starlady: (orihime)
[personal profile] starlady
Perfect Blue. Dir. Kon Satoshi, 1998.

I watched this the other night and…I was underwhelmed. The animation looks really cheap compared to today's standards, the DVD transfer was pretty bad, and more importantly, I just couldn't escape the feeling that the film I was watching was not the one that Kon was making.

Perfect Blue is the story of ex-small-time pop idol Kirigoe Mima, who decides to transition into being a TV actor and who quickly gets ensnared in the net of a fan-stalker whose harassment causes her to lose her grip on reality. The key moment in Mima's journey is when she agrees to film a rape scene that sets up the entire second half of the TV series she's working on along with the film's efforts to blur reality and delusion. (Anime is particularly good at this, since you can--and Kon does--reuse entire sequences, changing only the voice acting. The voice acting, by the way, sounded like a who's who of '90s anime.) I don't know what Kon wanted us to think of Mima's decisions to sacrifice her own physical and mental integrity for her career, but I couldn't stop thinking of Abigail Nussbaum's post Women and Horses, about the cost of doing business on cable dramas and how women's bodies are the currency of that business. I can't, because of that, read the denouement of Mima's story as anything particularly happy.

And, frankly, I hated that the demented fan-stalker was so hideous, and the eventual reveal about Mima's manager seemed to be another element in the story that Kon didn't know he was telling, the one about the patriarchy exploiting women for entertainment - both in the film, and then, on a meta-level, outside it, as we the audience partake of MIma's psychological breakdown for our own gratification - and then abandoning them when their bodies are no longer up to snuff. Blech. I'll stick to Paprika.

Also, on a much more superficial level, mainstream Japanese fashion in the '90s was terrible.
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