Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 3rd, 2004
Theatrical Release Date: Japan, 1997
Director: Satoshi Kon
Writers: Sadayuki Murai, Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Cast: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji, Masaaki Ôkura
DVD released: May 2nd, 2000
Approximate running time: 81 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Release: Manga Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Mima Kiragoe is pop star who wants to become an actress and to do so she has to leave her popular band Cham. Mima receives threatening faxes and letters after her departure from Cham, including a letter bomb that seriously injures her agent. She manages to land a part on a cop drama after she takes on a daring rape scene which only hurts her image more. Mr. Me-Mania is an obsessed fan who had been tracking Mima’s every move and as she slips farther away from her pop idol image those around her end up being murdered. Will Mima’s stalker be caught before it’s too late?
Perfect Blue is based on Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s best selling novel of the same name. Director Satoshi Kon began his career as a Manga artist before moving into animation and work as a background artist. Satoshi Kon made his feature film directorial debut with Perfect Blue and screenwriter Sadayuki Murai other credits include “Cowboy Bebop” and “Astro Boy” TV series. Satoshi Kon nad Sadayuki Murai have collaborated on one other film Millennium Actress. While most Japanese Anime features battling robots, young girls with superpowers and perverted evil demons. Perfect Blue breaks away from tradition as it resembles the Italian Giallo genre which is know for its strong vivid colors and gory set pieces. The stalker/serial killer premise isn’t that original and the film doesn’t hide the killer’s identity because the killer’s identity is not that important to the plot. Perfect Blue uses the film within the film concept by switching between Mima’s reality and her T.V. characters reality. Director Satoshi Kon cleverly masks both realities without ever revealing what is in her mind and what is real. Perfect Blue perfectly dissects the phenomenon that surrounds a celebrity and its impact on the performer. This film is loaded with many strong visuals; still without a doubt the strongest and most disturbing scene in the movie is the artificial rape scene. The films imagery becomes even darker as Mina’s stalker’s obsession grows and her state of mind deteriorates. There are a couple violent murder set pieces that match the intensity and baroque visual style of Brian De Palma and Dario Argento’s best work.
Perfect Blue is presented in its original 1:85:1 aspect ration unfortunately it hasn’t been anamorphic enhanced. The image is sharp with excellent detail and all the colors are accurate with no bleeding between colors. Overall the contrast is very good offering superior shadow detail. There is very little grain present and some minor speckles as the print used is good shape, still it would have benefited from an anamorphic enhancement. This DVD offers four audio options English and Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks and Dolby Surround tracks. The dialog is clear and the music is prominently up front as the bass is restrained for the most part. The ambiance of the audio track complements the films dialog driven plot and overall this is a solid effort. The English dubbed audio is really well done as the voice actors put in a lot of emotion and care into this audio track. The subtitles are easy to read and follow.
Extras include a section called Mima’s Room which looks like a computer screen and there are several choices in this area. First section is “Cham in the studio”, which includes a full-length clip of Cham in the studio. There is also a bonus track in this section of Cham singing the theme song in English. Other extras include “Some Pictures I Took”, which is a three minute featurette that contains pictures that have captions from the scenes they represent. “Meet some of my friends” section is a collection of interviews with cast and crew. In the next two sections “My Favorite Videos” and “My favorite DVDs”, there are promotional pictures for Manga products like Ninja Scroll and Ghost in The Shell. There is also DVD-Rom content that includes a virtual radio interface in which you can access Mima sound clips from the movie. Other DVD-Rom content includes web links to three different sites on the internet. There are other extras on the DVD-Rom unfortunately it is all only in Japanese. Perfect Blue is a dark thriller with vivid imagery reminiscent of Dario Argento’s films. The surreal structure of the plot might confuse some viewers; still all the pieces of the puzzle are there you just have to pay close attention. Perfect Blue is essential viewing whether you are already a fan of Anime or just getting into Anime.