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.
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 (1) is the case, murderous Mima is still on the loose, and everyone had best be nice to her or she might just go Axe-Crazy
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?
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.
Mima was sexually assaulted at some point, possibly by a Loony Fan
Just an idea I had when I was watching this movie for the first time — I half-expected it to be confirmed as canon. But it wasn't, so... here we are.
- It happens to pop idols a truly horrific amount, and it's possible it was never reported or made public because the assault would forever wreck Mima's image and reputation, never mind that it wasn't her fault.
- Mima deciding to go into acting was partially influenced by this incident — both in the hopes of getting away from the crazy idol fans, and as a way of gaining control over her life. (Obviously, neither of these ideas worked out.)
- Rape and sexual assault victims frequently make drastic changes in the aftermath of their trauma, both to exercise some control, and as a way to distract themselves and cope with what's happened. It doesn't get much more drastic than changing career paths and allowing her public image to do a complete 180.
- Mima agreeing to film a rape scene, and then suffering a Freak Out! when she does so, also makes sense through this lens — obviously, if the incident was never properly dealt with, Mima can't say why she wouldn't want to do the scene, and on top of that, she really needs this job. Filming a scene like that can be upsetting even for people who haven't been assaulted, but if you believe that Mima was, and factor in all the other horrific things she's been through at that point, of course she was triggered, possibly having flashbacks to her assault.
- It's also possible that Mima doing the rape scene, as well as the nude photoshoot, is a method of her "proving" to herself that she's completely over what happened — even though, she clearly isn't.
Adding to the above...
Mima was sexually assaulted but doesn't remember it
. It wouldn't be too out of left field for Mima to straight-up repress that memory, or somehow convince herself that what happened didn't really happen, which would of course prevent her from coping with her assault in a healthy manner.
Mima's band mates are the only ones who respect her/ know her/ knew she could handle herself.
While they only get a few scenes/mentions, it's enough to get an idea of their working relationship with our heroine. Which seems extremely positive. They're shown having celebrated Mima's birthday,having a celebratory sleep over with her, are always happy to see her and when Mima changing careers is discussed, problems within the band is never brought up as a subject. Also, you can note that Mima has three heart pillows on her futon along with the regular sleeping one. Two are the colors associated with her band mates (their pajamas and what they wear at their first concert without her (blue and green) )and the third is Mima herself (pink). So they are significant (and cute).
Their biggest scene is their entire concert after Mima leaves, but the focus for this WMG is when they're talking before the performance. Both seem very non-plussed about Mima dealing with an extremely skeevy photographer who has a reputation for pornographic photo shoots. Some may take this as them being callous, but it could be seen as them just being confidant/ humored that Mima has to deal with the experience. Remember, this happens AFTER Mima has already been acting in an intense drama series for some time, including her character going through a very intense and graphic rape scene.
So, to them it just looks like Super Determined Actress Mima paying her dues and doing the next crazy thing she has to do for her career to keep going. Nothing less and nothing more. They know she can handle it because they know her and, from their perspective, Mima is doing well and thriving outside of Cham. Also, they're pop idols. Even though they had not made the Big Time (yet) they've no doubt had to deal with weird fans/ perverse individuals by this point in their lives/careers. This would be basically routine for them as (small) celebrities.