As the time to blog approached again, I realized I had a problem: my anime diet consists, for the moment, purely of Haikyuu!!, anime shorts, and my weekly Cowboy Bebop sessions with a friend. I try to limit my sports anime posts to every other week, so it’s time to see what the new season has to offer. Subete ga F ni Naru: The Perfect Insider is the first show I found with any promise (translated, it’s Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider, according to Crunchyroll subtitles, although I haven’t seen the translation used on information sites).
I usually prefer to get my mystery fix via American TV shows (plus Sherlock). Something about the action and humor just keeps my attention—whereas their anime counterparts generally lose me in a less than one cour. I think it’s the pacing. The subdued, philosophical tone might have something to do with it, too. Still, I’m determined to try, if only to give my weekly posts a little variance.
The ANN description of The Perfect Insider promises a company vacation and a serial killer. As of the first episode, only the trip has been mentioned. No bodies have been dropped yet, though they discus one character’s murdered parents. Guess I have to settle in for the long haul. I’ve weathered a little K-drama, so I think can last a few weeks of slow-paced anime.
The first episode serves primarily to introduce characters and provide background. Nishinosono Moe is one of the main characters, a rich, lively, curious young woman who spends a lot of time Saikawa Sohei, her father’s former student. It’s immediately clear that they know each other well. Nishinosono knows Saikawa’s habits and can often predict his next words. It is not an entirely comfortable relationship, however; Nishinosono has a crush on him. I don’t know what the age difference is, but it’s enough to add to her insecurity. For now, that doesn’t seem to be a major problem, and I hope to encounter minimal relationship drama.
Saikawa seems a little too stuck in his head. Take this conversation, for example:
“In life, there are three great questions—” he starts, apparently for the zillionth time.
“—Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I going?” Nishinosono lists for him.
“That’s all I want to think about,” Saikawa continues. “Honestly, thought is the one thing that is truly free.” Or at least, he says, it’s free when you’re a child. As he’s aged, he’s seen his thoughts become more controlled by outside influences and concerns. He adds, “I guess humans are programmed to get stupider as they age.”
Well, that’s cheerful. Saikawa’s questions spur my own thoughts, of course. I’ve been studying existentialist and transcendentalist literature in a couple of my classes, so I can’t help but note similarities. If Saikawa is still asking questions like “Where do I come from?” he has not accepted traditional answers. He searches for his identity and source elsewhere. He elevates individual thought, especially that of a child, who is unrestrained by cultural expectations and influences. This makes me think of Emerson, the American transcendentalist who admired children for their fresh, unrestrained approach to the world, or of existentialists, who insist that people make their own identities, unfettered by external definitions.
I’ll be interested to see how they deal with Saikawa’s philosophy—and by extension with another intriguing character, Magato, and her philosophy. I think Nishinosono will keep Saikawa from getting lost in his own head, but I hope his questions are still addressed. When they are, I’d like to compare the anime’s answers to Biblical answers… if I haven’t lost interest. For now, I’ll refrain from any deep analysis.
Assuming that The Perfect Insider holds my attention, I’ll look out for answers. I expect to see the answers in action and mood as much as dialogue. Even if dialogue rarely addresses the existential questions, values may be shown in cause-and-effect, or in how characters respond to the murders that ANN’s description tells me to expect.
I’m not sticking around purely for the murder mystery and philosophy—I get plenty of both, especially of the second, in my literature classes. I need to remember the show’s other attractions if I’m going to persevere through the first few episodes. The classical background music is quite lovely, and so is the animation. I’m still not sure how much I like the characters, but their relationships catch my interest, at least.
Are you watching The Perfect Insider? What do you think of it so far? What do you hope to see develop in the season to come?
Also, are there any other shows you think I should try this season? Clearly, I need to spice up my watching list, so I’d like to hear which anime you think show potential. I prefer to watch on Crunchyroll, although I’m willing to check out shows on Hulu and Daisuke as well.