Out of all the prolific Japanese animators we’ve seen in the last 30-40 years, one of the all time greats is Satoshi Kon. He has a style that creates mind-bending realities that are intercut with realistic realities that force you to question who you yourself are as a watcher. His films are dark, heady, and strike up some upsetting images. While I still have quite a bit of his catalog to get to, one of my favorites of his has to be “Perfect Blue”.
“Perfect Blue” is the story of Mima, a successful pop singer who gives up her music career to become an actress. But when an obsessed fan begins to stalk and harass her, she slowly goes insane and questions her own choices.
It’s a simple story on the surface, which allows Satoshi Kon to have a lot of room to really dive in with this character and make us feel her inside and out. The film begins with us seeing her and her pop group performing for an audience (mostly of children and weirder older men) and receiving great reactions, and it slowly trickles back to her being alone. The acting roles she originally gets are so ‘adult’ and include scenes of her being defiled; essentially ruining the image of her as an entertainer that has been marketed since she began singing. The recurring stalker character seems obvious off the get-go, but there’s much more going on than what you originally see here.
It’s a film that was a direct inspiration for Darren Aronofsky (even with him going so far as borrowing images for a lot of films like “Requiem for a Dream” & “Black Swan”) and that should give you an idea of the kind of head-trip you have in store for you.
It was originally release as an NC-17 Anime because it contains a few scenes of sexual assault & violence – so this is certainly not for children. But the journey is so fascinating and you really feel sorry for this poor girl as she tries to just resume a normal life and is cornered by stalkers, her old team, and her old self. It’s a mystery thriller that has a good amount of psychological horror that boils all throughout its runtime.
It’s one you have to see to truly understand, and it’s one of those films that could inspire you to go further into the realm of darker adult anime. My wife & I both saw this as a blind watch a few months ago and we were in tears as we felt the pain go right to our hearts.
“Perfect Blue” is currently streaming on Shudder & Amazon Prime.
‘Til Next Time,
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