© 1997 Rex Entertainment
A lot of fans have been clamoring for the release of Perfect Blue. For one, it actually saw limited theatrical release including being premiered at Fant-Asia in Montreal, Canada. Secondly, it's a psychological thriller, something of a rarity in anime. Now I'll mention right now that thrillers aren't my thing to begin with (I'm one of the few people who was actually bored by Silence of the Lambs), but I still enjoyed Perfect Blue quite a bit.
Perfect Blue begins with a young pop idol, Mima, leaving the pop group CHAM. Pop idols don't make very much money in Japan and Mima wishes to pursue a career as an actress. Mima is fortunate to get a small role in a direct-to-video drama, "Double Bind". Pretty soon, however, she begins to receive signs that there may be a rather disgruntled fan who despises Mima's choice to leave the pop scene. She receives a strange fax calling her a "traitor", a letter addressed to her turns out to be a letter bomb, and a Web site called "Mima's Room" is being run by someone who knows her most intimate secrets. Mima's life starts to become a living hell.
The movie then chronicles Mima's downward spiral as she begins to have self-delusions and questions the choices she has made. There is a strong interplay between Mima's real life, her on-screen roll, and some bizarre hallucinations. Scenes will cut dramatically from real life one minute to fantasy the next. At times it can be a little hard to follow, but it's the twisted style that makes it enjoyable to watch. I was kept constantly on my guard, questioning everything that Mima saw and did, and trying to piece together which was fact and which was a product of her own insanity.
The animation was quite fluid and the artwork had a distinctly realistic look to it. The characters and their actions looked quite real, and it's easy to lose yourself in the atmosphere Perfect Blue generates. The music alternated between the catchy pop songs of CHAM to some rather heavy suspense themes. The audio component was pretty good on the whole.
The only real problem I had with Perfect Blue was the somewhat disappointing ending. There is a genuinely surprising climax, but once the viewer learns the true reasons for all the disturbing events the actual finale turns into a run-of-the-mill slasher flick. Considering how twisted the movie was to begin with, the final ending had more of a "been there, done that" feeling.
Both anime fans and fans of psychological horror flicks will probably enjoy this movie quite a bit. It's definitely not typical anime fare, but in being so, Perfect Blue carves it's own niche. And that said, I can't help but recommend it.
The Verdict: * * * * 1/2 (very good)
|last modified: 05-26-03||The Anime Critic and associated content © 1999-2003 Pete Harcoff. All rights reserved.|