The Perfect Insider
Episode 7

by Nick Creamer,

How would you rate episode 7 of
The Perfect Insider ?
Community score: 4.1

The Perfect Insider is back on top. This was the best episode the show's had in a while - very likely its best episode so far, in fact. Legos fell into place all across this mystery, and the various characters' journeys were illustrated through some chilling strokes of visual storytelling. We learned the likely truth of Magata's magic trick, got a peek behind the curtain of Souhei's behavior, and even received a great deal more context on both Moe's past in general and her relationship with Souhei specifically. After six slow-burning episodes, the show appears to be veering into port for its final stretch.

This episode opened with Souhei finally embracing his own interest in Magata's case, and conducting a series of interviews. He started with the programmer Mizutani, who was highlighted (along with one of the security guards and the director's wife) as one of the few people who'd been at the lab fifteen years ago. As Mizutani waxed creepily on about how beautiful the young Magata had been, we got a full view of his questionable taste in home decour - pinned butterflies and stuffed animals, an all-encompassing monument to vibrant living things trapped dead under glass. “This is the best possible environment. I can't see anyone being upset about anything,” he said. But his own living quarters told a very different story.

From there, Souhei went to meet with Magata's sister Miki while Moe headed to the entertainment room with another staffer. Souhei's interview, conducted in awkwardly broken English on both sides (Miki ostensibly lives in America, so her having such a shaky grasp of English is a little unfortunate), reached further into Souhei's own personality than ever before. His thoughts on Magata revealed the woman he'd built up in his mind - someone who “wasn't easily entertained,” someone who existed almost as an intellectual mountain for him to climb. “Women aren't your strong suit, are they?” asked Miki, and the full truth of the question was clear - people aren't his strong suit, and he has difficulty looking outside of himself. Magata's fascination with Moe reveals her interests were likely a little more complex than Souhei believes, but he did get one thing right - his belief that Magata felt “a human body and a doll were interchangeable.”

That theory was sharply illustrated on Moe's side of the story, as she was introduced to a Magata-invented dream chamber that brought her own fantasies to life. At first, Moe's freed thoughts simply invented a Souhei who was actually able to express himself - a Souhei who could relate to her as a person, who laughed and skipped as the two of them bounded across buildings in a fake lego world. But then Moe's fantasy shifted, and became constrained by “MICHIRU,” one of Magata's several personalities. It would seem that instead of leaving the building in physical form, Magata has likely found a new “doll” for herself - the laboratory's own computer system. Challenging Moe on the facts of her parents' death, MICHIRU forced Moe to relive those events as a series of chilling personal flashbacks, awful memories dissolving and reconstructing themselves through the legos Magata apparently saw as “real" to her. And we learned why Moe, in spite of not truly connecting with the professor on any level, is so loyal to Souhei - he was the one there for her when her parents died, the one who brought company to what MICHIRU referred to as her “restrictive outer world.”

Fortunately, in spite of this emotional bludgeoning, Moe refused to join MICHIRU in her collapsed, digital existence. Moe is by far the most “alive” of any of them, a fact that her new friend pointed out would likely keep her separate from the professor. But now that Magata's actual fate (or at least that of one of her personalities) seems to be revealed, the question remains - what does this new version of her want? Is she planning on just sticking around as a literal ghost in the machine, or was her connection with Moe the prelude to something more?

This was a fantastic episode of Perfect Insider, full of great character moments and dramatic reveals and beautifully composed shots. If the show can maintain this pace through the ending, I'll be more than satisfied.

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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