Sunday, April 8, 2012

Perfect Blue (1998), an anime psycho-thriller

Directed by: Satoshi Kon | Written by: Sadayuki Murai, Yoshikazu Takeuchi (novel)
Produced by: Madhouse


  • Best Animation Feature; 2nd B-Movie Film Festival
  • Best Asian Film; 1st Fant-Asia Film Festival
  • Best Film - Animation; 17th Fantasporto
"The film is inundated with frightening and sordid imagery. I would definitely categorize it as a horror film complete with vicious stabbings, a naive female victim being stalked and hunted, and a staged rape scene that is downright chilling. Don't be fooled into taking your kids to see this one just because they like Power Rangers. This one will be rated R and deservedly so."    - ATHAN BEZAITIS, Filmcritic

Perfect Blue  (パーフェクトブルー Pāfekuto Burū), Satoshi Kon's first Film as a director which was screened in 1997 at the FantAsia International Film Festival. The exceptional and reality-twisted story is one of the first in the -by then improved- Satoshi Kon films like it's acclaimed and highly acknowledged like-minded successor madhouse marvel Paprika in 2006. The story takes you through the life of a young girl Mima (Junko Iwao) who goes from Japanese Pop-idol to become an actress as her life and reality spirals downwards shattering the common sense of reality and dragging it down with it emphasizing the events throughout the movie.

The background and animated visuals are stunning and true to the Madhouse quality in the 90's, It is clear and pleasant to the eyes while accentuating certain feelings of a scenes by clever use of lighting and reflections while maintaining an animated sense of reality.
Satoshi Kon was not afraid to remind his faithful audience that this is in fact a fantasy-thriller. The gruesome stabbings and unpleasant nudity is to be taken seriously and is a considerable change from the silent beginning of the movie, beginning with a frightening accurate websites that practically follows her every move.
Mima's state of mind deteriorates to the point of paranoia which is cleverly portrayed as her growing role in the thriller TV Show shares the presumed same symptoms as her mixing real life experiences with her acted character's persona while dealing with her imaginary Idol self" which constantly haunts her. It is mind-blowing how the line between reality and delusion becomes non-existent to the point of psychological disorientation, what might be real could easily be a dream or her acting performance. This is the mind of a person who lost herself and is clinging on to her sense of desperate reality.

Be that as it may, the film's scenario had it's flaws: considering the fact that a few important individuals where brutally slaughtered you'd think that panic and fear would be a factor, well you thought wrong. It took two murder and a bomb injury (in front of a dozen witnesses) to strike some level of awareness that Mima could be in danger especially as one of these cases is the screenplay writer of the TV show she debuted in. It didn't necessarily affect the viewing experience but it did linger in the deepest depths of my mind... the whole time.

**** A psychotic thrill!
The transition between reality and fantasy was sublime despite the forced entry in the psychotic aspects. The limits of the human mind are exploited and re-invented by this movie as the psycho-driven fantasy are accompanied by fragments of reality and moral understanding. the A truly great start as director for the late Satoshi Kon.

  • This movie is rated R due to violence and nudity, keep that in mind.


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