Though Perfect Blue may seem like it’s having a bit too much fun with its exploitation and anime-market-driven subject material, it also gives a dark-coated thematic mirror to Mima’s doomed path to adulthood and the troubles media can give to young celebrities. Its hyper-violent attitude and unnerving animation may prove slow to get used to, but this approach to genre-bending by way of animation makes Kon’s creation a unique entry to J-horror.
Kon goes for a flat, flimsy look, reducing background figures to faceless cut-outs, but dropping in jolts of visual complexity, quoting pop and manga images as manufactured product. At one point an excessively baroque flash of manga art – a generic big-eyed space girl – invades the screen, looking much more three-dimensional than the film’s real world. The execution becomes a complex metaphor for Mima’s reality, in which the everyday becomes a colour-drained place of exile from the pop universe.