Introduction and Recap
In Episode 10, we were introduced to Mimi, Cocona’s mother and the key behind Pure Illusion. Mimi is a young girl who, for whatever reason, can access Pure Illusion freely, and because of this, she is kept in a lab where she is researched. This is where Mimi was introduced to Papika, and they become very close friends. We also find out that Doctor Salt’s father ran this facility, and young Salt helped out around the lab.
Throughout Episode 11, we are given more backstory about Mimi’s past. After one incident, Salt’s father goes insane, forcing Mimi and Papika to run away. A year later, they are captured, and it is revealed that Mimi gave birth to Cocona, and Salt was unknowingly the father. Mimi, Papika, and Salt try to escape from the lab so they can start a new life, but they are caught by Salt’s father and his guards. The crazed man threatens to hurt infant Cocona. Mimi screams, and a burst of light appears as she and Cocona disappear into Pure Illusion.
Also in Episode 11, in present time, when Cocona is now a teenaged girl, Mimi reappears and does many questionable things. She possesses Cocona, kills several people, and attacks Salt. Mimi also traps Cocona inside Pure Illusion and tries to confine and control her. From an outside viewpoint, Mimi probably seems like a terrible and possibly insane mother. However, the answer to the title is no. Mimi is not insane. Mimi’s situation is extremely complicated and there are many factors that drive Mimi to do what she does. It all ties into Pure Illusion, as does everything in this show. There are two main reasons behind her behavior.
Through Cocona’s and Papika’s adventures, we have learned many things about Pure Illusion. Firstly, Pure Illusion breaks things down. Other than real humans who travel there (i.e. Cocona, etc.) the people within Pure Illusion (or their representations) are all one-dimensional. Multi-faceted personalities don’t exist. When Cocona and Papika go into Iroha’s memory, her psyche is split into two- the negative side and the positive side. Cocona (Orange Iro) only experiences happy memories and emotions, while Papika (Blue Iro) only experiences negatives ones. However, when the two Iros realize that they are the same person, they come together and solve Iroha’s problem. After that, the portal into Iroha’s memory is closed, and the girls are transported back to reality. This is because the full personality of Iroha with all of its sides and emotions only exists within the real world.
In Episode 7, when Cocona is questioning her relationship with Papika, she encounters several different versions of Papika within Pure Illusion. Each Papika has a distinct, set-in-stone personality. Whatever exaggerated trait they represent, they stick with it. They have no depth, and do not experience any emotion outside of their assigned one. They all represent Papika in one way or another- her tomboyish side, her straightforward side, her pushy side. But none of them are equivalent to the real Papika. It seems that Pure Illusion is not able to reproduce complicated human personalities- it can only make incomplete copies. Cocona wanders around Pure Illusion, interacting with these different versions of Papika. It isn’t until she finds the real Papika that she can return to reality, where only a complex, legitimate Papika can be. This is the first reason that explains Mimi’s behavior, which I will go into more detail about later.
Pure Illusions’s Influence On The Real World
The next reason is Pure Illusion’s effect on reality. We found out in Episode 7 that actions in Pure Illusion can alter the real world. Prior to their visit into her memory, Iroha refused to wear nail polish because she had broken a promise with her Auntie who had given her polish as a gift. In their journey, Cocona and Papika are able to fix Iroha’s mistake and keep the promise to Auntie, which effects Iroha in real life. When they come back from Pure Illusion, Iroha is happily wearing the nail polish. However, Iroha acts slightly different. Papika and Cocona see her throwing away precious paintings that she treasured, which they find troubling.
In Episode 11, the fact that Pure Illusion effects the real world is reiterated. In the past, Mimi and Papika go into a gate very similar to the one that lead to Iroha’s memory. However, this time the gate lead into Salt’s father’s mind, and outside intervention had a much more dramatic effect. When Mimi and Papika return, Salt’s father completely loses his mind, and becomes obsessed with Pure Illusion and Mimi. His mind never returns to normal. Although we do not know what exactly Mimi and Papika did inside the gate, it greatly affected reality.
Making Twisted Mimi
Why are these elements of Pure Illusion important to Mimi? Because when combined, they result in the version of Mimi we see in Episode 11- the violent and overprotective version. As Mimi, Papika, and Salt try to escape from the lab, Salt’s insane father and the guards grab baby Cocona and threaten her. At that moment, Mimi’s motherly instinct to protect her child is released. Her desire to protect Cocona is so strong that this emotion manifests itself into an alternate version. When she enters Pure Illusion, Mimi somehow accesses her own psyche. This is symbolized through the imagery of the white walls. While in the lab, Mimi was confined within a small white room for most of her life. She never experienced the outside world or any joyful emotions until she met Papika and Salt. The white walls in Pure Illusion symbolize this. When the walls fall away, she sees the landscape she visited the very first time she leaves the lab. But this all has a deeper meaning. She is no longer constrained within Pure Illusion. She can access its deeper areas and powers.
And in doing so, she meets the alternative, overprotective version of herself that manifested itself. As I explained earlier, the copies made within Pure Illusion are one-dimensional. They are exaggerations of one emotion or trait- they know nor experience any other emotion. The protective version of Mimi will do anything to protect Cocona, but does not have any limitations in terms of morals. She has no conscious or guilt telling her that hurting others is wrong. This twisted version of Mimi says she wants to help protect Cocona, and Mimi agrees. However, this manifestation of rage fully possesses Mimi, not just in Pure Illusion, but in the real world as well. The sweet, innocent version of Mimi is gone in reality. Only the rage and the overwhelming desire to protect her daughter now exists in the real world. This is why the Mimi we see attacking Salt and everyone else is so violent. It does not represent the real, caring Mimi, who would never do such horrible things.
Then there is the other motherly, protective version of Mimi. In the beginning of the post, I explained that Pure Illusion breaks down personalities. The version of Mimi who is attacking Salt and other people is the manifestation of hate. There is also another Mimi who wants to protect Cocona, but does not possess angry emotions. Instead, she wants to protect Cocona by being a mother. Loving, supportive- and smothering. Mimi wants Cocona to experience the same thing she did while she was in the lab. A nice, secluded life where no one can hurt her physically or emotionally. Where she has no freedom. In Mimi’s viewpoint, this is a good thing. She never experienced anything bad until she ventured out into the real world and met new people. Going outside equals pain. In reality, of course, this is a constraining and unfulfilling lifestyle that would hurt Cocona in the long run. However, Mimi does not realize this. Firstly because of her own experiences, but mostly because she is just a copy of the real Mimi. There is no other thought in her head than “Protect Cocona. Protect Cocona.” No leeway, no reason, no part of her telling her that there are other options.
Why Can’t Mimi Stop Her Own Creation?
You might be wondering if Mimi is the one who controls Pure Illusion, shouldn’t she be able to stop her other self? I think it is more complicated than that. I believe that because Mimi is so in-sync with Pure Illusion that this dark reincarnation is extra strong, especially within the real world. Twisted Mimi is able to access Pure Illusion and make it do her bidding with no constraints.
I also believe Mimi’s limited emotional capacity has a lot to do with the evil version’s power as well. As I explained, Mimi was confined within a small room most of her life. She didn’t experience many different situations and emotions throughout her life the way most other people do. When she met Papika, she did begin to feel emotion- happiness when she was able to go outside, excitement and fun when they adventure into Pure Illusion. Mimi also felt new emotions when she met Salt- love and affection. However, because of Salt, Mim did experience some negative emotions. She felt guilt for hurting his father. Scared and anxious when she found out she was pregnant. Abandoned when Salt would not leave the lab with her and could not protect his daughter.
But no emotion was as strong as when Mimi was captured and Salt’s father threatened to hurt her baby. At that moment, she felt every negative emotion possible, many of which she had never felt before. Fear. Desperation. Anger. Hatred. .
At that moment, all of these new, negative emotions were too overwhelming for her to contain or comprehend. Therefore, their embodiment (Twisted Mimi) is strong also. Overwhelmingly strong. This is what makes Twisted Mimi in the real world so violent and relentless. She has all of Pure Illusion to control with a surplus of hate as her fuel. This version of Mimi (and Mimi’s desire to protect Cocona) is so powerful that it could have possibly trapped the real Mimi somewhere within Pure Illusion. It is also plausible that the real gentle Mimi is too weak, whether physically or emotionally, to overcome the creation she made.
Hopefully, the other characters will be able free the original Mimi and she will be reunited with her precious Cocona for real. We will find out in the next episode!