Perfect Blue  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Perfect Blue is a 1997 Japanese animated psychological horror film directed by Satoshi Kon and written by Sadayuki Murai. It is based on the novel Template:Nihongo by Yoshikazu Takeuchi.

The film follows Mima Kirigoe, the member of a Japanese idol group who retires from music to pursue an acting career. As she becomes a victim of stalking, she starts to lose her perception of reality and fiction. Like much of Kon's later work, such as Paprika, the film deals with the blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality in contemporary Japan.


Mima Kirigoe, the lead singer of the fictional J-pop idol group "CHAM!", decides to leave the group to become an actress, believing that the idol group life is a dead end job. Her first project is a crime drama series, Double Bind. Some of her fans are upset by her change in career, including a stalker known as "Me-Mania". Shortly after leaving CHAM!, Mima receives an anonymous fax calling her a traitor. She also finds a website called "Mima's Room", which features public diary entries that seem to be written by her that discuss her life in great detail. She brings the site to the attention of her manager, ex-pop star Rumi Hidaka, but is advised to ignore it.

On the set of Double Bind, Mima succeeds in getting a larger part. However, the producers decide to cast her as a rape victim in a strip club. Rumi warns Mima that it will damage her reputation, but Mima accepts the part, wanting to be taken more seriously as an actress. The scene traumatizes Mima (as well as Rumi, who leaves the production control room crying). Mima increasingly becomes unable to distinguish reality from her work in show business.

Several people involved in creating Double Bind, including the show's writer and photographer, are found murdered. Mima finds evidence that makes her a suspect in those murders, based on entries on the Mima's Room website, and her increasing mental instability makes her doubt her own innocence. Meanwhile, Me-Mania is constantly shown standing amongst the Double Bind filming crew, and his obsessive home life is revealed when he is shown receiving emails from Mima's pop idol persona through the Mima's Room website. It is at this point that reality starts breaking down for the viewer as well: in one scene, Mima is revealed by a police psychiatrist to be the split personality delusion of a woman named Yoko Takakura, only for the Double Bind camera crew to yell "Cut"; in another, Me-Mania finally confronts and attempts to rape Mima, stopped only when Mima knocks him unconscious with a hammer; this too is hinted as being part of a Double Bind film shoot. Rumi finds Mima backstage immediately afterward, and Me-Mania's blood and body are not found on the now-empty set.

Rumi offers to drive Mima home. Upon arriving, Mima tries to place a call, but stops upon realizing that she is actually in a room decorated to resemble her own pop idol apartment at the beginning of the film. When Mima encounters Rumi, however, her manager is wearing a replica of Mima's CHAM! costume and fully believing, in a psychotic break, that she is Mima herself. Rumi is in fact the false diarist of Mima's Room, who believes she is the "real Mima". Rumi is angry that Mima—who has been suffering from folie à deux throughout the film—has been ruining the "real Mima's" reputation, and decides to save "Mima's" pristine pop idol image by murdering the original, who she believes is an imposter. Mima manages to incapacitate Rumi in self-defense after a chase through the city despite being wounded herself, then saves Rumi from an oncoming truck. Severely wounded and fully delirious, Rumi mistakes the truck's headlights for stage lights. Both parties collapse as the truck's occupants call for an ambulance.

Mima, now an accomplished actress, shows up at a mental institution to visit Rumi, who, believing the flowers Mima leaves for her are from her adoring fans, seems to now permanently exist in her "Mima" delusion. As Mima leaves, she overhears the nursing staff believing that she is a Mima imposter, as she would have no reason to visit an institution. Mima enters her car and, looking into the rear view mirror, declares "I'm the real thing" and smiles.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Perfect Blue" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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