Posted by psgels on 17 February 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


Perfect Blue: take a random episode of Paranoia Agent, remove all traces of humour whatsoever and extend the result into a ninety-minute movie. I originally thought that this series would be more like Tokyo Godfathers, but instead we get a story about paranoia, schizophrenia and hallucinations. And While I liked Tokyo Godfathers better, Perfect Blue is a very capable movie as well.

Satoshi Kon knows how to build up his story, and this is even apparent in his first major movie. It starts with a simple case where an ex-idol is being stalked by an obsessed fan, and the series turns more and more into a psychological horror-series afterwards. Like expected, the biggest purpose of this movie is to dive into the mind of its main character, and it succeeds pretty well at this. Mima is a terrific character, and even though she may freak out, she’s far away from an emo teenager in the middle of puberty.

This movie does have its problems, though. It feels like a few of the side-characters weren’t used to their full potential. While I can understand why Satoshi Kon decided not to show much of the background of the major bad guys, it would have been interesting to see more of the reasons behind their actions, and their backgrounds. The ending also felt a tad too abrupt, and an extra minute would have done wonders on it. A little more involvement with the police would also have been desired. Quite a few people get killed, but you hardly ever see the cops.

Overall, I agree with the general opinion for this movie: Perfect Blue is great, but it’s not Satoshi Kon’s best work. Still, if it’s paranoia you want, then you should definitely give it a chance. With a terrific soundtrack and a gritty, realistic setting, away from the usual idol-stereotypes you see in anime, this movie won’t leave you disappointed.

So, after this, there’s just one movie and one OVA left that I want to check out. I think it’s pretty obvious which ones I saved for last, but I’m not going to say which they are just yet. ;)

7 Responses

  1. Windspirit says:

    I guessed who was the bad guy 15-20 minutes in the movie… I just couldn’t enjoy it normally…

  2. Protodude says:

    One of those movies better be Millennium Actress.

  3. Chris says:

    I was actually surprised by the ending and I agree another minute or 2 would have really helped at the end. Again another anime I saw when I was way too young (11) but everytime I see it I appeciate it more.

  4. Wyrdwad says:

    Protodude: After all my goading, amongst the goading of others, I have a feeling Millennium Actress is the one remaining movie to which psgels refers. (:

    Consequently, psgels, I wholeheartedly agree with your ratings, both for Perfect Blue and Dog of Flanders. I can’t believe I never mentioned Dog of Flanders to you before… it’s an absolutely outstanding movie, and easily one of the most emotionally powerful films I’ve ever seen.

    -Tom

  5. Me says:

    You stumbled upon one of my favorite movies of all time! :) I had no idea that it wasn’t well-received though, as I thought that it was the best of Kon’s work myself. Then again, I saw it first and therefore measured everything else of his against it. Well, and there is also the “idol” part, and the english soundtrack is really well-done.

  6. Wyrdwad says:

    You liked Perfect Blue better than Kon’s other works? Even Paranoia Agent? That’s really surprising… I’ve not heard anyone else say that before. (: I mean, Perfect Blue IS good, to be sure, but I consider Paranoia Agent, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers to all be far superior. The only Kon work Perfect Blue tops, in my book, is Paprika.

    -Tom

  7. Kurisu says:

    Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan pretty much ruined “Dog of Flanders” for me. I could never watch it without second thoughts.

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  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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