Satoshi Kon's first movie, Perfect Blue is an intricate psychological thriller that earned him international acclaim. Released in 1997, the film catapulted Kon into the international spotlight — but also cast a shadow over the rest of his career. Kon himself once joked that his job was not "film director" but "Director of Perfect Blue." In this episode, Ian and Joseph unpack its revolutionary editing style and the uncanny series of events that led to its creation.
Perfect Blue tells the story of Mima, a B-tier pop star turned aspiring actress who sheds her innocent idol image for a role on a sleazy murder mystery show. Her career change rouses the ire of an obsessive and violent fan. Still, the greatest threat to Mima's safety may be her own mind as it slowly unravels until neither she nor the audience can tell fantasy from reality.
Originally intended to be the live-action adaptation of a paperback novel, Perfect Blue wound up in Kon's hands nearly by accident. Numerous mishaps, including a catastrophic earthquake, resulted in a cheaper-than-cheap budget but also granted Kon almost total creative control. This situation led directly to the lightning-fast editing style that became his trademark. Often imitated but never bettered, even by Kon himself, it remains a singular gem in the history of anime and cinema in general.