The Perfect Insider
Episode 5

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 5 of
The Perfect Insider ?
Community score: 4.2

Things kicked into overdrive in this week's Perfect Insider, as secrets were revealed and chilling contrasts were drawn from the first minute to the last. New revelations about both Magata and Moe's past and present meant this episode had none of the mystery-establishing slowness of last week's, and combined dramatic punchlines with character focus in a more satisfying mixture than ever before. Everything Perfect Insider does well, this episode demonstrated it doing it as well as it's ever done. The show is really coming together as we approach the halfway point.

We opened with a continuation of last week's final scene, as past Magata and her “lover” discussed the nature of freedom. The narrator-lover said he sought the perfect freedom of life in the wilderness, echoing Souhei's description of Magata's lab reality. Magata questioned what prevented him from claiming it, and grew angry when he talked about the everyday concerns that held him down. To Magata, these petty human concerns likely paled in comparison to her own feelings of entrapment - but beyond revealing her base motivations, this scene's major points would also be echoed all throughout the scenes to come.

From there, we jumped forward to Moe waking from another nightmare, Magata's words about her parents' death still ringing in her head. Though Magata claimed there was someone with her as her parents died, Moe insisted she was “alone, always alone,” and then gave away the meaning of her “purple” refrain - the purple dress she was wearing when her parents died. These reflections on Moe's past gained an ominous tone over the following scenes, as we learned the specifics of Magata's parents' deaths from the director's wife, Magata's aunt. Treated like a doll in life, Magata adopted the various personalities of the dead people that were close to her - as Souhei says, “the inside of her head might have just been too big for one person.” Loneliness and captivity seem to inform Magata's alleged murders, and in light of the information about both her uncle (who was there when her parents died) and her multiple personalities, Magata's interrogation of Moe gained new significance.

These parallels between Moe and Magata continued through the rest of the episode, echos represented both narratively and visually. On the visual side, this episode was marked by a series of brief flashbacks depicting teenage Magata's last day outside, with her actions and appearance acting as direct mirrors of Moe's. Like Moe, Magata's fashion was simultaneously garish and anonymous - hats and shades designed to make her stand out as an individual without giving her a facial identity. As Magata munches on a snack in the sunlight, the shot cuts to Moe leaning back and commenting on how good her aunt's cookies were. The Perfect Insider clearly wants us to see these two characters as a potentially tragically matched set.

Those links came up again in the later arguments between Souhei and Moe. When Souhei mused on feeling trapped by his university job, Moe asked him why he didn't quit, leading to a back-and-forth escalation that exactly mirrored Magata's conversation with her lover. As Souhei talked about how Magata's contradictory personalities and lack of “artificial” ethics made her a more pure expression of humanity than anyone else, Moe got more and more incensed. His theory that “someone who could do anything must experience great pain when they're restricted” fit equally well to Moe's attempts to tame him, and by the end of their conversation, Moe was practically screaming. “You don't know anything, Sensei,” she said. “I wouldn't kill my parents, no matter what happened.” And at that point, the significance of Magata's interview question became clear - Moe wasn't arguing with Souhei, she was arguing with some specter in her past. How did Moe's parents actually die? Was someone there beside Moe, watching it happen? Or was it someone within Moe herself, someone she refuses to acknowledge?

It's still unclear whether these parallels between Magata and Moe are truly implying Moe killed her parents. What is clear is that there are still more wrinkles to be found in the context of Magata's “death.” In this episode's last scene, we finally witnessed the minutes leading up to the death of Magata's parents, as she sat at the dinner table and presented a knife to her uncle. Her uncle, the man we then learned was the same man she'd slept with in the hotel. Her uncle, who now lay hunched over with a knife in his back, dead on the roof of Magata's lab.

Things heated up wonderfully in this week's Perfect Insider, impressing on both a character and plot-weaving level. I'm excited to see where this morbid story goes next.

Rating: A

The Perfect Insider is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

Nick writes about anime, storytelling, and the meaning of life at Wrong Every Time.

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