The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Perfect Blue

Title: Perfect Blue
Genre: Drama
Company: Madhouse Studios
Format: Movie; 80 minutes.
Dates: 28 Feb 1998

Synopsis: Small town pop idol, Mima Kirigoe leaves her group Cham in order to seek a more fulfilled career as an actress. It’s not long until she falls under the stress of her new career and feels regrets about abandoning singing. The pressure soon gets to her as she encounters a creepy stalker and some unusual website depicts her life and feelings with such accuracy. Mima’s life is falling apart at the seems when she hears her internal pop star taunting her. Things only get worse when her loss of sanity gets entangled with the murders of those she works for.

The Highlights
Visuals: Almost Gainax-esque… minus breast physics.
Violence: Top notch murder.
Terror: Top notch suspense.
Resolution: Hard to make sense of it all.
Hitchcock factor: Like he wrote it himself.

In the late ‘90s, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho was mutated into such a disappointing remake that he had to rise from grave in order to seek redemption. Granted, no one listens to zombies and night visions, so he had to settle for the next best thing. And from there, we now have Perfect Blue. Okay, if that were actually true it would have been pretty awesome, but since we’ll never know, settling on this anime doesn’t hurt. Watching this movie, your bones may shake in fear, but hey, it means it’s working.

For the first 20 minutes or so, the only thing that made me know that this was a horror would have to be the creepy stalker. It’s not until the death threats start rolling in that things start going somewhere. And boy, does this movie go somewhere. Dreams, real life, and the protagonist Mima’s television series start getting entangled, and the transitions from event to event are intentionally jarring, much like being woken up suddenly. As Mima gradually loses her grip on reality, you are taken along on a ride in this crazy train as well. One déjà vu scene is a testament to this, and as the viewer, I was often as confused and frightened as Mima.

This film is loaded with violence. I can say that the only time I’ve seen such graphic moments are in School Days (1,2), Higurashi and a certain scene in Victory Gundam. I don’t want to ruin much, but let’s just say that there is a lot that someone can do with an ice pick. Also, we’ve all heard of people dying listening to creepy British children and the crabby old lad, but death with pop music… that’s just disturbing. – Granted, the violence is in context that it’s not simply gratuitous blood baths. All these elements work out really well with artwork that has almost a Gainax vibe, minus the gravity defying boobs.

Looking at the way that this movie concludes, I cannot remotely explain what happened. Sure, to a degree it makes sense, but not in the way a normal mystery novel does where everything just falls into place. A second viewing may have helped me get around some of the more WTF moments, but that can wait for a different time. It is safe to say that Perfect Blue is the kind of thriller that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud. Though, to warn those weak of heart and to be responsible, this movie contains graphic content and violent rape. Viewer discretion is advised.

(Hell, technically, I don’t think I am old enough to see it yet.)

The Rating: 9

Reviewed by: Kavik Ryx

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