Yurei: Perfect Blue

Another movie that isn't actually a Yurei horror, this one is interesting because it is the first, and likely to be the only, animated movie in this series.

Good evening, and welcome to part four of Berryz Kyuuden's horror week, reviewing seven of some of the greatest horror flicks to come out of Japan in the last decade or so. This time we're taking a look into the  1997 psychological mess that is Perfect Blue, directed  by Satoshi Kon and based loosely on a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi.

And when I say "psychological mess", I mean this is one terribly confusing movie. All of the movies I've done up til now have had fairly simple plotlines, even if alot of it remained unexplained to the viewer, this movie is intended to confuse the viewer in order to put them in a similiar situation as the main protagonist who begins to suffer from mental disorder and the movie gets progressively harder and harder to differentiate between what is reality and what is all inside the mind of our 'heroine'.

The movie is also the most relevant one in the series to what this blog is about, as our main character is a young idol named Mima, who is part of a 3-nin group known as CHAM! and decides to leave the group at the start of the movie in order to pursue a career as an actress. Sound familiar?

The movie opens with a CHAM! concert, at which Mima anounces that she will be graduating from the group after the concert, much to the fans dissapointment. However she does reveal that she is to take part in a direct-to-video drama series called "Double Bind". After leaving, she is given a fanletter which says "I'm always watching Mima's room. I put up a link to Mima's room." She gets confused by this, and clearly worried about someone stalking her, peeoping into her small apartment. This isn't helped when she soon recieves a silent call, which only the sound of breathing coming from the other end. Immediately afterwards she recieves an anonymous faxed letter calling her a traitor.

Later, while on set waiting to shoot her scene in her drama, she asks her manager Rumi about what the "Mima's room" fanletter meant, to which she is reassured that it's just a website. Just as the cameras are about to start rolling on her scene, however, one of her managers opens a letter that was intended for Mima which explodes in his hands, causing him injury - though not very severe.

A few days later Rumi pays Mima a visit in order to help her set up a computer and sign up to an ISP at Mima's request - something which Mima has no understanding of, being incredibly computer illiterate (to the point where she is confused by the term "double-click"). After several hours of Rumi teaching her how to use a computer she manages to type the url for Mima's Room into the address and brings up the webpage, and discovers it to be a blog which appears to be written by her, with an uncomoftably large amount of detail in there which is both slightly personal and correct. At first she laughs, but as she reads on she becomes more worried about the possibilty of a stalker.

Mima finally succeeds in getting larger role in her drama, however the role she is given is that of a rape victim in a strip club. Rumi warns her that if she plays the part her reputation as an idol could be irreperably damaged, but she volunteers to play the part regardless - saying that she is now an actress and not an idol. However, the atmosphere and nature of the scene traumatises her when she films it. When she returns home she hallucinates that her fish died and has a breakdown, revealing that she didn't really want to do the scene but was too scared to let everyone down. She sees an image of herself in the mirror, still wearing her CHAM costume talking back to her, but when she throws a pillow at the mirror she comes back to reality and the fish are still alive.

From this point on she becomes progressively madder and madder, and can no longer tell the difference between her business life and her hallucinations. Her life is further complicated when some of the people who change her image to the new, dirty Mima are brutally murdered throughout the movie. Me-Mania, the owner of Mima's Room turns out to be incredibly disillusioned, and possibly insane himself. In fact, it seems to be a madness shared between both Mima and Me-Mania, as Mima's alternate personality, the one who is still a member of CHAM, goes to Me-Mania and convinces him that Mima is actually an imposter.

Mima soon discovers evidence that point to her being the one responsible for the murders, and as she becomes crazier and crazier she starts to doubt her own innocence, and begins to believe that she could be responsible for the murders and unaware of it because it was a different personality responsible.

Soon Me-Mania approaches and attacks Mima with a knife. He claims that she is the imposter and the real Mima has been emailing him telling him that the "imposter" is in the way. So he plans to kill her. But just as he is about to, presumably, rape her first, she grabs a hammer and hits him with it, causing him to collapse. But when Rumi finds her, Mima tells her what happened. However, when they return to where she was attacked, Me-Mania is nowhere to be found.

It then turns out that Rumi is the false diarist, the one running Mima's room who herself has gone totally insane and thinks that she is the real Mima. She attacks Mima for much the same reason that Me-Mania did - noting that he had failed her which coincides with a brief shot showing Me-Mania and Mima's manager both found dead together when she tries to call him. Mima gets stabbed by Rumi, but manages to escape by jumping off her balcony and running away through the city. Mima eventually escapes by pushing Rumi's wig off and she chases it inside a shop window, impaling herself on the glass in the process. She stumbles on to the road and is just about hit by a truck before Mima saves her life, pushing her out of the way.

Rumi is then institutionalised with dissociative personality disorder. Mima, on the other hand, managed so sort her life and goes back to her normal life, continuing as an actress.

I hope that all made sense to you, because I'm only just starting to come to terms with it all now. I've actually seen this movie once before, a couple years ago, this is the second time watching. And this is the kind of movie where much of it doesn't make sense until you see it for the second time. I guess having an understanding of what is happening and what happens later helps you come to terms with what is reality and what isn't. But much of the movie was written with the idea of keeping you confused in mind. The director wanted you too feel like you were the one suffering from this mental disorder, and if you haven't seen the movie before, I imagine you will feel as confused as I did the first time.

Now, to be honest I can't really comment on what the music was like in this movie. There is the concert scene at the start, to which the music sung was decent enough for an idol otaku like me watching, but for most of the movie I was paying more attention to the plot, becuase I was worried if I missed anything I might get totally lost. So if there was any good music, I probably missed it.

Of course, the movie is an 18, and the theme of rape was present, and indeed a pivotal point in the story. So there was the nudity and the rape themes. So the fact that this is an animated movie really paid off there, because I'm sure Japanese censorship laws would have been slightly less forgiving if this was a live action movie, also some of the special effects work really well as animation - cheaper too. But even so, keep in mind that if you plan to watch this movie this halloween, it's not a family movie. You probably shouldn't watch it with your kids or your little sister.

Be sure to chime in again for the next part in the series. It's drawing to a close. We've only two more nights to go, and to be honest with you, I've no idea what I will be watching. However, until next time, goodnight.


Alita said...

Perfect blue is one of my favorite animated movies. The first time I watched it ended late at night and I then sat there for probably 30 minutes trying to make complete sense of which parts had really happened and which were fantasy.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Powered by Blogger