So a recap, our story follows idol Mima Kirigoe leaving her group behind to go into acting. Mima’s identity gets call into question when we increasingly see the lines between what is happening on scene to what is happening in her mind. The film shows the dangers fandom and how one can lose themselves in the dark dealings of show business. It turns out Rumi one of her managers is the one behind the murders and stalking. They get into a fight and Mima was able to subdue Rumi and we see Rumi in a psychiatric hospital. The film ends with Mima looking into her rear view mirror and proclaiming “I’m the real thing” to the audience.
So what did it all mean? We can take it as a warning to show business. Kind of like Showgirls but more in the Black Swan view. Mima had to give up her girly and cute side to become the actress Mima. This is shown with her taking on more risque roles and leaving the pure idol group.
It’s also about the possessive nature of being a celebrity. We see this in “Me-Mania” fan (who I doubt may be real in the timeline of the film) and Rumi Mima’s manager. There is also theories about Tadokoro Mima’s other manager being in on the psychosis but I think it holds little weight. I mean your welcomed to any other opinion about it but I think the story of Rumi and Mima is much more interesting.
There’s also an argument that Rumi is the real main character on this story. While she is the antagonist she is the hero in her eyes and in our eyes in a lot of the scenes. You see a lot of those scenes where we see Mima do things like kill those show managers it’s really Rumi. She’s also behind the website and behind “Me-Mania”. Rumi also has a full heroes journey cycle.
Mima’s story can’t be trusted as well. The film always frames her around glass or a reflection. Her scenes during her acting from the cameras, the photographers taking her pictures, and even at the end she looks at the audience through the mirror. Mima becomes the literal media we consume since most things we see in media is around glass.
So the film is broken up to things that happened and didn’t happen. The murders we know are real and have taken place, mostly in the hands of Rumi. Mima was an idol and Rumi was a former idol now manager. The TV show that Mima is filming seems real but the story fits too well with the events of this movie.
And lastly this movie doesn’t end without a color theory analysis. The colors red and blue have many interpretations in this movie. But I think it’s a war between red and blue, between Mima’s idol life and acting life. Mima’s psychosis starts with her decision or rather her indecision about leaving her idol group. The red is used primary in almost every shot of this film. It symbolizes her past trying to bring her back into her old ways. It’s also Rumi’s color who at the end becomes the idol Mima personified.
The blue is used very conservatively in many of the shots because Mima doesn’t have much control over her life yet. The ending is up to interpretation as we actually don’t know which Mima we are seeing.
With the use of color in this film let’s breakdown the last scene. Mima watches Rumi between glass in the hospital. We don’t see them interact but we hear Mima say that she couldn’t be the person she is without her. We see Rumi see her reflection as idol Mima. Which is interesting since it’s a shift to Rumi’s perspective. Mima in the scene is wearing sunglasses the entire time. She walks in her red car and takes off her glasses and speaks directly to the audience.
I would like to believe that Mima (blue) wins out in the end. But you can make it a case that Rumi is actually the one walking out of the hospital at the end. It looks like her car and we never see Mima drive herself. She breaks the 4th wall and we only see the reflection of Mima in the mirror. But theses holes seem more of a logistics problem.
In a thematic sense it looks like actress Mima does win out in the end. Even no she gets into the red car the shot changes to a close up of the blue sky with Mima’s face. I believe that her driving herself shows that she is literally in control now. Since before she let others direct her life. Rumi’s reflection in that mirror would just be idol Mima but we get Mima with sunglasses.
But like the ending of Inception I think viewers can look at it both ways and choose for themselves. It’s worth a rewatch or two. The use of colors and music gives you a better sense of what is happening. And even the clothes matter. Satoshi Kon has crafted every inch of this film and one of the most brilliant works you can watch today.