Review: The Perfect Insider

Release Date
Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack
Studio / Publisher
A-1 Pictures / Animatsu Entertainment
Language / Subtitles
Japanese / English
4 (2xBD, 2xDVD)
Run Time
275 Minutes

The Perfect Insider, or Subete ga F ni Naru as it’s known in Japan, is a complex murder mystery series that originally aired as part of the Autumn anime season last year. Fast forward a year and it now makes its way onto home video within the UK thanks to Animatsu Entertainment. I did check out of the first couple of episodes when it originally aired on Crunchyroll and I’m glad I now have the excuse to finish the series off.

“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!”Animatsu Entertainment

Based on the 1996 award-winning novel Subete ga F ni Naru by Hiroshi Mori, The Perfect Insider has seen numerous adaptations over the years and now an anime series. Having not read the source material or watched any of the previous adaptations I have to wonder how much of the series was modernised to fit today’s world. The story revolves around the use of advanced technology such as AI software and computer-controlled facilities. Now, 1996 was only twenty years ago but the technological landscape was an entirely different animal. Technology has advanced so much since then that it makes me wonder if any of what the series shows was even possible back then.

Without having read the source material I guess I will not know. I’m fairly confident though that only minor changes have been made to update it. There are a lot of great examples of fiction that have predicted or fantasised about what technology may exist in years to come with some having been spot on. On the subject of modern-day technology, it’s great to see a murder mystery story set during this time period as it gives the genre new ideas to work with. I’ve been a big fan of detective fiction such as Poirot from Agatha Christie since I was young and The Perfect Insider really felt like a modern-day continuation of those stories.

The series itself surprised me in that I thought it would be comprised of two-episode story arcs rather than one whole series dedicated to the one story. Thankfully it turned out this way because it deserves a full series to itself. After doing a bit of research on the author Hiroshi Mori it appears that there is a series of stories set around Souhei Saikawa and Moe Nishinosono so another series could be a possibility. He has also written a number of other mystery novels and I for one would definitely like to see some more anime adaptations of his work.

This adaptation was handled by A-1 Pictures and not only have they put together a very compelling series story-wise but the visual quality is also fantastic. There’s a great focus on colour here with the majority of the characters and surrounding being very monotone while some characters or aspects of their design will feature some very striking colour. On the subject of characters, I really enjoyed the design on the majority of the cast, very unique and interesting compared to the norm.

Kenji Kawai (Mobile Police Patlabor, Ghost in The Shell) is the composer for the series and what a perfect match of styles. With his very extensive and extremely impressive body of work, I couldn’t think of anyone better to work on this series. The opening theme, “Talking” by Kana-Boon, is really good and it’s great being able to watch in HD without any pixelation happening to the animation. Given the complex nature of animation that features in the opening, it suffered greatly when streaming. The ending theme, “Nana Hitsuji” by Scenarioart, is also a pretty good listen.

On-disc extras include Clean Opening and Closing Animations as well as a selection of trailers from Sentai Filmworks.

The Perfect Insider is a really great example of the mystery genre of storytelling brought into the modern-day. The use of sound and colour palette really helps the series stick out from the crowd and the story is pretty compelling in its own right. As someone who used to enjoy watching detective fiction stories when I was younger, The Perfect Insider really evokes a sense of nostalgia while feeling new and fresh at the same time. The Perfect Insider is definitely a show to pick up if you’re looking for something a little different.