Fathom Events and GKIDS are hooking the USA up with a very special 20th Anniversary screening of Perfect Blue, Satoshi Kon’s hit feature-length anime. Two decades after the provocative thriller hopped over from Japan to mess with heads in American cinemas, it’s returning to do it all again. It will be screened in the original Japanese dub with English subtitles on September 6th, featuring the voice of the infinitely talented Junko Iwao (Cardcaptor Sakura), before being shown dubbed in English on September 10.
Perfect Blue‘s sinister themes of stalking and harassment, the dangers of being female in show business and the trappings of fragile mental health still ring prominently twenty years later. It follows the journey of pop-star-turned-actress Mima Kirigoe, who upon leaving her girl band to pursue the screen discovers that someone out there has taken great displeasure in her new career choice.
After discovering a fake blog account claiming to be her, with frightening accuracy to her personal life, things take a turn for the worst. The body count soon starts to rise and the stalker closes in, creating a hellscape of paranoia and dissociation for Mima (and us!) as reality begins to unravel.
There are some warnings that must be made about the feature, most notably its preoccupation with sexual violence which some viewers may find disturbing. However, Perfect Blue deals with the issues it presents realistically, not voyeuristically. Much of what is frightening and disturbing about it remains well in context and not for the purposes of shock value. Particularly, the use of female bodies as frames for those narrative tactics is arguably criticized, and the very real consequences of the objectification of women are shown throughout.
Perfect Blue is, conclusively, well worth the watch if you can stomach the content. Don’t let the gentle lines and soft colors of the animation fool you — Perfect Blue is as disturbing as it is pretty. You can find out about bookings for a theater near you on the GKIDS website.