Perfect Insider: Mid-season Impressions
Ok, I wasn’t going to write anything about Perfect Insider on the blog until I finished watching it, but I just couldn’t resist! I didn’t think I would get so invested in the story but with each episode I watch, the more I want to scream about it
Perfect Insider (aka. Subete ga F ni Naru) is a murder mystery series based on the novel by Hiroshi Mori. The story follows characters Sōhei Saikawa, an associate University professor who is obsessed with meeting genius Magata; Moe Nishinosono, the daughter of Saikawa’s now deceased mentor and a student at Saikawa’s school; and Shiki Magata, a genius who has isolated herself on a remote island for 15 years after she is suspected as her parents’ murderer (but is found “innocent” on account of mental instability)
One day while on a trip to the island Magata has isolated herself on, Saikawa and Nishinosono find themselves in the middle of a murder case, specifically, Shiki Magata’s murder. How exactly was she murdered if her lab was impenetrable? And how is her parents’ murder related?
The AniTwitWatches gang started watching Perfect Insider on May 25th and each week we’ve watched two episodes. When I mentioned I’d be joining, I also said that I might be in a dilemma about keeping to this schedule. After all, if the series ended up being REALLY good, I’d want to binge it! Luckily, I’ve kept my self-control under…control, and most of my thoughts on the series on this twitter thread
But I also wanted to share my thoughts here. So far, I think this series will be getting a PASSing grade from me but that also depends on how it ends. I find that often my feelings for a story change depending on how things end
This is also probably one of the few series where I really am enjoying the beginning and opening songs. I really like how abstract and fluid the animation is for the opening. I figured it would keep to the usual clips and characters (in the style of the series) just like most other anime I’ve watched, but here we just have outlines of the three main characters dancing. It keeps to the relationships the characters have in the series, such as Saikawa’s obsession with meeting Magata only to have her disappear from his grasp and Nishinosono’s will of being Saikawa’s focus. It’s also interesting that it sounds like an uplifting song since the series is the complete opposite! I also really liked the ending, which I only watched in episode 4 “accidentally” (I left it playing instead of just skipping to the next episode like I usually do). I don’t have many thoughts about the ending aside from liking the sound. The ending is mainly a digital landscape up until the end when Magata is formed
I’d say everything is random except that the story seems to be heavily moved by concepts and symbols so it all fits nicely
The art…is something I really like but also find disturbing at times. There’s nothing wrong with it aesthetically, but there are moments where the skin will get a sort of paste-like quality to it, making it feel “unauthentic” (which is funny since this is all animation so technically there’s nothing “authentic/real” about it). Actually, it almost gives off the impression that the characters are corpses or that their skin is cold, which fits the whole theme of the murder mystery. It also reminds me of the whole talk on dolls that the show is having and how dolls do have this type of texture to their bodies. Perhaps there’s an emphasis that live people are dolls (or maybe this is just the style they decided to go for and I’m just reading too much into it)
Not really a plus or minus on my final thoughts for the series, but something I noticed
In terms of the story, oh boy, where do I even begin! It has a very existential vibe to it, especially the first episode where we meet all our main characters. We learn about Saikawa’s obsession of meeting Magata, almost like if meeting her will somehow give him the answers to all the life questions he’s ever wondered about. We also meet Nishinosono, who has a crush on Saikawa but aside from her being from a rich and influential family (and her using this to her advantage to nab an interview with Magata, I believe, for Saikawa’s sake – whether he asked her to or not, I think her interest in Magata stems from wanting to get closer to Saikawa), there isn’t much about her that we learn. She seems observant but it all seems to stem from her interest in Saikawa. I mean, usually you pay extra attention to the little nuances of the people you like, right? She also gets jealous easily and it’s easy to just dismiss her as that romance airhead (and you all know how much I dislike that)
That said, there’s something I really liked about her from the start. Maybe it’s her red sports car but probably also her persistence and confidence. She’s also very…naive…or perhaps that’s not the right word. I don’t want to say sheltered since she doesn’t give off that impression in the later episodes, but she’s something in that direction. Also, she’s definitely smart and I’m always a fan of an intelligent character
Perfect Insider has a slow start. The first two episodes feel more like an introduction to the story where you get to learn a bit about the different characters before being dropped into the action. We get to see how Saikawa cares about Nishinosono but perhaps not in the way that she’d like. We also learn he smokes A LOT and ok, I don’t know why anyone would want to kiss someone like him. Can you imagine how bad his mouth would taste? And his person must reek of smoke! I mean, I guess if you don’t mind that cigarette smell and taste but…not me
Luckily, Saikawa isn’t too attractive (he gets a 7/10 from me, maybe 8) although I have to admit his intelligence is attractive but he’s a little too pessimistic…oh who am I kidding I LIKE HIM. I mean, I don’t even understand what he means half the time but I guess it’s this that would make me want to interact more with him. I want to figure him out. I just wouldn’t kiss him. Like, wow, I think he only sleeps and smokes, not healthy! Actually, why isn’t he coughing up a lung yet?!
The story is told from different points in time, the main ones being from the present and the other from the years prior to Magata’s isolation. There are also clips of Nishinosono’s interview with Magata, which happened at some point prior to her murder. This and the many cuts between time seem to imply that there’s a parallel between Magata and Nishinosono’s lives, except that aside from knowing Nishinosono is a lively character, there isn’t much about her past that we know about (aside from surface knowledge I feel like). Funny enough, I think she’s the most mysterious character so far. All of these events slowly feed and inform the present murder case and some episodes make me feel like I’m completely lost to what is happening. That said, each episode does build into the story, just that it does so slowly (potentially too slow if you’re used to things moving at a quicker pace), leaving many hints as to what could be happening without revealing everything
Just when I think I’ve learned something new, I find myself questioning at least a dozen more things! Perhaps that’s why I like the series so far. Nothing feels too out of this world and it’s not so complicated that I can’t make my own guesses as to what is happening (of course, I’ve never been good at detective work so all my guesses have been wrong so far)
This week I watched episodes 5 and 6, which were very telling. I’d been noticing some parallels between Magata and Nishinosono’s lives but it wasn’t until these episodes where things kicked up a notch. Perhaps this is stretching it but I think it’s interesting that they’re both young and extremely intelligent girls who have had an older male presence in their lives since their youth and who have acted in what we typically associate with being “in love”. Moe keeps insisting she likes Saikawa (even though he doesn’t really give the impression of finding her attractive as a woman, he gives off asexual vibes) and I wonder if this is less love and more just the fact that he’s someone smarter than her, something she admits to Magata during their interview. Or perhaps she does like him
It’s almost like we’re being shown two different ways in which one single interaction could have panned out and how families influence how their children grow up. I mean, why is Nishinosono so different, more excitable and childlike, if she seems to be in that group of more intelligent people? What makes her less “pure” than Magata? Is it really “pure” to be so unrestricted by morals and ethics? I want to read more about this argument
All that said, we’re only just starting to investigate seriously and there is so much more happening. I’m curious as to where this will go, especially since we’re halfway into the series and episodes 5 and 6 (while we did get a lot more information) feel more like recap episodes. But I’m curious, if you’re watching this as part of ATW, what are your impressions so far? And if you’ve watched this before, did you like it? No spoilers after episode 6 but let’s talk in the comments! And if you haven’t watched it, does anything I said make you curious? Or not?
Warning: This series has murder, violence, blood, a sexual relationship between an adult and underage person, incest, and manipulation