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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
What there is of a lesson is the downside of fame and exploitation. Along the way, Mima learns to get a grasp on her sense of identity as a music/movie superstar, via threats of death.
Positive Role Models
Perhaps in keeping with her own shifting uncertainty and possible madness, Mima is extremely childlike and seemingly weak, though she ultimately fights back against her tormentors and even rescues one of them from certain death. Not a very positive view of people who aren't super-skinny.
Violence & Scariness
Gruesome murders and attacks emphasize knives and stilettoes, with eyes stabbed/gouged out. A beating, with blood drawn. Falls and near-deaths from road accidents. A character left bloody by a letter bomb. Mima cuts herself on broken glass to see if she's real or not.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mima is bare-breasted in an attack that rips her shirt open. She's also topless in a photo shoot/magazine layout. A model's corpse (in a TV drama) is wearing only shoes, panties, and blood.
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The f-word (in various permutations), the s-word, "asshole," "bastard," "damn," "slut."
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Products & Purchases
A briefly seen group of TV superheroes are clearly Power Ranger clones.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Perfect Blue is an animated thriller with serious violence and death, including recurring images of stabbing victims with their eyes gouged out. The girlish heroine strips down to panties for a sexy photo shoot and is also semi-topless during a maniac attack. Swearing (in the English-dubbed version) includes "f--k" but isn't constant. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is one of the better-known (in the West) adult Japanese animated features; don't be fooled by the stylistic resemblance to Laputa or Steamboy, though -- this is altogether nastier stuff. No talking-animal sidekicks, no cute robots -- although the filmmakers slyly use the brightly colored "shojo" cartoon imagery and "J-pop" tunes in a few masterfully weird suspense scenes, such as when Mima is threatened by a hallucinatory (?) alternative version of herself as a prancing, fairylike sprite.
The tricky plot challenges viewers to think what is real and what is imaginary or artifice, rather like A Nightmare on Elm Street, though not all of the storyline seems entirely explicable by the conclusion. It's not unlike many "slasher"-type movies done in Italy in the 1960s and '70s, now with cult followings, that prioritized delirious cinematography, gore, girls, and surreal atmosphere (and badly dubbed dialogue) ahead of logic. Those weren't for kids, and, though it goes lighter on the sex/drugs, neither is this.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.