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|Index||136 reviews in total|
41 out of 45 people found the following review useful:
Solid, well-executed anime, 20 March 2001
Author: Josh Leman (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Boulder, CO, USA
Perfect Blue is a very strange film. It's anime, but it's set in circa-1995
modern Tokyo, with a story in which everything could be explained in terms
of natural phenomena and present-day technology. Furthermore, it's a
psychological thriller, a genre which probably hasn't ever been done with
But even if Japan's animators dabbled in this genre more often, Perfect Blue would still be a bizarre film. It starts off as a fairly conventional thriller about a teen pop singer who may be the target of a stalker, but then the movie goes completely insane, assaulting the viewer with rapid changes of scene, perspective, and context until we simply don't know what to believe anymore. This is done so subtly and gradually that we become completely trapped in the movie's spell, and we end up just staring at the screen in horror, helpless to stop the nightmarish events from unfolding. Rarely has any movie so effectively conveyed the lunatic terror of a character who has lost touch with reality, and once the movie is over, all you can do is just sit there and try to figure everything out. Have fun with it. It's a good head scratch.
Unfortunately, the last minute or so of the movie is much too sappy and uplifting (especially the music on the end credits), cheapening the significance of everything that has gone before. But as a whole, Perfect Blue is an incredibly haunting thriller, a scathing look at the world of showbusiness, and a very worthwhile film.
33 out of 36 people found the following review useful:
Intense thrill ride, 23 August 2002
Author: InzyWimzy from Queens, NY
OK, this is definitely one anime movie that really has this creepy feel that
clings to you as you watch. The animation is really good as characters and
movements appear so life-like, it seems like reality. There's definitely
the theme of 'identity' and Mima's difficulty distinguishing reality from
illusion. Her paranoia and fear tends to grab your attention and as she
asks questions, you ask the same ones. I thought the film also played well
with celebrity infatuation and the price of fame. It really had a lot going
for it and the different camera angles give a very dreamy, mysterious
atmosphere. One great shot is the zoom out from Mima's apartment. I
could've sworn that was a real city.
"Who are you?" sums up this movie. What a film. By the way, CHAM's song is really catchy.
29 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Outstanding animated mindbender. Fans of Hitchcock, Argento and Lynch will be hooked., 5 September 2002
Author: Infofreak from Perth, Australia
'Perfect Blue' is the most interesting animated movie I've ever seen. Lovers of cinematic puzzlers from 'Vertigo' to 'Abre los ojos' or the movies of Dario Argento or David Lynch will probably enjoy this one more than your typical anime fan, who might find this too slow, and not flashy enough for their tastes. I don't think 'Perfect Blue' quite reaches the heights of the aforementioned, but it is still a fascinating, multi-layered thriller that improves with repeated viewings. As a look at the illusions of fame and the dark side of obsession I personally found it to be a much more satisfying movie than the more celebrated and flamboyant 'Mulholland Dr.' I strongly suggest that the original Japanese subtitled version is watched rather than the inferior English dubbed one for maximum effect. This is one movie experience that will stay with you for days. Highly recommended.
24 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Very good anime noir, 7 April 2005
Author: FilmOtaku (email@example.com) from Milwaukee, WI
Based on Yoshikazu Tekeuchi's novel of the same name, "Perfect Blue" is
a Japanese anime film that tells the story of Mima Kirigoe, a pop idol
who decides to leave her musical group while it is still at the top of
the charts and concentrate on acting. Unfortunately, this transition
does not sit well with one of her fans because an obsessive person who
seems to be pervasive in her life soon stalks her. Even when she comes
across the fan's website, she finds that the blog entries are not only
written to make it seem like they are her thoughts, but they actually
ARE her inner-most thoughts. What starts out as a moderately scary
obsession quickly becomes a terrifying struggle to both deal with her
inner demons and eventually, save her own life.
I once heard "Perfect Blue" described as "Hitchcock does anime", which is a dead-on descriptor for this film. The character designs were slick, the music was good (mostly techno) but the story is fantastic. I honestly was still trying to guess who the stalker was until the end of the film, and the reveal does not disappoint. There are some graphic moments (one is a rape scene on the set of the film she is making) so it does not fall into the stereotypical "it's a cartoon so it must be okay for kids" label that the non-anime viewing public seems assume.
I highly recommend this film, particularly to people who are not very well versed in anime it would be a really good way to get your feet wet in the genre. There were many times during the film where I actually forgot I was watching animation, the action and story are so all consuming. Perfect Blue gets a strong 7/10 from me.
18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
Succeeds all the way at being horribly scary, in a very good way., 2 November 2001
Author: vkn from Amsterdam
Perfect Blue is a storming success in every department. As a movie in
itself, it's a brilliant piece of work, packed with style and -very-
powerful scares. We follow teen pop idol Mima, who tries to make the
from singing to TV acting. Everything seems normal enough at first, with
just the somewhat funky directing hinting at things to come. But it
be a thriller if good ol' normality didn't come crashing to pieces to make
way for some terrifying madness and violence. Things start to go
when the studio staff working around Mima are threatened, and later
killed, apparently by an obsessed Mima-fan who doesn't like the new
direction her career is taking. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Mima
herself is starting to go bonkers with all the pressure. She begins to
visions of a disturbing alter ego, more or less her "old self" from her
singing days. And this "other" Mima doesn't want to play second fiddle to
the new acting image Mima has taken on; she claims to be the real one,
the flesh-and-blood Mima being the fake. Mima's delirium grows gradually
more entangled, until she sinks into a mental state where it's impossible
for her, and for the audience to tell what is, and what is not really
happening. And there are still those murders going on...
Granted, the "movie within a movie" gimmick has been done before so often that it doesn't even strike me anymore as original. Reality-twisting is also something I've seen before. All the same, Perfect Blue managed to impress me enormously, and scare my socks off like no other film. There's something about not knowing for sure (as a viewer) what is and isn't for real that always keeps one intrigued. Particularly during the more violent moments (and the film does get seriously nasty), one is constantly praying that it's -not- for real. "Go on, snap out of it, Mima. This is too scary to be real, you're just having another vision...right? Right?" The leitmotiv of a second self also intrigues me, and I found it delightful trying to pick out which Mima was really the "real" one. Just how strong is "false" Mima's presence in reality? Is she a complete phantom of the imagination, or does she have a litteral, physical presence of some kind? And most of all; out of these two versions of herself, which one does Mima really want to be? If you can't tell for sure what does and doesn't really happen, you also might not take everything the characters declare for granted. The ending does provide a somewhat logical explanation that ties up all of the insanity again, but that doesn't mean the fun of figuring this out for yourself is completely spoiled; you can very well not take the ending entirely for granted either (while it makes sense, there are some bits about the explanation it provides that don't completely gel with me). Lots of re-watchings and picking apart of hints is in store for me there. Love it when that happens ^^.
A few tiny niggles; the animation quality in the first half of the film is not quite breathtaking, and seemed decidedly below-par for movie quality animation. Luckily, it picks up later on, becoming pleasingly smooth. And by the time you reach the terror of the later part of the film, you're already too frightened to really be picky about animation quality. Some of the violent and/or explicit scenes are very nasty indeed (ewww, straight people, sick man), but they serve the purpose of enhancing the fright factor very well, rather than just being needless grotesqueries to please the gore-junkies in the style of that hideous Akira. The film is a complete success as a frightening, surreal and involving thriller (though I do still like Jinn-Roh much better).
But another reason to rejoice is that Perfect Blue is a step in the right direction for the general public's image of what anime really is. Sure, the enlightened few among us for whom Evangelion is standard fare, and who can give detailed insights into the latest CLAMP titles already know that anime is not "a genre". It's a medium in itself, and the Japanese animation market can, and does treat every imaginable genre and subject, often with skill that leaves feeble Hollywoodian efforts miles behind itself (in the case of Perfect Blue, it speaks volumes that a celluloid character such as Mima manages to become more lifelike and sympathetic than any sillicone tarts Hollywood chucks around the screen). It's hardly uncommon to see a genre such as a psychological stalker-thriller treated in animation to the Japanese. Heck, they've done every other imaginable thing under the sun in animation, and a damn good job they do at it as well. It's just a shame that hardly any of the really good stuff ever makes it over to the West, thus creating a distorted image for casual western viewers. We do seem to have made some progress from the Akira Aftertaste years, where anime was generally put on the same line as sex and violence and very little else (side-step; how come nobody ever raises a finger when live Yank actors engage in orgies of the most brutal porn and bloodshed in just about every Hollywood flick ever made, but the whole world screams bloody murder when an anime character so much as takes his socks off? Live Yanks can get away with everything?). Now it's "anime is just pink-haired fairies in giant explosive turbo robots". They're getting just a tiny bit warmer, but maybe Perfect Blue will get the message across to a few others that anime embraces a diversity that ranges from Sailor Moon to Wings of Honneamise (and I'm just globally sketching here), with a reasonably large number of people getting to actually see this. A quite decent English dub that doesn't hamper the film too much is also a plus, though a dub will of course never equal the original. It might help to keep the above paragraph in mind for a Perfect Blue viewer not initiated to the big picture of anime. In any case, it's an impressive movie for anyone, worth seeing for being so unique, gripping and masterfully scary. I'll think twice before I look into a mirror for a long time to come after this...
A final note about the notorious comment that this could be a Disney-Hitchcock hybrid. Hitch perhaps, but comparing this kind of quality to Disney's paper-flat commercial slop is simply an insult to Perfect Blue.
15 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Dreaming of real fame comes at a cost., 13 September 2006
Author: lost-in-limbo from the Mad Hatter's tea party.
Mima Kirigoes is part of a young idol group Cham, but she decides to
move on and kick-start a career as an actress with some help by her
pressuring agent. To change her image, she accepts some confronting
roles, which eventuates into her downward spiral between realities and
virtual. She discovers an Internet site that knows her every move and
those responsible for growing success in the acting industry end up
Well, what can I say? Simply, I forgot that I originally saw this wonderfully, stunning anime picture before. I don't know how it left my mind, because it's very chilling and effective across the board. Based on Yoshikazu Takeuchi's novel, "Perfect Blue" is an intoxicatedly, shocking psychological thriller that does resemble some works of Lynch, Polanski, De Palma and rightly so, Hitchcock. Even a giallo imprint shines heavily within the mixture.
The mature plot boldly plays it cards at a mild pace and eventually forms a structure like a rubrics cube. I wouldn't go out of my way to call it complicated, but there's stylish imagination and cerebral details that gladly doesn't fall into a convoluted mess. The characters' persona's are well defined and emotionally attachable. It can turn into an uncomfortable ride, where dazzling images of fact and fiction skews into one. You can't help but get those disorientating spells that the distraught Mima succumbs to on her journey to find her feet as an mature entertainer. Where her dreams become her anxiety, as she's too sensitive to how she's being perceived then being her true self. Her clean-cut image becomes tainted and a growing obsession towards her takes its tole on her fractured and vulnerable mind.
Paranoia, delusions and a dreamlike air are cooked up with an array of tension and creepy visuals. The animation isn't a visual goldmine, but its showered with powerfully focused and flashed up images that manage to keep the viewer at bay. The pressure building dialogues are quite biting, and the revealing twist catches you off guard because of the superb use of artificial dreams with its fast editing and exhilaratingly moody soundtrack.
You don't have to be a fan of animation to enjoy this piece. So, if you come across it, give it a chance.
15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
One of the best animés of all time!, 5 August 2003
Author: Super Goji-San (firstname.lastname@example.org) from wemyss bay, scotland, uk, the universe
An interesting look at pop culture...
Mima Kirigoe (Voiced by Junko Iwao) on the advice of her "producers" has quit her pop band named "Cham" and has taken up a career in acting, the only role she gets is in a violent thriller named "Double Bind" her character is less than clean cut but if it makes her a success that's all that matters isn't it? In the meantime a website is setup that describes Mima's life in every detail, it is run by an obsessed fan who thinks that the Mima who quit Cham is not the real Mima and that the real Mima wants this fake killed (Confusing huh? The movie can probably make this point better) In any case the people around Mima start to die (Including a sleazy photographer) This movie is full of graphic violence and nudity so it goes without saying this isn't for kids, it is one of the best animé films of all time but I can never get anyone I know to watch it because their brains connect animé to girls in mini skirts being tentacle violated...This isn't "La Blue Girl" it is an interesting horror/thriller that actually has a very good plotline and a very surprising ending (To me anyway) and I would recommend it to all genre fans including those who stick their noses up at animé in general.
A deserved 9.5/10
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A delusion within a nightmare..., 7 April 2003
Author: James J. Dominguez (DexX) from Melbourne, Australia
Perfect Blue takes many levels of reality, fiction, dream, and delusion, and
merges them into an occasionally baffling but overall thrilling and
Mima is a rising pop star, not yet in the big time, but certainly on the way. She and her management team decide that it is time for her to try something new, so she leaves her pop group to become an actress, and that is when the problems start.
Is there another Mima out there? She is ghost-like, still a pop star, denying this new acting career, ever-smiling... but if she is real, she may be a brutal killer. What of the stalker with the creepy face and violent temper? Is he the one running the website which describes Mima's daily routine in obsessively minute detail? If so, how does he know all these things?
Madness and nightmares blend with the scripts of the increasingly bizarre role Mima plays in her debut acting job. Days repeat, life imitates script, and script imitates life. Are the boundaries between reality and dreams breaking down? ...and who is killing those who Mima is closest to?
Perfect Blue will probably confuse you, and the ending will leave you thinking, but in these days of neat, clean-edged storytelling, a little confusion is good for the soul.
I highly recommend this to fans of thrillers and anime alike, plus it is a great introduction to the world of Japanese animation for those just getting their toes wet. There are no giant robots or sex-crazed demons here, just a tight, clever psychological thriller with one hell of an ending.
Make sure you see it with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. That done, turn off the lights and prepare to be entertained.
9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Third greatest anime of all time!, 11 June 2001
On the cover of this film, Roger Corman is quoted as saying "If Alfred
Hitchcock partnered with Walt Disney they'd make a picture like this." He
couldn't be more right.
The story is about a pop idol Mima, who is sheding her squeaky-clean image for that of an actress. Along the way, she is raped onscreen for a sleazy television show, and does a nude shoot for a men's magazine. This makes her dirty, as her old self tells her. She finds a web site detailing every intimate little detail in her life, and believes that she is being stalked by a strange man. Her personality splits in two, into herself and her old, clean, self which tries to murder her. While she is battling her old self, all of those who contributed to her downfall are being grusomely murdered.
This movie has been critisized by others on this very site, saying that the film was boring in the first 40 minutes. How wrong they are. In Hitchcock's films, (take Psycho for example) he builds up character for the first half-hour until the slashing. This does the same, because if we were not built up to believe that Mima's character is not real-i.e 3-dimensional, then we would feel no sense of loss and disorientation when all hell breaks loose in Mima's life (and the editing room).
A first class film with twists all the way. Should be seen by any movie fan with a mature mind. Even though it will probably collect dust in the anime section of the video store.
Only beaten in the anime stakes by Ghost in the Shell (2nd) and Akira (1st). Pure genius.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A new take to old school horror movies..., 24 May 2006
Author: José Luis Rivera Mendoza (jluis1984) from Mexico
Japanese animation has become a very popular style of animation in
Western culture due to the wide range of genres it employs and its many
different approaches to storytelling; two elements that immediately set
it apart from the common Western style of cartoons that almost always
are made for children only. Satoshi Kon's "Perfect Blue" quickly became
a favorite among western fans of anime because it explored themes
rarely seen in western animation; themes that had more in common with
the horror genre such as obsessions, murders and suspense.
The story revolves around Mima (Junko Iwao), a young singer who is quickly becoming an idol as part of the musical trio "Cham". In order to make her career more marketable her managers make her leave the group and join the cast of a famous TV series. However, her new role is considerable different than the cute image she portrayed in "Cham", as it requires her to do nude scenes including a rape scene. At the same time she tries to adjust to her new job, someone begins to stalk her and to brutally kill those near her artistic career and Mima begins to wonder if she is really doing the right thing.
"Perfect Blue" is often labeled as a classic of Japanese animation because it presents a way different kind of story to those used to family-oriented animation. In is closer to an Italian Giallo than to a normal cartoon both in thematics and in style. The use of animation as a medium allows director Satoshi Kon to create stylish images of high surrealism as well as powerful images of violence. It is not something young children should watch.
Based on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film offers an interesting and harsh criticism to the "idol culture" in Japan, and its exaggerated portrait of an obsessed fan is an extreme, yet hauntingly realist image of insane obsessions. The story has been labeled as "Hitchcocknian", but its lack of subtlety in terms of graphic violence and nudity, as well as its high level of surrealism puts it closer to the stylish Italian sub-genre of Giallo.
By keeping the story around Mima, Satoshi Kon creates haunting atmospheres of paranoia as Mima feels strange in her new career; while it sacrifices character development of the supporting characters, this approach increases the feeling of isolation and adaptation the story has, making a more effective horror/mystery piece. Like any Giallo, the haunting image of the mysterious stalker is always present, and in "Perfect Blue" the mystery and suspense are very well handled making the movie a great work of suspense.
The animation is very good, and not as flashy as casual anime fans would assume. The movie's mixture of realism and surrealism works very well with the style of drawing and the camera-work is brilliant. Still, while the plot at times gets a bit predictable to hardcore horror fans, it still holds up and keeps captivating from start to end. The original Japanese voice work is very good, so I would recommend watching it with subtitles instead of dubbed.
"Perfect Blue" seems flawless as motion pictures can go, and the odd choice of using animation as medium (it was originally meant to be a normal live action movie) makes it different than the rest. This is a blessing as neither anime fans nor horror fans have seen a quality animated horror movie like this before. 8/10
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