perfectblue

Egos Infighting, Horrors Realizing – Perfect Blue Review

Phenomenal. A truly amazing experience. 

It’s a bit of strange yet repelling to look at a masterpiece from Satoshi Kon. His editing and the methods used in Perfect Blue reminds me all of the memories back in the days I was young watching all the Japanese animes. I worshiped the animes at the time, I love the styles they present, even though they’re unripe compared to the nowadays standards. But, it’s mesmerizing, to simply look at it.

‘Twas the gold age of anime. 

The first impression reconciles the actual impression after I watched the film, I was told the film is on a subject of in- and outside ego of oneself. One is keeping his avatar while the same time losing his inner ego. Losing himself. This is quite common in our modern time, especially of this age, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and many other social media are dominating our social life.

However, the film is not just on the matter of avatar. It is indeed, a topic that the film is trying to poke about, but after all, it’s a horror film, that catches each point of a horror film should have. The vibes built-in, the mood development, and the twisted plot and the twist in the end. It draws an image that catches audience’s hearts and make them engaged in the strange, yet so realistic and daily life of ex pop star present actress Mima Erigoe. It’s insane to think back the madness we went through the film and yet the ending is so relieving. It doesn’t go all the way out of the real world we live in, it constantly is catching up with the frame of the realness, and relying on the mood development to push audience pace by pace into the “traps” Satoshi Kon has set in.

It truly was a wonderful experience in a lazy afternoon, while I was almost asleep while I opened this film. And that proved its worth, I got all the goosebumps while I watched the film.

Back to the avatar part. Even the film itself is pretty much depicting the whole ex pop star turned actress, it doesn’t leave the “egos” we are talking about, whereas it is constantly revolving around the egos.

The film has mentioned personality multiple times, at the last part, it is even mentioning Dissociative Identity Disorder. I was actually appalled by the fact that Mima was suffering from this, even I know it’s a cliche from most of the horror films. While it really isn’t.

The pop star and actress’s conflict itself has pretty much stated clear about the conflicts that ourselves commonly encounter. The public image, or the true image?

Everyone wears a mask while they’re in social situations, or do they?

Satoshi Kon utilizes the similar scenes changing editing method showed us that even it’s a pop star, she has a normal life. A normal life that’s just like everybody else.

We usually depict celebrities lives as luxurious, higher class, however those are just the fewer ones we know of. The bottom and the middle class of celebrities are the vast majority of the industry, they are just as much as we are, living a life that is counting on the bills, rents and wages. Mima is exactly a girl of them, a girl of us.

But she’s kindhearted, even dumb in this term. She doesn’t wish to fail the high hopes her friends and colleagues have gave her, she opted herself to stay strong. She’s strong, yet naive in the face of reality.

She’s like us, when we are alone, when we have no help. We are afraid to be embarrassed, we are afraid that we would have no way out. People’s laughing, the hard transformation of an image, and the inner struggle of oneself.

Everything takes time to process. But on Mima’s side, things started to get uncanny.

She always has the hallucination of her alter ego, the ex pop star. She’s evading this image, yet accepting it. So contradictory the same time she has to make peace with herself so that she does not break down.

And oh yeah, she did break down, kind of. She started to indistinguish real world and acting world, she felt like she was constantly in the acting world and couldn’t get out. This is when things started to go all out and without a lookback.

While I’m at this, I have to reiterate the relation between the key personalities in the film’s early stage and throughout the film–Mima, Alter Ego Mima aka the Pop Star, Stalker.

These three actually all present the same person, Mima herself. Whether it’s the alter ego, or the stalker.

Stalker wasn’t really liking Mima the person, rather wants to become Mima. Because Stalker has a miserable life, and he is unsociable. He wants to become the shining image of Mima, who receives everything, fame, reputation, applause from her fans. A lust of attention, and this, is us.

Alter Ego Mima presents the true self after Mima decided to become an actress. She missed the old times she had spent with her friends, fans and colleagues. But in reality, it’s not so easy to change back to the root of where you come from, so Mima chose to stay put, continue to become an actress. This, is us as well.

And the Mima herself, a contradiction hybrid. She at the one hand, is constantly visiting the Stalker’s Mima site called Mima’s House (which is the film’s Japanese title), as it depicts a Mima she’s not it, the Alter Ego Mima. While doing this, she’s also afraid of this alter ego, she’s afraid that she might fail the work and hopes her friends and family and colleagues have done for her, and she’s also afraid that she will fail. Because no one knows the future. Such a miserable transaction. And this, is still us.

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The personality conflict is one hand, a literal personality conflict, on the other hand, a horror supporting feature. We feel the horrors within this personality conflict while we see ourselves in this personality conflict. Such brilliance right?

And this, is the core part of Perfect Blue, the attempt to tingle people’s numb minds while they are at it with their own conflicts. It’s just, it’s a more dramatic play, with horrors in it of course.

 


At the end of the film, there’s that almost typical, Japanese style of ending, with everything a smile, or a laugh from the protagonist, to relieve all the tensions and nerves of us audience.

Mima says, “No, I’m the real thing.”

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This is just incredible. To let audience suffer first and at the end to ease their nerves, and let them slip back to the normal life. It’s incredibly optimistic about life itself. And how can we not love such a cherishable character after all she’s been through? Before the incident, she was a struggling actress with a connecting life like us, after the incident, she turned heroic, a huge transform made all these struggles fruitful at last. We saw a good ending.

It just, I love this.

 


And take a look back at what Satoshi Kon has presented us,

The almost dreamy editing. And the complexity of each scene, or each frame.

Can you see this? This is just so dreamy, yet so surreal.

And look at the complexity of each frame.

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This house seems so crammed, because the drawer didn’t leave out any detail.

 


The irony is, though I have no problem about it, a Japanese film is watched in English condition. While I can read Chinese, because language-wise, Japanese is closer to Chinese, the emotion and the flow of the language should be easier to understand in Chinese. But, there is no subtitle? Because this film has that kind of censored material? Fuck. 

 


9/10, must watch.

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