Perfect Blue -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Audio Rating: A+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: A+
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 83
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Perfect Blue

Perfect Blue

By Edwin De La Cruz     February 16, 2002
Release Date: May 02, 2000

The Review!
At first I had strong reservations against a film like Perfect Blue. I've always loved the suspense films of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and Massimo Dallamano. But when I heard 'Hitchcockian" and "Argento-esque", in describing Perfect Blue, I dismissed the film right away. "How Dare They?" I thought! And, when I saw it on the big screen, I even nodded off a few times. So, upon watching the DVD, I expected the same.
Well, I was wrong. I must have been very tired during that initial screening, because on DVD, I have rediscovered Perfect Blue. It is, well, perfect. Albeit lost in an anime world where girls and guns are commonplace and robots are destined to battle in space, Perfect Blue represents a welcome change from the traditional anime fare to a more serious 'stab' at a psycho-thriller, a genre seldom seen in anime. And Perfect Blue accomplishes this very well. Very good pacing (in only 83 mins!) effective camera angles, shocking twists bordering on insanity and underlying social commentaries on Japan's entertainment industry make Perfect Blue a contender for one of the best thrillers of the 90's. In terms of the animation quality, don't expect the levels reached in "Akira" or "Spriggan," because you won't get it. It is clear the producers of the film seem to have set their minds on making an effective animated thriller by sacrificing the oft-seen anime 'eye-candy' style of say, "X" for a great thriller. Lastly, most anime fans know and love J-pop, but the film gives the average viewer a rare glimpse at the pop idol phenomenon in Japan, where the singles charts move faster than one can say 'Sporty Spice'.

Manga has produced an excellent edition of "Perfect Blue" on DVD. The film boasts a beautiful letterboxed image, in its 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Most importantly it is free of any signs of pixelation artifacts, results from a high-bit compression rate. Three audio tracks are included: a simple English 2.0 stereo mix, and two very good 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes in Japanese and English. Although most anime fans will choose the Japanese soundtrack, I chose to see the film dubbed in English, so I could concentrate on the images. I will admit that the Japanese track adds an extra punch to the overall soundtrack of the film, especially during the suspenseful scenes. The English dubbed version was very good. Purists will be glad to find optional English subtitles included as well as a decent amount of extras, all conveniently located on the "Mima's Room" option on the animated menu. Once there, Mima's Room (designed to look like Mima's fan website, as seen in the film!) contains some great stuff: Interviews with the Director, Satoshi Kon and Japanese and English (Wendy Lee fans rejoice!) voice talent, an image gallery, links to Manga's website, and best of all, behind the scenes footage of the real life Cham (or those who sang their songs in the film) girls in the recording studio. The packaging states a theatrical trailer is included, but I could not find it. I searched everywhere. Alas, it might turn out as an Easter Egg. I wouldn't use this disc as a demo to show off the power of DVD and Dolby Digital, instead, I'd show off the film as a fine example how multi-faceted anime sometimes can be.

Review Equipment
Sony 32" Trinitron TV, Sony DVP S330 DVD Player, Technics SAX-730 Receiver, Technics SHC-500D Dolby Digital/DTS Processor. Cambridge Soundworks Front and Surround Speakers, Yamaha Center Channel Speaker. JBL PSW 112 Powered Subwoofer.


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