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[whitespace] 'Perfect Blue'
Pink Lady Goes Blue: Fans of Japanimation may want to sample director Satoshi Kon's 'Perfect Blue.'

Anime Blues It

Even a surreal plot turn can't save Japanese anime 'Perfect Blue'

By Richard von Busack

INEVITABLY, Perfect Blue is neither blue nor perfect. This badly dubbed Japanese anime tells what at first seems to be the straightforward story of Mima, a girl-group "pop idol" who retires to become an actress on a soap opera titled Double Bind. This career switch involves many compulsory nudity and rape scenes for the poor virginal girl, scenes that the script deplores and the camera laps up. Meanwhile, a disappointed fan of Mima's group turns loco and begins stalking the actress over the Internet and at public appearances. The maniac's bulging eyes and huge forehead (it's like a drive-in movie screen, as Matt Dillon put it in There's Something About Mary) suggest that the actress is being harassed by a psychotic Beluga whale. This madman quickly wins the sympathy of viewers who may decide that Mima is far too terrific a birdbrain to be allowed to live.

After 45 minutes, the film can be recommended only for the craftsmanship with which the animators have computer-scanned photos of Tokyo. But then the second half of the film veers into the surreal. It turns out that the story we've already taken in may consist of nothing more than delusions and dreams within dreams within dreams. For this apropos-of-nothing changeover, the film earns a few points, but the eventual haywire quality of the story (dream? reality? who cares?) doesn't raise Perfect Blue above the level of the worst of the animes.

Perfect Blue (R; 80 min.), directed by Satoshi Kon and written by Sadayuki Murai, opens Friday at the Towne Theater in San Jose.

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From the October 14-20, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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