This is going to be a hard review for me. The story of The Perfect Insider - Everything Becomes "F" is a scintillating locked-room murder mystery (meaning the murder took place inside a locked room with no known ways in or out for the perpetrator of the crime) — the most intriguing, and brilliantly thought-out locked-room murder mystery I've seen in a long time in fact — but it's maybe a two-hour story stretched out over 11 episodes, and it feels like it drags for most of its runtime. Also, after it was over, there were some questions about motives that I had. But that mystery and its solution... That blew my mind.
The main plot of The Perfect Insider follows Sohei Saikawa (a brilliant university professor who has all but stopped caring about the world), and his young pupil, Moe Nishinosono (the daughter of Sohei's mentor, who has a huge, unrequited crush on her senpai), as they go to an isolated island to talk to a brainy woman with big issues who, 15 years prior, murdered her mother and father right in front of her aunt and uncle. This woman, Shiki Magata, is, to quote Wile E. Coyote, "a super-genius." She's a computer programmer with extraordinary talent who lives in a heavily guarded, underground apartment/prison on this island that also houses a high-tech computer research facility built by Shiki Magata's parents before she offed them.
See, Shiki Magata wasn't sent to normal prison when she butchered her parents with a hunting knife, because she was only 14 when she did it, and the court ruled that she had mental issues, which kept her from going to the big house. Instead, in isolation on the island, Shiki put her programming skills to good use and helped create a new A.I. operating system called Red Magic.
So it is on this island, at this computer research facility, that Sohei and Moe come, in order to talk to Shiki Magata, whom Sohei is almost totally infatuated with; he finds her mind intriguing, and wonders about what makes her tick. Unfortunately, after they arrive, and before the interview can commence, the Red Magic system that runs the island goes off-line, kind of like Dennis Nedry's Jurassic Park OS. Also like Jurassic Park, people immediately start dying pretty horrible deaths, the first being Shiki Magata herself.... Inside her locked room, with only one way in and out, and cameras recording the only door into her prison suite 24/7/365.
Shiki's death is both horrible and mystifying. Her dead torso, sans arms and legs, is wheeled out of her apartment on an automatic rolling robot table when the security system goes down with the island's OS. She's dressed like a ghostly bride, in a white dress and veil, serene and pale, with bright red lipstick on. The tone of the show, especially at this instant, is very intense and, to be quite honest, freaky. The feelings of aloneness on this island — even though the main characters have all the researchers in the facility, and the security guards constantly watching Shiki's cell/apartment, and they're surrounded by futuristic high technology that they've never even dreamed of before — is almost suffocating, especially when they come to the fast realization that there is a murderer on the loose, and this fiend can apparently bend this tech to their own desires however they want. Hmmm, the more I think about it, The Perfect Insider is like an early Michael Crichton novel (like a mix of Disclosure, Rising Sun, and Jurassic Park). That might be why I enjoyed it so much...
And yes, I enjoyed this anime murder mystery quite a bit, but I don't think I could recommend it to anybody else. Well, first of all, I'd have to see if the person I'm potentially prescribing this show to loves well constructed literary riddles. I'm not talking about people who have enjoyed the odd Sherlock Holmes, or Agatha Christie novel or short story, but people who have read all the Holmes stories, every Christie tale, every Robert VanGulik "Judge Dee" book, seen every last Detective Conan episode (I think they're over 800 now), and even loved bizarre supernatural mysteries like Un-Go, and regularly think of ways to kill people in locked rooms without getting caught. This show is best for DEDICATED mystery fans.
You see, quite honestly, The Perfect Insider should have only been 4-5 episodes in length at max. The story was very good I thought, but it takes its fucking time to get anywhere, and then it takes another 2 entire episodes to wrap things up at the very end.
The way that the murder was committed was to me a brilliant solution to the usual locked-room mysteries that I've seen before (where there is always a secret entrance, or the murder was committed before the time-frame originally thought, and made to look like a suicide, etc.)... But it's a one-trick pony. I can appreciate the depths of characterizations that we got to fully dive into because of the length of this tale, but in the end knowing how much Sohei smokes (and Sohei chainsmokes more than all of the characters in all of Tarantino's movies combined), and how he can't put in his own eyedrops, or how Moe can do maths terrifically fast, but she can't handle hot drinks really adds nothing to the story at hand. I'd have preferred this narrative as a 2-hour movie instead.
But if you LOVE love mysteries, you'll still enjoy it despite its length. And despite that, other than the fact that they're nihilistic psychopaths, we never find out a good answer for WHY the murders were committed. With all the time it took to string this show out (11 whole episodes), the criminal never fully explained their motive. That might kill it for you, but I can just assume that the perp was mental, and then I can enjoy the ingenuity behind the crimes and forget about all that other stuff.
If I were given only one word to describe this show, it'd be "Weird."
So apparently all murders in the 20th and 21st century in Japan were committed by the most brilliant sociopaths you've ever even heard of... At least according to your era's anime stories.
Thank goodness also that there's always a competent detective or peer of the murderer present in order to solve the crime and catch the evil doer!
I quite enjoyed this tale of limb-removal mayhem and women-murdering-ne'er do well. I did end up wondering quite a bit about the why's of the story though, but not until after it was well over. During my viewing I just sat and watched with wide-mouthed glee wondering how it was all done. You see, in my time, the Truthers (not 9/11 conspirators like what you have in your time, but instead powerful Empaths who can sense the truth in whomever they question) get to the bottom of every crime within 30 minutes of one being committed, and then the perpetrator is executed on the spot by the cloned Andre the Giant EnForcers. Murder? Execution. Bribery charges? Execution. Less than 10% tip on a meal? 10 years of torture, then execution. We don't fuck around in the future.