Perfect Blue

April 19, 2015 at 10:38 pm (8 Heads, Perfect Blue) (, , , , )

Perfect Blue – 1997 – Japan

Mima is a singer in a girl idol group. Following pressure from her manager, she leaves the group to start acting. As her career flounders, Mima takes a controversial erotic role, upsetting her former fans. Soon Mima is stalked by a disturbed man, and people close to her start getting murdered. Meanwhile, an obsessed fan writes a fictionalized diary of Mima’s life, and publishes it on the internet. Suffering a nervous breakdown, Mima grows increasingly paranoid, and begins obsessively reading the fake diary. She becomes delusional as the barriers between her own self-image, her media personality, and her persona in the fake diary are blurred.

Perfect Blue is paranoid and occasionally surreal, but still unsettlingly believable. The detailed depiction of Japan’s media industry anchors the twisting plot. Mima’s career, as well as her relationship with her agency, seems very authentic. The dimensional characters, all of whom are pitiable yet loathsome, are similarly realistic. Even the plot’s bizarre final twist has enough logic to be utterly satisfying.

In one especially provocative part, Mima acts in a graphic rape scene for a television drama. During a break in the filming, the embarrassed actor portraying the rapist apologizes to Mima for the crass scene. It is an amusing and endearing exchange, but with a dark subtext. While Mima complacently plays the rape victim, she is emotionally traumatized because the exploitative scene is destroying her formerly wholesome image. It is a complex moment combining humor and drama in a compelling way.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. The animation in Perfect Blue is pretty utilitarian. Apparently, it was originally intended be a live action series, but was reduced to an animated movie due to budgetary constraints.


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