but I’m not sure what I’m even getting into. There is clearly going to be a lot of discussions of life and death, and pondering of the human existence if the first episode is any indication. Beyond that and subtle hints to the plot I’m pretty in the dark here. This is all beside the point though, the question in the title is did I like it? Yeah, I enjoyed the episode. I want to keep watching it and find out what the show is about and what’s going to happen. So for a mystery anime, that’s a good start. If you want a slightly shorter show with some pondering of the human mind, I’d say check it out.
Sorry again for more recent delays in my personal schedule, it’s having more delays than a Translink service lately. Hopefully after this week I will have sorted out some personal matters that free up more time for me to get back into writing and streaming at a more regular timetable. Was it just me or did anyone else hear nothing about this show? I don’t take favourites but sometimes it nice to look at something going in blind opposed to arriving by hype train. Winter seemed to kick off with a murder mystery and now it appears to close with one, at least to certainly feels that way for the two or three damn weeks it tried to be cold. What about you guys, do you prefer it hot or cold? Because I’m sure as hell dreading what comes next. You can find me at all the places through the site if you want to chat or contact me as usual, but until next time, see you later.