Perfect Blue is an OVA (original video animation) from the Japanese studio Palm Pictures. It was released in 1997 and was supposed to be a live action, direct to video series, but plans were altered after the Kobe earthquake severely damaged the studio. The movie was then turned into the OVA that it is and was promoted excessively throughout the world.
“The color of illusion is Perfect Blue”. This Japanese tagline suits this movie. The movie centers around Mima Kirigoe. She is a pop singer in a band called CHAM!. She is sick of her life in the pop world and decides to make a career change. Like many singers do, she heads into the acting arena. Her first movie is called “Double Blind”, and in it she plays a very different person than she always had on stage. Her fans are upset at the change and are not hesitant in letting her know about it.
Even worse for Mima, she starts receiving threatening letters from a stalker that calls themselves “Me-Mania”. Upset, Mima turns to the internet and finds a website that has been named “Mima’s Room” which is a website that shares intimate details about her life that she supposedly wrote. Mima seems more upset about this than about her fan’s reaction to her changing career. In an effort to further that career, Mima agrees to take a larger role, but to do so she must act in a rape scene. Mima is uncomfortable with this, but accepts.
The rape scene bothers Mima so much that she starts having delusions, and becomes unable to separate what is in her mind with what is real. Things take a bad turn when people end up dead. Unfortunately for Mima, it is the same people that talked her into doing the rape scene, so the police start looking at her as a possible suspect. Things start getting sticky for Mima as people she knows start to turn on her. Nobody is who they appear to be.
When the film went to the Fantasia Festival in Montreal and the Fantasporto Film Festival in Portugal, it won numerous awards. The American critics were not so enthused about the film. Some vocalized that they wished it would have been live-action, and it did, in fact, become a live-action movie in 2002. Some of the names and plot are changed, slightly, but the live version stays true to the original story and incorporates quite a few of the shots from the animated version.
In a weird piece of information, Madonna used clips from Perfect Blue in the remixed version of her song “What It Feels Like For a Girl”. The clips and video were played during an interlude when she was on the Drowned World Tour in 2001.
Perfect Blue falls into an anime category that is much smaller than most anime categories. Perfect Blue is an anime thriller. Often these movies are made into live-action movies, but putting this specific story into an anime makes sense and is pulled off beautifully.