PERFECT BLUE (Pâfekuto burû)

(director/writer: Satoshi Kon; screenwriter: based on the novel “Pâfekuto burû: Kanzen hentai” by Yoshikaz u Tekeuchi/Sadayuki Murai/Rika Takahashi(translation); animation direction: Hideki Hamazu; cinematographer: Hisao Shirai; editor: Harutoshi Ogata; music: Masahiro Ikumi; cast: Voices:Rica Matsumoto (Rumi), Shinpachi Tsuji (Tadokoro), Masaake Okuna (Uchida the fan), Junko Iwao (Mima Kirigoe), Yôsuke Akimoto (Tejima); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers; Hiroaki Inoue, Haruyo Kanesaku, Masao Maruyama, Yutaka Maseba, Takeshi Washitani: Manga Entertainment/AVCO Embassy Pictures; 1997-Japan-in Japanese with English subtitles)

“Still relevant even if not as deep as it thinks it is.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Its tagline is: The color of illusion is Perfect Blue.

The innovative Japanese animation film, a psychological drama, made some 25 years ago, is still relevant even if not as deep as it thinks it is.
It was the debut feature of the late writer-director Satoshi Kon (“Tokyo Godfathers”/”Paprika”). It’s based on the novel “Pâfekuto burû: Kanzen hentai” by Yoshikaz u Tekeuchi. The director makes the leap from a manga artist and writer to a screenwriter and storyboard artist, and then an anime feature filmmaker. It caught my interest for its robust critique of media culture and for its chilling effect on both the audience and performing artist.

story has a young Mima Kirigoe (voice of Junko Iwao) leave a popular pop band called CHAM, as their lead singer, to become an actress. Because of her fame, she’s being targeted by a stalker, an obsessed fan who follows her everywhere and seems to know where she’s going. Mima lands a role on a TV soap opera that has a violent rape scene that’s more real than what’s usually on television. The twist is that the cast start getting killed off.

web site on Mima is created by someone who seems to know her really well and this frightens her, as it brings out her slut side she has always kept hidden.

It tragically leads to Mima losing her mind, as ghosts from her past start to haunt her.

The film does a number examining such things in society as identity, femininity, and fame, as it tests our perceptions of reality and our ability to navigate the real world without falling down because we become delusional.

REVIEWED ON 4/24/2022  GRADE: B –