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The Perfect Insider Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read

The Perfect Insider Blu-ray Front CoverAn expansive yet tight locked room mystery.

What They Say:
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!

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is done with the original Japanese language track in stereo encoded using the DTS-HD MA lossless codec. Sadly, no English language dub was produced for this series, something that could have been interesting considering the small cast and the dialogue heavy aspect of it. This aspect of the show is well handled with what it does as dialogue is well placed, everything is clean and clear, and the varying levels we get at times definitely hits a certain rightness about it to make it engaging. The bigger scenes aren’t big in a sense but they have the right impact and deliver when needed. Combined with the instrumental score throughout and a solid opening and closing sequence that gives it a bit of a boost overall, the show delivers what it needs to with a clean and clear presentation.

Video:
Originally airing in in 2015, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The eleven episodes for this series are spread across two discs with nine on the first and two on the second. Animated by A-1 Pictures, the show has a very strong look about it with some really good details to the backgrounds and the characters as needed. It’s a simple show in a sense as it largely takes place in just a few rooms but it also has some really beautifully expansive pieces here and there as it delves into the background. This is all richly realized and brought to life with a clean and problem free transfer that highlights the shows strengths. The color tone for this is definitely nicely done where it has a lot of grays and the like and that has the more vibrant pieces looking even more striking when they hit. Fans of the show will definitely like what they get here.

Packaging:
The menu design for this release goes with the obvious of the main key visual of the cast spread out amongst the stairs with some key pieces mixed into it that almost look comical here but factor well. I also like that they kept to the strong yellow design from the Japanese release and promotion as that makes it stand out all the more in contrast to some of the more serious shows and designs out there. The logo is also a plus with it going with a dual language approach and overlaying on the visual itself. The back cover works an interlocked F pattern with black for one and a black and white piece for the other so we get a clean look at the premise across it mixed in with some colorful shots from the show. The extras are clearly broken out and the production credits along the bottom are done in black over the yellow strip to tie it to the front nicely. The technical grid also covers everything cleanly and accurately and we don’t have any inserts or show related inserts included.

Menu:
The menu design for the release works off of the familiar visual of the stairs leading in all directions with the cast walking throughout them and that’s always a fun visual trick. That also gives it a bit of a gray feeling for obvious reasons but it works well. The navigation is kept to the left with a black strip down that has the episodes by number and title with a mixture of yellow and white and it’s done as an F itself, which looks good with how it cuts across the visual behind it to really feel like it’s over it. Everything is quick and easy to access since it’s only the extras on the second disc that you have to do anything with and it looks great as a pop-up menu during playback.

Extras:
The only extras included here are the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the novel by Hiroshi Mori that came out in 1996, The Perfect Insider – aka Subete ga F ni Naru, is an eleven episode series that aired in the fall of 2015 as part of the noitaminA block. The show comes after a manga hit back in 2001, a visual novel game back in 2002, and a live-action TV series in the fall of 2014. This series works the familiar that those others did as it adapts the material into this particular medium where it’s likely updated to some degree with technology and the like while still adhering to its core idea of a locked room mystery. I’ve seen what feels like a million of them – just from Case Closed alone! – so there’s a familiarity to be had here.

With it being a mystery series it’s one that I find myself always finding difficult to talk about because I don’t want to spoil it. The fun is in the discovery of it all and watching it unfold. Here, we’re introduced to Sohei Saikawa, a professor that along with Moe Nishinosono end up on a remote island where they get caught up in a murder mystery. Moe is the daughter of Sohei’s mentor so there’s some familiarity between them from there, and admiration on her part as she sees the young associate professor as a potential romantic partner if he can be made aware of it, and just the two of them traveling together gives her some hope for it as they visit the place where Doctor Shiki Magata operates out of. Shiki is a prodigy kind of programmer that has been isolated in this lab and facility in a small residential block within it for the past fifteen years after she was involved in the death of her parents. Living in isolation was salvation for her since she’s not one to really deal with interacting with people, hence using VR and other means from within the room to talk with others, such as with Moe.

The twist comes when the two look to meet her, within reason of course, only to discover that Shiki has not just been killed but has had her appendages removed and her body placed on a little robot carrier that rolls her out into the main area. And she’s in a wedding dress, no less. This locked room mystery gets underway with the small cast of characters that are in the facility combined with another death that happens and a regular look at the past with what Shiki went through as a child and teenager to show how she ended up here, and why all of this may be happening in the here and now. There are a few red herrings along the way, which are better played than some other series, and the blending of the past into it definitely works well too. The mystery has some nice quirks to it because of the things Shiki was working on and nods to the technology of the day while also not overplaying some of the interpersonal relationships, notably with how Sohei is a kind of slightly disaffected personality when it comes to interacting with others.

In Summary:
This series has some good stuff to it and it’s one that I can see would have worked really well as a serialized weekly show. The whole dissembling of the clues given, figuring out the events – especially socially with others watching it around the world, would be a lot of fun. When watching it as a marathon session with the eleven episodes that have about a four hour running time, it’s something that feels like it’s padded out too far and not as engaging because of it. From this view of it, it’s one that you’re better off stretching out over a few weeks, or even an episode or two a night, because it might feel too drawn out as it goes on. I enjoyed it but I also felt like it would have worked better as a two hour animated feature film rather than a TV series. A reworking of the budget for that level and tighter pacing and flow would have gone a long way for me in making it memorable. But what we do get here is certainly fun and I like that it can take the quirky diversions it does at time and roll with the red herrings. Fans of the show will definitely enjoy having such a solid looking collection here that’s well presented and it’s a series that will definitely appeal to fans that want to dig into all the clues and twists and try to figure it all out. It’s definitely a show that stands apart from most of what we get every season and that alone makes it worth checking out.

Features:
Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening Clean Closing

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: October 25th, 2016
MSRP: $59.98
Running Time: 275 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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