Wednesday, 17 August 2011

パーフェクトブルー / Perfect Blue

This 1997 animated film was for some reason quite heavily promoted over here five or six years ago. It’s dated in several ways, not least of which being the notion that any young idol could be clueless about the Internet, but it’s still a very powerful work, and something of a mind-fuck.

When a pop star wants to make a transition to being an actress, those responsible for tarnishing her pure image, making her act in rape scenes or do nude photoshoots, start to be picked off in grisly ways. But she herself is losing grip on reality, and unsettling cuts and disjointed scenes which may or may not be real disorient the watcher: for all the lack of subtlety in talking reflections and repeated waking-up scenes, the idea that possibly pop star Mima really is the character she was acting and the fiction is what was presented as real life is appealing.

Some impressive fast-paced animation and unflinching presentations of sex and violence rather than being gratuitous actually demand to be taken seriously, which was surprising. It was a bit unconvincing that three separate pivotal characters are quite mad, and the identity of the ultimate antagonist was, for me at least (and the friends I watched it with, since I piped up with it as soon as it occurred to me) far too obvious, but it was a striking, mature and memorable film, different from what I was expecting but surprisingly good, and quite a leap from the average anime film.

(originally written 4.1.08, before I had anything but a vague notion of who Kon Satoshi was - though I had already written about him in my impressions of Millennium Actress.)

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