- Accidental Aesop: The whole film can be seen as a deconstruction of Fanservice and how a series should never rely on it to gain viewers. Because at the end of the day all you've done is objectify and humiliate a human being.
- Adaptation Displacement: A comparatively mild example; it's fairly frequently mentioned that it's based on a novel, including on the DVD case for the anime... but you'll be hard-pressed to find a Westerner who has heard of the novel outside that, or knows anything about it. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find much English information regarding the novel at all. From what little we do know, though, the movie's plot is more of an original story than an adaptation. Recently, the novel was picked up for translation and release by Seven Seas Entertainment.
- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- There are several hints in the film that leaving Cham and becoming an actress was not Mima's choice in the first place. It's frighteningly common in Japan for idols who aren't sufficiently popular or who have gotten too old to carry off the Purity Personified image (say, around 20 or so) to be shoved into product endorsement, game show appearances, or whatever. It's possible that Mima was just making the best of a bad situation. As enthusiastic as she appears to her agents and the public, when no one else is watching her behavior indicates that she's not completely happy with her change in career, at least in the beginning. This is especially evident in her reactions in private after the faux rape scene and the photography shoot. And the most ironic part? Even if she wanted to go back to being a pop idol, she can't—because the two remaining members of Cham are far more successful now that she's gone. That's right, she was actually holding them back.
- With the implications that Rumi was behind the website Mima's Room, since she was the only one with access to Mima's thoughts and musings, what was her purpose in helping Mima learn to use her computer? Was it still her being helpful to Mima, or was it a means to show her what she should be?
- Awesome Art: In spite of the film's visibly low budget, it's filled with interesting visuals, especially when the movie blurs the lines of reality. Darren Aronofsky went as far as to buy the film rights just so he could recreate the bathtub scene in Requiem for a Dream.
- Awesome Music: "Virtua Mima". If this song does not make you want to crawl under the bed and hide, nothing will.
- Epileptic Trees: There is an amazing fan theorynote out there that suggests that both Mima and Rumi are actually delusions of a third person who is mentioned in passing. Long story short, a woman named Yoko Takakura is in an insane asylum for murdering several men, along with her sister, a model whom Yoko has assumed the identity of. From the asylum, Yoko imagines the entirety of the film's story, with Mima as her ideal self, Rumi her actual self, and the actual doctors around her recast as actors on the Double Bind TV show. She imagines her own murders as actually committed by a disfigured man (Me-Mania) and her own rape as a scene in the TV show. By the film's end, her delusion continues as her perfect Mima personality is allowed out of the hospital to pursue her own life. The evidence for this theory lies in the dialogue of the Double Bind actors.
- It should be noted that this is the actual plot of Show Within a Show Double Bind; Yoko Takakura is the name of Mima's character on the show.
- Harsher in Hindsight:
If it means you're loved in the end,
- The lyrics of the song Mima performs with CHAM at the very beginning:
Be much more aggressive, because you will get a chance.
- The night club gang rape scene is eerily and horrifyingly reminiscent of a similar event that took place in Tel-Aviv 18 years later.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Rica Matsumoto's role as Rumi became this, as she dubbed Selena Quintanilla in the Japanese dub of that film. This is particularly ironic because the Real Life Selena Quintanilla was murdered by a Loony Fan, in the same way both Me-Mania and Rumi herself tries to do this on Mima.
- Nausea Fuel: Let's see, there's...
- Mima's rape scene.
- The scenes where Mima is being photographed naked.
- The corpses that have their eyes gouged out.
- The photographer being stabbed in his eye and his crotch and then repeatedly stabbed over and over by the supposed "pizza deliverer".
- Me-Mania's physical appearance and his attempted rape of Mima.
- The final battle between Rumi and Mima.
- Nightmare Retardant:
- Me-Mania was extremely scary, especially in the scenes were he was partially shown. But it's rather hard to take him seriously anymore when he starts talking, showing that he has a rather ridiculous-sounding voice. And then, he makes that sound when he gets hit by the hammer.
- Rumi getting impaled by the glass while trying to grab her wig and the pop song at the end.
- Paranoia Fuel: Could be retitled "Paranoia Fuel: The Movie."
- Rewatch Bonus: In the beginning of the film, Mimas singing voice is significantly lower than her speaking voice because its actually Rumis.
- Shocking Swerve: Invoked in-universe with the rape scene in the TV drama. Before, Mima's character was a bit part in a crime drama, with only a handful of lines. This scene changes the episode narrative and Mima's image, so that the controversy is the talk of the papers, and it's revealed that Mima's character Yoko is the one who murdered her sister and all those people, with the rape having caused a dissociation.
- Slow-Paced Beginning: The first third or so is quite slow, with a few freaky scenes tossed in-between a bunch of scenes filled with dialogue, exposition, and foreshadowing. Moments of creepiness aside, you may find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about... then people start dying, and that's where the real fun begins.
- Technology Marches On: Mostly involving computers/the internet. The scene where Mima admits she finds browsing the web to be terribly confusing, and Rumi has to talk her through it comes off as quite funny nowadays.Rumi: It's an Internet home page.
Mima: Oh, that thing that's been popular lately! And what is it?
- Uncanny Valley: Mima goes through a journey filled with all kinds of things nightmarish throughout the movie, and while most of the character designs lean toward realistic, there are two notable exceptions: Me-Mania, who is obviously creepy-looking from the start, and Rumi, who, like him, has eyes that are too widely spaced.
- Values Dissonance:
- Rumi argues about the rape scene because it's not an image that Mima should have. Mima tries to put on a Stepford Smiler face and see it as a growth opportunity, but in this day and age it would be seen as the screenwriter and director making her character Stuffed into the Fridge with an invoked Shocking Swerve, to exploit the full shock value.
- Some fans comment on Mima avoiding them that former pop idols aren't as friendly. With how more personable celebrities are expected to be in the 2010s, she's getting off pretty easily.
- When Mima discovers that there is a website posting entries in her name and writing about her day, she is more creeped out by how accurate the details are. Considering how fast the Internet and communications have become, the bigger question her PR team would have is that someone is impersonating her online, which means she has a stalker and it presents a rather different image.
- The Woobie: Mima. After leaving her singing career to pursue becoming an actress, she gets stalked by an obsessive fan, who later attempts to rape her. Her first acting role was to be a rape victim at a bar, much to Rumi's protests. The more she delves into her acting career, the more she loses the grasp of her identity and what reality is. The climax brings Mima fully into this trope when her own agent and friend, Rumi has been posing as her, replicates her room perfectly, and attempts to murder her since she is a "fake". Cue Rumi chasing a defenseless Mima who can't do anything but run and scream for help. Thankfully, she does get better at the end. That is, if you were to not take the last line to heart...
YMMV / Perfect Blue