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First Thoughts: ‘The Perfect Insider’ – Thinking About Thinking

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Who are you? Where did you come from? Where are you going? These are the three questions that The Perfect Insider poses throughout its talky yet thought provoking premiere. And while those are questions still to be pondered in the context of The Perfect Insider one thing is for certain; this series is challenging its viewers to think, something that is becoming unfortunately a scarcity in the modern anime landscape.

Based upon the 1996 mystery novel by Hiroshi Mori and with designs by acclaimed mangaka Inio Asano, The Perfect Insider has barely set the stage for what is to come yet has me utterly compelled to watch more. This first episode played out somewhat like an opening prologue to a novel, introducing some of the components of the story and building intrigue all the while never showing its hand too soon, choosing instead to keep its cards close to its chest.

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What stood out to me so strongly about The Perfect Insider is that way in which it felt like reading a novel all the while being conveyed in a visual medium. Right down to the scene framing and dialogue exchanges, it felt very  much like sitting down with a good book and absorbing it.

The characters all felt very much alive and fully formed despite the fact that this is merely the first episode. The back and forth between the characters as they discuss philosophical matters or make menial small talk felt genuine and gave the impression that these character were well acquainted and had built their chemistry over time rather than it being manufactured. An impressive feat indeed.

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The episode begins by introducing us to Dr. Magata, a childhood prodigy who was accused of murdering her parents. Inter cut with voiced over diary entries we come to learn a little about her and the way she views the world and more importantly those three questions. As we come to see the day to day activity of a group of university students we come to realize that they have some connections to Magata in one way or another. Be it inherent awe and fascination over this genius woman or the fact that one of them went so far as to meet her to ask her a couple questions. Why exactly they are so interested in her is rather mysterious to say the least. But one gets the sense that there is more to this band of overthinking uni students than it seems.

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While it is difficult to say exactly where this series will go, it has begun strong with a intriguing premise that asks its audience to think about what is playing out on screen. When a character speaks in this series they command you to listen. There is something just so genuinely fascinating about a series such as this. It is the type of series that simply would not exist without noitaminA. The Perfect Insider is intelligent anime that really is unlike anything else in anime today. It is a breath of fresh air in an anime industry that rewards the lowest common denominator. I know it will likely fly under the radar and be forgotten about in the weeks to come but it is anime like this that reminds me why I fell in love with this medium to begin with: it makes me think.

You can check out The Perfect Insider on Crunchyroll.

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