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This Japanese animated film almost lost me within the first five minutes. Pop Idol girls struggling with the breakup of their girl group, and with overenthusiastically devoted fans? Fortunately sufficient seeds were planted to suggest that something interesting could follow. One of those fans looks a bit creepy (don’t judge a book by its cover, unless you are watching an animated Japanese film…), the hero of the story seems eager enough to leave all the manufactured pop star system behind her and turn to acting. This is something not appreciated by some of her supporters and her management, and so things start going awry.

It is fascinating to watch. The film manages to intertwine several levels of reality, dream, imagination and paranoia, preventing the audience from being sure whether how close what’s on the screen is to reality. It conjurs memories of all different themes from all kinds of film and literature heritage (“Misery” and “Shutter Island” I was thinking of occasionally), and if you have any ideas about animated films targeting children by principle, the film’s depictions of violence and nudity will cure you of that. It is a thriller proper, and reminded me that there are not enough adult-oriented animated movies around, combining adult themes with mature and complex story-telling.


  1. It was good, but it didn’t wow me. Agree it’s mainly suitable for grown ups. The scene I can’t erase from my mind is the filmed rape for the tv-show, in the club, which is uncomfortable viewing. Never expected to see that in an animated film.

    Did you know Black Swan is comparable? (Darren Aronofsky bought the rights to Perfect Blue), and also Inland Empire (2006), you can see a visual comparison here:

  2. ah, Black Swan is an interesting parallel, I did not think of that, but now that you mention it, it seems plausible. AND you remind me that Inland Empire is sitting on my shelf for the better part of 5 years now, waiting for the right moment…

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