In 1997, Satoshi Kon released the anime Perfect Blue. Its release marked a short era when animation touched on socially significant topics. Perfect Blue focused on isolation and obsession, themes that resonate in society today. Cohn's work showed what it means to have two personalities: one for the public and one for oneself. Polygon discusses how a young pop idol anime predicted the dangers of social media influence and obsession.
Released on the cusp of widespread internet use, the Perfect Blue anime envisioned a future where the online space is being used to intimidate or even harass. Cohn addressed the growing fears around otaku or young people who are obsessed with some aspect of pop culture and how their obsessions can only be amplified by internet access. In 2019, Cohn's film is more relevant than ever: the actions of every celebrity are scrutinized, women on the internet are treated like things, and each has two personalities to manipulate.
Perfect Blue talks about Mime, a pop idol who decides to go into big cinema. She starts out as a vocalist in the girl group CHAM, where she is the frontwoman and idol for a thousand men. But when she leaves the group for a new sphere, people get angry. They criticize her acting work and criticize her choice. The most inadequate of them all is her pursuer, a hideous character whose room is covered with photographs of Mima. He creates a blog called Mima's Room where he pretends to blog on behalf of Mima. The heroine, in turn, has just started using a computer and is just settling on the Internet. By chance she stumbles upon this site.
Reading this blog, as well as filming the crime series "Double Bond", is gradually driving her crazy, as she stops distinguishing between reality and fiction.
In understanding the impact the internet might have on the future, Cohn showed us a masculine obsession with a woman's body and a desire to possess women they've never met. The introduction of CHAM's performance in the opening minutes of the film showed us how the bond is established between a male fan and a female star.
Otaku groups wander around before CHAM, buying themed stuff, searching the internet for news about the band, swapping videos from past concerts, and gossiping about Mima. Often all otaku are men. They make contact with the persecutor, which allows them to look into his mind and find out how Mima's actions are perceived by society and these groups.
When the concert begins, crowds of people armed with video cameras go crazy at the sight of CHAM, and especially when they try to shoot candid shots of the ins and outs of their costumes. CHAM fans brag about having been to nearly every band's concerts and feel like they are contributing to the evolving careers of the girls, particularly the Mimes, through their support.
However, Mima decides to star in a rape scene for the series. Her manager warns that this will destroy her image of the idol, the innocent angel that has drawn so much attention to her. Unfortunately, her manager turns out to be right, vile fans gossip and mock Mima and her choice.
We are shown an idea of how men are able to shame and influence women online. For example, Twitch streamer Amouranth felt the wrath of fans when they found out she was married. A lot of viewers left her after this information, and they began to insult the streamer. These people believed that since she did not mention this, she was not married, which made her more accessible in the eyes of the audience, but now they felt betrayed. Even one of the site's moderators was sure that since she did not have a husband, he could knock wedges into her.
In Perfect Blue, Kon shows us the worst-case scenario: an obsessed fan does everything possible to keep Mima just him, he makes her go into psychosis when she is obsessed with fear, confused and not sure who she is. Back in the 90s, Satoshi saw the problems of J-Pop group obsession and explored how this fanaticism would grow in the internet age.
Not much has changed today, especially when looking at the current stars of the eastern K-Pop scene, BTS. The group is adored all over the world, it has become a real content machine, and it has an army of fans wanting to have access to all aspects of musicians' lives. Like an obsessed CHAM fan, ARMYs - as BTS fans call themselves - collect photos, live videos and anything related to the group.
Their behavior is consistent with how CHAM fans behave at the beginning of the anime, when they want to know everything about the group. So, BTS has numerous stalkers, many of them run sites where they upload pictures taken secretly, just like on Mima's Room. The concept of a possessed person running a fan resource has become a commonplace pervading the internet.
While the public does not have full access to the personal lives of BTS members and may not know how their influence affected their mental state, we have no doubt that fans are putting pressure on its members.
For groups like BTS, it is becoming common practice to be targeted by predatory fans who want to create more and more themed content. This behavior is not unlike that of the Japanese media following Mima's anime career. The world of Perfect Blue has entered an era where young people are transformed into idealized images that spread like wildfire among fans.
Even those who interact with social networks in their work plan know at least a little what it is like to be a Mima. We show our life on the Internet as a kind of ideal of what “happy life” means. We are all Mima, and we are sailing in the same boat: we look out the window and see the reflection of a pop star. Deep down, we want to please those who view our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts. There are even experts out there exploring how to create the perfect Instagram page by carefully editing images to ensure the same lighting, tints and contrast.
As soon as Mima begins to lose control of her reality, we also find ourselves in another place, and see a world where everyone around us has an ideal job, relationships, pets. We plunge into the realm of fear, trying to prove ourselves ideal to those who are watching us.
Our culture of attachment to social media is an exaggerated reflection of the ideas embodied in the Satoshi Kon anime. Although the film was created in the early days of the internet, Cohn understood the dangers of this technological fantasy and things like obsessions and obsessions. In a world dominated by social media influence and subscriber base, Perfect Blue epitomizes how the line between people online and reality is blurring. From K-Pop group fanbases to daily social media posting rituals, Mima's world has become our own. We all live in Mima's room.
The Topic of Article: How Perfect Blue Satoshi Kon predicted the future.