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Millennium Actress

Studio : Madhouse Studios

Licenced by : Dreamworks

Also involved : Go Fish Pictures

Length : 1 Movie

Year : 2001

Genre : Romance - Historical - Drama

Synopsis :
The closing of the renowned Gin Ei studio marks the end of an era for Japanese film making and to pay tribute to the studios long service, a documentary is made by director Tachibana Genya about his idol, the studio's most celebrated actress, Fujiwara Chiyoko. Now a reclusive old lady, Chiyoko finally agrees to be interviewed after thirty years of solitude, and Genya finally has the opportunity to meet with the famous actress whom he so admires.

The importance of this meeting is not lost on Genya who now has the chance to find out just what drove Chiyoko to become the best actress Japan has ever known and then throw it all away so suddenly at the peak of her success.

Added : 2003-03-26
Synopsis by : macerboy
Last update : 2009-11-07
Last update details : Seiyuu modified
Score : 9.13 Ranked #16 by users
Number of reviews : 30

Link(s) :

Official #1 : Official Millennium Actress Website (English)

A-Source #1 : In-Depth Review by generic-coolname

Song(s) :

ED1 : Susumu Hirasawa - Rotation

Release(s) :

2017-07-10 -- Episode(s) 0 by MeGaTroN. BT Link

Found 1 releases. Click here to [ Find them! ]

Hits : 132023

Seiyuu [View Complete Seiyuu Data]

Kon, Satoshi

Original Work
Kon, Satoshi

 Fujiwara, Chiyoko Tachibana, Genya Ida, Kyoji Man of the Key Scarface Otaki Eiko (Millennium Actress)

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Posted by : Terentius
Posted on : 2009-11-05        

Millennium Actress has been a mainstay in the A-S all-time top 50 for years. I've finally managed to get hold of a licensed copy and can now place judgement. Review based on Manga Entertainment DVD (UK) release.

As expected from any featured directed by Satoshi Kon, Millennium Actress has a distinct look for the character designs. For a 2001 feature the foregrounds and backgrounds were very good but extremely dark in tone. One aspect of the animation I was particularly impressed with was the realistic running of Chiyoko. It is often the case with many animated features that the relatively complex action of running appears wooden, overly robotic or even plain 'unrealistic'. Perfect Blue and Paprika are two of the other Satoshi Kon productions which featured visually impressive running animations from the characters. The near constant transition in scenery and background was handled excellently. The change of filming the reality to fiction was almost seamless. This perhaps was one of the very few movies of this decade that was almost completely produced using the old-fashioned 2-D animation with virtually no CGI involved.

I found this movie entrancing with the narration of the story being conveyed in the form of Chiyoko's perceived reality and past in the movie industry. It was a dichotomous tale about hope and sadness. It was inspirational to see a person driven to such personal and professional highs by using her inner turmoil as a spur to greatness. Seeing that all her hopes, dreams and even love were ultimately futile was soul-destroying. Much like memorable journeys in life it never is about the destination but the journey itself that count.

Chiyoko's entire life was portrayed in the form of movie flashbacks and even though it was indeed very disjointed it helped illustrate her motivations and dreams piece by piece. I thought of it as watching (Genya and Kyoji for example) someone trying to connect all the fragmented pieces of her life that had scattered across time and film like lost segments of a puzzle. As a main character she was believably fragile and by the conclusion of the movie I couldn't help but be moved by her personal struggles.

The musical score was OK but it never stood out for me. The voice acting was decent and I couldn't find any major fault with it. The OP and ED were adequate. For the music of Millennium Actress, it was more a case of not doing anything wrong at the expense of attempting something very radical.

Whilst I can understand the very high scores this movie has received, I never really started enjoying it until towards the very end when it finally dawned on Chiyoko that she may never realise her dreams. The prevalent tone of the show almost had an air of a directionless drifting where the only true constant was the aging of our main character. I have to give the direction of the story and character development high marks for trying something very unusual. Millennium Actress was a very good movie, but not quite a perfect movie in my opinion.

Posted by : du5k
Posted on : 2009-01-17        

I’ve never seen this title outside of the top ranks of Anime-Source and ANN, so I thought I’ll give it a shot. Well, I have no problem understanding why people would like this so much, but unfortunately I have problem trying to really enjoy this.

I took a while trying to understand the story of how Chiyoko’s many films of practically the same plot demonstrates her real life story, but well, I just can’t feel the impact of the climax of the movie, maybe because I feel that her films depicting her life doesn’t represent herself very well. Her very brief encounter with the painter also doesn’t quite make me feel her desire to be with him. The style of how she chases him through several eras in her different films is pretty cool, although the repeating “obstacles? and Genya’s help is a bit too much. I like the concept of how the two interviewing guys seems to walk through Chiyoko’s memories though.

The movie has fairly good animation and very good dramatic sound effects for the various touching moments, especially in the chasing scenes. The overall colors are a bit too dull for my liking, but it helps well for the style of the movie.

Millennium Actress have an interesting concept but I didn’t quite manage to enjoy the overall story. It’s a recommended watch as most reviewers pointed out, but to me it’s at most a fairly decent movie.

Posted by : dannyalberto
Posted on : 2008-03-16        

Storyline -- The storyline is a bit complicated at first, but as it progresses it becomes a bit easier to digest. Chiyoko is looking for the painter who left her the key. I love the symbolism the key has to the storyline.
Characters -- Chiyoko really is the star of the show. The others are alright as they add depth to the story but do not really stand out as much
Music -- Music is pretty good. I like it, actually!
Art -- Some parts of the movie stand out art-wise. The garden part is sweet. The ending part with the stars is nice as well.
Overall -- The story is a bit complicated and isn't really for the main mass to watch. However, the storyline is actually moving enough to watch it again. I think you do have to watch it more than once to understand the whole story's point. It's the the man that Chiyoko is obsessed with, its the chasing of the man that gets her to move on! So sweet!

Posted by : GRC
Posted on : 2007-05-09        

Overall - 7.3
Animation - 8.0
Sound - 8.0
Story - 6.0
Character - 7.0
Value - 8.0
Enjoyment - 7.0

Ever wondering why some people on earth could succeed while others couldn't? John F. Kennedy was physically a very weak person and Thomas Edison was asked to quit school as his teachers said that he was impossible to teach. Yet, both of them achieved very highly in their careers. It's not about who is strongest physically or whose IQ is the highest when it comes to who would succeed. It's motivation which drives people to fight on. Millennium Actress is about motivation, inspiration, and loss of morale. Focusing on the life of a celebrity from her rise to stardom until her abrupt retirement, Millennium Actress is both interesting and depressing at the same time.

I don't think I need to elaborate about how unstable an acting career is. Unlike other professions which people's positions would usually go up, celebrities' popularities can only go down. Every celebrities are fighting to be the most popular and would do anything to get rid of their 'competitors' when they have a chance. For example, when Eiko knew why Chiyoko came to Manchuria, she came up with a plan to make Chiyoko left the production. There is no true friendship in the world of celebrities, so to speak. Surrounded by jealousy, insincerity, and discouragement from her mother, it is no surprise that Chiyoko turned to the mysterious painter she had met in her childhood for motivation and morale, so that she would have an inspiration to 'fight on' alone with her uncertain future and unstable career.

My main gripe which prevented myself to enjoy this movie fully is the astonishingly short amount of time Chiyoko had with the mysterious painter. She only met him twice throughout her life. Therefore, while I can understand her frustration with jealousy, discouragement, and insincerity from people who are close to her, I was not totally convinced with how she travelled far and wide trying to find that man. Though I certainly agree that this is not a love story (as evidenced by Chiyoko's excellent dialogue in the very last scene), the fact still stands that the time both of them spent to know one another is only one day. As a result, no matter how lonely Chiyoko is, it is still blatantly unrealistic for that painter to have such a significant influence on her life. The development is way too inadequate, so to speak.

But do not take my criticism wrongly. Although there are a number of events in Millennium Actress which did not convince me, I must say that I still enjoyed this movie as a whole. Its pacing is good, the comedies are charming, and its style of storytelling is innovative. In fact, I must commend Satoshi Kon for his directing. It is not easy to create an enjoyable 'autobiography' story which can appeal to all kinds of viewers. Had there been more development between the heroine and the hero, I would certainly regard this as excellent. As it is, Millennium Actress is undeniably good, but I still stand firm on my opinion that Tokyo Godfathers is the best Satoshi Kon movie ever created.

There are some scenes which have brilliant animation. The scene when Chiyoko was starring in a movie that she was an astronaut, for example. The stars were animated very beautifully. Another scene with exceptional animation is the lotus pond in Chiyoko's garden. The rest of the movie has good animation, but not comparable to those few aforementioned scenes in any way.

The OP is beautiful. The ED is catchy. Voice acting is well done.

I was reminded of the movie Titanic at the scene when Chiyoko found that man's painting on the mountain in Hokkaido. That painting was still in spotless condition although it stood amidst the snow for many years. Same with how the pencil drawing of Rose Dawson in Titanic survived in the ocean for several years. Yeah, many things in this movie are unrealistic. But overall the story is still enjoyable nonetheless.

I want to know how the mysterious painter looks like =p

There's an interview with Satoshi Kon in the official DVD as well. The interview itself wasn't that great, but if you want to see how he looks like, then go ahead and watch it. I have watched this movie three times already and I appreciate it more and more every time I watched it. Still, Tokyo Godfathers is better than this in my opinion. The coincidences in Tokyo Godfathers were executed in a much more convincing manner.

Posted by : MoBoss79
Posted on : 2007-03-23        

I have heard a lot about Millennium Actress from reviews and trailers and yet I was hesitent to watch this title. Boy was I wrong! I am use to the normal action story, but this was definately a drama that was above all that I have watched in the past! I had to watch it several times not just to enjoy the movie but to see if I had missed anything in the strory. I CRIED! I never cry at any movie and I teared up like a baby!

The artwork was phenomenal. The soundtrack seems to grasp the mood of the movie in regards to various flashbacks and emotional scenes. The way that the story was told also felt as if it kept you current with the flashbacks without boring you with the time period ( movie time eras ).

There is no other way to praise this movie! It is definately something that should be in any anime collection and deserves the same level of respect that comes with Ghost in a Shell, Akira, and Ninja Scroll!

Posted by : whatiwouldntdo
Posted on : 2007-03-10        

This anime was given to me by a senior who had gotten it from a friend freshman year. She said to me, with a solemn look on her face, "Bask in the glory that is Millennium Actress." With a click of a button, I was exposed to one of the greatest anime ever created. But, oh foes of brain work, one must use those dusty analytical skills throughout this amazing film. Everything, the colors, the pronounced wood grains, the procession of time, is used in the perfect way to make the film more alive, more nostalgic. A wonderfully different storyline and amazing artwork come together to make this a delight of the senses. Do yourself a favor: take an AP English Course, and nask in the glory of Millennium Actress! 10/10.

Posted by : TheLoneBrit101
Posted on : 2007-03-02        

After having seen Perfect Blue, I had high expectations as I sat down to watch Millennium Actress. Boy, did it deliver! I'd been aware of the film's existence for awhile now but had never been drawn to it. In the end, I only ended buying it out of boredom; and because of that, I should be shot. This film blew me away! I was expecting something tense and quite similar to Satoshi Kon's previous piece, but the only similarity was the style of the animation which was detailed and flawless through out the film including the fast paced action scenes.

Coupled with a killer soundtrack, I was filled with excitement as I practically cheered the main protagonist on.

Kon's controversial narrating style is a force to be reckoned with. It speaks of originality and going against conforming to society. This is also shown in his characters, ie. Chiyoko, who goes against what her mother wants so that she can chase what she truly wants.

It would be unforgivable not to like Millennium actress; a film that should be ranked with the likes of classics such as Akira and Ghost in the Shell.

Posted by : arsetothem
Posted on : 2007-02-12        

This is what we call a hidden treasure... most people don't know about it and does it exist, since some countries did not acknowledge animation as an art. Millenium Actress is one of those serious anime that teen, young adults and adults prefer (depends also in taste).
Beautiful animation, touching story, and interesting scenes. Qualities that are rarely seen.
It warms the heart, but a bit disappointing at the end... for me that is, since all will be for nothing (she got famous though) I was so heart-broken of the ending. I recommend this anime for dramatic watchers, and get some tissues ready. The backflash scenes are very interesting since they use styles from old movies and will bring back nostalgia.

Posted by : shoangore
Posted on : 2006-08-23        

As a brief overview comparison, this movie has a nostalgic touch to it. For those of you familiar with Spirited Away, this is tantamount to the feeling you get when watching that movie.

The storyline is fairly basic; an actress, whom at the height of her career vanished from the spotlight has now acquiesced to giving an autobiographical interview about herself to a once-fanatic fan of hers. As she tells about her past, the movie weaves seamlessly between the past and present, merging characters into her story as actual participants as well as mere observers.

This was a very refreshing anime to watch. Animation was crisp, especially the fully orchestrated scenes with beautiful color and depth added.

Although the story was heartwrenching at times, there does exist much comical relief, usually by the two reporters who get caught up in the excitement, just to be shook back into reality to realize what it is exactly that they are doing.

For people who enjoy action and suspense, this movie will not satisfy your tastes. But for those who want a calming, beautiful movie, this is certain not to disappoint.

Posted by : Mordicai31
Posted on : 2006-05-17        

I loved this movie. It was really beautiful, both in story and art.
The basic story is that an actress has been looking all her life for a man that she met when she was a child. A fan of hers is making a documentary about her life, but as she describes her life the lines between fact and fiction melt away, leaving you wondering what was real and what was just another movie.
The music, voices and art were all wonderful. The only problems are that at points it becomes difficult to understand what's going on, especially if you're not familiar with the basics of japanese history (though some people find this adds to the movie's charm) and that the main character can become a little unrealistic at times. It seems strange that anyone could spend so long looking for one man.
Make sure to keep some kleenex nearby.

Posted by : thepoet
Posted on : 2006-05-09        

Not as good as I expected it to be. Try not to overestimate this movie.

Art/Animation: (10/10); Originality to its best. I love all the movies this director directs. They are just beautiful and full of interesting eye candy. I have enjoyed the animation very much. The scenes are very accurate and detailed to its best.

Story: (7/10); Original as usual but the flashbacks are very confusing at most of the times. I didn't enjoy it too much, but the storyline is very original. At least to me.

Music: (7/10); Good as usual. Not much to say. Lol, the orchestral music is very beautiful.

Originality: (10/10); Refer to the category (original). :P

Posted by : fresh_no_concept
Posted on : 2006-02-25        

Satoshi Kon has fast become one of the better directors in the anime scene. Having previously watched and enjoyed his earlier work, Perfect Blue, I eagerly waited and and wanted to get my hands on Kon's newest work, Chiyoko, Millenial Actress (better known and Millenium Actress). I am pleased to say that Perfect Blue wasn't just a fluke and that Satoshi Kon is well on his way to a wonderful directing career because Millenium Actress is a very entertaining movie.

It looks like Kon loves the whole blurring fact and fiction concept because he uses it yet again for Millenium Actress. This time, we focus on the acting career of Chiyoko Fujiwara, a career that begins in the early 20th century and blossoms throughout the remainder of the millenium. You explore the many movies that she stars in as she tells her life story to the lucky interviewing crew. Chiyoko is obviously a wonderful storyteller as the interviewers constantly find themselves observing the important events of Chiyoko's life as if they were there. As Chiyoko's movie roles become more versatile, the difficulty in discerning movies from reality increases significantly. Now I enjoyed this approach immediately and immensely when it was implemented in Perfect Blue, but watching Millenium Actress employ the same method takes some getting used to (and requires some repeated viewings as well). There came a point in the movie where I was almost completely lost as to what was actually happening and why. Then, in the final twenty minutes, if as in instant response to my near helplessness in understanding, the movie masterfully ties everything together, leaving all my questions answered and all my expectations for this film fulfilled. I credit Satoshi Kon and the rest of the writers for creating such an engaging and beautiful story about the undying love that Chiyoko possesses and her desire to express that love through her acting.

Love stories can only function well if the characters that inhabit it can immediately and undeniably grab your attention. Chiyoko does this wonderfully as she tells her story to both the interviewers and the movie viewers themselves. Like all famous actresses, she has this presence about her that demands you to listen attentively and learn. As we explore the different stages of her life, her personality and her character evolves wonderfully. I also enjoyed watching the mysterious hooded man that bears the key to Chiyoko's heart (voiced to perfection by Kouichi Yamadera). Though his screentime is short, his appearances prove quite significant (this is probably because the story calls for it to be so) and his presence is just as commanding as Chiyoko's. On a final note, I just cannot help but mention the interviewing crew, Genya and Kyoji. Their reactions in observing and living in Chiyoko's memories prove to be quite genuine and I especially enjoy how Genya truly gets into the it and starts acting out certain movie scenes with Chiyoko. I will always laugh when reminded of the scene where Genya fakes getting shot while Chiyoko sits on her couch, pretending to ride a horse; pure comedic entertainment.

Given that Madhouse had its hand in this and the movie budget, Millenium Actress has some wonderful animation. The movie, like Chiyoko's acting skills, is diverse in its appearance, emulatating Japan during many of its eras. I personally enjoy all the scenes that involve Chiyoko running around in the snow (no matter how trivial they may be). I just believe the snow scenes to all be done very well and they are beautiful to watch in motion whether it be a snowball breaking upon a brick wall or the sprays of snow that fly of Choyoko's shoes as she runs around. Orchestras permeate the music found in the movie and, if nothing more, help in bringing out the emotions that are found in the story.

Praise Satoshi Kon for creating another great movie. Millenium Actress should, without a doubt, be a priority on everyone's anime-to-watch list; especially if they are looking for good anime. Just don't get discouraged if you feel lost and confused during the middle of it. It is meant to be that way and it will reveal all its secrets in due time to provide you with a wonderful movie that you can watch over and over again.

Posted by : batousaijin
Posted on : 2006-01-13        

Wow... how can you describe Millennium Actress? First of all, I rate it a 10, no doubt about it. The animation was breathtaking to put it mildly. I never knew animation could reach such a level. What I loved most about this story, though, was the many levels on which you can enjoy it. The story of an famous actress' life is told through the movies she plays in and through the history of Japan itself. Her story moves through the warring states era to the meiji era when Japan begins taking part in the industrial revolution to the post-war destruction of a Japan ravaged by the atomic bomb. The best part, though, is how her storytelling affects those listening. The reporter, the actress' number one fan, takes an active part in the story, assisting his heroine in any way possible, while the cameraman avoids direct conflict and assumes the role of the observer. The thing is, the story becomes real and is experienced by both, whether willing or not. It's a brilliant work of art that transcends the anime genre to become a part of cinematic excellence.

Posted by : Himitsu
Posted on : 2005-12-04        

Realistic, very well-paced, and undeniably beautiful. This movie really will stand out of your anime list and leave a "good feel" despite the mildly tragic ending. Every aspect of Millenium Actress reached and even exceeded my expectations. This is definitely recommended.

The direction of the story was really confusing to me. Out loud I would say "what's going on?". It's not that there were strange twists and turns within the story, it's because of the camera angles, the abrupt transition of scenes, and the all-too-fitting dialogue in Chiyoko's "memory", "movie production" and "reality" was surprising.

Now, you're probably thinking this is a bad thing. It is not. This flow of fragmented scenerios was brilliant and kept me well-absorbed into the story. It really represented our thoughts especially when recalling something. The thoughts in our mind are never linear and clear, it is very spasmodic, so this movie did a very good job with the direction. Also, without dialogue, we can feel and completely understand each character. This is due to the wonderfully smooth animation in each character's reaction (you even see remarkable realism in Chiyoko's runs).

Although not a tragic oh-so-depressing movie, it's one of the best. The presentation of each emotion and each dilemma brought the upmost anxiety and pressure. It'll be hard to stifle back your tears, but there are happy ones.

Do not let this movie go by. It's very touching and artistic. Appealing to all.

Posted by : ssharm11
Posted on : 2005-11-11        

'Millenium Acress" represents one of the finest examples of an adult-themed love story I've seen, with a mobius strip of a plot that immediately drew me in and never let go until the final brain teazing line. It's no happily-ever-after fairy tale, as the plot tells the story of unrequited love on the part of the two central characters in the movie -- the actress who spends her life chasing a spectral love, and the man who is interviewing her for a documentary about her life, who has spent most of his life protecting her.

As one expects with Japanese anime, it's eye-candy of the highest order, and the music score beautifully blends with and builds upon the mercurial story. But it is the plot, as told through an amazing time traveling romp through a hundred years of Japanese movie and real-life history that kept me fascintaed. It didn't matter that the line often blurred between the character's own life and her movies. And finally, it was the closing line of the movie, that makes such a fascinating statement about how the pursuit of love is, for some people, more epic and dramatic than the attainment of it. As such it's the ultimate tragic romance. It leaves you asking over and over again, what does the key, 'to the most important thing ever,' really mean?

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