Perfect Blue

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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"Excuse me. Who are you?"

Mima is an Idol Singer who decides it's time to branch out into a more serious career as an actress, eventually landing a role in a sexually charged murder mystery series.

Soon afterward, she discovers an internet blog that claims to be a diary of her life written by Mima herself, yet she has no memory of writing it. But the details in it are far too accurate for it to be a hoax.

Is it a Stalker with a Crush? Does Mima have a Split Personality? Or is it something far, far worse?

Insanity ensues.

The film debut of director Satoshi Kon, who would go on to produce other work investigating the boundary between the real and the imaginary such as Paprika, Paranoia Agent and Millennium Actress.

Tropes used in Perfect Blue include:
  • Acting in the Dark: What the director of Double Bind does to his actors, making the parallels between the Mima and the character she plays in the movie even creepier as both start to suspect they are the killer.
  • Animated Adaptation: Adapted from a novel.
  • Asshole Victim: Arguably one or two of them.
  • Attempted Rape: Near the end of the film the stalker Me-Mania attempts to rape and kill Mima but she knocks him out by slamming a hammer into the side of his head.
  • Author Appeal: In-universe - it's suggested that the seedier aspects of Double Bind are done largely so the screenwriter can indulge his own perverted fantasies.
  • Ax Crazy: Me-Mania, Mima at one point and Rumi.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When Mima poses for nude photos, her pubic hair is shown and the cleft of the vulva is very briefly visible.
  • Bland-Name Product: features a "Niken" camera early on, only to show a "Nikon F4" camera later on. A bit of Fridge Brilliance, when you realize that they were using the "Niken" on the set of "Double Bind," while the "Nikon f4" was the photographer's personal camera.
  • Break the Cutie: And how.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mention early on that Rumi was a former idol singer herself.
  • Contractual Purity: In-universe example, which has some horrible consequences.
  • Cuckoo Nest: One of the hallucinations indicates that Mima's Detective Drama character is the real person, and her "Mima" identity was fabricated as a coping mechanism to deal with being raped in a strip club (which may or may not have been part of the show she was working on). At least, it was probably a hallucination.
  • Deconstruction: Of Idol Singer.
  • Deranged Animation
  • Detective Drama: Mima's first post-singer role is as a rape victim in one of these.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Me-Mania.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Used multiple times (as well as showing us conversations or scenes that seem like they're really happening, only for a director to yell "cut!" — the main character was just filming a scene in the television show she's in) to ramp up the suspense and paranoia that the main character feels.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: As Mima loses grip on reality, she does this more and more often.
  • Dying Dream: Sometime after a near-death encounter with a truck, Mima speculates that this trope is in play as she doubts that she's really alive.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the end, when visiting Rumi in the mental hospital, we see that Mima's not only a famous actress now, but also seems to be quite well-adjusted.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mima, at least for a good chunk of the movie.
  • Eye Scream: A man gets stabbed in the eye by a supposed pizza delivery guy. Another man is murdered, and later on his body is shown with the eye sockets all bloody and the eyes missing. Me-Mania gets hit in the eye with a hammer. There's basically a sample of this in every murder.
  • Fan Disservice: A good amount. There's the rape scenes, the scenes where Mima is getting photographed naked, Rumi in the CHAM get-up, etc.
  • Foot Focus: The film is littered throughout with numerous closeups of Mima's bare feet, particularly during chase scenes.
  • Freak-Out: Mima, coming home at the end of a particular traumatic day after filming a rape scene, finds her beloved pet fish dead, and loses control for a moment, trashing her apartment. She (as well as Rumi) has numerous moments where she freaks out throughout the rest of the movie.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Mima does this with a teacup at one point.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Rumi in the ending, is seen permanently delusional and institutionalized at a mental hospital.
  • Gonk: Arguably a few characters due to the art style, but most definitely Me-Mania.
  • Groin Attack: One of the murder victims is repeatedly stabbed in the crotch with a screwdriver.
  • Harassing Phone Call: After Mima converts to acting from her pop-idol career, she receives at least one threatening message and phone call each from her stalker Me-Mania.
  • Hey, It's That Voice: In the original Japanese-language version, Hikari Horaki is Mima and Satoshi/Ash Ketchum is Rumi. Oh, and Might Guy is the pornographer that takes naked pictures of Mima.
  • Idol Singer: Mima, Yukiko and Rei, making up the idol group CHAM.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Rumi is like this toward Mima by the end.
  • Improvised Weapon: An umbrella, in this case.
  • Internet Mimic: Rumi posing as Mima.
  • Jump Cut: Faster and faster as Mima loses her grip on reality.
  • Kill the Cutie: Very nearly.
  • Loony Fan: Me-Mania.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: When Mima's Double Bind character is manhandled and raped by a rowdy crowd, the actor playing said rapist quietly stammers out "I'm so sorry" between takes.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In the final confrontation between Mima and her alter ego, both Mima and the audience see the alter ego as the phantom Idol Singer Mima that has been haunting Mima. Only the mirror reflection shows the truth — that it's really Rumi dressed up as Mima.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Non-Napoleon example: Rumi, Mima's manager, increasingly comes to believe that she is Mima.
  • Never Found the Body: Seems to be the case with Me-Mania at first, then subverted pretty hard.
  • Nightmare Face: This is pretty much Me-Mania's default expression.
  • Not Himself: Both Mima and Rumi.
  • Nothing Is Scarier
  • One-Woman Wail: Used in the song 'Virtua Mima'.
  • Opera Gloves: The CHAM costumes have these.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: A repeated narrative device in the movie.
  • Otaku: In this case there's an otaku for Mima.
  • Personal Horror
  • Perverted Drooling: Me-Mania drools while he attmpts to rape Mima.
  • Public Exposure: Mima poses for a photographer who gradually convinces her to undress.
  • Punny Name: "Me-Mania" is "Mimania" is "Mima mania".
  • Psychological Horror
  • Psycho Supporter: Me-Mania.
  • Save the Villain: Mima to Rumi at the end
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Mima's first acting role, two characters in the scene discuss a serial killer who removes his victims' skin because he wants to be a woman. That plot sounds a little familiar.
    • Tadakoro also mentions "Jodie whatshername" in a later conversation about Mima's career. He was specifically referring to The Accused, in which Foster plays a rape victim.
  • Shower of Angst: Mima is shown taking a bath in the middle of the movie after all the shit she goes through.
  • Show Within a Show: Extreme type 4 example, such that at times it's unclear whether what you're watching is happening to Mima or her character (or maybe both).
  • Soft Glass: Averted: Rumi gets a serious cut from leaning through a broken window.
    • Played straight when that window (one in a storefront, no less) was completely shattered in the first place by being hit by an umbrella.
    • Also averted when the photographer is murdered.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: How the hell can they play something as upbeat as "Season" over the end credits of a movie this horrific?
    • The light, happy bubblegum J-pop tune "Ai No Tenshi" underscores the gruesome carnage throughout the movie.
  • Split Personality: Rumi, at least.
    • Your Mileage May Vary on Mima, though.
    • And another disorder related to Schizophrenia, called Folie à deux. The subjective nature of a person's image and how it may differ from that actual person, possibly even taking on a life of its own, is one of the major points of the film.
  • Stalker Shrine: Rumi's room is an exact replica of Mima's room.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Me-Mania.
  • Stepford Smiler: Both Mima (Type A) and Rumi (Type C).
  • Stylistic Suck: The show-within-a-show Double Bind features abundant sex and violence and borrows rather heavily from other well-known psychological thrillers.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Mima, despite having short hair.
  • Tears of Fear: Mima during the rape scene, during her Freak Out moment after returning to her apartment, and as she's running for her life from Rumi.
  • Technology Marches On: Mostly involving computers/the internet.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Satoshi Kon loves this one.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Mima does this while having a bath, underwater.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Mima.
  • The Voiceless: Me-Mania.
  • White Dwarf Starlet: Mima's overweight, middle-aged female manager Rumi was a former pop idol who didn't last and now thinks she's the real Mima.
  • X Meets Y: Walt Disney meets Alfred Hitchcock, according to Roger Corman.
  • You Would Make a Great Model: Happens to Mima's character in Double Bind.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: The CHAM costumes feature this as well.