Viewed – 30 March 2009 DVD
Japanese animation has had a bit of a renaissance lately with the popularity of films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke from the acclaimed Studio Ghibli. Yet lets not forget some of the films that came out of Japan before that studio’s admittedly deserved success, the more hard hitting likes of Akira, Ghost In The Shell and also this, one of the most striking & daring anime’s ever made.
This tells the story of pop idol Mima Kirigoe, who at the start of the film leaves her band to pursue a career in acting. Soon she gets a part in a seedy TV drama series, but its not long before an obsessive fan, unable to handle Mima’s change of image starts stalking her and soon the bodies are piling up. As Mima becomes more paranoid she begins to loose her grip on reality, and this is where the real fun starts, as the film plays with your perceptions of reality and dreams, creating an uneasy, unpredictable narrative that is both confusing and startlingly original. Then throw in murder set pieces, atmosphere and tension to rival the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Dario Argento, and this is one of the most mature and sophisticated animated movies you are likely to see.
The animation by today’s standards is a rather basic, but it does its job admirably, and the art style throughout is excellent. The music is also first class from the immediately memorable tunes of the band ‘Cham’ in the movie and the heavy rock played during some of the more striking moments.
If you are into Japanese animation or just good thrillers, then this should be seen at your earliest opportunity.
Verdict: 5 /5