Perfect Blue

Otomo’s blue period
Guest Review by Mike Flores

I have just seen one of the finest adult animated films ever made. It is also one of the best films of 1999. Perfect Blue is the name of the film, which opens around the country between now and December and is about fame, celebrity, stalkers and all the manifestations of pop culture in our present days. It is also one very unnerving and scary film.

The story is about Mima, a female singer embarking on a new career as an actress — and leaving thousands of angry fans behind. The film is supervised by Katsuhiro Otomo (the legend behind Akira) and directed by new director Satoshi Kon, a former manga artist (that’s comic books to us) with an eye away from the big robots and towards a true psychological thriller. I tried to guess the ending of the film but in the end had to give up and let the film happen to me. It is impossible to guess. The writer, Sadayuki Murai, has created worlds within worlds, as scenes from a television production are intercut with scenes of horror as Mima’s business associates are killed one by one.

Mima discovers a website supposedly written by her, and begins to suspect her every move in her apartment is being monitored — and displayed on the Internet.

Perfect Blue is the dark side of celebrity in the cyber age, and the finest example of animation for thinking adults I have ever seen.

The violence is in the style of the Italian Hitchcock, Dario Argento. I kid you not.

For years Japanese animation fans have tried to tell us that there is animation that even people who hate animation will like.Perfect Blue is that film.

The film is being released in the United States by Manga Entertainment, the company that released Ghost in the Shell and drew attention to Japanese animation by both theatrical and video releases of adult animation here.

Japanese manga and animation is marketed at kids, teens and adults, with each group getting its own product.Perfect Blue is a leave-the-kids-at-home film, and I suggest you go to the restroom before the film. You will not want to leave your seat during this one.

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