The Perfect Insider (Subete ga F ni Naru)

The Perfect Insider (Subete ga F ni Naru) 2015

Okay, so in an effort to avoid spoiler-territory I’ve been wondering how to phrase what I guess you’d call a ‘content warning’ about this one – something you’d see on the cover of the DVD, basically. Here in Australia, my copy says that The Perfect Insider contains “strong themes and sexual references” but that’s not very specific, of course.*

Instead, I’ll note that while indeed there are certainly shows and films that are far more harrowing, The Perfect Insider is still concerned with the worst of humanity.

But in other ways it’s a classic murder-mystery that uses the “locked-room” premise to tell its chilling tale. What is a little different here is that the detectives aren’t in law enforcement and instead we’re solving the crime with a university professor, Sōhei Saikawa and one of his students, Moe Nishinosono.

I do like police procedural a lot but it’s also nice to have a break, though this isn’t Jessica Fletcher in Cabot Cove either.

Yet the story does take place in an isolated setting and the production team has to address mobile phones and their impact on isolation as a plot device, since as society’s technology develops, I guess writers have to spend more time closing it off in realistic manners. And, considering The Perfect Insider is based on a novel from 1996, mobile phones might not be the only changes you notice if you’re familiar with the book. (Having said that, I haven’t read the novel, Everything Becomes F, but I believe some of MORI Hiroshi’s other stories featuring the same characters have been translated into English.)

In my obsession to find links between texts I wondered if this sequence wasn’t a clear nod to Lum.

Hmmm, as seems to be normal for me, I’ve barely touched upon the actual series so far – so I’d better do that now.

The Perfect Insider has the pacing and character-focus common to a Mystery, rather than the action of a Thriller, and I know some folks consider the series dialogue-heavy but I really enjoyed that. There’s some fun verbal sparring between the leads too and all the way through I was quite curious about the central mystery, so that worked for me, as did the pay-off for the most part.

Visually, don’t go in to this anime expecting a lot of flashy things but I loved the colour and lighting throughout, the character designs stood out for me too and there are a few great sequences like this one:

The show can be a little gruesome, and while that aspect is not relentless, there is the element I alluded to at the beginning of the review to keep in mind if you’re trying to decide whether to give this anime a shot.

I suppose you could argue that there were a couple of detours that didn’t add a whole lot to the central questions but they are generally character-building. There was one POV choice that I think didn’t work and I’m curious about the novel there, but again, I won’t mention specifics here re: spoilers.

I could possibly watch The Perfect Insider/Everything Becomes F again in a year or two, just to see how many more clues and hints I can pick up on this time around. I reckon detective or mystery buffs out there will figure things out before I did, but as is often the case with a murder-mystery the question of ‘why’ can be more gripping than ‘who’ or even ‘how’.

4 Stars

*I could circle endlessly around what I want to mention, I guess. Ideally, I’d just write: “this is a great murder mystery but be aware that it contains [aspect]” yet I still think even that much would constitute a spoiler here.

Get ready for the 1990s to be echoed a little in the cigarettes
This shot was interesting as the composition hid nearly everyone’s faces – but it didn’t feel like a red herring kinda, “let’s cast suspicion moment” either.

The song for the end credits maybe doesn’t suit the mood but it is pretty great nevertheless 😀

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai)

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day (Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai) 2011

One day I’ll run out of shows I’ve seen and then I’ll have to focus more on new stuff – but until that moment, here’s another ‘older’ series. And for a change, I’ll try and keep this review succinct!

Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day is a definition tearjerker, so if that’s not your thing steer clear perhaps. Otherwise, if you’ve never seen this one get ready for a fairly full-on drama that follows young adults as they struggle to come to terms with the death of a childhood friend from their past, Menma. On the surface it sounds like a straight forward drama but there’s a few supernatural aspects, since Menma is kinda haunting the main character of Jinta in the present-day.

Of course, she generally does it in a cute way – except for in the first episode. I nearly gave the show a miss because for some reason she’s shown grinding on Jinta over breakfast? That bizarre attempt at fan-service(?) aside, the story is a good mix between mystery and character, with some truly antagonistic friends coming together to try and figure out the right thing to do. And yeah, as expected, super-bittersweet ending – even melodramatic, but still overall a good series.  

Clannad is mentioned a lot in terms of a general comparison to Anohana, so that might be another marker to help decide whether to watch. As I’ve said many times about most modern productions, visually everything is bright and clear and the character designs are distinctive enough, which is always welcome.

But the real highlight is probably the charactarisation for me.

4 Stars  

Granblue Fantasy The Animation (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon)

Granblue Fantasy The Animation (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon) 2017

Granblue Fantasy is a fun (if too-short) fantasy-adventure series but thankfully there’s another season coming, which should continue the main storyline.

It’s a bright, kinda cheerful animation that seems to really evoke the game’s characters, setting and feel – though I’m not able to do much in the way of comparison here, since while I did try and play the game, parts of it were just buried by pop-ups and flashing loot-box bullshit distractions, so I put it down fairly quickly, even though I was enjoying the story a lot (compare to the upcoming Relink, which I’d love to play).

And maybe I enjoyed the anime adaptation because it’s a straight forward ‘underdog hero’ or ‘quest’ narrative but there’s a lot of imagination on display, a whimsical setting and some great battle sequences to go with fun characters, most with enough backstory and secrets to keep me interested. On that note, I can’t decide if the overload of new characters appearing during the climactic episodes was kinda madcap fun or just nuts, but it’s memorable at least 😀

In terms of unresolved plot threads, I’m quite keen to see how things with Eugen’s past play out in season two and of course, I’m hoping Katalina and the rogue Rackam end up ‘together’ as it were, as I think a relationship between them could add some extra depth to the show but also a few extra comedic elements too.

So I’m looking forward to the next part of the story but might finish the review by recommending the curious among you to wait for season two before starting this one – especially if you like to binge a show.

4 Stars

(Also worth watching for the ace design on Rackham’s beautiful ship!)