Film Review: Perfect Blue


   For the most part, when people think of Japanese animated films, the mind flits straight to the whimsical fantasies of Hayao Miyazaki or, failing that, super cute teen romances or uber-violent Manga adaptations. Seldom, however, does the average person associate the Land of the Rising Sun's animated output with tense, Hitchcock-ian psychological thrillers; the late Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue, however, is a perfect example not just of this style of movie-making but also of some of the wilder excesses in his nation's approach to art.

   Mima Kirigoe is a member of the Japanese idol group "CHAM!" who decides, almost on a whim, to abandon her career in pop to make a go of it as an actress - a decision which does not sit well with some of her fans who feel betrayed by this announcement, especially a crazed stalker named "Me-mania". As the stress of pursuing her new profession multiply by the stress caused by her threatening fans, Mima's world begins to unravel as fantasy and reality become blurred and attempts to find the truth of what is going on get lost in a labyrinthine web of lies, deceit and paranoia. Cast in an adult role on her new show Double Blind, Mima is traumatised  by a scene she shoots and begins to untangle even further when several people who worked on the show are found dead one by one. Who is next and, more to the point, why?

   Whilst the plot is genuinely tense at points, it too begins to untangle under the weight of its attempts to confound the audience; after about eight ludicrous plot twists too far, Perfect Blue collapses in on itself as a narrative pushed to extremes with little rhyme or reason. The main problem, however, with Kon's film is that it seems to exist for little reason other than to tick boxes and re-affirm the negative aspects of Japanese animation at its absolute worst; gratuitous violence is on garish display here and it seems to be the driving force of the lurid, creepy and exploitative movie. Those who think Mulholland Drive would be a better film with more graphic physical aggression and the repeated references and threats of rape will find much to enjoy here, others may find the strange obsession with sleaziness troubling.
 
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2 comments

  1. I love the old manga like akira, hopefully this catches some of that style

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  2. That's awesome. My first ideas of anime are like... Dragonball Z, Gundam Wing, Deathnote, Bleach... You know a bunch of really action driven stuff. It's cool when you find great stories with depth that just happen to be animated.

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