Another oldie I rewatched last spring was The Perfect Insider. The original title was Subete ga F ni Naru or Everything becomes F. It is a modern locked room mystery when one super genius struggles to solve the mystery set up by an even greater super genius.
There aren’t enough mysteries out there but there are a lot of shoot-em-ups pretending to be mysteries. I quickly tire of Detective Conan and my heart is sick over the lack of another season of Beautiful Bones.
There are three primary characters here. One is Prof. Souhei Saikawa. He’s a genius. He isn’t quite a chain smoker but he is close. He’s a professor of architecture but in reality, he’s a polymath, moving easily between engineering, philosophy, computer programming, and other subjects. We don’t get a lot of his history or understanding of what makes him tick.
He is an analytical, introspective man who has little use for the social, political, and moral conventions of the rest of the world. I’d describe him as a kuudere from how flat and subtle his emotions are.
Moe Nishinosono is a 19-year-old girl who has a crush on Saikawa and is one of his university students. Her father was his mentor. Moe is quite rich from inherited wealth. She’s also a math prodigy who can do complex math problems in her head. Her uncle happens to be the chief of the prefectural police.
Moe’s crush stems from when her parents died in a plane crash and Saikawa was the adult who offered her emotional support. He appears to be ambivalent about her attachment and unresponsive to her overtures, though he does care about her general well-being. She acts very much like an infatuated teenage girl throwing little jealous fits regarding other women and becoming sad when he doesn’t pay her the attention she wants.
In many ways, she is still innocent about the harsh ways of the world. There is a touch of the deredere about her but it is subdued.
Dr. Shiki Magata is our third character. Magata is a genius above all geniuses and has multiple personalities, each a person she knew before they died. She has been imprisoned in a small apartment in an institute on an island for 15 years after being found insane for murdering her parents as a little girl. She spent the time working quietly on a revolutionary computer operating system, “Red Magic.”
Magata got her doctorate at the age of 11. She also has little use for the social, political, and moral conventions of the rest of the world. The occupational hazard of being a supergenius, I guess.
Despite having never met the woman, Saikawa is in love with Dr. Magata because of her incredible intelligence. Nishinosono met with Magata via the internet and lined up an opportunity for her and Saikawa to meet with Magata in person. When they arrive, Dr. Magata’s corpse rolls out of her supposedly locked apartment on a cart with her arms and legs cut off and wearing a wedding dress. So begins our mystery.
The anime is based on two-part novel series by Hiroshi Mori, “Everything Becomes F.” That phrase becomes a central clue in the mystery. Saikawa is the typical Sherlockian protagonist while Moe is his not quite as bright but still sharp Watson.
There are some dark themes here. Suicide, incest, age gap relationship, adult/minor sex, and parricide all decorate the corridors of the labyrinth this mystery takes us down. Dr. Magata’s pursuit of total freedom takes some strange philosophical twists. I’d call her a psychopath… but she isn’t. She just reaches conclusions mere ordinary humans would find morally reprehensible.
Saikawa also yearns for total freedom of mind and action but is too rooted in reality to pursue it and perhaps Moe is his biggest root. Along the way, we are treated to his own philosophical musings about the nature of life and the search for meaning. He understands something of Magata’s motivations and sees logic in her actions while Nishinosono cannot. The loss of her own parents was tragic to her and she cannot forgive someone who would kill their parents.
It is tough to write about a preternatural genius when you are not one yourself. Despite a few plot holes, a lot of philosophical expiation, and a conclusion that stretches credulity, the mystery was entertaining. The animation was so-so with good moments and bad. What I found most interesting was the relationship between the Professor and Moe. Nothing much now but perhaps in the future when his infatuation with Magata fades and Moe is a bit more mature, there could be some romance.
I watched a LOT of old anime last season!