For all the show’s cold, philosophical posturing Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider (Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider) is one of the most emotional, human, and laid back murder mystery stories I’ve ever seen.
Based on the award winning 1996 debut novel of the same name by MORI Hiroshi, the work has already been the basis for a manga, a visual novel, and even a live action TV series. I’m not familiar with these adaptations, or even the source material, but this anime seems to be a great form for the story to take.
MORI’s work in general is usually classed as “science mystery”. As a researcher himself, a lot of his stories are closely linked to specific scientific theories or principles, and it holds true here. The story follows Sōhei Saikawa, an associate professor of architectural engineering, and Moe Nishinosono, the daughter of his deceased mentor, as they travel to a remote island along with Saikawa’s research group as a sort of team building getaway.
The island houses a state of the art research lab, where Shiki Magata has been kept under lock and key for about 15 years, an AI programmer who was accused of killing her parents at 14, and who Saikawa has become somewhat obsessed with. Because of the lab’s research the island is cut off from the mainland completely. Naturally when a mysterious murder happens, this causes quite a lot of problems for everyone. Saikawa and Nishinosono get caught up in events, and end up having to figure out just what happened in what is for the most part a locked room type mystery.
As it’s based on a novel The Perfect Insider plays the long game, and takes a little bit of time to get going. Even at a slim 11 episodes it feels like for the most part the story takes its time moving from moment to moment, yet at the same time manages to pack in a large amount of emotional moments and twists. Generally this works out great, with only a little bit too much abstract strangeness going on towards the end, before it is reeled back.
Saikawa and Magata, while both quite different, spend a lot of the time being interested in one another, and most notably their philosophies. They are both very much people of science. Magata’s isolated life has enveloped her within her cold philosophy, and while Saikawa likes to ponder along similar lines he is very much the outsider, grounded in his research and his team, and mostly with his constant companionship with Nishinosono. While the daughter of a prominent professor, and a genius when it comes to maths, Nishinosono is far from preoccupied with science. It’s his relationship with Nishinosono that mainly sets Saikawa apart from Magata.
All of the characters are pretty great, and more complex than they initially seem, but it’s Nishinosono that really holds the thing together. She’s what stops the show from falling too much in love with some of its own pretentiousness, as well as being vital in how events play out. While they are presented as a duo, it’s not a stretch to say that Moe Nishinosono is the true protagonist of the whole thing.
It might be a bit hard to follow at times, but it’s not the kind of anime you always need to be able to follow to the letter. There’s been a bunch of mystery anime lately, but The Perfect Insider is almost certainly the best of the bunch, and it hardly seems like it’s trying. That’s because the story and characters are so good, they just naturally feel great to watch. It’s a grounded story dealing with characters that feel real and have real feelings. This is definitely one of my top picks of 2015.
Also, it has one of the best OPs ever made.
The Perfect Insider is available to stream on Crunchy Roll.