Is Satoshi Kon's Perfect Blue An Iconic Movie?

Based on the novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film itself was written by Sadayuki Murai.

· 3 min read
Mima Kirigoe in dark blue background

Anime isn’t always about vivid colors, inspiring tales, uplifting stories, and happy endings. There are more than enough anime that imprint darker and more psychological aspects into their stories while there are ones that are completely built upon them.

Falling under the genre of Psychological, Dementia, Drama, Horror, Mystery, and Thriller, Perfect Blue Movie is a Japanese film produced by Rex Entertainment via Studio Madhouse. It was directed by Satoshi Kon, who also did the character designs, and was released in 1997.

Based on the novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, the film itself was written by Sadayuki Murai. Anime with these kinds of dark themes include Ergo Proxy, Future Diary, Code Geass, Steins Gate, Lupin the Third, Psycho-Pass, Death Parade, and Death Note.

On the note of psychological thriller anime which also has some horror aspects to them, Perfect Blue really stands out.

The Perfect Blue Reality | An Iconic Movie?

The Perfect Blue movie looks at the main character Mima Kirigoe, who is the lead member of a small, slightly popular Japanese Idol group. Hoping to reach greater heights, she plans to leave her singing idol career to pursue that of an Actress. This turns out to be a big decision in her life, as it starts to greatly affect her life as well as those surrounding her.

Despite her glamorous expectations of life as an actress, things take a turn for the absolute worst for her. Starting with things as insignificant as creepy phone calls, she eventually becomes the target of a stalker.

Saying this stalker is quite extreme would be an understatement, as Mima finds her own life at risk. To add to this is the negative backlash she gets from her fans for moving into the Acting Industry.

While under the extremes of stress for her friend, manager, and herself,  Mima starts noticing gruesome crimes and murders being committed all around her. At this point, she starts losing her hold on reality. The thin line separating fantasy and reality in her head starts to crumble as the movie presses on.

The story as set in contemporary Japan looks at how Mima loses herself amongst the bizarre incidents occurring about her, going from an innocent young idol to something else entirely.  

Mima’s life slowly becomes twisted and complicated, all the while losing her perception of reality. Suffering from fear, anxiety, depression, and utter confusion, Mima’s character development is incredible.

This applies to the other characters as well, like Mima’s friend and her stalker, whose creepy intentions are explored and revealed in due time, the portrayal of a deranged fan.

mima in a blue shirt and and her friend wearing a red hairband

The animation looks just like it would in 1997. Old, but unique and beautiful in its own way. The cinematography is really praiseworthy, especially noticed in the orthodox camera angles which really flow with the themes of the story.

The soundtrack follows a horror movie style, which can really build up the suspense and then give viewers a mind-blowing jump scare. The Perfect Blue movie overall is pretty heavy on the mind, being very intricate and complicated.  

Watching it a second or third time will likely make a lot of aspects clearer to viewers. This said, there are some graphic sex and violence showcased in this movie, though not too gory. Overall an R+ rated movie.

mima's friend covered in blood

For fans of Satoshi Kon’s works, The Perfect Blue Movie is a must-watch that will not be disappointing in the least. In the end, the ending is very solid. However, the ending would leave The Perfect Blue explained and one would be left questioning which is reality and which is not.

And viewers may even end up asking themselves this very question. The overall movie experience is mind-blowing and this exaggerates nothing. Thoughts will run wild, chaos is assured and reality will be questioned.

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