Satoshi Kon’s directorial debut, Perfect Blue, is his first.
Perfect Blue, like all of Kon’s work, explores the theme of perception.
One’s perception of oneself, another’s perception and the perceptions of reality.
Perfect Blue’s constant theme is the distinction between reality and illusion.
Perfect Blue is the story of Mima, an idol from the J-pop group CHAM!, as she transitions to being an actress.
To make the transition, Mim has to let go of her innocent persona as an idol.
Mima is not ready to make the change.
She is forced to confront her reality through a dark and difficult journey.
She is constantly wrestling with her inner dialogue about whether Mima as an actress or Mima as an idol is the “real Mima.”
However, she finds herself under the control of a stalker who claims to be the real Mima.
She begins to believe the fake reality of the internet. Mima’s portrayals of her day become more dissimilar from her actual memories.
During her confusion about what is real and false, Mima begins to see the deaths of several people who are essential to Mima’s transformation.
Mima must accept her transformation as the deaths keep coming closer.
“Perfect Blue” is a thrilling thriller about identity.
Here are 12 anime and movies like Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue.
12. Ergo Proxy
One of the last remaining human civilizations is found in Romdo, the domed city.
A global ecological disaster devastated the planet thousands of years ago.
Now, it is almost impossible to live outside these domes.
Autores, humanoid-like robots that can assist with daily life, were created to speed up mankind’s recovery.
AutoReivs are now suffering from an elusive disease called “Cogito Virus”, which gives them self-awareness.
Re-l Mayer is the granddaughter of Romdo’s ruler and was assigned to investigate the phenomenon with her AutoReiv partner, Iggy.
What begins as a routine investigation soon spirals into a plot as Re-l is confronted with the darkest of human sins.
Vincent Law, an AutoReiv specialist, must face his demons as surreal events start to occur around him.
As they try to unravel Romdo’s secrets and discover the true purpose behind the mythical creatures called “Proxies”, Re-l, Iggy and Vincent will form an unlikely alliance.
11. Cossette no Shouzou
Eiri Kurahashi, a Japanese student of art, works in an antique shop.
Eiri’s friends notice a drastic and disturbing change in Eiri.
He becomes less focused and his behavior changes completely.
They quickly decided to put their friend’s problems on a girl.
Eiri is beginning to see a doll-like girl in an antique Venetian vase that his uncle purchased in France.
Eiri can’t help but notice that she seems to live in an alternate world.
He begins to fall in love with the little girl and fills his sketchbook with her likeness.
He recognizes her from a Marchello Orlando portrait and learns that her name is Cossette d’Auvergne.
She was also tragically killed along with her family.
He hears a voice telling him to stay the night as he closes down the shop.
He finally makes contact with the object that has become his obsession and makes a deal he doesn’t fully understand.
10. Evangelion 1.0, 2.0 And 3.0
Tokyo-3, a heavily fortified Japanese city, is the last human settlement left in post-apocalyptic Japan.
Shinji, aged fourteen, is taken to Nerv headquarters by Gendou, his father.
He asks that Shinji be made a pilot for an “Evangelion”, a massive android designed to combat the monstrous, destructive alien creatures known as “Angels” who threaten the survival and well-being of humanity.
Although initially reluctant to reconcile with his father, Shinji eventually agrees to help mankind in its perilous struggle against the alien threat.
He is the pilot of Evangelion unit-01.
Shinji is forced to confront the Angels’ invasions in the middle of a dangerous battlefield.
He must be strong and determined.
9. Kara no Kyoukai 5: Mujun Rasen (The Garden of Sinners Chapter 5: Paradox Paradigm)
A double homicide takes place in November 1998 at the Ogawa apartment building, located in the middle of Mifune City.
Tomoe Enjou is the murderer and fled in panic.
He is surprised to find that he has not been pursued by the police.
Media outlets have not reported the incident.
Shiki Ryougi protects Tomoe against a group of thugs and allows him to use her home as a hiding place.
Tomoe discovers that his mother is still alive a few days later.
He is certain that he murdered her.
Mikiya Kokutou is also investigating the tip Touko Aozaki, his associate, received about the murder at the apartment complex.
Mikiya begins to take a special interest in Tomoe as he learns more about the incident.
Mikiya decides to investigate further and soon uncovers the frightening truth about the Ogawa complex.
Mujun Raste is the fifth installment in the Kara No Kyoukai movie series.
It combines a complexly constructed mystery with established characters and themes to create a dark, thought-provoking tale.
8. Koukaku Kidoutai (Ghost in the Shell)
Niihama City is now a technologically advanced city in the year 2029.
Its citizens can now replace their limbs using robotic parts thanks to significant advances in cybernetics.
The city’s Public Security Section 9 addresses the challenges of corruption and terrorism that have resulted from globalization.
Section 9’s Major Motoko Kusanagi, a strong-willed individual, leads a case that involves a mysterious hacker called the “Puppet Masters,” who leaves behind a trail of victims without their memories.
The Puppet Master’s body, like many others in this futuristic universe, is almost entirely robotic.
This gives them extraordinary power.
Motoko and her colleagues follow the trail of the mysterious criminal, prompting other parties, including Section 6, to become involved.
This forces Motoko to confront the complex nature of the case.
Motoko quickly realizes that the Puppet Master is the only one who can answer her many philosophical questions.
7. Serial Experiments Lain
Lain Iwakura is a shy and introverted 14-year-old who received a troubling email from Chisa Yomoda, her classmate.
This Chisa recently committed suicide. Lain doesn’t have the skills or knowledge to use basic technology.
Yet, she opens the email and is taken to Wired, which is a virtual world that uses communication networks similar to the internet.
Lain’s world is upended when she encounters cryptic mysteries every day.
Strange men called the Men in Black, begin to appear everywhere she goes.
They ask her questions and seem to know more about her than she does.
As the boundaries between cyberspace and reality blur, Lain finds herself immersed in bizarre and surreal events, where identity, consciousness, and perception take on new meanings.
Written by Chiaki J. Konaka (who also wrote Texhnolyze), Serial Exploments Lain follows Lain’s journey as she makes key decisions that will impact both the real world and Wired.
Only Lain can see the importance of their presence by closing one world and opening a new one.
6. Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken (The Case of Hana & Alice)
Tetsuko Arisugawa, a transferee to Ishinomori Middle School, hears her classmates discuss a strange rumor.
A nondescript “Judas,” the previous occupant of her chair, is gone and presumed to have been murdered.
One of his four wives has poisoned him.
While dealing with her mother’s unwelcome meddling in her affairs, and trying to ward off bullying from her classmates, Alice begins to investigate the mystery surrounding Judas’ disappearance.
She follows a trail of clues to her next-door neighbor, Hana Arai, a quirky and introverted woman.
After an awkward introduction, Hana accepts to help Alice.
She then formulates a plan to get them the answers they need.
They embark on a journey together to find out what happened to Judas.
Perhaps a friendship will blossom along the way.
5. Denpa teki na Kanojo
Delinquent Juu Juuzawa, a lone wolf who doesn’t see the value in making friends with people, is called Delinquent Juu Juuzawa.
When Ame Ochibana, a girl by the name of Ame Ochibana, claims that they are connected through their past lives, Juu Juuzawa is skeptical and won’t have anything to do.
Stranger still is the fact that Ame Ochibana’s greatest wish is to serve as his servant.
He thinks Ame is delusional and tries to keep away from her.
Juu decides to stay close to Ame after a classmate is killed.
Juu believes the girl is the killer.
As they begin to work together, Juu’s intelligence and skills begin to be invaluable.
Denpateki na Kakanojo tells a story about love, loss, and devotion.
It shows that even the most unlikely places can have allies.
4. Mousou Dairinin
Musashino City is under attack by the Shounen Bat (Lil’ Slugger).
The assailant is flying around on his rollerblades, beating down people with a baseball bat, and it seems almost impossible to catch him.
The first victim was Tsukiko Sagi (a well-known but timid character designer) who is believed to have orchestrated the attacks.
Tsukiko, who is only believed to be a victim of Shounen Bat’s multiple victims, is a stuffed animal anthropomorphic in pink, Maromi.
Detectives Keiichi Itari and Mitsuhiro Mangawa start to investigate the identity of the attacker as Shounen Bat continues to ravage the town.
The assailant continues to attack the town, causing more victims.
As chilling rumors begin to spread, paranoia sets in.
Will they be able to uncover the truth about Shounen Bat?
Or will paranoia take control of them?
An impure soul receives a second chance at life when he arrives at the train station where death is.
The soul is sent to the body of Makoto Kobayashi (a 14-year-old boy who committed suicide) and given six months to find the greatest sin of his life.
While it is reluctant to continue living as Makoto Kobayashi, the soul quickly begins to notice the complexity of people’s actions and emotions.
Colorful deconstructs the notions of suicide and fractured families.
It explores the intricacies that human beings face every day, but are too afraid to confront.
2. Omoide No Marnie (When Marnie Was There)
Anna Sasaki, a young girl suffering from asthma attacks, is unsociable and lonely.
This makes her foster parents worry endlessly.
The doctor recommends that Anna moves to the country in the hope that she will feel better and her mind will be clearer.
Anna enjoys sketching and spends her summer with her aunt in a small coastal town.
Anna stumbles upon the Marsh House, an abandoned mansion that she discovers while out walking.
But she soon discovers that the Marsh House isn’t quite as empty as it seems.
She then meets Marnie, a mysterious young girl.
As Anna returns night after night to see Marnie, her bubbly demeanor gradually draws her out of her shell.
As Anna’s time in the town draws to a close, Anna discovers the truth behind the Marsh House walls.
Omoide No Marnie is the heartfelt story of a young girl’s journey through friendship and self-discovery, and the summer she will cherish for her entire life.
The world of dreams can provide a window into your psyche and reveal your deepest aspirations, desires, and most repressed memories.
The “DC Mini” is a promising tech lab that allows you to see into others’ dreams.
Kosaku Tokita and Atsuko Chuba tirelessly worked to create this technology in the hope that it could be used to deepen psychological examinations and help patients with mental disorders.
Accessing the innermost parts of someone’s brain comes with great responsibility.
The DC Mini could be misused to cause mental breakdowns and psychological terror in the target’s mind if it is not properly secured.
Atsuko and Kosaku realize they have a serious problem when the technology is stolen and their surroundings start acting strangely.
They enlist the assistance of Officer Konakawa, who has been receiving this experimental treatment.
Perfect Blue is an anime classic that showcases the versatility of the medium.
Perfect Blue is a great story with strong character development and storytelling.
Although not all films on this list are thrillers, they explore the same themes as Perfect Blue.