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Perfect Blue: 10 Things You Never Knew About This Haunting Anime Movie

The anime film industry has been one of the most influential in getting mainstream attention to the manga and anime medium, often providing popular exposure to other countries to expand its fan base. The 1988 film, Akira, arguably put anime on the map as a legitimate film making option and popularized the animated film genre all over the world.

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In 1997, Perfect Blue was released and anime was cemented throughout the world as more than just a cartoon for children, which has allowed for the growth of powerhouse studios like Studio Ghibli to gain traction on a global scale. Directed by Satoshi Kon, the mastermind behind other works such as Paprika and Paranoia Agent, his breakout film holds its own to this day as one of the best thrillers of all time. Here are 10 facts you didn’t know about the movie.

10 It Has Influenced Several Hollywood Films

Big budget Hollywood films are always influenced by other media, from TV shows to novels and everything in between, Kon’s work has had such an impact on a few in particular that it’s hard not to notice. Perfect Blue, for example, is eerily similar to the spectacular Darren Aronofsky drama, Black Swan, with many plot points and character developments playing beat for beat in the same way as Perfect Blue. 

This isn’t the only connection that can be made, as Christopher Nolan’s Inception draws heavy inspiration from one of Kon’s other films, Paprika, the story of a woman who enters her patient’s dreams to influence them in the real world.

9 A Scene From Perfect Blue Was Remade For Requiem for a Dream

It’s no secret that Darren Aronofsky is a huge fan of Satoshi Kon’s work, and he went above and beyond to prove it to the world. In his 2000 film, Requiem for a Dream, there is a scene where Marion sits face down in a bathtub and screams into the water in distress, being eerily still and calm beforehand.

This is a shot for shot remake of the bathtub scene in Perfect Blue, where Mima breaks down following the release of images on her stalker’s website, Mima’s Room. Aronofsky purchased the American filming rights to Perfect Blue just so he could use that scene, although one could argue that he took advantage of those rights for the script and filming of Black Swan as well.

8 The Dance Choreography Is Purposefully Out Of Synch

In the opening credits, a scene plays out of Mima performing on stage with her J-pop group, CHAM!, as her stalker looks on ominously throughout her performance, holding his hand out to make it appear that Mima is dancing in his hands. The performance in question is strange for an animated piece, in that the dancers are all slightly out of synch in their choreography.

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This was done on purpose to give the illusion of reality for the scene, as no matter how good a dance group’s performance is, they will never be truly in time with one another. This also reflects on the rest of the film, as Mima isn’t on the same page as her band-mates, who go on to find greater success as a duo than they ever did with Mima involved.

7 Based On A Novel

Unknown to many fans of Kon’s film, Perfect Blue was originally a novel by Yoshikazu Takeuchi, released in 1991 as Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis. Despite the story being used by Kon for his film, the novel wasn’t translated into English until 2018.

The novel itself has middling reviews, as much of the story focuses on Mima’s increasingly psychotic fandom rather than her mental breakdown and questioning of her own reality, though for a novel written nearly 30 years ago, the story is still topical in today’s world.

6 Much Of The Story Was Original

When Satoshi Kon penned the script for Perfect Blue, he only went on the basic premise of the story and used the same character’s names. What came out of it was a much deeper look into the character of Mima, focusing on the breakdown of her reality while her stalker takes a backseat as a catalyst for her mental state, rather than a real threat.

While Uchida does eventually make his move on her, his part in the story is heavily reduced to a few key scenes that reflect on Mima’s fan base as a whole, who don’t want her to let go of her good-girl image.

5 It Was Originally Going To Be Live-Action

When the film was first being produced, the original idea was for it to be a live-action retelling of Takeuchi’s novel. In 1995, an earthquake ripped through Kobe, the production house, and the studio they were going to film in. As a result, the production was halted indefinitely and the budget was cut dramatically to cover the costs of repairs, which left only enough money to create a shorter version of the story in animated form.

RELATED: 10 Mystery Anime To Watch If You Like Paranoia Agent

One could argue that the disaster was a blessing in disguise for Perfect Blue, as the subsequent live-action attempt didn’t go as well as it would have liked.

4 The Live-Action Version Was Eventually Made

In 2002, a second attempt was made to bring the story of Mima to a live-action setting, with very mixed and poor reviews.

Focusing on a more faithful recreation of the original novel, the end result was a poor representation of the original animated story and many found the live-action film to be downright boring in comparison.

3 Katsuhiro Otomo Was Credited To Help Sell The Film

While his name may not ring any bells by itself, he is better known to the world as the creator of the manga and anime masterpiece, Akira. Credited as “Special Supervisor,” his name being attached to the film helped it gain traction in its release when it otherwise might have fallen into obscurity.

Perfect Blue may not have become one of the best anime films of all time if it wasn’t for Katsuhiro Otomo being attached to the project, even if it was only in name.

2 Inside References

The pizza box with the brand “Big Body” is a reference to a 1993 album by the band P-Model, whose members include Susumu Hirasawa, the composer for Perfect Blue. Hirasawa also composed music for some of Kon’s other work, including Millenium Actress and Paranoia Agent.

There are several other references to Hirasawa throughout the film, including the ad for “Haldyn Hotel” and shopping bags with the letters “FGG,” both of which are the titles of songs written by Hirasawa.

1 Unintentional Period Piece

While the idea of a 20-something-year-old not knowing how to use a computer seems completely outside the realm of possibilities in today’s world, at the time of the film’s release it was totally plausible. At the beginning of the film, when Mima decides she wants to connect to her online fandom, she needs to be taught how to use her computer and the internet, which eventually leads to her finding the fan site Mima’s Room.

Anyone watching the film nowadays would think it absurd that she hadn’t learned this basic skill before then.

NEXT: Paranoia Agent: The 10 Smartest Characters Ranked

Perfect Blue was a defining movie for anime films. Here are 10 facts you never knew about the haunting movie.

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