Perfect Blue (パーフェクト・ブルー) is one of the anime movies that will forever leave a trace in your mind once you’ve seen it. You just cannot forget the story; it’s that sticky in a good way. It is definitely not for minors or light-hearted people as this movie has an in-depth psychological aspect and a big tendency to bring out the worst in certain characters. As one of the many anime movies that interested me, Perfect Blue receives a full review from me personally. You can read it below and I hope you enjoy it. Also, feedback and comments are always welcome!
The anime movie is an adaptation by director Satoshi Kon and screenwriter Sadayuki Murai. Character design is also created by Kon-sensei. The original story comes from the homonymous novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi and is about the young Mima Kirigoe and her life as an idol in a moment in time where life is not as great as one would have though it should be.
Young girls should not be left to become victims of show business; they will just become young girls in show business with issues. It is dreadful, I know.
When the young singer and idol-band “CHAM!” member decides to get rid of the overly sweet and a tad childish appearance and image she has created for herself together with her two colleagues and friends, she takes change to a typically crude level. Willing to become an actress, she needs diversity and not just what the fans know as a band member. Just like Mr. Harry Potter’s (Daniel Radcliffe) role in the erotic stage play Equus, Mima will have to really do something out of character to get rid of the nice girly girl that she played throughout her entire life until now. Her first role is in the Double Blind crime drama where she plays a strip-club rape victim… Naturally, she accepted this position knowingly and aware of the fact that it would ruin her image. However, it only brings forth even more negativity from the idol Mima’s fanbase.
Even until this moment, after leaving CHAM!, she receives a lot of hate-mail and even discovers a website entitled “Mina’s room” where some frightfully correct details from her everyday life are being posted online for all to see and read. Shocking as it is, Mima has a lot more to worry about in this thrilling movie. Soon enough, we find out that brutal, gruesome murders are happening all over the place and the people murdered are all related to Mima. A person who looks just like her is responsible, but is it she? No. Let’s decide it’s her stalker – the really creepy and dreadfully disillusioned man calling himself Me-Mania (right). This, however, is just another trick of the story and an illusion. In reality, the one who’s the creep and mentally ill person is neither the young Mima in change nor the desperate fan of her idol personality.
There are some strikingly amazing facts about this story. One of them is that it was originally released in 1997 and still has this suspense that many ‘thrillers’ and ‘horrors’ are currently missing. It can easily bring you to wonder if life is what it seems or just an illusion. With the intense psychological experience that it provides and the great twists and turns in the plot, Perfect Blue is a great story about what people and mostly girls should not do to become famous and how they could end up if they gave in to the temptation of sped-up rise to fame over quality.
The only reason not to absolutely adore this movie is the lack of openness at the end. Everything gets settled and shown, while I love to have a staring crippled face in the reflection on the window when a film’s protagonist is last seen, if you know what I mean.
Except for the great psychological aspect and execution of the script in Perfect Blue, the art is another great side of the movie. With the original character design by Satoshi Kon, who has also done this job in Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and the story by Ultraman fan Takeuchi-sensei, this movie is considered by many a masterpiece of the anime industry. Kon died in 2010 from a deathly disease, ceasing his work in anime and Japanese culture as a whole. I do feel we will miss the old-school style in anime pretty soon since most people who are still trying to preserve it are of age. I hope young creators and artists don’t just jump into 3D before learning how to make art through their own hands (smudging with a wrist is an art!).
For me, it is a great example of how a piece of anime is not suitable for children under 6, but the best teacher for them when they get to 8+. It is educational and shows the awfulness of wrong decisions and putting your own self behind for some other person’s dreams or when you take decisions that you have not thought out well.
Following the big idol into her huge success as an actress and all that follows is an exceptional view in the life of many celebrities, but shown to us the Japanese way. I like the point of view and I like the old-school experience I received from this show. If I had to grade it, I’d give it 8.5/10 and feel great about the score. Moreover, I believe everyone who is not feeling too young or fragile for a pretty graphical rape scene (although it’s not a real rape even in the move, but a scene from the film she’s shooting) should see Perfect Blue. It is a good thriller with a classical suspense feeling and a great experience.
The soundtrack of the film is memorable and the choice of sounds and songs throughout the scenes is really well made. “Ai no Tenshi” (Angel of Love) by Misa, Emiko Furakawa and Mie Shimizu is the opening theme song. It’s the main music throughout the show and a prominent song by the idol trio CHAM!. The ending theme song is also a great decision. “Seasons” by M-Voice is not as cheery and lovely as (ironically) “Ai no Tenshi” is. It is more of a story-telling, though still typically idol-like song (at least according to me, but you can always confront me in the comments).
As an end to this review, which turned out to be pretty long, I need to say that I enjoyed all three of Satoshi Kon’s movies perfect Blue, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers and hope that you see the positives in these otherwise awkward and not very cheerful movies.
Images: © Rex Entertainment Co., Ltd., Manga Entertainment, Inc., Madhouse Inc