Perfect Blue



Popular anime is mature/violent, despite sunny art style.
  • Review Date: March 25, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


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.


The f-word (in various permutations), the s-word, "asshole," "bastard," "damn," "slut."


A briefly seen group of TV superheroes are clearly Power Ranger clones.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated thriller may look like a Sailor Moon episode, but it has serious violence and death, with the 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 the F-word but isn't constant.

What's the story?

In a plot-twisting chiller no less grisly for being rendered as a Japanese cartoon, winsome young singer-dancer Mima leaves the bouncy band Cham to strike out on her own as an actress. This career switch displeases some of Tokyo's more Mima-crazed fans. Mima's manager shows her a new thing called the World Wide Web (Mima's total Internet cluelessness is pretty funny; remember the movie is from the mid-1990s), with an instant homepage for Mima's blog entries. While Mima struggles through her first film role, a thankless bit in a cop thriller, she starts receiving dangerous threats, and entries on the blog site turn extremely personal and uncomfortable -- and Mima can't remember writing them. People get murdered around her, and bewildered Mima wonders if she is really herself at all, or her character in the movie, or an abandoned career path, in danger of termination.

Is it any good?


PERFECT BLUE 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; 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the twists in the storyline. Did you see the surprises coming?

  • Does Mima remind you of any real-life troubled pop-starlets/actresses in the headlines?

  • Do you think this is more effective as a cartoon than it would have been in live-action?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 28, 1998
DVD release date:May 2, 2000
Cast:Junko Iwao, Rica Matsumoto, Shinpachi Tsuji
Director:Satoshi Kon
Studio:Manga Video
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:animated sequences of violence and nudity and for brief language

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byggglly February 25, 2012

Gorgeous Anime Not Meant For Kids

Not for younger teens and especially not for kids. The plot is interesting and dark, but more suitable for an older audience thin 16+ or mature 15 year olds. Mature teens and adults will appreciate the dark story and potentially be at the edge of their seat from the suspense.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex


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