The Perfect Insider: Episodes 5 & 6

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“Silver Hope”/”Crimson Resolve”

Thursdays at 2:00 pm EST on Crunchyroll

Terrified by the remembrance of Shiki’s words, Moe lashes out at Saikawa when he decides to abandon the investigation. Meanwhile, Yamase attempts to salvage the lab’s reputation and asks Saikawa to remain quiet about the murders for now.

Aqua’s thoughts

Despite the latter arguably serving as a welcome recap episode of sorts, this twosome of episodes primarily delved deeper into The Perfect Insider‘s psychological undertones as Saikawa and Moe left the current murder investigation for what it is and focussed on Shiki’s motives for murdering her parents in the first place. Despite several earlier statements by the characters indicating otherwise, Shiki was actually declared innocent, making her seclusion at the heart of the research facility a voluntary one rather than a gilded cage. While that confirmation cleared up some of my questions, it does raise a whole other bunch — as the ending of episode 6 shockingly reveals, Shiki actually did slaughter her parents in cold blood before the eyes of two witnesses and worst of all, she seemed to be in full control of her actions. Even if she was declared not guilty be reason of insanity, you’d assume she’d at the very least be under constant camera or psychiatric surveillance. Nevertheless, the only security camera in Shiki’s dwelling is pointed firmly at the entrance — leaving her completely isolated, for better or worse.

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Knowing this, Episode 5 is mostly spend on exploring the relationship between the three main characters, and how Moe and Saikawa deal with the idea that Shiki may have been guilty all along. After Moe tells the professor about what Shiki told her, his idolizing of Magata reaches disturbing new heights. I’ve talked about how Shiki embodies everything Saikawa wants to be before: a ‘perfect insider’ without any ties to real-world obligations and relationships, who is free to dedicate their entire life to science; and his almost-defense of her killing her parents in order to achieve absolute freedom neatly ties into this. Maybe his sudden one-eighty on the murder investigation has everything to do with this childlike idealism. Once he figured out someone robbed his idol of her absolute freedom, and even more so, when he finds out the disturbing implications of such a lifestyle — Not only did it lead to Shiki murdering her own parents, it also isolated her so thoroughly she ended up chained to ghosts of the past as a result of a loneliness she herself chose for — he gave up on trying to avenge her murder.

Moe, on the other hand, essentially interprets the professor’s behaviour as him throwing a childlike tantrum over things not going the way he wanted them to. From the get-go, Moe has been trying to drag the professor back to humanity while the ghost of Shiki — or at least what the professor wanted Shiki to be — pulling from the other side. We find out Moe as well knew about Shiki’s libertarian life views, and as they would any normal human being, they disturb her to no end, especially when she recalls Shiki used them to imply that Moe killed her own parents for the same reason. It’s more than obvious now that The Perfect Insider keeps flashing back to their fated meeting to outline the central relationship at the core of the story: it’s not Saikawa’s admiration of Shiki, nor Moe’s increasingly more baffling crush on the utterly insufferable professor, but the fundamental difference between human, youthful Moe and cynical, extremist Shiki. The obvious analogies between the two (isolated, dead parents, crushing on older men, wise beyond their years) only make their differences clearer, but it’s hard not to see by now that Saikawa is little more than a pawn in their chess game.

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Aside from some good old investigating and the aforementioned shocker, both at the very end, most of episode 6 was spent (or wasted, depending on how good of a memory you have) on recapping what we already know. This being a Serious Show for Serious People, The Perfect Insider tries to somewhat organically fit the rethreading of old paths into the narrative, but it misses one heck of an opportunity in letting Saikawa monologue most of the facts, rather than involving the other students at the camp. While they’re busy getting Moe drunk, Saikawa is visited by Yamane, who asks him to keep the murders a secret until the lab finishes an ambitious project for NASA. Being the petulant child that he is, the professor is outraged by the implication that his idea of paradise — he pretty much literally calls the Magata Research Facility this — has other obligations to fullfil aside from research for research’s sake, and promptly quits the investigation for realsies.

And then things get… weird. Not weird in the abstract, ending-of-episode-four kind of way, but in the wait-how-the-hell-did-we-get-here-all-of-a-sudden kind of way, which is not the way any mystery fiction would ever want to be weird. Moe has a quick word with Saikawa and before you know it, he’s back in the game without any real explanation given. It made their entire return to the camp look like little more than an excuse for Moe to get hammered and put on a new outfit, which is not the kind of stuff we want to be bothering with at this stage. Nevertheless, the final minutes of the episodes finally mapped out some kind of direction for The Perfect Insider to go in. These two episodes finally revealed the last cards on the table, no it’s time to start playing.

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Random observations

  • In spite of The Perfect Insider‘s somewhat lackluster cinematography, I do love its various subtle little character details: Even though Moe fell asleep drunk and woke up a mess, she still changed her clothes before going to see her beloved professor. Of course, he doesn’t notice.
  • What kind of store sells a combat knife to an unsupervised thirteen-year-old? What is this, America?
  • Speaking of America, apparently Shiki spent some time there even before her parents were killed. That’s stretching that whole ‘kid genius’ thing just a tad bit too far.
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