Justin Peterson’s review published on Letterboxd:
Dreams, regret, obsession, and murder all wrapped up in this twisty anime. This was a unique experience, being my first surrealist Rated R anime.
Watching it of course reminded me Black Swan since admittedly Darren Aronofsky purchased the rights to use elements of this film in his movies (For example the mirror scenes). Also the creepy piano music reminded me of Eyes Wide Shut, and surprisingly that film also came out after Perfect Blue.
Also the camera work is amazing, for example the scene where it shows her thru a window and then pulls out to show the building ... it blows my mind to see how real the animation comes across.
All put together, this film's puzzling narrative, creepy & poppy music, and intense imagery will defiantly bring me to revisit it in the future and recommend to fans of Thriller and anime films. There are some intense sexual themes going on here, so be ready for that.
So the story:
A happy go lucky girl is apart of pop group, but wants to venture into acting. She is working closely with a talent agency to help push forward her acting career.
I have to mention the scene where she complains about having to understand how to type a URL into a web browser... way back in 1997 was pretty funny.
At first she is playing a minimal role on a TV show, but then has the chance to greatly expand that by being involved in a rape scene. From there, get your brain in gear because things get wild. The main character Mima starts to see a doppelgänger of her former innocent self, she has a creepy stalker, and then we start to loose track of what is her real life and what are the scenes of her TV show. All while she is hearing about and seeing the result of a string of murders of people she is connected with.
All this suspense clocking in at just about and hour and 20 minute runtime, and the ending even sorta ties everything up.. or does it?
I loved the overall tone and feeling of them film, but for some reason I did not feel as immersed as I would have liked. Maybe it will get me more next time!
At the end it seems like they want you to think the female talent agent manipulating her was the driving force of Mima coming un-hinged. We get this snappy ending were the talent agent is defeated, locked in a mental hospital, and then Mima is back to her old cheerful self.
That just seems so tacked on compared to this state of confusion we are given in earlier scenes where the lines of Mima's reality are becoming blurred. We are even given the excellent scene where she goes to greet her fish only to realize that they are all dead. How long has she been locked into this life imitating art paradox ... on top of dealing with this mixed persona doppelgänger that she is being tormented by? Or are we as the audience just getting manipulated to think that she is going crazy?
I would love to know what you think, leave a comment below!