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One of the most ambitious animated films to come out of Japan (or anywhere, for that matter), Perfect Blue is an adult psycho-thriller that uses the freedom of the animated image to create the subjective reality of a young actress haunted by the gh
- Interview with director Satoshi Kon
- Voice-actor Interviews
- Musical photo gallery
- Behind-the-scenes performances
- Bonus audio track
- Manga 2000 previews
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Top Customer Reviews
After two and a half years of being lead singer with the techno-pop trio Cham, 21-year old Mima Kigiroe announces at a concert that she is leaving the group to pursue a movie career. One of the other members puts it more colourfully, that Mima has graduated from Cham. The move stuns her fans, but Mima sees her time there as wonderful, but felt suffocated by the innocent pop-idol image and that it was time to move on to newer things, such as her role in Double Bind, a psycho-thriller drama series where she plays the sister of a victim. Tadokoro feels that there's "no place for pop idols to appeal to the masses." Acting in this drama will be Mima's "make it or break it" opportunity.
Upon the insistence of her agent Tadokoro to Shibuya, the scriptwriter, and the producer(?) Tejima, her role gradually increases, from the line "Who are you?" to something drastic, involving a traumatic scene Jodie Foster did in The Accused, only it's the stage of a strip club and not on a pool table. Besides, it's simulated anyway. This does indeed change Mima's image, but Rumi Hidaka, her other agent and former pop idol, is upset and even leaves during that scene.
Mima has other problems. She comes across a website called Mima's Room, which initially causes her amusement, as it details an imagined day in her life, "Someone sures knows me"--but when she reads some things that actually happened, she gets scared.
Mima is then confronted not only with those things, but with a version of herself as she was as Cham's lead singer, wearing her Cham dress. This "old" version insists HERSELF as is the real Mima, which makes the real and "new" Mima an impostor. There's also a sinister stalker, a mysterious hunchback with bad teeth that she notices and sees during her shooting scenes.
Meanwhile, people associated with promoting Mima's new career move are getting brutally murdered, such as a photographer who took some nude photos of Mima for a magazine. For an anime, there is some detail in the photos shown that would not ordinarily be seen even in anime of this kind.
There is one puzzling aspect. Despite having a fervent following, it seems inconsistent that Cham never hit the charts, yet when Mima leaves, we learn that Cham debuted in the Japanese pop charts for the first time. Normally, when a key member leaves a well-loved group, a new sound and sliding sales result, (q.v. Spice Girls, Bananarama). Trivia: the fax Mima receives reads "uragiri", which indeed does mean traitor.
Most of it is influenced by Hitchcock's Psycho, but the violence of the murders recall Basic Instinct and Scream. Then there's the blurring between reality and delusion explored in Vertigo (Hitchcock again) and Alejandro Amenebar's Abre Los Ojos. Double Bind is similar to Silence Of The Lambs (modus operandus of the killer). The upbeat techno-pop and a trio becoming a duo also mirrors Bananarama, although the music is more Pet Shop Boys during their Very period. Then there's the usual lead singer leaving the group for individual fame and more money, as was the case for Peter Cetera and Bobby Brown. And one need look no further than John Lennon and Rebecca Schaffer in terms of demented stalker fans. These influences entwine themselves to yield an exceptional thriller, with a likeable heroine (Mima) to root for, as she grows despite her traumatic experiences.
Mima Kirigoe is an idol singer, part of a moderately successful trio called Cham. Since the career life of these singers is, at best, a matter of a few years, Mima has decided to leave Cham to try her hand at being an actress. She lands a part in 'Double Bind,' a suspense thriller that will test her commitment in many ways, putting her in situations that some of her old fans find uncomfortable. This explodes into her life in a big way when Mima finds an internet website that purports to be written by her.
Whoever is writing the site knows too much about what Mima is going through, and she finds herself stalked by an unhappy fan that has developed a fixation on her. Soon people are dying in gruesome circumstances, and Mima becomes more and more confused about whom she really is and what is real. First time director Satoshi Kon is merciless, making sure that the viewer gets few clues about which reality is real and whether what one sees is in 'Double Bind,' 'Perfect Blue,' or in Mima's mind alone.
This is really a remarkable piece of work. Great care is put into artistic and musical values. It has striking graphic qualities without the viewer ever getting the feeling that the images are overwhelming the story. In addition, I particularly like the imaginative use of color. Of course, the use of music is particularly important in a film about Japanese popular entertainment figures, and Kon makes sure that the film lives up to aural expectations.
This is a rough, gripping film. Violence, murder, and rape are depicted with the deliberate intention of making the watcher uncomfortable. It skirts the edge of being offensive, and is sometimes classified as hentai - animated pornography. It isn't by my standards, but 'Perfect Blue' is graphic enough to offend some people. Take this into consideration before deciding to watch.