MyAnimeList Rating: 8,32/10
Genre: Dementia, Horror, Psychological, Drama
Author: Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Seiyuu: Junko Iwao, Masaaki Ookura, Rica Matsumoto
Black Swan is one of the thriller movies starring Natalie Portman and directed by Darren Aronofsky. We know that the anime industry is one of the most commonly used references to Hollywood both nowadays and the past. You can call it like Ghost In The Shell with The Matrix, Paprika with Inception, All You Need Is Kill with Edge Of Tomorrow, and much more. One of that is this anime too, Perfect Blue, directed by Satoshi Kon. He has managed to distribute some of his work, although a little and became one of the most influential directors of Hollywood. Especially for Darren Aronofsky who makes Black Swan thanks to Perfect Blue. After watching this anime, I can say that Black Swan is a mainstream despite getting a positive response from critics. But, Perfect Blue made me realize that anime should not be a cliche because anime like this has been around since the 90s. Same as Serial Experiments Lain, the mindfuck level is exactly like Perfect Blue and I hope there is still an anime like this in the modern era.
“Perfect Blue,” tells about a pop idol group CHAM! that has entertained his fans for 2 years. However, Mima Kirigoe (Junko Iwao) announced herself to quit the group and take her new career through acting. She hopes that her fans will continue to support her despite her departure. However, her life’s changed drastically when she came out. In order to get rid of her image as a pop idol, she took on a role in a crime drama series where her acting skills became more demanding and taxing, especially on Rumi Hidaka (Rica Matsumoto), her manager. A fan who is very obsessed with Mima started stalking her existence. Not to mention, a website that doesn’t know the fact begins to impersonate her life along with her details, life history, but not her who made it. One by one, she begins to interfere with her who cannot distinguish reality and fantasy.
The story focuses on an idol, Mima Kirigoe. She is a lead member of a trio pop group called CHAM! who turned her career into a solo actress. So, this is the terrifying begins. If I want to compare it to Hollywood, Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream is pretty same as this. The depth level is directly proportional to the end until I don’t want to watch for the second time. It also makes me feel like this always happens in the real world. Internet, heavy obsession, stalker, rape, until murder, all of that is told in satire ways and detail. Satoshi Kon describes it very well. A line of reality and fantasy as well as if this happens in the real world as well. You know, someone like this exists a lot like I’ve seen this before. But Perfect Blue described it a few years ago. It’s about an identity that doesn’t know who’s spreading it on the internet, about someone who has no life, about someone who thinks she’s taking the right path and doesn’t fit of what she expects. Therefore, those of you who haven’t watched it should be focused exactly on what is on screen. Don’t look elsewhere because you’ll be confused with the ending. I also don’t know if the ending is a plot-twist or not because I have to think twice even three times after watching this anime. After I got the answer, it was hard to make the interpretation even it’s so difficult to believe with intellect. It’s the same with Serial Experiments Lain that makes me think with the ending. Satoshi Kon has succeeded in making a story far from being a story with a fresh and original concept. One thing I want to tell you. This anime has a lot of explicit content like rape, nudity, violence, and blood. So, don’t think that this is one of the anime you want to find but it’s not.
The art is great back in the 90s. So, those of you who still lay with the nowadays anime may be difficult to adapt to the old anime. Nothing you expect from here. But here’s the part I like. The old anime has an art that is so realistic even hard to compare with the nowadays anime. I know, there are so many good anime that can even be said masterpiece in this modern era. But back in the old days, this is a freaking fantastic. The animation and visuals that depicted in this anime seem so realistic even made as realistic as possible. If you still don’t understand, you can try Studio Ghibli’s works and you will know how it feels. In Perfect Blue, everything is described in detail even a little tiny detail as from small things even figures characters are portrayed as the main character. One that really felt for me is the rape scene. No spoiler, this is one of the scenes that makes me disturbing even creepy while watching it. In fact, the sensation seems like reality in the real world. The thing that makes me creepy in addition to the scene is also the scene when approaching climax. Maybe because I’m too serious during watching this, I can’t even tell which is realistic and which is a fantasy in this anime. This is also what I like. The cinematography can be spelled out so brilliant once to use in an anime. I mean, it’s more like Stanley Kubrick’s works. The jump cut from one scene to another, the relationship between the imaginative character and the real-life that mix all of it, close up to zoom out of the same scene but different interpretations, almost all these techniques used in this anime. One scene that made me draw my attention is the bathtub scene that’s also used in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream.
The music is more like the same as Requiem For A Dream that composed by Clint Mansell. Both are very creepy and disturbing, but very memorable at the same time. Initially, I thought the opening scene of this anime is not too gloomy even I don’t know if the person that reviewing this is always distorted. Sometimes, pop music also exists and I think is pretty catchy. The other, Masahiro Ikumi has managed to scare me with the various suspense scores that he made. Junko Iwao, I think, is great and outstanding when filling Mima Kirigoe voices. There is no shortage and it’s great. The characters are one of a great storytelling. Mima Kirigoe builds her own character with great depths little by little. Her very innocent face at the beginning of her career became an actress, full of grim, fear of something around her, and a distressing expression of fantasy and reality. However, when I want to find out who is the best character in this anime, I will answer Me-Mania. His character has a perfect storytelling even just using gesture and a little dialogue alone, he managed to develop his character even we known at the beginning of its appearance. The first emergence is predictable how the characteristic of this character because he only displays with gesture only. Of course, assisted by the cinematography that is so smooth from Satoshi Kon. He is a character that is centered on everything and helps the character to build his own story. This anime is perfect for you who want to look for a mindblowing anime or complex story. Although it’s only a movie and less than two hours, Satoshi Kon brings us to a story that we cannot even distinguish reality and fantasy. This anime also has a fast pace so the audience isn’t made bored with the complex story. But, I don’t recommend this anime for those of you who really don’t like the explicit content that excessive. Blood everywhere, disturbing scenes, nudeness, rape scenes, and other obscure elements for certain people.
Overall, Perfect Blue is a mindblowing anime that you would not imagine how the outcome is. I also think that this is one of the anime that breaks typical anime stereotypes and people who still consider anime it’s just for children. But, this is 2018 and I rarely get people like that in this era. It’s having a satire story about the real world and reality of the internet, the art, and the animation, the characters that are also shown with more human being and realistic nature, to the plot-twist endings, mindfuck, even have to watch over and over again to be able to understand the ending. This is about fantasy and reality where they are united into one that I will never forget if I’ve experienced one of these masterpieces made by the legendary. Hopefully, there’s nowadays anime like this. Not too spectacular and not too deficiency.