Mima is a member of Cham!, a second-tier Japanese pop trio that has a loyal, albeit small, fan base. Wanting to increase her exposure and prove she’s more than a pretty girl with a nice voice, Mima crosses over to the world of film and television. Some of Cham!’s fans don’t want to see her go, and one obsessed stalker feels personally betrayed by the young starlet jumping ship. Mima will soon learn that disappointing her fans can be a painful experience.
summary by Kain
Highs: Deep story; lots of suspense and plot twists
Lows: Starts off slowly; unimaginative character design
Perfect Blue is not like any anime you have ever seen before. It’s part murder mystery with plot twists galore. It also contains very graphic scenes. When I first got started I thought I would be telling you all to steer clear of this one, but by the end I knew it was a masterpiece of a movie. Needless to say, however, Perfect Blue is not for everyone.
This movie’s weak points are in its art and music. You should not watch this movie if you are looking for catchy tunes and great special effects. Besides the songs that Cham! sings, which aren’t half bad, there are none that stand out. I was also not fond of the character designs at all.
The root of this movie is its rich story. It starts a little slowly, the first twenty minutes or so are down right boring, but don’t be too quick to judge. If you give it a little time I guarantee you will be sucked into the rich plot and suspense. Perfect Blue is definitely an edge-of-the-seat thriller when you get into it. If you are the kind of person who cannot watch an anime without comedy, action, or outrageous characters, and believe me there are a lot of people like that, then this is not for you. It is a simply a love it or hate it anime. This is most definitely not for children, either; it is full of adult context, nudity and blood.
Do yourself a favor and watch Perfect Blue. Do yourself another favor and stay away from the dub.
Highs: Effective psychological suspense; wonderful panoramic camera angles; catchy tunes
Lows: Doesn’t pick up until about halfway through
Perfect Blue is definitely one of the more pleasant surprises in anime. It’s too bad the first twenty minutes or so do not give any indication of this.
What a better place to start with than the beginning? This movie is sure in no hurry to get to the point. The story (and the animation, I’m afraid to say) is comfortable at plodding along as a leisurely pace, following the rather placid life of a music idol turned movie star. The only thing I found really enjoyable about the beginning is the toe-tapping song Ai no Tenshi.
Probably the most appreciated aspect of Perfect Blue is that the audience isn’t aware of exactly when Mima displays her emotional breakdown. After the sluggish intro, the tempo gradually increases; before you know it, you’re watching an entirely different movie (and a spectacularly lobotomizing one at that)! What part is a dream and what part is real? The script expertly keeps the audience in the dark and meanders around without giving any definitive answers. Simply brilliant. Artwork and animation decide at this time to pick up the slack, as well, and everything starts looking and moving more realistically. This is pivotal to making this movie a success; had the course of events and the scenes appeared unnatural or unbelievable then much of that gripping suspense would have been for naught. This story could happen to anyone.
Tired of physics-defying mecha and magical, seifuku-wearing teenagers? This is the movie for you. Few anime promise to spoon-feed you your own brain quite like this one.
Highs: Genuinely shocking thriller; brilliant use of different perspectives; great imagery
Lows: Overdoes confusion at times; very graphic violence
Perfect Blue is widely known as the penultimate psychological anime thriller, and for good reason. Kon Satoshi‘s brilliant directing and a script worthy of Thomas Harris (The Silence of the Lambs) make this movie a must for fans of the genre, anime lovers or not.
The plot, featuring a highly critical view at stardom and fandom in Japan, is the first unusual element of Perfect Blue. Using the rise and fall of a pop starlet as background for a genuinely shocking thriller was a wonderful decision on the scriptwriter’s side, and Kon Satoshi adds his special director’s touch by playing with different narrative perspectives. Brilliantly switching between points of view, he keeps the audience guessing about what is real and what is illusion, and that’s where most of the suspense comes from. Add to that a powerful imagery full of ominous shadows, unexpected mirror images and unusual camera angles, and you have the mood set for a great thriller experience.
Of course, in a movie bent on confusing the viewer, you can easily overdo the confusion. Unfortunately, that’s what Perfect Blue falls for at times. The infamous “déjà vu” sequences, for example, only provide little story development and don’t do much to tighten the gloomy atmosphere. The second element that wouldn’t really have been necessary is the intense, very graphic violence. The murders are shown in all their bloody glory (need I mention the icepick turned eye-pick?), which is a shame considering that all the real suspense comes from the psychological elements.
Still, if you can handle blood and violence, Perfect Blue is a great psychological movie with many little subtleties you’re going to love. As a psychological thriller, it’s a full success. Had Hitchcock made this movie, he would have been proud of it.
Perfect Blue can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.