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ANIMEfringe Reviews:
Perfect Blue DVD
By Adam "OMEGA" Arnold

Once in a blue moon, an anime breaks from the mold and gives a story that other shows and movies will strive to copy. Perfect Blue is one such movie. With a unique blend of characters the viewer can care about, events that happen in real life, and a touch of pure weirdness added, Perfect Blue presents a hauntingly realistic story that will have the viewer guessing to the very end.

Pop idol Mima Kirigoe has been advised by her agent to leave the music group Cham to pursue a career in acting because it is feared the group is never going to be anything more than a cult hit. Mima finds work in the soap opera Double Bind, but is forced to lose her 'clean' appearance. As the transition to the new Mima occurs, web sites appear detailing intimate details of her daily life, and members of the cast start dying. All the while, Mima's new role seems to be changing much more than her reputation, it's changing her mind. Unreality and paranoia begin to seep in and Mima must find the end of the maze before it's too late.

Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller that has several brutally violent murders that will make the faint of heart shield their eyes, while others with a stronger constitution could swear it's real life. The movie also features a 'staged' rape scene that is a part of Double Bind project Mima is working on. There is nudity, but this is far from being hentai in nature, as it is all a part of the development of the plot, as Mima sheds her innocent media appearance. The animation itself is vivid and lifelike, in that the characters look Japanese and perform menial facets of everyday life like grocery shopping and riding the subway to work. All these cultural incites help to perfectly round off the movie.

The only part of the movie that anyone can really complain about is the dubbing, and the dub verses sub war has been raging for years. Manga Video has done an excellent job on the translation by even translating the BGM and dubbing songs, making them catchy enough to rival the original Japanese versions. As an added treat for dub watchers, several favorite Pioneer voice actors, from such shows as Fushigi Yuugi, Lain, El-Hazard and Tenchi-Muyo! perfectly complement the movie with their emotional and sublime acting abilities.

The bilingual DVD release sports the un-rated director's cut of the film, as opposed to the R-Rated dub that was also available on VHS, as well as a digitally mastered soundtrack featuring both the Japanese and English language tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. As far as special features go, the disc features a behind-the-scenes recording session of the main theme song, as well as a full audio-only version of the English cut. There is also tell-all interviews with director Satoshi Kon and Mima's seiyuu, Junko Iwao, and a series of question and answer sessions with the English voice actors. Plus there are a series of stills taken from the movie set to the eerie Perfect Blue trademark BGM as well as a host of other cool features. This is all tied together with a DVD menu system patterned after the ‘Mima's Room' web site that appears in the movie.

Overall, these special features are in league with the features that many Hollywood releases feature nowadays. Yet, interestingly enough, the disc sports a secret Japanese program that only computer users will be able to access. By feeding the DVD into the DVD-ROM drive on your computer and opening the folder labeled PERFECTB, you will find an execute file. Once doubled clicked, you will be able to browse the Virtual Radio Program featuring a variety of cool Cham and Perfect Blue info, movies, wallpaper, stills, sound bytes, and a ton of other excellent items. Unfortunately, the program is only in Japanese.

Though Satoshi Kon's directorial debut movie does have some flaws where the passing of events is concerned, the feature-length version of Yoshikazu Takeuchi's Perfect Blue deserves to be considered an anime classic right up there with Akira and Ghost In The Shell nonetheless, due to it's look at human existence and consciousness. But unlike the other anime classics, Perfect Blue has much more to offer and will keep the watcher's attention all the way through with an engaging plot.

Review Info File
Perfect Blue
Bilingual DVD, Unrated Dub/Sub VHS, R-Rated Dub VHS, Theaters
Satoshi Kon
Yoshikazu Takeuchi
Manga Video
Rex Entertainment
One of the weirdest and most engaging Anime movies out there.

Page 9 - Review 4 ANIMEfringe: July 2000 - Page 10 Page 11 - Review 6
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You are currently viewing an archived back issue of Animefringe Online Magazine. Click here to read our latest issue!