In 1999, Satoshi Kon released his first feature, Perfect Blue, into U.S. theaters. The film would mark the beginning of an illustrious yet tragically short career of animated films that tapped into societal obsession and isolation, themes that still resonate today. Kon’s work, especially Perfect Blue, dove into what it means to have two personalities: one presented to the public and the “real” self.
Released at the cusp of widespread Internet usage, Perfect Blue anticipated how the online space would be used to manipulate and scare people, especially through stalking. Kon also addressed growing concerns around otaku, or young people who are obsessed with some aspect of pop culture, and how their obsessions could only be fueled by the access granted by the Internet. In 2019, Kon’s film is more relevant than ever: every celebrity’s action is scrutinized, women with an online presence are thought of as commodities, and everyone has two personalities to juggle day in and day out.
Perfect Blue follows Mima as she transitions from pop star idol to serious actress. She began her career in the girl group, CHAM, where she attracts the attention of thousands of male fans. But when she leaves the group to pursue a new line of work, those men grow angry. They dissect her acting jobs and chastise her choices. The angriest of all is her stalker, Me-Mania, a repulsive character whose room is plastered with photos of Mima. He creates a blog called Mima’s Room where he pretends to be writing posts by the young woman. Mima, having just received a computer, is learning how to operate the Internet and stumbles upon this site. As soon as she begins reading Mima’s Room — paired with her new role on the crime show Double Bind — her grip on what is real and what isn’t slips away.
Read More – The gut-wrenching predictions of Satoshi Kon’s masterpiece Perfect Blue came true – Polygon