… …
Perfect Blue explained | Seriously, read this

Like Perfect Blue (1997)?

Join our movie club to get similar movie recommendations and stories delivered to your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We hate bad email too, so we don’t send it or share your email with anyone.

Reader Interactions


  1. An excellent explanation, probably the best I have read of any movie

    • agreed

  2. I wandered around the Internet for different theories and I have to say this was the most detailed one that made sense!!!

  3. Wow, that was the best explanation of the movie. I really felt jay dropping moments during your explanation.
    Thanks for this

    • Thanks, Shaurin! What moments stood out to you the most?

  4. agreed

  5. Thank you so much for this!! 😀

  6. Thank you for the explanation, it was a great read

  7. this is one of the most detailed analyzations i’ve ever read. thank you for publishing this, i was desperately looking for an explanation to the movie and i finally understand the entirety of it now. THANK YOU!

  8. Nothing less than absolute gratitude for your insightful analysis of this film. Very well written and articulate thesis.

  9. I love this explanation. I’m always back and forth as to what I believe regarding the ending, because of the character Me-Mania’s name literally being “me mania.” I thought his character was actually completely imagined at times, Mima’s or Rumi’s mania personified.

  10. I’ve been curious about Rumi’s motivations, so this was really helpful! However, I do wish you would have talked about the symbolism of color in the movie, specifically red/blue, as I’m still piecing that out myself. That being said, I notice you seem to want to stick to canon material, so I can understand why you’d leave that out.

  11. Just wow
    Really wrapped up the whole movie

  12. One character who I wish would be explored more is Tadokoro. This agent of Mima’s is interesting in his ambivalent enthusiasm for making Mima into a “serious” actress, yet he sits there visibly cringing as he watches the fake r*pe scene with Mima unfold, and later offers to take the girl out to dinner for her hard work, which is more of an apology for what he knows he just put her through. He loves Mima as a friend and as an artist, and a part of him knows that he just put her through hell, failing to protect her.
    You mention Mexican-American artist Selena becoming more collaborative with a male friend who her female agent, Yolanda, got jealous of. This again mirrors Perfect Blue in that Mima favours Tadokoro’s advice over Rumi’s, and begins to push Rumi aside in a grasp for independence, something that Rumi cannot stand. Tadokoro is in many ways Mima’s protector and guardian, and thus also a barrier to Rumi’s becoming of Mima, as he often treats Rumi like an annoying third wheel who should move on to other projects not involving Mima. It is Tadokoro who points out in the film (the only character who does) that he knows about Rumi’s past as a pop idol who failed to stay relevant in the 1980s. Tadokoro knows who Rumi used to be, and that drives Rumi nuts because Rumi wants to be Mima.
    Tadokoro serves as a male divide between the two Mimas, a balancing force who can tell the two ladies apart and ground them both in reality. When he is gone, there’s nobody left to keep Mima or Rumi sane.
    There are lots of cases of identity ambiguity in the media world. Selena, of course, or there’s Miley Cyrus, who went from cute Disney pop star to sex symbol swinging around on a giant constructed wrecking ball as a metaphor for… well, use your imagination. Or in Canada there’s Rebecca Maye Holiday, this fiction author who had a plagiarist use a misspelled variant of her birth name to release shoddy copies of her books through Kindle Direct Publishing to make money off them. If you look up Holiday’s most famous book, “Necromancy Cottage”, you’ll see the plagiarist name set as primary on the Google and Goodreads metadata, effectively burying Holiday’s real name and authorship, even though she’s the only one who actually has any documented copyright authority to her own books. What about Daniel Radcliffe? No matter what he does to gain more adult roles, even writing his own poetry, he will always be Harry Potter, and mostly just Harry Potter. The internet gets to decide who Cyrus, Holiday and Radcliffe are in terms of identity, and the internet can trap them if it wants. Sometimes with disastrous, damaging results. That power of the audience over the creator is mirrored in Perfect Blue, with Mima still whispered about asa pop idol and kept trapped as a pop idol due to the internet’s influence. Sure, Mima could hire a reputation defender or sue so that “Mima’s Room” gets taken down, but another might just pop up in its place. Her fans want her to be Mimarin the pop idol, not Mima the actress. She has no choice in how the world chooses to perceive her, only in how she chooses to perceive herself.

    • Very well said. Yeah, I think there’s a whole conversation about that character to be had. Especially as a lot of the victims in the movie are males in power. Writer, photographer, agent. Rumi and Tadokoro both become pseudo-parents to Mima and there’s all sorts of rabbit holes to go down with the symbolism of that and the Freudness of it all. But, as you point out, Perfect Blue becomes scarily representative of teen stars trying to move past their initial labels and they in which the audience or others want to restrain them or remake them in their own image. That sense of possession is very real.

  13. Thank you so much for the time and effort you have put into this explanation and all the extra tidbits I haven’t even thought about. This is a really good explanation and while watching perfect blue It did remind me of Black Swan and funnily enough Fight Club as well because of the constant waking up of Mima where we don’t know if she committed murder or not. Anyway you are an expert analyzer I applaud you

    • Thank you very much! Very nice of you to say!

  14. Thanks for the in-depth analysis. I had someone recommend I watch this after we’d discussed the blurred line between one’s profession and personal life, and I feel like this movie was an experience I needed to have. Recommending this movie is like smelling something horrid and then offering someone else to take a sniff. It’s an offensive, disturbing, and unnerving piece of media, yet it gives a perspective on reality in a way something like Spirited Away can’t.

    • hahah what an accurate description. Has it impacted how you’ve been thinking about your relationship with your work? Have you made any changes since watching?

  15. I find it hard to believe Mima did not kill the photographer. It’s the only detailed murder scene shown frame by frame. The movie follows one main character in detail and shows other scenes of characters for minimal time. She awoke from this “dream” in a panic. She thought previous real days of her life were also dreams but realized they were actual days she was losing track of. It is also the only time she has PTSD of one of the victims. You can say the bag she used earlier that day and the clothes she bought in the store (mentioned in Rumi’s blog) were planted but the chain was on the door. All of the clues point to her being the murderer of the photographer. It was left as a mystery for good reason… not to defame the idol.

  16. Thanks for this great in-depth analysis of this movie! I enjoyed it a lot.

    • Appreciate the kind words!

  17. What I can’t stand about this particular analysis is the desire to present Mima, aka the MC as a stable, sane person. There are so many indications throughout the movie that show how easily she dissociates. The ending is the creepiest thing about the whole film, showing she has now managed to convince herself that everything is fine when it’s not. Labelling her as victorious as opposed to Rumi (who is unhinged but honestly more honest in her portrayal) shows a complete lack of understanding of the film. And people are eating it up. Sigh.

    This is a shameless plug in, but I encourage you to read my article about Perfect Blue on medium, where I explain everything in detail.

Write a response