The Perfect Insider: Episode 3

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“Red Magic”

Thursdays at 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Isolated from the outside world by a network error, Saikawa and Moe attempt to figure out how the murderer was able to enter Shiki’s chambers. Meanwhile, the lab director arrives on the island, accompanied by Shiki’s younger sister.

Aqua’s thoughts

The Perfect Insider feels both too slow and pedantic to be anything less than a word-for-word adaptation of Hiroshi Mori’s original novel, yet too uneventful and ambitious to fit inside the 11 episodes it has been given. It’s been able to hide this inherent contradiction pretty well up until now, but as is often the case, especially in anime, the better you know something, the more apparent its flaws become. While certainly not without its merits, this episode was in many ways the least interesting instalment of The Perfect Insider to date. While a skilled reader of the book could likely have gone over the tons of foreshadowing, technobabble and repeated observations in this episode in five minutes, on the screen such material takes up a lot more time.

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Just as an example: whether the scripting or Crunchyroll’s less-than-middling subtitling efforts are to blame, Saikawa and Moe’s bizarre discussion on umbrellas marked the first time I hadn’t the slightest clue what The Perfect Insider was talking about, let alone if it was making any sense at all. The dialogue is a bit weaker overal in this episode, with several ham-fisted attempts at recapitulating what we already know or reminding the audience of certain facts by Moe reminding the professor of facts he’s already aware of. What does work, however, is the accessibility and clear flow of the foreshadowing scenes. Even when talking about a topic I know next to nothing about (computer programming), The Perfect Insider highlights the relevant bits and simplifies everything else, while Saikawa and Moe ask the right questions. No matter how advanced the topics being discussed, their reasoning is easy to follow and logically sound, as detective shows should be.

So while Saikawa and Moe don’t reach any earth-shattering conclusions in this episode, there are some particularities that put us one step closer to solving this mystery. By far the most interesting reveal is the fact that the lab’s central OS, ‘Red Magic’, had been rigged to crash when Shiki’s corpse was put on display from the get-go, which inevitably ties this murder in with whatever the heck Shiki was up to fifteen years ago. Knowing this, it’s not too far of a stretch to assume that our culprit snuck some other loopholes into the lab’s design, granting him easy acces to Shiki’s humble abide without leaving a single trace. Given that we still haven’t seen what her dwelling behind the door actually looks like, that might be the perfect place for Saikawa and Moe to start their investigation.

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Tied with the fact that he’s been all but revealed as the Humpert Humpert to Shiki’s Lolita, these discoveries would make the lab director our number one suspect… if it weren’t for the fact that he’s killed off only five minutes after appearing. This reveal somewhat explains the episode’s sloppy pacing — A-1 have noticeably been stalling for time just so they could end the episode on this cliff-hanger — yet given the fact that we knew next to nothing about the director, his demise was nothing worth padding out an episode for. What is noticeable about his murder, however, is that the killer’s MO here seems a lot more violent and direct, a far cry from the gothic performance art project they turned Shiki into. Makes me wonder if it’s even the same culprit. Anyways, with but a sliver of their their meticulously planned infiltration revealed, our killer seems to be playing the very long game. I just hope it won’t take The Perfect Insider another fifteen years to figure it out.

Random observations

  • The xylophone in the security office made this show reminded me of Ace Attorney more than ever before, though — like in that series — whether it’s just a silly background detail or a Chekov’s gun remains to be seen.
  • The fact that Saikawa apparently associates the colour red with communism more than with love tells us exactly what kind of person he is.
  • I hope the prestigious research lab immediately fires the dolt who suggested Shiki committed suicide when she clearly had her extremities sawed off. Then again, what kind of research lab allows smoking?
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5 thoughts on “The Perfect Insider: Episode 3

  1. I don’t know if this is just my Phoenix Wright experience talking, but I was surprised no one brought up that the killer could have been hiding under P1, with the wedding dress clearly used to cover that up. They would have had plenty of time to slip out in the blackout.

  2. Since I dabble a bit in computing, I would like to point out that building your own operating system is a surefire way to creating a system with multiple loopholes. I was facepalming so hard when it was mentioned this was somehow a flawless system until the unknown mastermind tampered with it.

    They would have been better off running Linux or FreeBSD, battle-hardened OSes.

    For a purportedly high security site, that is some wtf-level of security blunders.

    • Well I think the idea was they also had no connection to the internet right? I felt like that was the biggest thing, like the only way it could have been screwed with is by someone on the inside.

      • Actually, Stuxnet has shown that if an attacker wants to attack air-gapped computers, they don’t even need an Internet connection. As long as they manage to get a USB-drive running malware into the system. This could be done by poisoning a shipment of equipment to the island, or just simply borrowing a personnel’s USB drive for any reason.

        Developing an OS to run the facilities is unlikely without consulting the hardware manufacturers, which also means the mastermind would have access to the same hardware off the island.

        I like though how the story is supposedly shaping itself to be a case where only an insider would be capable of the crime, because as episode 3 showed, the murderer is present on the island now – so that much is clear. With a show as smart as this though, I now wonder whether this is a snide remark on homegrown solutions when free software solutions are available.

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