I have a love-hate relationship with A-1. They either make high quality shows that tops the charts every year like Anohana and Birdy, or very promising shows that faceplant mid-way such as Sword Art Online or Oreimo. When I saw that they were doing Subete ga F ni Naru, I was really excited, and really scared. Subete ga F ni Naru is an amazing mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori, that I've read several times. Luckily they managed to capture most of the great aspects of the book.
Story: The story itself is fairly generic. though not quite saturated. Our amazingly well-written MCs head to Seafoam island, to meet the a genius, Shiki, whom is being kept locked away for murder. As our duo make their way to see her, the power in the facility suddenly goes out, and Shiki is found rolling out of her room on some dolley shit, in a wedding dress, with her limbs severed. Velma and Shaggy then do their best to solve the mystery.
While the beginning few episodes are a bit slow and confusing, the plot train soon hits you with no signs of slowing. It's an incredibly engaging locked room mystery with an end I guarantee none of you will guess. Seriously, the book destroyed my mind. It does throw in some philosophical bullshit here and there thats one of those "2deep4u" kinda things, however it's pretty easy to understand.
Animation: When I saw Mamoru Kanbe as the director, I was a bit iffy. He doesn't have too much experience under his belt other than Elfen lied and Demon Prince Enma, which are pretty mediocre, and I really wanted Subete ga F ni Naru to get a great adaption. Luckily my bae Kanbe pulled through. The art-style and attention to detail is superb. I found myself just staring at Souhei's cigarette smoke constantly. The way it flows through the air, how it wavers with the slightest movements, everything was amazing. I may not smoke that dosh, but I can appreciate well animated doobies.
The sunset scene near the end captivated me as well. In case you missed it somehow, just focus on the scenery and enjoy the view. The simplistic style they chose by slowly changing the tones without fancy angle changes was phenomenal. Honestly made me think of the low budget scenes in Evangelion but in a good way.
Sound: A good opening in an anime will make me love it no matter what it throws at me. The opening to Subete ga F ni Naru proved to be one of my favorites of all time. It was simple, well animated, and sung by a personal favorite of mine. There are so many metaphors in it that I couldn't help but notice something new every time. The anime itself also had great BGM. From the spooky atmosphere, to the simple sounds of pens and lighters, everything fits.
Moe Nishinosono: I don't know why but every time I look at her I feel a familiarity. She reminds me of main grill from Nozoki Ana to be honest, but whenever I compare them there's not much similar. Whatever it isn't important. What is important is how likable she is. She's scheming, witty, smart, cute, and an all around great character. Her back story and development was very well done, and the way she desperately tries to figure out the mystery while Souhei almost has it concluded was adorable. I was afraid they'd portray her as a clingy student in love with her teacher, but instead they gave her a mature and realistic vibe. Best grill by far.
Souhei Saikawa: Souhei is the type of male lead I prefer. Intelligent, aware, and not a brick wall. While he does seem to ignore Moe's advances and questions, he proves to be aware of her feelings. He's not as emotionless as other characters similar to him, which is nice. He's able to figure out most of the mystery himself with some help from Velma, and the ending scenes that gave us a glimpse into his inner being and personality was great. All around good match for best grill.
Don't feel like doing other characters yet. Maybe later. Or just never. Moe is the only one that I care about honestly. One of best grills other than Mirai.
Overall gud animu. A-1 curse hopefully won't hit this one. Try it if you don't have shit taste and enjoy well made animu.
I'm slightly conflicted about this anime. I stand by the opinion I gathered while watching it that it isn't remarkable at all and quite boring at times. It's a murder mystery anime with loads of philosophical bullshit that they intend to pass on as meaningful and profound. And there's also a smidge of love story thrown in as a bonus.
As for the story, I'm not much impressed by it. The pacing is painstakingly slow. It's a murder mystery, as I said. So we've got our two main protagonists that, after discovering the body of an eminent researcher, decide to act as investigators and start gathering clues to solve the mystery because they are so much more intelligent than the police could ever hope to be. For the most part, it's incredibly repetitive: they summarise all the information they've got after every new clue they find uncountable times, which is annoying to say the least. But what I found most annoying of all is, on the one hand, all the unjustified hype they put on the psuedo-philosophical crap that is the setting against which the crime was carried out; and on the other hand, on the super-intelligence of the two main protagonists in understanding what is going on and identifying the perpetrator and their motives. Really over-rated, in my opinion. The love story gets hinted at during all the anime, and then in the last episode you get a little bit more of an insight into it. It's not exactly a love story, more like the description of the relationship between the two main characters that is, incidentally, of a romantic nature. And this part is more well-executed and believable, in my opinion.
The characters. Shiki Magata, the genius researcher who is murdered and who spouts out all the philosophical bullshit - mah. If you overlook all the meaningless philosophical stuff, I don't know that much of a character is left. As for Saikawa-sensei and Moe, the laid-back, apathetic teacher and the spoilt poor little rich brat who lost her parents, they are better portrayed. I'd say there is next to no development, but as the detective story progresses you kind of get to understand better the relationship between the two. I must admit that I found Moe incredibly annoying, irritating and childish - which I guess is better than indifference. And I couldn't for the life of me comprehend why a university teacher should even begin to feel attracted to her. But she does somewhat redeem herself in the last episode. Saikawa-sensei's personality is similarly well depicted but it similarly doesn't develop at all.
As for animation and sound, they're both decent.
Overall and in conclusion, I'm not overly impressed by this anime. Pretentious, would be a correct definition of it, in my opinion. For me, it was mostly a waste of time.
It's a noitaminA show which I very much enjoyed. There are many people that disliked it, but I was not one of them.
Subete ga F ni Naru is a mystery detective show, and, unlike Ranpo Kitan (previously shown on noitaminA), actually has a mystery and detective work. It's a closed room story -- and I found quite interesting. Granted, I don't watch or read many detective stories, but this one really captivated me.
It is similarly driven by deeper themes -- philosophical questions about the nature of a person, freedom, love, death. Some found it shallow, pretentious even -- I didn't. I felt like the questions were asked naturally, answers proposed cautiously and not simply, as a lesson from a mentor. There are many doubling themes over the series.
The Perfect Insider has two timelines, one, with Saikawa and Moe, and the other in the past, with the young Magata. Both of them are engaging an important to the plot, if a little slow in pacing. I enjoyed the slow build-up, as I absolutely loved the characters interacting. I watched the whole anime in two sittings, introductory 2 episodes, and then 5 and 4. I recommend that you marathon it.
The three most important characters are considered to be very bright (Magata a genius, even), and seeing them interact, their wordplay, the dense relationship they have, the three of them, was very compelling. I found it very well written in this aspect. There are also secondary characters like the Director Shindo, or even less interesting ones, which are very one dimensional, but the main characters are fleshed out quite deeply.
Visually the series was stunning. The simplistic yet extraordinary character design, the animation and emotion that it conveyed, the backgrounds, the dawn scene -- all were remarkable.
As for the sound: voice acting was generally great, apart from the infamous long English scene that felt somewhat forced vocally -- as it made perfect sense from the plot point. OP/ED are remarkably good, not obvious both in their tune as well as visually. The OST had some remarkable tracks.
The Perfect Insider is not a perfect anime, however. There are some inconsistencies, or the animation suggests them -- the placement of the second body. The importance of virtual reality in the story even though the viewers are only introduced to it in 6-7th episode. The field of Saikawa and Moe is not clear -- just that they are extremely brilliant, and that Moe is good in maths. And yet she disregarded an important clue. But this can be explained that a) she's not a programmer or a mathematician per se b) she's a person and makes judgement mistakes. There is also an issue with Shiki Magata's sister -- Maki, and her recognition by the directors wife. Again, perhaps rewatching the series would clear those questions. I am certainly going to do so.
Unfortunately, despite being an opening novel in the series, the anime will probably not get a next season.
*This review is spoiler free*
Overall: 6/10 (Slightly above average) - The Perfect Insider is a seemingly cerebral mystery, at least at first. While it is clever at times, some of the "pieces of the puzzle" are very niche and not something that can be figured out by most people regardless of intelligence. The characters are good, though they are somewhat secondary to the plot. Overall, it's worth a watch but it isn't anything spectacular.
Recommended for: Fans of mystery, particularly if they have a mathematics or computer science background. At only 11 episodes it isn't much of a time commitment.
Creativity/uniqueness bonus points: +.5 It has some interesting concepts.
Humour bonus points: - There's a bit here, but not enough to give points.
General Plot and Structure 2.25/4 - The mystery is quite convoluted and the main puzzle requires niche knowledge. I could only figure out two of the eight-ish pieces of the puzzle. Without specific knowledge you could potentially solve four or five pieces. The main issue was in a couple of full episodes that showed irrelevant and out of place information (I'm not going to say what it was because it might spoil something).
Pacing 1/2 - Pacing was slow, sometimes unnecessarily so. While it is good to give the audience time to solve the mystery, some sections felt like pointless additions.
Emotional impact: 1.5/3 - There's a bit of emotion here between Moe and Souhei.
Conclusion: .25/1 - The conclusion had some good scenes, but a lot of it was psuedo-philosophical BS that:
1. Had already been discussed
2. Was neither deep nor sensical.
Annoying/mindset-breaking negative points - None
Animation: 9/10-Very good
Artwork 2.5/3 - The artwork was usually quite nice-looking and creative, but some sections are dull or just plain bad. The painful CGI water was probably the worst example.
Character Designs 3/3 - The character designs are very inspired and interesting. They all fit the characters well and very few could be mistaken for characters from other shows. Moe has eccentric and flashy clothing and hair, Souhei is disheveled and wears funny shirts, and Dr. Magata has very creepy cold blue eyes.
Action Animation NA/2 -
Other animation 1.75/2 - Animation is solid, though it has some drops in framerate at times. Some CGI is a bit sketchy.
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Personality 2/3 - I liked the personalities of our three main characters. Moe is a little childish and Souhei was somewhat empty, but those personalities worked well in combination. Dr. Magata is also spot-on. My main issue is that the killer gets way too much credit, with his/her psychopathic philosophy somehow treated as legitimate by Souhei and the show at large.
Development 2/3 - There is mild and relatively natural-feeling development in the two main characters.
Uniqueness 2.5/4 - All primary characters were relatively unique.
Voice Acting (Sub) 2.5/3 - All of the voice acting seemed solid, though none of them really stood out.
Music 3/6 - The opening and ending themes and sequences are both really good, but I couldn't find anything of note in the OST. Many scenes are completely silent.
Sound Effects 1/1 - They were decent, but of course there aren't many.
Important note about overall score: The overall score is not an average of all categories, as I don't think that is always an accurate representation of a show's value. Since this is a mystery and is largely focused on plot, the story score is more important than the other categories and that is why the score is lower than the average.
For a video review, check out my Youtube channel. Link on my profile page.
The Perfect Insider was mystery anime I originally hadn’t planned to watch but eventually did.
*So the first thing that I liked in this anime was the animation. Now the animation really divides the anime community. Some will really like this sort of character design, others will absolutely despise it. Because the character design was quite special, it also took me quite a while to get used to it. Especially since I’m not used to this kind of animation from A-1 Pictures. But after I got used to it, it didn’t bother me anymore.
And an aspect that I did like was the color palette in the Perfect Insider. You know that I like very colorful anime’s but the Perfect Insider is the complete opposite, this is a very gray and sober anime. But despite the fact that I like colors, in this anime the gray and monotone theme fitted the anime and the atmosfeer of the story. It is still after all a murder-investigation story.
*The next thing that I liked was the relationship between our 2 main characters Moe and Saikawa and to be more precise the fact that there’s almost no development in their relationship. Now I’m being contradictory here again because usually I hate it when there’s no development in the relationship between 2 characters.
But here that was different, I liked that their relationship at the end of the anime is exactly the same as at the start of the anime. Because, in my opinion, a romance between them would not have fitted the anime, it would have been out of place. So that’s why I liked the sort of platonic relationship between Moe and Saikawa. Now it’s not entirely true that there’s no development at all, but there isn’t any on the romantical platform and that was a good thing here.
*Now what I also liked was the daring path that the anime took. See when we were about 5-6 episodes into the anime. A lot of people in the anime community started to come up with theories about who had murdered Shiki and one of those theories became very popular. The thing is that that theory was fucked up and I mean really fucked up. I remember that I was discussing this theory with a friend of mine and that I literarily said to him “If they dare to go that path, I’m going to take my hath of for them.”
Well, here you go, Perfect Insider, I take my hath of for you. The truth about Shiki’s death was so fucked up and bravo to A-1 Pictures for having the guts to take such a dark and daring path. I haven’t seen a lot of anime’s that came up with such a sick and disturbing conclusion. But that was what made the conclusion of the Perfect Insider really original and it’s definitely one I will remember for a long time.
*And related to that is my last positive point which was the plot twist in the final episode. When I finished the 10th episode, I thought that the story was done, the mystery was solved. But then in the final episode the anime throws a twist at us that I didn’t see coming. When I was watching that final episode I was like “Wow”. It was like the last piece of the puzzle but the puzzle got quite rearranged by the fit of it. So yeah, if you want to find out what it was, I can only suggest to watch the anime yourself.
Now there were good things about the Perfect Insider, but I had one major problem with this anime. It’s something very subjective and personal so don’t judge me for it. I found the anime to be quite boring, especially in the middle part. There was absolutely no excitement from let’s say episode 3 to episode 8. Nothing was happening, nothing got solved. Every solution to the mystery was packed in episodes 9 and 10. In those episodes everything gets solved. I would have enjoyed the anime more if the mystery would have been solved bit by bit, not everything at once. If we got a piece of the puzzle every episode, I would have been way more interested in the story but now. Now the story kind of lost me along the way, becoming quite boring to watch.
So as a conclusion, I’m not going to say that The Perfect Insider is a bad anime, definitely not. If you’re into serious mystery anime’s then I think you will really enjoy this anime but it just wasn’t my cup of tea. And that’s why I’m going to rate Subete ga F ni Naru at 2,5 stars. I want to repeat myself, this is not a bad anime but to me it was a bit to boring to really interest me.
What I Liked: The slow pacing made for a slow-burn kind of series. The grounded character designs. Good voice acting all round, with competent attempts at English from Yasayuki Kase and Yuuko Kaida. The amazing soundtrack. The OP, from the music itself to the choreography. The ED in its entirety. The set designs, and with them the claustrophobic atmosphere of the Magata Lab. The elements of computer science used within the show.
What I Didn't: Dr. Magata seemed less like a character and more like a vehicle for pseudo-philosophical nonsense. Lack of exploration of Magata's DID. The constant philosophical discussions, especially in the first few episodes, may deter some viewers. The slow pacing made the series feel longer than it should've. Incest, because why? The ending felt a little fumbled.
Final Veridict: The Perfect Insider positions itself as foremost a philosophical think-piece and as a complex closed-room murder-mystery second - which unfortunately lets the show down in many ways. It's all dressed up in a stylish package, though, with a brilliant soundtrack and dark atmosphere, but the slow pacing and ultra abundance of navel-gazing will deter some viewers.