Perfect Blue + Doppelgangers, Alter-Egos and Doubles

So I finally watched Perfect Blue with my roommate, and it was interesting! I had read a quick synopsis about the film before watching, so I knew it would relate to the D&D class in some way — being about idols and fame, but I didn’t think it would connect so closely to the course!

Warning: There are two rape scenes (both a fake one and an attempted real one — either way, they are disturbing), and graphic dead bodies/murders, so if you ever do watch it, be aware of those.

One thing I’d like to mention before diving into the film itself is the front cover. I think it represents the themes of the film beautifully, as it shows the main protagonist, Mima, laying on various objects strongly coated with blue. At first glance, I assumed she had tattoos or drawings on her chest and shoulders, until I realized that those were not markings on her skin, but rather the items resting below her — Mima was transparent. I think this is supposed to show how Mima’s identity is gradually being lost, fading into the pile of random items under her; as her famous persona gets thrown around, her identity becomes an object that people can toss around and control for their own personal gains. You could say that this is a visual representation of her objectification as an idol.

As for the film itself, there is so much double, doppelganger, and alter-ego imagery. These are only a few out of the many memorable shots in this film.

See the source image
https://66.media.tumblr.com/4b3f2a5e78fff31a21ff8e82ffe4e149/tumblr_olrhn1382p1w05w8zo1_500.gif
See the source image
https://gph.is/g/4MWjj0W
Best Perfect Blue Anime GIFs | Gfycat
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/33/28/12/3328126fcc2943bd96075bbf04bda509.gif

Perfect Blue is essentially a horror story of a woman losing her identity to the media as she transitions from a pop idol to an acting career. There are strange murders going on as well as a fan stalking her as she tries to move on from her past life, and that’s basically the plot.

The entire thing reminds me of Leo Braudy’s whole quote of the divided selves and fame, especially with the “mercy of the storytellers” sentence. Mima really is at the mercy of her storytellers here, as they don’t see her as a human being with her own wants and desires, but rather a piece of entertainment that is meant to satisfy them (objectification). Her audience only see Mima as what they want to see, which is idol Mima, not the present one we follow. So even if she wants to start a change in her identity and career, her fans won’t let her, as she really has no power over what the media says about her.

I’m going to talk about the three different identities and alter-egos of Mima: the protagonist, Rumi, and Me-Mania.

We mainly follow the protagonist, the one who is clearly having a hard time while the other two mess with her — they are essentially the same person but also not, and I’ll explain why. Mima’s idol persona is essentially up for grabs when she leaves it behind to start her career as an actress, and this very persona is taken by two people, Rumi and Me-Mania. However, they use it in different ways. Rumi uses it in order to project herself as the star she used to be. So when the protagonist sheds off the idol persona, Rumi “wears” what’s left of it in order to relive the fame and love she once had in her former golden years. Me-Mania is an obsessive, stalker fan of Mima, and so when she drops the cutesy, idol image to pursue a more adult career, he’s enraged. Since he relentlessly stalks her, he is able to act as “Mima” online and pretend to be her, posting her daily work and activities. Essentially, both Rumi and Me-Mania are trying to preserve the abandoned shell of an identity that is idol Mima, but the protagonist‘s new career choices are demolishing that innocent, youthful persona by playing sex roles and doing nude photoshoots. You have two different people fighting over the same idol persona but with different perceptions and uses of that being. The more the main protagonist tries to separate herself from her old career, the less control she has of it.

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