I’ve done a lot of reviews for horror anime recently, but Perfect Blue has one major factor that sets it apart from Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, 3×3 Eyes and Mermaid’s Scar. This was actually done the first October I was doing reviews before I’d started calling it “horror anime month.” It’s actually scary. The other three weren’t bad, two of them were even good, but they focused more on action sequences than building up suspense and horror. In their case the horror label was more of a tag saying “includes monsters” than an actual genre statement.
I can’t give away too much of the plot without going into spoilers, but the basic setup is that a pop singer named Mima Kirigoe decides to transition into acting and give up her singing career. While working on a television drama she takes several risque steps to strengthen her image as an actress, but things around her start going wrong. People start getting injured and dying and the centre of the action seems to be her. The main focus is on Mima, who begins to go through increasing psychological trauma as a result of the events around her. To make the situation worse, she finds a website that portrays her life in a frighteningly accurate way. There are two major reasons the horror in this film works. The first is that it’s very psychological. It forces you into the mindset of the protagonist and doing so enables it to get increasingly jumbled and challenging. The result is that it leaves the viewer confused and uncertain of what to expect. The second reason that it works is because it’s realistic. You don’t get a visual of clearly fictitious monsters fighting heroes. Instead you get an antagonist who’s very human performing deeds that could easily happen in reality, and have to an extent.
The characters are like everyday people. All of them seem very real and this really helps the tone and maintains the realism. This actually makes the ending pretty spectacular since, when you finally know what’s happening, it all makes perfect sense and seems even more like something that could happen.
The art is a little dated but it has a superb atmosphere. The characters, background and so on all create a perfect atmosphere for the story. They present some very frightening imagery as well. There’s even one scene that’s so well drawn that, due to the content of the scene, it’s hard to watch. Now that takes skill.
The voice work is spectacular as well. The dialogue is all delivered in a very natural way and it just makes the atmosphere that much better. Iwao Junko is brilliant in the role of Mima and all the secondary voice actors play their parts very well too.
The yuri factor is a 1/10. There’s no yuri. Which is really for the best since any romance would be out of place.
My final rating for Perfect Blue is a perfect 10/10. This is a spectacular movie. All the elements coalesce to create a whole that’s awe-inspiring, creepy and yes, even frightening. If you’re a fan of horror movies it’s a must see.