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Reviews & Ratings for
Perfect Blue More at IMDbPro »Pâfekuto burû (original title)

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Flawed Voice Acting Hurts The Films Effect

Author: Soujiro from Gaithersburg, MD
20 October 1999

This is one of my favorite anime films simply because it is very unique in style. I have a subtitled copy at home and when I watch it late at night, it's still one of the few films that manages to truly freak me out. One of the most common complaints is that the dream versus reality bit is overdone, but I think it's very effective in producing a mental state in the audience that mimics the main character's sense of confusion.

The artificial rape scene disturbs me much more than "real" rape scenes in other movies, and I think that that's the emotion that such a scene should provoke. I almost always object to such scenes in movies, but this scene is pivotal to the plot. In case you haven't figured it out, this is not a "date movie" in the stereotypical sense. Also casual anime fans might be disappointed with the lack of mechs and sex. A general knowledge of what a Japanese "Pop Idol" is would also be nice to have, but a rough idea can be figured out pretty easily.

Now, I do not consider myself a subtitle-snob. When that one in a million decent English dubbing job comes by (Wings of Honneamise for example), I give it credit. Admittedly, this movie has some difficult roles, but this should have made the search for good voice actors that much more important. The voice of Mima is appropriate. However the voice of the Mimaniac totally ruins any sense of menace or seriousness he possesses, and the voice of Mima's Idol "Ghost" is more annoying than eerie or frightening. As a result, the dubbed version of the movie loses much of its ability to provoke any sense of horror. I recommend watching the movie at the theater just to support the release of anime in US theaters, but please try to find a fan-subbed copy to truly enjoy the film.

One last thing, the English dubbing of the songs is surprisingly well done. Unfortunately, this is relatively unimportant as the movie progresses.

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What is Perfect Blue?

8/10
Author: Iria from Berkeley, CA
16 October 1999

What a great film. I'm not being sarcastic, I really mean it. This anime made me panic even though I didn't realize I was so tense. The animation didn't really impress me, but I can't recall any other anime that screwed around with my mind as much as this one did (including Akira and Ghost in the Shell). While that didn't sound exactly like a compliment, I'll just say that the entire film was riveting.

Of course, this is not a "family film." It's a disturbing psychotic masterpiece. I could discuss the philosophical parallels, irony, the intense depth of the film, etc., but what I say doesn't really mean anything for those who haven't seen the film. In addition, opinions of this film will be, I expect, widely varied. Some people will think it was a waste of their time. Others will be confused.

I agree, there are times when I don't think I'd want to see this film. It's not something that'll make you laugh (well...except Mima's extraordinary ability with computers), but rather, make you think just because the way the film is styled forces you to. The film plays with emotions; there were times when I felt disgusted, embarrassed, horrified, and sadness simultaneously.

But the film will never be a waste of my time, because I truly appreciate the cumulative efforts of those involved in the creation of "Perfect Blue" to create a film of such mental assault that I sat stunned, in my seat, when it was all over. No other film I have seen has done as much.

I was left so numbed that I didn't even realize that the title still doesn't mean anything to me until just now.

So, what is "Perfect Blue"?

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Very Hitchcockian.

8/10
Author: (jgraham_70@hotmail.com) from Seattle, Washington
3 October 1999

This anime psychological thriller is very spooky. Red herrings are thrown left and right. The main character Mimi begins confusing her fantasy with reality, especially during scenes where she's filming a movie. For fans of the television show, "Profiler," there is a character in the film reminiscent of the TV show's "Jack." The film did make me roll my eyes in a couple of spots, but nothing that distracted me from the focus of the movie. Warning for the squeamish: Some characters die very graphically in this film.

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superb psycho-thriller

10/10
Author: Sugiru from Atlanta, GA
26 July 1999

Having seen PERFECT BLUE this past weekend, I'm amazed and delighted.

It is a psycho-thriller worthy of Hitchcock, and if questioned on which film Hitchcock did, I'd have to say PSYCHO, of the 1950s. One scene in the movie blows past even the famous shower-stabbing scene in PSYCHO.

Overall, if one is not familiar with certain Japanese cultural conventions like Idol Singers, the "pink trade" and Japanese amusement parks, it might raise a lot of questions in the mind of the viewer, and --to be honest-- it begins very slowly like many Japanese anime/live action/OVAs normally do. At first, I was bored, and even disapointed since I had been anxiously awaiting seeing this full-length movie, but I was NOT to be disapointed for long!

Non-Japanese-culture-familiar can easily follow the plot since enough is revealed in the plot that it becomes self-explaining as it _roars down on you like a freight train_ (!) once the obligatory opening scenes and character exposition is over.

About 15 or 20 minutes into the movie, all hell breaks loose,and you wind up wondering if the heroine is a regular girl dreaming of being an Idol Singer (J girl pop-music groups), and then an actress, or an actress dreaming about being a pop-singer, or a pop singer dreaming of being an actress. Are those the hallucinations of a sick mind, or the dreams of a young girl? Who's killing people, and why? Who is the killer--her, or another, and is she in any danger herself?

Surrealism...a thriller...a murder mystery like none I've ever seen..a real gasper when you _think_ you know who the killer is, but are they, and if so, who's doing all the rest of it?

A true tour-de-force, and I cannot recomend it too highly. After the slower early minutes of it, you will be on an emotional rollercoaster that you will never forget for the rest of your life, plus you will ask the question (frequently) of yourself, what actually _is_ "reality", during this movie.

You will never be quite the same again after you see this one.

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Wow! I've never seen anything like this before!

Author: Jasper Sharp (jasper.sharp@virgin.net) from London
26 May 1999

Mimi, singer in a prefabricated Spice Girls-styled trio by the name of 'Cham', announces her ambition to leave the band to pursue a career as an actress. Her initial role of a one-line part in a daytime soap is unpromising, until she is coerced by her avaricious manager to move further away from her original squeaky clean image. She is soon doing nude photo-spreads and agrees to play a graphic rape scene in a new film. At the same time, someone is documenting her every move on the 'Mimis Place' internet fan page in the guise of her personal diary, and various people in her surrounding life are being brutally murdered. As her image becomes more and more manipulated by those guiding her career, the lines between her personal, public and imaginary identity become increasingly confused as she is tormented by a delusionary manifestation of her former pop persona.

For a straightforward Psycho-thriller, 'Perfect Blue' already stands head and shoulders above much of the genre. It may lack the self-knowing humour and big-name US soap stars of the likes of 'Scream' and its current gamut of emulators, but in terms of intelligence and focus it is far more effective. It's hallucinogenic spiralling descent into madness is perfectly paced and gives an obvious nod towards Polanski's 'Repulsion'. Even more remarkable then, is that it has been realised as a anime/manga film (such as 'Akira' or 'Legend of the Overfiend'). I'm no great expert on Japanese animation, but here the expressionistic editing style seems distinctly more cinematic than that of standard animation techniques, and the non-fantastical nature of the script is a departure from the usual genre material. As such, the atmosphere created is unique and otherworldly, whilst at the same time providing more graphic nudity and bloodshed than would be allowed if it were all real. 'Perfect Blue' was an exclusive presentation by the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the UK, so whether it gets any wider video release remains to be seen. If it does then I shall certainly be tracking down a copy.

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Praise of a well-done anime

9/10
Author: Iglade from Espoo, Finland
28 September 1998

Well done throughout with nice post-modern scene-cuts. I left with the itch to read the book that the film was based on. That is a good sign. If I wanted to pick on something, it would be the last minute of the film, but hey - is there a perfect film? Again, very well done, and it had lots of anguish built in, which is a feeling that I think is quite hard to express skillfully. In a film or anywhere. I can't wait to possibly grab my own copy of it sometime in the future if it gets to the video stage of distribution.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

If Kubrick directed Anime it will be something like this

9/10
Author: Matthew Luke Brady from a review
4 February 2015

Mima: "Excuse me who are you".

The story is about a retired a pop idol, worshipped by the masses until fashion dictated otherwise. In order to salvage her career, she is advised to drop music and pursue acting. A soap opera role is offered but Mima's character is less clean cut than desired. Regardless, she agrees and events take a turn for the worse. She begins to feel reality slip, that her life is not her own. She discovers (imagines) her identical twin, a mirror image that hasn't given up singing. Internet sites appear describing every intimate detail of her life and a figure stalks her from the shadows. Her friends and associates are threatened (and killed) as Mima descends into a dangerous world of paranoid delusion. She fears for her life and must unravel fact from illusion in order to stay alive. Perfect Blue represents a major change from traditional anime subject matter, analysing the pop icon phenomenon, fame and its psychological impact on the performer.

It always shocks me how some people can dare to over look things, solid masterpieces out there but people still over look them and go see other films that are just stick in the mood basic films. I just adore the feeling of not knowing anything at the first then be amazed after wards and a film that get's you thinking as well, not like movies today that always play it save by doing the simple three act structure that I normally skip if I had the chance. Perfect Blue can be best described has a movie that you don't just put your feet up, sit back and have a delightful time, no in this you got to use your brain and try your best to piece it together to get the movie. Perfect Blue is Anime that got under my skin and drove the main character and me insane.

A quick fun fact here but Black Swan is actually a remake of this movie, yes to those who didn't know that well you do now. If I have to compare what's the better movie I got to say that overall Black Swan is a great movie, but I liked Perfect Blue a lot more so Perfect Blue all the way.

The animation in this never looked so well done, so beautiful but also scary and so haunting to look at. At times I thought I was watching a Hayao Miyazaki movie or a Stanley Kubrick film at one point, just be the switch of the atmosphere like it's peacefulness and then a utterly insane feeling to the movie.

For problems: Without spoiling anything the ending to me didn't end on a good note in my opinion. It isn't terrible it's just that it left me there going "Nah".

Overall Perfect Blue is an dark and twisted Anime movie with beautiful but haunting animation that sells the movie off has a deep thinking movie that you shouldn't get lost on track if you really want to understand the film. The film is a slow cult following that I will totally recommend to people who love Anime and analyzing films.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An interesting study in celebrity obsession.

8/10
Author: I B from Mars
15 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Perfect Blue, director Satoshi Kon's debut feature, is clever, assured and completely involving. Originally planned for live action, its budget was slashed when the Kobe earthquake of 1995 damaged the studio and it was decided to animate it instead. The film's influences include Vertigo (1958), Stage Fright (1950), Suspiria (1977) and The Accused (1988). Kon treats it exactly as if it were live action, mimicking camera effects and tricks, and creating beautiful cinematography that animates contemporary Tokyo like a caress. The film plays with our most intimate ideas of identity - of who we are, of who we want the world to think we are, and of what we're afraid we may become. It also addresses the issue of ageing in the entertainment business. There is self-respect in a label usually applied to banal, repetitive pornography and abuse. The result is an adult animation that seems very much like a great film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Has some flaws and ends kind of weakly, but it's generally great

8/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
29 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you haven't yet heard, Japanese animator Satoshi Kon passed away earlier this week. He had four films, all quite loved, under his belt. Besides this one they include Paprika, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers (he was also the creative force behind the television series Paranoia Agent). Pefect Blue was the only feature I had not seen before, so I watched it in memoriam (I'll also be watching Paranoia Agent). I have to say, I like all of Kon's films, but none a whole lot. I have a problem with the animation and the drawings. The films kind of look cheap and they lack detail. They're certainly better than most television anime, but they certainly lag far behind Studio Ghibli. All four of these features have mind-bending stories, but they also all feel convoluted and ultimately unsatisfying.

Perfect Blue is no exception, though it is probably my favorite of the four. It is about a young pop star, Mima, who decides to move onto an acting career. This ticks off her fans, especially after she does a nude photo spread and then willingly films an exploitative rape scene, sullying her virginal image. One creepy, stalker-ish fan in particular seems to take it all very badly. Meanwhile, Mami discovers a website that claims to be her own personal website. At first she assumes it's a crazed fan (possibly the stalker), but the shared details of her life are too intimate for anyone to know besides her. Is the stalker privy to her thoughts, or does Mima have an alternate personality, one that wants her to remain the pop star, that is trying to sabotage her? Soon the reality of the film begins to unravel and you can't quite tell what's going on.

This split personality plot has been done to death in the past decade or so, but I guess in 1998 it was fairly fresh (we hadn't seen Fight Club and its ilk yet). Unfortunately, after a lot of fun with the twists and teases, it kind of deflates and ends with a sigh, never explaining what exactly is going on in that final half hour or so. I'm all for ambiguity, but this isn't a very controlled ambiguity. It's slovenly, and there just isn't quite enough information to form a coherent idea of what Perfect Blue is actually about. I still liked it a lot, but it definitely ends disappointingly.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Despite a few annoying "Oh it was only a dream!" misdirections, still a strong surrealist movie

8/10
Author: Polaris_DiB from United States
5 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

From master anime director Satoshi Kon comes another surreal fable dealing in dreams, technology, and pop culture. Mima leaves the J-pop group she was a member of to focus her career on acting, but with that comes the pressure of disappointing her fans and the anxiety of possibly not succeeding. These culminate--along with a stalker fan who looks like Sloth from the Goonies, a photographer who takes lewd pictures, and a rather surreal plot in the television drama proper she's working in--in a mysterious presence that claims to be her but seems out to kill her. And dreams.

I tend to resist putting the label "Lynchian" on things that share a surreal or multi-identity subject, but here it fits. Perfect Blue shares a lot of thematic and stylistic approaches as Mulholland Dr. and Inland Empire, and the ways that Mimi would respond to a character only to find that she's on stage acting for the television drama could easily have been inspiration for Laura Dern's work in the latter. Perfect Blue would probably be a great way to get Lynch fans into anime.

As for Satoshi Kon, this is a pretty standard example of his work, which is a good thing. Animation is especially set for the surreal because of its movement, though Kon has always been good at minimizing the graphic strangeness to key moments and letting the rest reside in the plot and drama, a better choice in the long run because it resonates. Things in this movie have already aged, though. No actress today would even have a chance without being familiar with social networking sites and blogs on the Internet, for example. Considering the way in which Mimi's anxiety somewhat helps create the monster, anyone who likes this movie would do well to watch Kon's miniseries, Paranoia Agent.

--PolarisDiB

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