Once again, I’m exploring into the material of the late Satoshi Kon and see how much of an influence and mind fuck they can be. Only time, it involves the subject of pop idols in Japan. What is a pop idol, you may ask? A pop idol in Japan are media personalities in their teens to twenties who’re considered to be very appealing and attractive…..to at least for a few years. I would say it’s like the similarity to most Disney Channel / Nickelodeon or any other squeaky clean celebrity; adored by the public but when you try to transcend yourself out of that image, it gets harder to do that so. The only thing sometimes the consequences can be a bit worse, as that happened in the film.
Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese pop-idol group called “CHAM!” who decides to pursue her career as an actress. Some of her fans are displeased with her sudden career change, particularly a stalker named Me-Mania. As her new career proceeds, Mima’s world becomes increasingly reminiscent of the works of Alfred Hitchcock: reality and fantasy spiral out of control, including string of murders claiming the lives of her TV show colleagues and Mima discovers that Me-Mania is the least of her troubles.
Now getting into the story, I say that the plot and the whole story is still relevant to today as when you want to further your career but there is some backlash from fans who think different of that and only see her as something for their enjoyment and theirs only, even so far is to actually start stalking you, putting your life and your psyche in danger and it delves into the dark side of the transition from an idol to an actress or whatever career you pursue after that. For those that say the pacing felt slow, well, I wouldn’t say that as an insult as it takes a while to get into the story and plus, its 80 minutes long….it didn’t manage to be too overbearingly long. I like that it dealt with what I just previously mentioned and doesn’t skimp through the details of that. Plus, there are some surprises that I didn’t expect watching this for the first time and the second time (yeah, I watch this twice) it finally got to me with what’s going on with Mima’s pop-idol personality haunting her. I also have heard of comparisons to the 2010 Darren Aronofsky movie Black Swan, which does share similarities with each other although Aronofsky said that it didn’t have much of an influence.
Characters are sort of interesting in a way to study and about them. I like Mima and I get her whole transition and seeing how it’s not the easiest thing to do and you can sense that during that rape scene (As in “filming a rape scene in a film, not actual rape happening”) and preferably when she first revealed it to everyone. The supporting characters seem alright like Rica, Mima’s manager who was against her transition but I was with Tadokoro, Mima’s office manager who looks at the crossover in a positive manager.
This film was released in 1997, as in you know the animation for this film is going to look dated but for it is pretty good vintage, especially vintage material from Madhouse and like many of their earlier productions, they have their stylistic choices of artwork and felt like it was suited for a live-action film, although in actuality, animated makes it more interesting.
Musically, aside from the pop idol songs I heard in the movie, there isn’t much that really standout to me. It’s an alright score and all but slightly somewhat vaguely memorable to me. As for the English dub by Animaze, I quite like it. It was on par with their good English dubs in the ’90s and I really did love the performances for Mima (Ruby Marlowe) and Rica (Wendee Lee) as they really standout for me when watching this.
FINAL VERDICT: I say this as an anime fan, you should give this a watch and I say the same thing as a movie buff but seeing Black Swan before and noticing the comparisons, I wouldn’t call it as “Anime Black Swan before live-action Black Swan” that quick. Hell, I forgot about the whole Black Swan thing once I watch the movie. It has its insightful, artistic, and psychological elements that make it all into a good Satoshi Kon movie, maybe not his strongest but I still recommend it to most audiences.
So, Perfect Blue may not be that Perfect but it’s worth…..
LOW FIRST CLASS
Perfect Blue may or may not be on DVD by Manga Entertainment. There was a UMD release for the PSP at the time but nothing come up being in print as of recently. Streaming-wise, that part you are on your own with that.
And until then, this is MAK2.0 aka Perfect Blue Hybrid, bringing all the insanity into one former pop idol.
PERFECT BLUE – animation by MADHOUSE / courtesy of REX ENTERTAINMENT