Blu-ray Review: The Perfect Insider – The Complete Series

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It’s been quite-a-while since we had a good ‘crime-solving-thriller’ anime in the UK market but that’s pretty much what The Perfect Insider intends to deliver; but how did we find this series to be? Well lets take a look at Animatsu Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of The Perfect Insider – The Complete Series.

Synopsis:

For most people, finding a dead body on their vacation would mean the vacation is over. However, for Souhei Saikawa, a professor of architecture, and his student Moe Nishinosono, a math prodigy, it’s a different kind of challenge.

Genius programmer Shiki Magata, one of Souhei’s idols, is inexplicably murdered inside the sealed research lab she disappeared to after being found innocent of her parents’ murder. As Souhei and Moe take the first steps into a deadly new world, they must untangle the complex web of events and clues leading up to the murder. With danger creeping up around them, this may be the last mystery this pair of human anomalies attempts to solve in THE PERFECT INSIDER!

Our View:

The Perfect Insider, or Subete ga F ni Naru if you prefer the Japanese title, was originally released as  mystery novel in Japan by Hiroshi Mori before being adapted into various forms of media including a live action drama and a visual novel. Fortunately I will not be discussing about those today; as instead we will be focusing our attention on the anime TV adapation by A-1 Pictures – a series which spans eleven episodes and sees an unlikely duo attempt to solve a murder within a locked room. You could say it’s your cliché ‘Murder Mystery’ crime and although that may be the case The Perfect Insider proved to be an entertaining experience…. well until the ending at least.

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The events of the series follows Souhei Saikawa, otherwise known as Professor Saikawa, and his math prodigy come rich-kid Moe Nishinosono who find themselves attempting to meet up with the a genius programmer named Shiki Magata, otherwise referred to as Doctor Magata, whose isolated herself within a research facility on a remote island. It’s explained that despite being a genius Doctor Magata locked herself away in isolation after killing her parents and while Nishinosono wants to uncover more of this story for herself, as she lost her parents in a tragic accident several years prior,  Professor Saikawa  just wants to meet this genius in person. As Professor Saikawa is a bit of a shut-in this potential meet up with Doctor Magata is done under the pretence of a class field trip with both Saikawa and Nishinosono venturing away from the group in order to enter the isolated facility and potentially meet up with the highly desired genius. It’s a rather rushed experience but soon enough we see our duo, and other classmates, venture towards the island.

It’s here where the true story of The Perfect Insider starts to appear; as shortly after being allowed inside the facility Doctor Magata exits her room on a portable transport table but upon closer inspection it is revealed that she had been murdered with both her legs and arms being severed off. As you can imagine our main characters, and everyone within the facility, go into a state of shock and for the next nine episodes we see these characters begin to unravel the mystery of her death. Each episode attempts to focus on a particular aspect of her life but when it seems like the protagonists get closer to the truth something else reveals itself; such as a new character being murdered or an event in the past being incorrectly analyzed.  From a viewer perspective it is an engaging series as it makes you (as a viewer) try to dissect the information and discover the culprit for yourself so not only are you watching the characters discover the answer but you too are working to solve the mystery as well (or at least I did).

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From this perspective The Perfect Insider delivers an engaging, and potentially interactive, show but The Perfect Insider is much more than just a murder mystery puzzle. For starters towards the end of each episode Doctor Magata’s teenage years, and her questionable relationship with her uncle, are presented to the viewer. At first these seem like minor dribbles of flashback that have no meaning with the events of the series itself; but by the time the series ends you’ll realise that they actually give you the reasoning for Doctor Magata being locked away within the facility. Another potential sub-story is the apparent infatuation Nishinosono has with Souhei Saikawa; and just like with the Magata’s childhood we see Nishinosono’s tragic past brought to her life and her feelings for Saikawa being realised. You could say it’s a three-pronged-way of story-telling; with Saikawa unravelling Magata’s death, Magata’s childhood being showing for added information and Nishinosono’s past in order to realise her true feelings and understandings.

Like I said; it is a thought provocative series and despite the praise I can give it the ending, albeit intriguing, is one of confusing disappointment with no clear indication as to why the events happened. I guess freedom could be the answer; but the lack of a clear explanation makes the past four hours feel like bit of a waste. I’m not saying an explanation isn’t given; its just not one thats clearly presented which means you’ll be left thinking about the events several hours (if not days) after you have finished watching the series.

Extras:

Once again Animatsu Entertainment are using disc masters provided by Sentai Filmworks and as such we receive the bare essentials of bonus content; namely clean opening and closing animation sequencers and a selection of trailers for other Sentai Filmwork releases.

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Interestingly enough unlike past Animatsu-come-Sentai Filmwork releases the selection of trailers on offer have yet to receive a UK release; although Season 1 of Coffin Princess Chaika has been released by Animatsu Entertainment in the UK. In any event; it’s another barebones release but at least it’s better than nothing at all.

Specs:

Media:  BD 50 x1, BD 25 x1
Region: A & B
Running Time:  3:33:18 (Disc 1), 47:24 (Disc 2)
Video: MPEG-4 AVC
Audio: DTS-HD 2.0 (Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 1920×1080 (1080p)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 23.976 fps

Overall:

The Perfect Insider, or The Perfect Insiders as I incorrectly called it, is one of those rare thought provocative shows that creates a dramatic build-up over a short lifespan but ultimately ends on a sour note due its unclear way of ending the story. The animation style is crisp, albeit with some quirky character designs, and the progression of the storytelling is robust but it’s a show that doesn’t do entirely well as a series and in my eyes may have been better as a feature-length-production.

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The series sees Souhei Saikawa and close-friend-come-student Moe Nishinosono attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder of Shiki Magata within a secure locked-down facility and throughout each of the eleven episodes we see the duo come closer to solving the case. Meanwhile, lurking around in various parts of the series, we see Moe Nishinosono attempt to uncover the truth surrounding her own past – which saw her parents die in a tragic accident – as well as get to grip with the feelings she has for Souhei Saikawa. Murder, Mystery and deceit; it’s all here within The Perfect Insiders and while nothing exactly happens, in terms of character movement or development, viewers are kept engaged with the sheer complexity of the case and the events that transpire.  A second watch of the series is advise to truly understand what’s being discovered, especially the ending, but at the same time this series feels like a one-hit-wonder that would only do well as a feature-length-film.

Why do I suggest this? Well at times it felt like certain episodes were being ‘dragged on’ and considering the events of this series happen within several hours (so-to-speak) it could easily translate into a film. You could say it is a marmite type of series; I enjoyed the build up and the events that occurred as a result of it; but the ending was nothing that I expected and left you wanting answers. The same cannot be said for this Blu-ray release by Animatsu Entertainment, with assets provided by Sentai Filmworks, as everything works as intended. The menu is plain and simple and remains consistent with preivous sentai filmwork releases meanwhile the easily readable yellow subtitles make sure the dialogue is presented to the viewer in an easy manner.

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My impressions of The Perfect Insider are a confused one;  the series as a whole is mediocre but what it is trying to accomplish is to be commendend as it really does get you ‘hooked in’ to the events that are transpiring. Unfortunately I didn’t really care for the characters, especially Moe Nishinosono, but the quirky nature of Souhei Saikawa and the secrets that lay within Shiki Magata are more than worth it. Good Story, Good Build-up, Poor ending with interesting animation styless; but in regards to the quality of this release by Animatsu Entertainment then everything is as expected so you won’t be disappointed by this Blu-ray at least. In my eyes it’s worth a watch; but it may not be one that stays in your collection.

Score: review-stars-3

The Perfect Insider – The Complete Series is now available as a Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack within the UK.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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