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Perfect Blue
Perfect Blue.jpg
Creator Information
Directed By: Satoshi Kon
Produced By: Hiroaki Inoue
Written By: Story By:

Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Screenplay By:
Sadayuki Murai
Satoshi Kon

Music By: Masahiro Ikumi
Edited By: Harutoshi Ogata
Release Information
Release Dates: July 1997 (Fantasia)
February 28, 1998 (Japan)
TBA 2018 (North America)
Running Time: 80 minutes

Perfect Blue is the story of a retired pop singer-turned-actress, Mima, as her sense of reality starts to shake as she is stalked by an obsessed fan while being haunted from reflections of her past. Perfect Blue is the first film directed by Satoshi Kon, an animated psychological thriller often compared to the suspense-ridden works of Alfred Hitchcock.

Synopsis[]

Mima was a pop idol, worshipped by the masses until fashion dictated otherwise. In order to salvage her career, she is advised to drop music and pursue acting. A soap opera role is offered, but Mima’s character is less clean-cut than desired. Regardless, she agrees and events take a turn for the worse.

Mima begins to feel reality slip around her, that her life is not her own. She discovers (or imagines, really) a mirror image of herself that hasn’t given up singing. Internet sites appear describing every intimate detail of her life and a figure stalks her from the shadows.

Her friends and associates are threatened (and killed) as Mima descends into a dangerous world of paranoid delusion. She fears for her life and must unravel fact from illusion in order to stay alive.

Plot Summary[]

Mima Kirigoe is a pop idol in a group called CHAM!, but is set to change careers and become an actress. Her agents, Tadokoro and Rumi, help her with her first project, a direct-to-video series called Double Bind. Mima performs one last concert with CHAM! where she announces her decision to leave the group, disappointing many fans. Later that evening, she receives an anonymous fax, calling her a traitor.

The next day, Mima watches her co-stars film their scenes before she is sent to the set. She talks to Rumi about a letter she received from a fan, mentioning a website called "Mima's Room", but Mima doesn't have a computer, so Rumi decides to help her set up one later. Tadokoro opens a fan letter meant for Mima, but it explodes, injuring him. That evening, Rumi finishes setting up a computer for Mima and begins to set up the internet for her. Mima asks if they should report the letter bomb to the police, but Rumi writes it off as a prank. Later that night, Mima goes onto the "Mima's Room" site, finding public diary entries written by someone pretending to be her. Much to her shock, every entry is in perfect detail, as if she herself had written them.

The following morning, Rumi and Tadokoro, who was released from the hospital, try to convince the producers of the show to give Mima a bigger role. The producers agree, but cast her as a rape victim at a strip club. Rumi is disgusted by this and insists that the producers cut the rape scene, but Mima voluntarily accepts the role, although Rumi is concerned that her reputation will be ruined if she does this.

On the train ride home, Mima sees an apparition of herself in her pop idol outfit, crying out that she doesn't want to go through with the part. While filming the rape scene, Mima begins to disconnect from reality and recalling the cheering fans from her singing performances. Tadokoro watches the scene play out with Rumi, who storms off the set crying. That night, Mima returns home and finds her tetra fish dead, sending her into a violent, crying outburst where she reveals she didn't want to do the rape scene. Her apparition appears on the computer screen and insults her for having "tarnished" her reputation as a pure and virginal idol. Mima becomes increasingly unable to separate reality from her work as an actress. Meanwhile, the writer of the show is found brutally murdered within an elevator.

Mima is scheduled with a photographer, Murano, who is known for "getting people to strip". He takes nude photos of Mima. A while later, her apparition appears once again and taunts her, saying that Mima's life was much better when she was a pop idol. Murano is later attacked and murdered by a pizza delivery boy, revealed to the audience to be Mima - however, Mima wakes up in her room with no recollection of what happened, and is shocked when Tadokoro calls her to deliver the news that Murano has been murdered. Mima finds bloody clothes in her closet. Most of the media believe Mima has some connection to the recent string of murders, much to her horror. Due to her increasing mental instability, Mima begins to question her own innocence.

Mima manages to successfully film Double Bind, and is the last one in the building when she is attacked by "Me-Mania", her stalker, who disapproves of her change in career. He claims that he's been exchanging emails with the "real" Mima every day, who has ordered him to eliminate the "impostor". He attempts to rape Mima, but she hits him in the head with a hammer, knocking him unconscious.

Rumi finds Mima backstage and takes her back home. When Mima wakes up, she discovers that she is in a room decorated to resemble her own. She calls Tadokoro, but he doesn't pick up - the scene cuts to Tadokoro's dead body lying next to Me-Mania's. Rumi then emerges wearing a new CHAM! costume, fully believing that she is the "real" Mima and is furious with Mima for ruining "her" reputation. She also reveals herself as the false diarist who created "Mima's Room" as well as the one responsible for the murders of Murano and the Double Bind staff. She attacks Mima with an ice pick, stabbing her in the shoulder. Mima is able to escape and Rumi goes after her in a chilling chase through the city. After Rumi is able to corner Mima in an alley, Mima throws her off by ripping her wig off. Rumi impales herself on a shard of broken glass while reaching for the wig. A severely injured Rumi limps out into the street directly into the path of an oncoming truck, but doesn't move out of the way, as she is fully delusional and mistakes the truck's headlights for stage lights. Mima saves her and the truck drivers stop to call for help as both women collapse.

Some time later, Mima visits Rumi, who has been living in a mental facility for some time. The doctor in charge says that Rumi still believes she is a pop idol most of the time. Mima says she's learned a lot from her experience thanks to Rumi. As Mima leaves the hospital, she overhears two nurses marvel over her, a famous actress, before declaring that she must be a Mima lookalike, as the real Mima Kirigoe would supposedly have no reason to visit a mental institution. As Mima enters her car, she smiles at herself in the rear-view mirror before declaring, "No, I'm real."

Characters[]

Perfect Blue Characters
Mima portrait.png Rumi portrait.png 120px 120px Uchida portrait.png
Mima Kirigoe Rumi Tokita Kōsaku Tadokoro Uchida
Yukiko portrait.png Rei portrait.png Murano portrait.png
Yukiko Rei Murano
Sei Doi portrait.png Heckler 2.png Heckler 3.png 120px
Sei Doi Heckler 2 Heckler 3 Heckler 4

Cast[]

Reception[]

We're baffled as to why Perfect Blue was done as an animated film, while others associated it with common anime stereotypes of gratuitous sex and violence. Others, however, praised Kon's direction and the film's manipulation of psychological elements to achieve a level of intensity that many likened to the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Despite its unorthodox nature, the film is well known in Western anime circles.

Madonna incorporated clips from the film into a remix of her song "What It Feels Like for a Girl" as a video interlude during her Drowned World Tour (2001).

It was long believed that Darren Aronofsky paid for the rights to Perfect Blue, so he could use the live-action version of the bathtub scene for Requiem for a Dream. Kon blogged about meeting him in person in 2001, and revealed that the deal never went through due to a clause in the contract that Aronofsky never agreed to.

Aronofsky's also recently acknowledged the similarities between Perfect Blue and Black Swan, but refuses to cite PB as an influence.

TIME magazine included the film on its top 5 anime DVD list.

PB also made Terry Gilliam's top 50 animated film list. Coincidentally, Kon was a fan of Gilliam.

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