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Essence of Anime: Perfect Blue
Essence of Anime Perfect Blue
Directors: Satoshi Kon, Hisao Shirai
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
R     2007     1hr 23min

Studio: Starz/sphe Release Date: 09/04/2007 Run time: 83 minutes


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Movie Details

Directors: Satoshi Kon, Hisao Shirai
Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Mystery & Suspense, Anime & Manga, Animation
Studio: Manga Entertainment
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Animated
DVD Release Date: 09/04/2007
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Step into the perfect Blue
C. Christopher Blackshere | I am the devil's reject | 01/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Excuse me, who are you?


You're nobody until you've experienced the Perfect Blue. ;)

This is a completely psychedelic, mesmerizing trip. It's like letting your mind travel barefoot through broken glass. Better put a sock on it, any misstep might thrust you over that jagged edge of sanity.

So what is Perfect Blue?

It's a delusional journey across a tightrope dangling vicariously over the cusp of psychological ineptitude, an evocative swandive into the bottomless pit of your subconscious predeliction. Just a vortex of the surreal fused haphazardly with fragments of reality, all simultaneously trickling down your cognitive pipeline and overloading the inner workings of your perceptive circuitry.

So, in other words, it's hard to explain...

The plot starts off simple enough--the beautiful Mima walks away from her life as a quasi-pop star in order to pursue an acting career. She lands a role in a series filled with murder, sex, and mystery.
But, problems quickly emerge as Mima seems to bring work home with her. As this heightened drama spills over into her regular life, reality becomes superimposed by hallucinations and nightmarish visions. Absolute craziness! It becomes challenging trying to decipher between what's real and what's merely an illusion.

I suspect that many will dismiss this as just overstylized, incoherent storytelling. It doesn't have your standard plot elements or structural developments. It's definitely not for everyone.

But I loved it! I think Perfect Blue is a visionary piece of art. Exciting, challenging, and very entertaining. It's an anime melding of Mulholland Dr, Peeping Tom, Fight Club, Psycho, & Memento. Just Awesome.

5.5 Stars, rounded down to comply with logic and the rating system

Head-spinning brilliance
trashcanman | Hanford, CA United States | 01/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Anime director Satoshi Kon has proven himself over and over again to be the master of bizarre psychological thrills and social commentary. He has most recently earned acclaim in the West for his dazzling exploration of the world in which humans spend their dreams in Paprika and took on the media machine along with the unique delusional psychoses we all suffer from in some form or another in his masterpiece, the television series Paranoia Agent. Millennium Actress was a beautiful look back at the history of Japanese cinema, while Tokyo Godfathers taught us that even the lowliest among us are worthy of basic human dignity and more. Most of his stories are told in an extremely unorthodox fashion that mixes fantasy, delusion, reality, and perception together and dares you to tell them apart. This movie is where it all started.

1997's "Perfect Blue" was Kon's first film and it set the standard not only for his career, but for any film -animated or otherwise- that should dare to enter this genre that has been dominated by the talents of luminaries such as Hitchcock and Argento throughout modern cinematic history. While the comparison's there are obvious, I believe it is fans of David Lynch who may well get the most out of this one due to the jarring and unheralded switching between alternate realities of different characters without exposition or mercy. It begins as a standard murder-mystery about a pop-singer attempting to make that unsteady leap to serious actress with a stalker on her tail. While the storytelling is quite standard for the film's first half, the second half will throw you for a loop. And another. And another. Expect confusion, more confusion, and finally exasperation before you settle down and just enjoy the show. It's a hell of a ride. The second half of the story is told out of sequence, out of time, occasionally apart from reality, and seen from multiple perspectives. I would go so far as to say that each viewer may well have a different idea of just what the actual events are and which were imagined. Just know that in a Satoshi Kon work it's always a good idea to assume every character is a delusional psychotic of some sort and what you're seeing is often no more than what they BELIEVE they're seeing.

While I find the irritation of the large section of the film where you don't know what is going on to be a major downer, this is still a film I would recommend to anybody who loves a good mystery or doubts the power of the animated medium to intrigue and entertain adult film fans who have seen it all. Perfect Blue" is as powerful a piece of cinema in it's own right as the works of the masters I mentioned before. It's a nightmare within a delusion where the entertainment industry eats itself from within and drives it's occupants to insanity both inside and outside the very same fantasy worlds it creates. How much of the perpetual illusions cast by the glitz, the glamor, and the obsessed fans can one person stand? How much pressure to make them snap? When vicarious career obsession and regret melds with a pre-existing personality disorder, the conclusion is something only Satoshi Kon could bring to life and it is brutal. "Perfect Blue" pulls no punches. Full nudity, grotesque violence and rape are all present and accounted for. A far cry from the film's light-hearted pop-idol beginnings. It's amazing how much ground is covered in well under 90 minutes here.

In this DVD edition the film is is remastered, extended, and we are treated to some special features including interviews of varying quality from both English and Japanese language actors as well as the director himself. watching Kon try to play off the film's storytelling as very standard is annoying, but makes it more amusing when he is pressed to explain the film's message and he practically falls to pieces trying to come up with a answer, though he does drop some sagely nuggets for us before repeatedly stammering that it's "hard to explain". No Sh!+.

4 1/2 stars, rounded up for blowing my mind even upon repeated viewings."
4 ½ Stars: A Powerful Psychological Thriller that has ALL El
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 12/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"During a time when Japanese Anime had the reputation of characters with "over-expressive eyes", some with very complex stories while most of them are "kid-friendly"--the vast majority of anime releases were made up of mechas, cyberpunk, supernatural and mythology. Director Satoshi Kon (Memories) decides to come up with a different approach by adapting the novel by Yoshihazu Takeuchi. "PERFECT BLUE" (1998) is a film very different from the anime films of its time. The film is an intelligent, chilling, psychological thriller and it succeeds in having a very mind-bending very mature premise that it has even inspired a live action version in Japan and has been quoted as very "Hitchcockian" in its execution.

Mima Kirigoe (voiced by Junko Iwao) is a J-pop idol who is looking forward for a bright future as an actress. She abandons her post as part of the pop group "Cham" for a role in a sexually charged detective-mystery series. Mima's life begins to fall apart, reality and hallucinations merge into a terrifying netherworld where innocence is lost and dreams become nightmares. Mima quickly descends into a state of paranoia as she discovers an internet site that describes the everyday details of her life. Helpless and afraid, Mima can only watch as her associates are threatened and killed by a mysterious killer.

"Perfect Blue's" premise is very complex, it is a powerful tale of regret, fan obsession and protection, denial and the destruction of innocence. The film also has a strong commentary on abusive filmmakers and the pressures of being an actress. But it doesn't end there, what really made this anime feature one of my favorites is the way the plot is structured. There are a lot of powerful clues as to the identity of the killer and you can see it in the film's halfway point. What makes it very different and unique is the fact that it manages to effectively misdirect and distract the viewer's possible conclusions, that may cause the viewer to doubt and make his head spin in different directions. The insanity that binds both actress and the pop idol is put into bear, the parallels to the tv series "Double Bind" and the blind commitment from one's crazed fans.

Mima is an ambitious young woman who believes that she owes the people responsible for her fame as a pop idol that she is willing to undertake any scene in her job as an actress. She suffers a breakdown in psyche when she had to shoot a very graphic rape scene on camera and poses nude in a magazine. All these contributes to her confusion as to who or what she is--actress or singer--or just plain old Mima? The animated sequences are quite impressive as her face is brought to life in animated sequence, her character carries a lot of emotions; yes, there is quite a number of animated full frontal female nudity in the scenes. Mima suffers some delusions that the last act does give it credibility. Yes, it does, but the audience also has to pay attention because the answer isn't as simple as presented visually.

The Mi-mania stalker or Uchida the fan (voiced by Masaaki Okura) is a demented individual who adores the J-pop character "Mimarin" who is Mima herself. He attempts to destroy anything that may discredit his beloved Mimarin and sees Mima the actress as an impostor. Rumi (Rica Matsumoto) is Mima's primary publicity agent who adores Mima and would stop at nothing to protect Mima Kirigoe--the actress, the pop idol, the friend. When I said would stop at nothing--I really meant NOTHING to protect Mima. I have to stop here otherwise I may spoil the film, I've already gone a little too far than I wanted to.

The screenplay by Sadayuki Murai is carefully executed. The film has that eerie feel and scenes are accentuated to feel quite ominous. The kill scenes are quite bloody, brutal, creepy and nicely shot. The animation by Madhouse Studios (Ninja Scroll) is fluid even though it was made from traditional cell animation. Close-ups are used to emulate its emotional content and I loved the way Mima's eyes were animated.

The questions you have to ask when you see "Perfect Blue" is "why"--and not "who". I can give you one last clue; The color blue is used to hide what you see on camera--it is used to project an illusion. Is it possible for illusions to come to life? How far can one go to protect another's sanity?

Hitchcock would be proud.


The unrated director's cut is more violent and contains nudity, graphic extended scenes and adult language. Utilize the Japanese language track and read the English Subtitles, and try to avoid the English dubbed track when you see this film. This is not your kid's cartoon film.