Perfect Blue is a movie that put me in a state of such genuine unease and confusion, that even though I literally just watched it an hour ago from this post, I just had to vomit my thoughts on here. Perfect Blue is a film that’s terrifying in an incredibly realistic way. It’s a movie that really toys with the idea of reality in a much more intense and terrifying way than his later work Paprika, which is ALL ABOUT blurring the lines between dream and reality.
What’s The Story:
Without spoiling anything, Perfect Blue is a horrifying look at celebrity worship, and how that affects all parties involved. Our main character, Mina, is an ex-pop idol who quits being a pop idol to become an actress, and it wasn’t nearly as smooth of a transition as she had wanted. She is at odds with herself, with one half determined to continue with her choice despite having some difficult (to say the least) hurdles to overcome, and her other half wanting to become a pop idol again, both because of her fear of failure as an actress and the safety of remaining a beloved pop idol in the public eye. This is not helped by her first few forays into acting not being all that spectacular. Meanwhile, a stalker, who is obsessed with her pop idol persona, is bitter and angry at her recent choices, and is seemingly present at all of her rehearsals, and even her daily life, and follows a mysterious blog that has intense details about Mina’s everyday life. I will not say anymore because that would ruin the story and instead move on to-
The Character Design:
Perfect Blue surprised me with its realistic art style, in an era of anime when overstylized was the name of the game. Every character’s features are still slightly exaggerated to amplify their physical traits, but still within the realm of believability. The only attractive people in the show are people who are supposed to be attractive, such as pop idols and actresses, and everybody else looks like a normal person except of course, our stalker, who looks terrifying. This really makes the movie feel real, and by extension, more relatable, and so we are more terrified for our characters because of the visceral reality of it all. We are forced to look at them not as characters, but actual people. Though it’s not just the character designs that do that-
Visuals and Sound:
One of the movie’s many strengths is the visual cues and the way certain shots are framed, as well as it’s atmospheric sound design. Shots in Mina’s apartment are very quiet, with a simple full view of her messy apartment. We see things like stuffed toys, posters, and gadgets carelessly strewn about, and the silence of the apartment only cut by the TV and the bubbling of the aquarium. It makes it feel very “lived-in”, and tells us a lot about Mina’s character without even saying anything through clumsy exposition. In contrast, shots during concert scenes or film shooting, are filled with bright lights and lots of hussle and bussle, mimicking the sensory overload that Mina must be going through as a celebrity, be it from the flashes of cameras, the lighting from a spotlight, or the screams of a crew or audience, it’s all done masterfully. But of course, this is all technical stuff so far.
This movie really messes with your head. Like, really messes with it. It gets real for a lot of scenes. Is this the result of stress, or are these things genuinely happening? Shots can seamlessly transition from one location to another, with Mina saying something during a serious conversation in real life being continued on as a conversation in an acted out scene fro her show. It was doing mindfucking inception jumps between dimensions of reality and imagination before The Matrix, Paprika, and Inception ever did it.
To finalize, Perfect Blue is an amazing thriller with gorgeous a style and animation, and an intense yet captivating plot that starts as a slow burn before turning into a raging inferno. Please, if you still haven’t watched the movie, do so right now, you will not regret it.
P.S. And yes, I know Super Eyepatch Wolf has made a video on this, and though I haven’t seen it yet because I wanted to watch the actual movie first, it is true that the fact that he even made a video about it was what pushed me to finally watch it. I’m sure his video goes even more in-depth, but I wanted to share my own thoughts before his opinions started to color mine. In fact, I’ll go watch it right now!
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