I was torn on this topic. I couldn’t decide which anime film I should go with, the phycological horror Perfect Blue or the dystopian utopia Harmony.
Ultimately, as you can tell from the title I went with the later simply because the themes it presents and how it disturbs me.
Before I continue, I would recommend you watch the movie or better yet read Harmony as I will be spoiling the story. Well, that and it’s a rather interesting yet distressing read. Also, this ramble will include mentions of suicide so be aware.
To sum up the story, in a world where every element of your life is monitored by a device implanted in them at birth called WatchMe, all sickness is gone and everyone is nice pretty much by law three young girls rebel by attempting to take their lives.
Only one dies, the leader Miach Mihie. The remaining two split, Cian Reikado conforming to society and the other, our lead Tuan Kirie, flees to the battleground to escape it. However, when Tuan is forced to return to Japan thousands of people attempt to kill themselves simultaneously and one right does so in front of her eyes, Cian.
She is sent out to find out who caused this and stop it before others are killed.
That is disturbing enough in my eyes but Harmony goes several steps further. Namely that it is reviled that the master plan behind the attack and the proclamation of more deaths to come will force the higher-up’s hand to activate Harmony, which will more or less strip people of their consciousness.
Yeah, when I got to that part of the book I felt a bit sick. This might just be me but the idea that someone can completely wipe my will, personality and mind at the push of a button horrifies me to my core.
On top of that, even before that revelation in the book it talks about how people or rather their bodies are pretty much only meant to serve the public, it doesn’t belong to you but everyone.
That is why the three girls tried to kill themselves. In doing so it would have sent a message to society saying our bodies belong to us.
I know I keep mentioning the book but that is because it goes into more gruesome detail than the movie does and I think the film suffers because of that. You miss out on Tuan’s inner thoughts and it does skip over some parts of the backstory that helps the story flow better.
For example, they explain that people are rated and everyone can see the ratings. Meaning everyone gets judged and valued like how we rate movies. People are not allowed to be true to themselves in order to fit in. It’s hinted that if you have a low ranking you are put into lower levels of employment. We see two cleaners with two stars then a councilwoman with four.
I might be reading too much into that but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
All in all, I find pretty much everything in Harmony to be disturbing which is why I recommend adding it to your Halloween movie list or reading list. Despite how disturbing it is I can’t help but like it. It’s a distressing but fascinating story.