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Perfect Blue

excuse me...who are you? 

Year: 1999 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Satoshi Kon 
Starring: Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji (Voices)  
An image from Perfect Blue

Mima Kirigoe, a young aspiring entertainer, has been part of J-pop idol group CHAM! for two years, enjoying modest success and devoted fans. At one concert, to the confusion of the fans, she announces that going forward she will be leaving CHAM! and pursing an acting career. Along with her manager, Mima is determined to forge a new path in the world and become a TV star, landing a role in a mature crime drama.

However, things turn out not to be so simple, and she finds her past image as a pure and innocent idol at odds with her new, risqué acting career. Mima is haunted by obsessed fans, her abandoned identity as an idol, CHAM!’s success without her, and demanding exhibitionism as an actress. Her world becomes more and more disoriented, as reality and fiction coalesce in terrifying and violent ways.

Satoshi Kon’s debut film, Perfect Blue, takes us on Mima’s psychological journey as she discovers the difficulties of self-transformation and stardom. Already, Kon’s signature style is here: detailed backgrounds, expressive use of colour, surreal sequences, and mind-boggling transitions. Perfect Blue is a visually striking exploration of identity and an exposé on the exploitative practises in the entertainment industry. The horrific and grotesque animal that is one’s past, the dangers of those who wish to stop you from changing, and also of those who are all too willing to take advantage of you as you do.

Tom Leigh


Based on Yoshikazu Takeuchi’s 1991 manga novel, and directed by Satoshi Kon (the maker of Roujin Z, a rather peculiar anime film about a computerised hospital bed that runs amok), this is the story of Mima Kirigoe, a 21-year-old teen pop idol.

Quitting the pink-stocking-clad trio she sings with, Mima starts a new career as an actress, her first role that of the sister of a murder victim in the psychological thriller `Double Blind’. Her life begins to disintegrate as, one by one, those involved in the film are brutally murdered. At the same time, every detail of her life is recorded by an alter-ego on an unofficial fan website.

The increasing success of Cham, her former group, coupled with the shaky start to her acting career, causes her fans to desert her, scorning her for leaving the music industry. As her morale plummets, a number of strange events causes her to wonder if she is either directly or indirectly responsible for the murders.

Hearing the news of the murder of one of the photographers who had worked on the film, she subsequently discovers blood-stained clothes in her wardrobe. In addition, her guilty conscience returns (as her former self) to haunt her.

Anime is, perhaps understandably, associated in most people’s minds with Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic Akira, arguably the canonical film of the genre. But Perfect Blue shows another aspect, different still from other examples such as the work of Hayao Miyazaki (Porco Rosso and My Neighbour Totoro).

Marc Remillard

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Screenings of this film:

1999/2000 Autumn Term (35mm)
2021/2022 Autumn Term (digital)