Hello there. This is the pant-less anime blogger with another review. This is review number ten. Hurrah! I began my first step in my quest for a thousand reviews. I’m 1% there and I know the journey is just beginning. I will still rejoice though.
I’ve decided that I’ll do a movie review every time I get to the 10s number. Movies are pretty easy to review and my opinions about them are more long lasting than anime reviews. Now that I’ve gotten out of the gate, I plan to review other genres like yaoi, yuri and hentai: the unholy three. Yup, it’ll be a very wonderful/painful/horny journey ahead.
Anyways, the anime I’m about to review is directed by Satoshi Kon. His is a master of storytelling with works like Paranoia Agent, Tokyo Godfathers and the anime I’m about to review: Perfect Blue. Satoshi sadly died back in 2010 but his works will live forever. I feel honored to review one of his works. Let’s read on.
Mima Kirigoe, a member of a pop-idol group called “CHAM!”, decides to quit singing to pursue a career as an actress. Some of her fans are displeased with this decision though, particularly a stalker named Me-Mania. As Mima progresses into her new career, those close to her are violently murdered one by one, and Mima begins to lose the ability to distinguish reality from fantasy.
Taking the Pants Off
This is an amazing anime. Make no doubt it; the anime is perfect in everything it tried to accomplish. It’s a gripping thriller story about a pop idol transitioning into an actress. I would like to point out that the story is pretty normal compared to the standard of storytelling we come to expect in 2012. I mean, yeah, it’s predictable so how do you make this anime effective? It’s very easy because the anime makes use of an incredible transition in point of views. I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s break it down.
The story revolves around Mima Kirigoe, a break out pop idol star who is scouted for her amazing singing and acting talent. This decision is met with disdain by her fans. They believe she should stay away from the cut throat business of acting. She lands a one liner acting role in a mystery show titled “Double Bind”. It’s about a murderer who wears the skin of his victims. Her insecurities cloud her all the time though but her determination to be a successful actress persists. She was given a more major role in the program that includes a very graphic rape scene. It was degrading to her fans and the people who supported her but it was the thing needed to launch her career.
A stalker hiding in the shadows was completely distraught by her drastic change. He began to be persistent. He became a bit aggressive. So much that Mami gets caught up in the paranoia. The anime uses this as set up and what comes after next is a confusing thrill ride full of uncertainty and illusions. The initial reaction to the event s in Perfect Blue is “What the pikachu is going on?”
The anime turns upside down inside out when Mami’s insecurities and regret manifest and haunts her. The people who helped launched her career were slowly killed. Mami can no longer tell the difference between scenes from Double Bind and her daily life. Her mental stability slowly spiral where she can no longer tell what is real and what is a dream. This also affects the scenes leading up to the finale where the truth is revealed. Even though the truth is revealed, viewers are still uncertain if the scene is real or just in Mami’s head.
The anime does a wonderful job of masking crucial details up until the end. The ending makes sense and details will slowly line up by themselves but the journey to get there is so smartly done. The story is thrilling up until the end. There are no boring moments and the pacing was done just right. The anime took a psychological approach that nowadays is just used for yanderes and such. It serves us a detail in the mind of a stalker. Stalkers like to keep their victims’ image pure and they would kill their victims when they no longer keep that pure image. There are so much psychological elements here that make the anime so much more interesting.
There are some very violent scenes here and some nudity too. The anime is mature so elements like such are used brilliantly. The violence isn’t used in a way to satisfy gore lovers and the nudity isn’t there for fan service. These elements are used to enhance the story and the entertainment value. It’s such an old school anime that it feels nostalgic knowing the anime thrived in a world without “moe” or fan service or a weird combination of both.
Sight and Sound
The anime was released in 1998 and the animation is very old school. It looks unappealing given that the anime of today are big headed bug eyed characters. The character design in the anime isn’t given much importance and nothing really strikes the viewers visually. The anime is hand drawn. The background is a very nicely hand painted scene and I tell you, nothing beats old school.
The sound is very important in the anime. The pop idol song in the beginning in the anime is pretty nice. The background sound of the anime is very effective given that the anime is a thriller.
8/10 “A nice psychological thriller that’ll keep you at the edge of your seat.”
Satoshi Kon at his finest. I’ve been a fan of his work since forever and Perfect Blue ranks at the top of his very amazing list of films. Perfect Blue is gripping tale of the price of fame. Its psychological themes and creepy elements will forever stand the test of time. I highly recommend this.