Tentacle-Free Anime: "Perfect Blue" (1997) Review
- by Kazekun, 22 July 2013
I’ve never really been one for the horror scene, when I was younger there were many factors in my life that just added up to “horror” and “nope” being placed to next to each other in mind’s dictionary, but as I got older I began to discover I really like psychological thrillers, and I can handle those even if there is a bit of horror in them. Though I have recently been teasing my way into stomaching horror films, psychological thrillers are still a mainstay. And today I examine one of my favorites, "Perfect Blue" by Satoshi Kon.
Cold sweat, nervous tick, constant feeling of being watched, and the possible chance of realizing you are in fact not the real you. Wouldn’t that drive you crazy? The human brain is designed to handle several different levels of psychological pressure, but the human spirit continuously needs room to grow. It’s when that spirit is put under pressure that the possibility of it breaking begins to become more and more. And with the breaking of the spirit comes insanity.
One thing I love about this film is that you get to experience Mima’s gradual mental breakdown with her. Clear up till the end, where you think you have everything figured out and then something else comes along and just crushes those hopes to a pulp while revealing an even more sinister plot. I think one of the shining aspects of this is how “real” it is, the feelings, emotions and the situations are all so real and subtle enough that it’s as if these are events that could truly happen; this is no fantasy or sci-fi story, it’s realistic horror.
One potential problem with the film, and for some this may be a big problem is that even for a 90-minute movie, the pacing can at times be rather slow. This movie is all about the build up and the slow downhill slope for both our protagonist and the viewer, but even then some scenes can feel as if they drag on forever. The art style isn’t incredibly glamorous either, I’m not a huge fan of the big rounded noses, and the eyes always seemed as if they were a little too far apart. But this is no glamorous film so maybe it was only meant to be.
The director, Satoshi Kon, is sufficed to say a hero of mine in the anime and storytelling world. But I will save those words for another time; this is his first major works and his directorial debut. It’s with this movie you an clearly see his love for the fantasy vs. reality storyline, which would become a staple in all of his other works right up until his death in 2010. He does it well in this film too, with us questioning everything that is going on until the final reveal not too long before the movie is over. It’s also here we get the beginning of Kon’s knack for subtle answers. He will seed the pieces to make everything make sense throughout the movie but you have to be really paying attention to pick them up. A lot of his movies you need to watch two or three or sometimes even more just to pick up everything but even then, you’ll keep finding new, little things you never noticed before.
The voice acting is superb and consistently gels with the tones, whether it being the softspoken voices or the loud, shrieking screams. And the animation as a whole is beautiful and can stand up today to a lot of modern anime. For almost 20 years old it’s a real testament to what technology back in the day could do.
Final Score: 4 Death Threats out of 5
Have you seen "Perfect Blue"? Enjoyed the review? Let us know in the comments!
Tagged: Tentacle-Free Anime.