Sadayuki Murai

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Perfect Blue Review


Grim
If it were somehow easier to translate Japanese into English without losing so much essential meaning and depth, anime style films would surely be more entertaining and maybe even accepted by mainstream American audiences. This unique style of animation is fun to watch, especially when it's in the context of a sadistic story such as Perfect Blue. The exaggerated features and expressions along with the mess of blood and gore seem perfectly suited for the larger-than-life anime style. Unfortunately, Perfect Blue is nothing more than visually exhilarating, and the reason is that too much is lost in the dubbing from its original format.

Directed by Satoshi Kon, Perfect Blue is the story of 21-year-old pop star Mima Kirigoe, who is the lead singer in the all-girl band Cham. Heeding advice from her agent to get out of the business before her fame runs out, she decides to become an actress. Like many of the instant pop celebrities before her, Mima finds it hard to be taken seriously and is forced to change her image in order to be cast in larger roles. In her first big feature she plays a stripper who is raped and sets off on a wild killing spree. A disturbed fan, who also runs her Web site, refuses to accept that his favorite pop star is changing her persona and is obsessed with keeping Mima the innocent young starlet that he has fallen in love with. After several of the people associated with casting her in smutty roles are murdered, Mima becomes plagued with disturbing hallucinations and is stalked by the deranged Webmaster who somehow knows too many details of her personal life. Mima eventually can no longer discern fantasy from reality and becomes paralyzed by her inability to associate the events around her with increasingly disturbing visions.

Continue reading: Perfect Blue Review

Millennium Actress Review


OK
Anime has never exactly been known for presenting cohesive, logical stories. Millennium Actress, from the director of the controversial and much-maligned Perfect Blue, is exactly what we expect -- sans the robots and characters with blue hair. The story is something Jessica Tandy might have made in live action, about an elderly, retired, and reclusive actress who relives her past after a documentary crew comes calling. It seems that have discovered the key -- a real, brass key -- to unlocking the secrets of her past, which takes them right into her earlier movies, whether she's a medieval geisha or a space traveler, a teen or a middle-aged woman. Reality and fiction blend into one mysterious movie that fails in one critical component: We are never made to care about the main character.

Continue reading: Millennium Actress Review

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