Perfect Blue review

Abe' Mark Nornes amnornes
Fri Dec 3 03:06:13 EST 1999

Here is a review of Perfect Blue from the venerable Film Threat, which now
runs its own weekly electronic newsletter (

* * *
Okay, word association time. Name a "Japanimation" movie currently in release
which starts with the letter "P." Nope, not that one. In fact, leave the
kiddies in their "Pokemon"-induced daze in an adjacent theater, supervised by
an unfortunate older sibling who maybe didn't take out the garbage like you
asked. Meanwhile, you can check out Satoshi Kon's interesting animated
pychological thriller "Perfect Blue."   When Mima leaves the popular squeaky
clean pop group "Cham" for a less wholesome acting and modeling career, it's
not a particularly welcome development for her fans; especially her best
friend Roomie, herself a former Cham member. Uncertain of her career choice,
yet determined to shed her pop idol image, Mima forges ahead despite the
warning inherent in a letter bomb she receives on the set of a trashy TV
show, "Double Bind." As if that, combined with discovering that an unknown
cyber-stalker who knows her every move and puts words in her mouth on an
unauthorized Mima website, wasn't creepy enough, she soon notices a
mysterious and grotesque, dead-eyed, crooked-toothed stalker freak staring at
her from the fringes of the set. After people associated with "Double Bind"
start turning up gruesomely murdered, Mima's grip on reality begins to slip;
especially when her pop idol persona appears and taunts her, before
impossibly skipping away Mary Poppins-like from building to building. Before
long, Mima's first line as an actress -- "Excuse me...who are you?" -- also
fairly well sums up her own mental state as she takes method acting to the
extreme, tottering precariously between the real world and the world of her
TV character.
     "Perfect Blue" is a bit of a mixed bag. What starts out as a fairly
conventional and effective stalker drama with a cyber-twist, soon gets too
cute with its dreams within dreams set pieces and shifting realities. It's
kinda nifty at first, but Kon just keeps piling it on until you just roll
your eyes, throw up your hands, and scream, "Enough!" Granted, this helps you
identify with Mima's slipping hold on reality, but that doesn't necessarily
make watching it enjoyable. Nor does Mima's stilted dialogue looping, so
silly it's distracting, which makes her seem like even more of a ditzy
airhead. Then, of course, there are the usual disconcerting features
associated with the charming but simple animation style, anime. While some of
the wide shots are actually pretty slick, everything else is extremely jerky
and crudely drawn...except Mima's breasts which, I swear to God, jiggled.
(Lord, I'm fixating on naked cartoon boobs. I REALLY need a girlfriend!)
Viewers more accustomed to Disney animation or even the Sunday night Fox
Block might be put off by this style. For everyone else, however, "Perfect
Blue" isn't a half bad way to spend a rainy afternoon, especially if the kids
are off soaking up Pokemon-mania. - Merle Bertrand

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