The "real" Mima was a mental specter trying to possess Mima.Like Dom's projection of Mal, she formed out of Mima's issues with leaving the idol group. When Mima became an actress, she was having a hard time staying the dominant personality, so she had to find a way to retake Mima's mind. But during the course of the movie, she's forced further and further out of Mima's mind by other issues until she ends up possessing Rumi instead. The first few times "real" Mima appears, she's in Mima's reflection. After that, she appears in other places entirely. When Rumi was trying to kill Mima, we still saw her reflection, even though "real" Mima was chasing Mima down the street. And at the end of the movie, when Rumi looks in the mirror, her reflection is "real" Mima, signifying she's been completely taken over.
"Real" Mima is Mima's Shadow.She was Mima's denial that her actions had corrupted her Contractual Purity. And of course, during the climax, Mima denies that they're the same person, leading to "real" Mima trying to kill her.
The pop-star Mima and the detective-drama Mima are different people.The detective drama Mima we saw Mima star in was actually filmed after the events of the movie, in a case of Ripped from the Headlines. The first Mima, an idol-turned-actress, was the one involved with the Me-Mania murders. However, the Mima shown during the filmed scenes was an actress in a Show Within a Show (er...within a show?) That explains why her scenes of being hallucinated and stalked were juxtaposed with Mima's hallucinations and being stalked. The first Mima did survive and get a happy ending, but the ending was so suddenly uplifting is because that scene was from the television series.
Mima killed the photographer.Late in the movie, Mima reads Mima's Room and it mentions her going shopping. Mima doesn't remember going shopping. However, if you pay attention, it does briefly show a photo on Mima's Room of Mima going shopping. My explanation is thus: Rumi took Mima shopping to try and cheer her up. While there, Rumi took a photo of Mima - it doesn't matter why. When Rumi gets home and changes into the Mima-persona, she writes the story on Mima's Room and posts the photo. Rumi-Mima is confused enough to genuinely believe it's a photo of her. Meanwhile, Mima suffers a breakdown causing her to forget the whole incident, much like how she forgot that Rumi had come to visit her and mistook it for a dream. She then reads Mima's Room, panics, breaks down and changes into the clothes, before going and murdering the photographer. She comes home, bundles the clothes away in the bag, gets into bed and wakes up the next morning, confusing it for a dream. The M.O. is close enough to that of the previous murders that people immediately assume it's the same killer.
Rumi had psychic powers.One of the most accepted theories behind the plot of Paranoia Agent is that the main character had psychic powers that affected reality. It goes with Kon's use of Magical Realism and it plays with the way the supernatural is portrayed in movies: we always see the story from the viewpoint of the person with powers, but what is it like for the people that surround them? I think this is a good explanation behind the whole Rumi thing: Rumi somehow obtained psychic powers and the whole plot was a trap for her to ensnare Mima's psyche. At the end she fails due to her own lack of control, and Mima becomes completeley sane because she is no longer in her influence, and has grown from the experience. Unlike Rumi, who is unable to advance from the past.
A murderer is still at large by the end.Part of the whole point of the movie was to keep us guessing what was going on. The way I see it, the movie is telling us that:
- (1) Mima really did murder that photographer and then cover it up (not hard to do since both Rumi and Me-Mania had already committed murders of their own and Mima could easily have deluded even herself into believing either of them did it), or...
- (2) the skeptics were wrong and some part of Mima's spirit (the "real" Mima hallucination which kept bedeviling her) really did get out and take control of Rumi, driving her to commit the murder.
If (2) is the case, then the murderous spirit of "real" Mima is currently locked up with Rumi, but since she was able to jump from Mima to Rumi in the first place, she can probably jump just as easily from Rumi to someone else (such as maybe one of Rumi's nurses at the mental hospital), so we still have a murderous Mima on the loose.
Either way, people had better be nice to Mima, or there'll be more murders in the future.
Mima can't sing.Rumi dubs over all of her live performances.
Me-Mania was a fan of Rumi during her idol days.
Rumi is a rape survivor.What if her reaction to Mima acting out a rape scene was not only Rumi seeing "herself" (as in, "Real" Mima) violated, but triggered an actual memory from Rumi's past? It could also explain how this is a moment when the line between Rumi's and Mima's persona blur.
Mima is still delusional at the end of the film.What other explanation is there for the Wham Shot at the very end, where Mima speaks in Rumi's voice (and appears, if you don't look at the reflection, to have Rumi's hair)? It's just that her mask of sanity is more securely adjusted. While Rumi believes that she is the real Mima, Mima believes herself to be Rumi pretending to be Mima — and for obvious reasons, she acts the part perfectly, meaning that no one can tell that she's still crazy. Perhaps even she doesn't feel the difference anymore, hence her line "I'm the real thing" — and if Mima herself is (in her own mind) pretending to be Mima, what really is the difference?
Mima and Rumi have suffered a Personality Swap at the end.While Mima was already going unstable near the beginning, it wasn't until Rumi witnessed the rape scene that she went off the deep end. I'm thinking this story is actually a case of Create Your Own Villain and Being Tortured Makes You Evil getting mashed up with a little bit of Power Incontinence thrown in for good measure. Traumatizing two somewhat similar people, as it turns out, gives their darker natures a chance to get out and start infecting others. While neither Mima nor Rumi have entirely left their original bodies behind, Rumi's got the selfish part of Mima's personality that would literally kill to go on being a pop-idol lodged in her mind, while Mima's got more than a little of Rumi's capacity for Tranquil Fury and being a Soft-Spoken Sadist with a pleasantly low singing voice lodged in hers. That's why Rumi and Mima have each other's voices at the end, and why Rumi's still locked up while Mima's adjusting well to her new career. They're actually both still crazy from mixing up their personalities, but now Mima has all of Rumi's Mask of Sanity to go with her own gentler nature. That means a murderer is still on the loose and anybody who wants to keep his life had better not do anything to tick Mima off... but there will be no more violent stabbings; just drownings or poisonings.