“Another Side Of Me” – Perfect Blue (anime) – 10/10 Hotsprings

Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal. ~Bishop Robert South

Genre: Psychological/Horror/Thriller/Mystery

Review Status: Complete (1 Movie/1 Movie)

Licensed: Yes, this anime is licensed in the US.

Art/Animation: This has typical Satoshi Kon character designs, which means it’s more realistic art than

Dub Vs. Sub: I only watched the sub.

Summary: Pop singer Mima Kirigoe looks forward to a bright new career when she quits her chart-topping trio to become an actress. When she lands a role in a sexually-charged murder mystery, Mima’s life begins to fall apart.  Reality and hallucinations merge into a terrifying world where innocence is lost and dreams become nightmares.

Quickly decending into a dangerous state of paranoid delusions, Mima watches as Internet sites appear describing every intimate detail of her life.  She is helpless and afraid as her associates are threatened and killed by a mysterious stalker. (Rightstuf.com)

Review: Self-doubt is common when we make big decisions, and that becomes the lynchpin for this mystery: Mima’s self-doubt about her career and whether she’s doing the right thing. She’s making a big change from pop idol to tv star, and that means she needs to start from scratch. Her music won’t help her, she’s going it alone, and even one of her agents has big doubts about this career move.

Seeing things begin to spiral out of control is one of the best parts about this. Strange faxes and an unusual internet page give her the inklings that something’s wrong, but it isn’t until a letter bomb goes off that she realizes that things are taking a turn for the worse. This slightly dates itself in how it handles the internet  – she doesn’t know how to use one or really how to access a computer – but even with small things like that, it still makes for an interesting story. As in many of Satoshi Kon’s later works, imagination and reality begin to blend into a mind-bending mess, and it’s glorious to behold.

She gains a split-personality, a reflection of herself that wants nothing more than to return to the stage, and goes off happily on her own to do so. The question is whether it was just her imagination, or whether she herself is showing up at events to perform. And then it gets worse, with a series of murders taking down everyone associated with her tv career. She can no longer tell if she’s the one who did them or not, especially when she’s cornered and thought she left her assailent alive… but he’s disappeared. Mima is confused and scared and utterly sympathizeable. She has virtually no one to turn to since she’s living alone in the big city. Her isolation makes a great backdrop as she comes to think that she’s behind everything…. and the realization of what’s going on all the more terrifying.

The revelation probably shouldn’t have been as interesting as it was, but there were few clues and the psychosis that was happening on screen really made it hard to really discern what was reall happening. At the same time, i really drove home how unsure Mima was of herself and how that played into how she was seeing the world. I was impressed with how it was presented and can tell what influenced later works like Paprika. The very ending, though, manages to bring her to a cautious acceptance of what was happening and how comfortable she was with herself, though it’s obvious she’ll have a long way to go after.

Overall, this is one of the best thrillers I’ve seen, very engaging and interesting.

Recommended: 18+. There is murder, some of the deaths onscreen. Thankfully the most gorey parts are offscreen. The amount of blood isn’t over-the-top. There is a rape scene depicted (she shoots it for her new job, it’s not actually rape), but you do see her bare breasts. There is also some partial-to-full nudity when she’s manipulated into taking off her clothes for an unscrupulous photographer – her former singing group decides not to warn her about this. It doesn’t devolve into sex, but several of the photos are very revealing.

Other titles you might enjoy:

Monster (anime and manga)

Paranoia Agent (anime)

Millennium Actress (anime)

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Selvinas
    Jun 17, 2012 @ 14:08:12

    Sounds good. Been looking for something oldschool and realistic like this!

    Reply

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