Disturbingly Good – Perfect Blue Anime Review

“J-pop idol group CHAM! has spent the last two years entertaining its fans. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and CHAM! must see one of its members, Mima Kirigoe, leave the group to pursue her acting career. While Mima’s choice is met with a mixed response, she hopes her fans will continue to support her.

However, Mima’s life begins to change drastically after her departure from the group. Wanting to shed her pop-idol image, she takes on a role in a crime drama series, and her career as an actress gradually becomes more demanding and taxing for both Mima and her manager, Rumi Hidaka. To add to Mima’s growing unease, an obsessed fan who is incapable of accepting that Mima has quit being an innocent idol, begins stalking her; a new anonymous website begins to impersonate her life with intricate detail; and CHAM! also appears to be doing better without her. One by one, each disturbing development drives Mima to become increasingly unhinged and unable to distinguish reality from fantasy.” – MAL Synopsis

Run Time: 1hr 21min – Studio: Madhouse – Dub/Sub – Aired: Feb 28, 1998 – MAL Rating: 8.51 – Genres: Avant GardeDramaHorror

This is one of those movies that’s heralded as a much-watch and classic. For years I’ve had it on the back burner saying I’ll eventually get around to it. Well eventually is now.

This movie can strike a chord with people on multiple levels. It tackles a lot from stalking, imposter syndrome, being taken advantage of, mental health, feeling lost in life, and all of the above. With it tackling all of those things in some way shape or form, it can get pretty hard to watch. There are some scenes in this movie that I never watch or even hear about again and I’ve blocked them out of my mind at this point. They’re so disturbing because they feel so real. That’s a testament to the writing, animation/art style, soundtrack, or better yet lack thereof in certain scenes, and the voice acting. It all comes together perfectly to set the tone of this movie.

Mima as a character was great. A small-town girl trying to make it in the world. Her naivety and ease of trust make what she goes through all the more horrifying and heartbreaking. Seeing her get pulled in all different directions, get bad career advice, taken advantage of, we see it all through her pov. And that pov just becomes more and more distorted as the movie goes on. To the point where the last 30ish minutes of this movie are very confusing on purpose. Is what’s happening on screen in her mind? Is it a reality? Early in the movie, they do these cool juxtaposition of this show that she becomes of and her real life. Cutting and transitioning between the two seamlessly. That juxtaposition becomes so blurred in the last act it masterfully conveyed how broken she was. That’s not to mention the visions she has of her former self brought on by the stalker’s blog. There’s a lot to unpack with her character and I loved it.

The stalker was very creepy. His scenes really hit that eerie vibe every time. And that really goes for the whole cast as well. This movie heavily focuses on Mima but the other characters here serve their purpose well and are well characterized from the small moments they get. From her mother from the countryside who we hear through phone calls. To her managers and a few other scummy characters, she comes across. They’re all written well.

There’s a reason why the 90s anime aesthetic is looked back upon with fond eyes. It’s very appealing for some reason and this movie is an exception. I loved the animation and art style. I mentioned it earlier but the music in this movie is great. Moreso than that, the lack of music in a lot of scenes really punctuates the emotions and the intensity of what’s being shown. I wish more media did it. Lack of music with just ambient noise from the scene can be equally or even most of the time even more impactful than a scene with music in the background. Overall, animation, art style, music, all great.

So Yeah Perfect Blue was surely an experience. Not one that I have the urge to jump back into anytime soon if ever. It’s eerie, scary, and it all feels very real. Everything around that is also great. Perfect Blue is definitely worth a watch, just beware it can definitely trigger some emotions as it does strike a lot of chords and fears that people have.

Perfect Blue – 9/10

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