Title: Perfect Blue
Director: Satoshi Kon
Writer: Sadayuki Murai
Year Released: 1997
Run Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Based on the novel Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis
by Yoshikazu Takeuch
Perfect Blue may evoke images of clear skies and vast oceans, but this animated film focuses on a much deeper shade of blue. In fact, it is one of the most serious movies—animated or live-action—that I have ever seen.
I am impressed by how the film tackles the dark side of Japan’s entertainment industry, while remaining an unpredictable psycho-crime thriller simultaneously. A storytelling masterclass, Perfect Blue is one of my favorite animé films of all time.
This Satoshi Kon film may feature gorgeous animation, but it also has violence and nudity in spades. It deals with adult psychological themes, and even features a simulated, albeit very realistic, rape scene. IMDB states that Perfect Blue was originally planned as a live-action film, but backers withdrew their support during pre-production. Still, this film is as realistic as gets when it comes to animation. Kon really did a great job with it.
(I recently learned a live-action film has already been made. I hope to watch and share my thoughts on it soon.)
I like how the film blurs the lines between being awake and asleep, in reality or in a delusion, to the point that both the protagonist and the viewer can no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality. This confusion slowly builds up, exploding into utter paranoia in a dream-wake-dream-wake climax, followed by an ending both totally predictable and completely unexpected.
Perfect Blue had me squirming in my seat through several sequences. I even had to pause the film and take a breather more than once. But the discomfort and the frustration is all worth it at the end, where a lighter shade of blue finally seeps through, if only for a second or two.
(But what is the perfect shade of blue? Is it light or dark? Is there even one to begin with? Come and share your thoughts on this—and the film—in the comments section below.)
Some viewers say this Satoshi Kon film is a perfect introduction to the world of animé. I say it all depends on the kind of animé you want to watch. Perfect Blue is definitely not your typical Japanese animation. It is not for kids or teenagers, nor for the faint of heart. Here is an R-rated animated film for a mature adult audience.
If you are looking for an intelligent thriller that will leave you in deep thought and reflection, then I invite you to watch Perfect Blue. Even if you end up hating it, I assure that you will have a memorable viewing experience.
Coffee Bean and Tea Reads Rating: