English: Perfect Blue
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Feb 28, 1998
1 hr. 20 min.
R+ - Mild Nudity
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.101 (scored by 33997 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama horror mystery psychological
SynopsisMima Kirigoe, a member of a pop-idol group called "CHAM!", decides to quit singing to pursue a career as an actress. Some of her fans are displeased with this decision though, particularly a stalker named Me-Mania. As Mima progresses into her new career, those close to her are violently murdered one by one, and Mima begins to lose the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Characters & Voice Actors
The idea of a psychological manipulative anime isn't uncommon; many have attempted, but few succeed, likely due to the sheer difficulty of effectively portraying and balancing its themes, symbolism and plot. A complex and multi-layered experience usually requires an equal or greater amount of effort to make it work. Perfect Blue is Satoshi Kon's directorial debut, and it is actually my favourite of the director's works - who, unfortunately, has passed on. Few anime series or movies have managed to not only entertain me, but impact me in the same way that Perfect Blue has, which succeeds in everything it sets out to do, from the manipulation of the mind to its appropriately chaotic portrayal of identity crisis.
The movie revolves around a pop-idol named Mima, who at the start of the film, announces her transition from a singer within a trio, to an actress. She quickly becomes the victim of public outcry as she begins tainting her image in exchange for fame and attention. She's also continuously pursued by one of her fans from her pop idol days, and after filming an uncomfortable rape scene for her character in a TV show, she begins to lose sight of her own identity and her life begins to spiral out of control. Whereas the summary sounds like an interesting, although not entirely unique, setup for a mystery/thriller movie, where the real substance lies is within the experience. Words cannot properly describe what Perfect Blue has to offer.
Perfect Blue is based on a novel of the same name by Sadayuki Murai; I'll just have to leave it at that, as I haven't read the novel and there is little information I could find about it online, although I've heard that numerous changes were made for a better adaption. It was originally meant to be a live action, direct to video film, but due to budget reductions as a result of damage to the production studio, it was decided that it would instead be animated. While some critics have mentioned that Perfect Blue would've done better as a live action movie, I personally disagree, as animation has the luxury of more seamless transitions and has an easier way of showing a stronger sense of chaos and surrealism. Satoshi Kon does an excellent job of portraying the eerie, chaotic nature of a woman losing her mind. Differentiating between reality and hallucination relies on some very subtle details, and it will likely take multiple viewings (or lots of rewinding) in order to pick up all the clues.
The tone of Perfect Blue is creepy and surreal, drawing the viewer in strongly with its atmosphere and dark tone. Once things start to get chaotic, you will likely learn on your initial viewing not to trust everything you see on screen. And that's the essence of Perfect Blue's enjoyment and rewatchability - dissecting the details on screen in order to figure out the truth. On my initial viewing, after the big secret is revealed in the end, things didn't really fall into place as would pieces of a puzzle; there was still a strong sense of ambiguity remaining. Upon my successive viewings however, going back and applying this new knowledge to every scene made for a fresh and different experience. Also, Mima's character depth and development is handled far better than many anime movies even attempt, which is especially impressive considering how Perfect Blue falls much shorter than the typical 2 hour mark, capping in at about an hour and twenty one minutes.
The animation in Perfect Blue is very detailed, and as it isn't an action movie, the budget is instead spent on the quality of the facial expressions and body language. While the visuals won't force any double takes, animation is still extremely fluid and holds up extremely well even 16 years after its release. The art style, like many of Satoshi Kon's works, goes for a much more realistic approach to the environments and characters, which is suitable for an anime of this nature, making everything look all the more believable and disturbing when it needs to be - and it often is. Violence, nudity and rape aren't at all watered down in this movie, but it is effective in disturbing the viewer to the right extent, further enhancing its maturity and believability in the sense that anything can and will happen. As far as the soundtrack goes, there's some rather catchy J-Pop songs, and the ambient music does an excellent job of contributing to the atmosphere and suspense factor. Few scenes would've had the same creepy vibe without its corresponding music, and while the soundtrack does its job well, it's definitely not something I would listen to out of leisure. The Japanese voice work is also done very well, and I have to give Junko Iwao major props for her believable portrayal of Mima, who was likely a very difficult character to play, due to her decline in mental state throughout the movie, and also with her being a victim of rape and abuse.
Any complaints I have about Perfect Blue are minor gripes at best. I felt that the conclusion of this movie, namely, the last few minutes, felt a bit too happy, which may feel a bit out of place, especially in contrast to the rest of this film. It's especially noticeable since the rest of the movie is so unsettling, but it still felt satisfying nonetheless, and didn't stand out enough to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth after the credits rolled. Perfect Blue is a bizarre and extraordinary viewing experience that will likely leave you puzzled and possibly terrified, and its never failed to absorb me into the events unfolding on screen, even with my successive viewings. Satoshi Kon has done an absolutely terrific job of implementing several themes, including identity crisis, victimization of females, the cost of fame, media manipulation, and more. It's not just impressive from the viewpoint of it being a directorial debut - I can safely say that it's one of my favourite anime movies of all time. read more
Strap in for a roller coaster ride through the human mind.
As always, my reviews are spoiler free.
You know you have done something right when someone can completely associate your name with a genre. For Satoshi Kon, that genre is Psychological Thriller (or mindf**k, if you prefer). All his works (perhaps with the exception of Tokyo Godfathers, which is still fantastic) explore this genre differently, some deeper than others, but from Paranoia Agent to Millennium Actress he clearly shows his abilities as a director. Of all his works, I think his first, Perfect Blue, is my favorite.
Story - 10/10
Our story begins with Kirigoe Mima, a member of a pop idol group, deciding to give up her singing career for a future as an actress. This decision leads to a string of events that will change her life forever, as well those around her. What begins with sinister phone calls and faxes becomes a paranoid fight for her life with a stalker; a stalker with a warped view of reality to say the least. Mima's career as an actor is not as glamorous as she expected either, leading to outrage among her fans and incredible stress for her manager and friend, Hidaka Rumi. As mysterious acts of violence are committed around her, Mima's view of reality begins to change.
The story explores a number of topics that few other works in the medium discuss, such as the loss of innocence and the perception of reality. It tackles these tough subjects without forcing them upon the viewer, as they are slowly immersed into the twisted world of Mima's life.
As much as I would love to continue to praising the story, I cannot bring myself to do it. It is something that must be experienced and not spoiled. And that ending... Wow.
Animation - 8/10
Released in 1997, this movie will of course look dated when compared to the work of today. When it is compared to other works of the time, however, it stands out with great fluidity. Some of the artistic choices are a bit strange, especially the character designs, but there is nothing that will detract from the experience, especially if one manages to acquire a Blu-ray release.
One outstanding factor is the cinematography. The angle of scenes being changed gives a certain amount of depth of vision most other series cannot come close to matching, even today.
I will be giving animation an 8/10, keeping in mind that it should be compared with other anime produced in the 90s.
Sound - 7/10
The soundtrack is haunting and disorienting. Much like that of well made horror movies, a feeling of suspense can be gradually built and released, or suddenly come to a climax. However, there is nothing worthy in and of itself, and the songs CHAM!, Mima's idol group, sings are grating on the ears at best.
Character - 10/10
Mima is developed very extensively throughout the movie, as she is the sole protagonist. Personally, I developed a great attachment to her throughout the movie, sharing her fear, depression, and confusion. She makes a fantastic protagonist, and as I mentioned above, wonderfully illustrates the theme of loss of innocence.
The supporting cast does well, with Rumi and her stalker being the main side characters. Rumi is developed very well herself, especially in the later half of the series as the story is tied together. The stalker, while far less explored, still has his motivations clearly explained and the viewer gets a fantastic look into a deranged mind.
Overall, it has one of the best protagonists I have ever seen, and a strong supporting cast.
Enjoyment - 10/10
If you are a fan of suspense, mystery, drama, thrillers... you will love this. Perfect Blue appeals to so many psychological elements and has such an intricate setup that it can be watched again and again, noticing new things each time. The second watch can be even better with than the first; once you know the end, you can trace the story backwards to the origin.
I would not recommend this to fans of mindless action, comedy, or SOL. It is not by any means a "light watch." But if you are willing to sit back and let it totally absorb you, I can't possibly think of a better way to spend your time.
This movie contains fully uncensored nudity and graphic sexual scenes. There is a significant amount of violence as well, but it is not too gory. I would still strongly advise against younger viewers watching this.
If you enjoyed this movie, you should immediately acquire and watch everything that Satoshi Kon ever directed. I don't think you will be disappointed.
I give this movie a 9/10, with the only improvements I could wish for would be a slightly better soundtrack and a fresh coat of animation (give it to ufotable, they would be perfect).
Thanks for reading. read more
Dark and edgy philosophical and psuedo-spiritual undertones resonate powerfully beneath the derma of an expertly animated and artistically executed series that explores human pyschology and how individuals cope with the pressure of living.
I think both are created by the same creator or director. plus both are very have that WTF element to it, both make you think and prolly require you to watch it a few times...
Its dark and they both play with your mind...
both shows got me in the end. While watching both I thought I knew what was going on and thought I had it all figured out. Then BOOM!!! Near the end of both shows I was just like wtf?! what happened??? it got me thinking and made me appreciate the great stories of both shows.
Both by Satoshi Kon, both psychological thrillers, both make you question reality.
Satoshi Kon's style is wonderful, but to understand it at its fullest I think it's required to watch Paranoia Agent before, since it's the most simple of the "Mindfuck Trilogy" (Paranoia Agent - Paprika - Perfect Blue), and then get to the hardest ones.
Paprika + Perfect Blue = Paranoia Agent
Both are Madhouse Satoshi Kon anime that seed the idea of identity through the media.
Well, Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent are created by the same man, Satoshi-kon. Also this have a very very psychological content and essence.
Anyway, two great works from a great man, Satoshi Kon.
Psychological thriller movies Directed by Satoshi Kon. They both blur the lines between fantasy and reality.
same director(i think), different themes but both interesting strange stories
Both are Satoshi Kon movies. Also if you look at Paprika and Perfect Blue both are very mysterious and deal with the question ''What will happen when dreams/illusions collide with the real world.''
Paprika + Perfect Blue = Paranoia Agent
Both are Madhouse, Satoshi Kon films with a female protagonist in which the audience is manipulates to question what is really happening and what is just in someones head until the audience is bonded to the characters in that they are just as in the dark as they are.
Both are great psychological/horror movies directed by Satoshi Kon. The dark but realistic style Kon is known for really comes to show and it works great with both these interesting stories with include delusions, mystery and many exciting moments. Before you know it, you'll be sitting on the edge of your seat!
Both "Paprika" and "Perfect Blue" have quite deep symbolism and surrealism.
However "Paprika" is much more higher all the way and in any aspect, in my opinion.
I like how "Paprika" concentrates in itself all of Satoshi Kon favorite images and themes:
1) Like an escape from reality into a world of illusion
2) The devastating consequences of the invasion of illusion into reality and getting rid of these illusions
3) The sudden realization that the difficulties can be overcome, but turned to face them
4) Detective story filled with riddles and symbols
5) Surrealist paintings of collective and individual insanity
6) Adult man tired and lost in his past
7) Young woman who live a double life and hiding from all its second, the internal and true "I".
But I think Satoshi Kon described these all themes best right here in "Paprika" (that's his last finished work, by the way, before he is gone). In my opinion this is his best work after all.
Frankly saying, I don't like "Perfect Blue". I really liked "Paprika" much more. So, maybe if you don't like "Perfect Blue" too, try this one, I think you will not be disappointed. That's quite for sure.
Moreover there are great qualitative soundtrack, beautiful and detailed, outstanding animation.
P.S. Sorry for not very good english, it's my third learned. But I hope my recommendation will help somebody.
Both makes you wonder what is real and what is not, they play with your brain in an amazing level, full of Mystery, awesome Story and Characters
Opening Theme"Ai no Tenshi" by Misa, Emiko Furakawa and Mie Shimizu
Ending Theme"Season" by M-Voice
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