Perfect Blue (1997) is an anime film that is as haunting as it is real. The film is along the lines of what a piece made by David Lynch and Disney would portray. Perfect Blue explores the world of Mima; a pop singer turned actress and her struggle with her public persona.
Mima's success in music has gained her a decent following on the surface, but upon closer inspection, there lies a needle in the haystack: a stalker. Her stalker, Uchida, cannot stand to see that she is making career moves because they do not fit his image of her. Mima becomes oversexualized by the acting community she is surrounded by, and even she cannot stand to see what she has become.
Uchida responds to this with violent attempts on her person, as well as those around her. These are moments in the movie that exposes the reality of being a star, and the struggle some may have in separating the persona from the person.
Mima begins to descend into episodes of disassociation, where the pressure of her stalker mixes with her struggle to make a new life as an actor leaves her vulnerable to being unable to separate reality from a nightmare.
The film does a great job of achieving the feeling of disassociation, as there are many times the audience questions where the line of reality versus nightmare was drawn. This separation between reality and terror is what makes Perfect Blue succeed as a horror film, even 21 years later as Uchida’s story is relatable in today’s society.
Most people nowadays have some sort of presence on social media, often times with large followings. Social media users become mini celebrities in a sense, and the fear of not meeting up to one's public perception is something that seems eerily realistic in the 21st century. As one’s following grows, there is an increased possibilities of stalking online as well.
Nonetheless, horror fans and anime lovers alike are likely to find a place in their heart for Satoshi Kon's beautiful yet realistically terrifying depiction of stardom, and the psychological baggage brought with it.