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Perfect Blue is the first major movie from the same director who brought us Millennium Actress. Again it is an Anime movie that is high on plot and aesthetics and low on gore and guns. It also has very little sexual content, so don’t go looking for that here dirty palms.
Perfect Blue takes many levels of reality, fiction, dream, and delusion, and merges them into an occasionally baffling but overall thrilling and satisfying film.
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.
The only thing really missing is the element of sentimentality that so often occupies this particular strain of Anime. You might think that a movie with a beautiful but haunted heroine might just have some of that. This isn’t a big complaint, but one to be noted.
Make sure you see it with Japanese dialogue and English subtitles. That done, turn off the lights and prepare to be entertained.