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 "Excuse me. Who are you?"

Mima is an Idol Singer who decides it's time to branch out into a more serious career as an actress, eventually landing a role in a sexually charged murder mystery series.

Soon afterward, she discovers an internet blog that claims to be a diary of her life written by Mima herself, yet she has no memory of writing it. But the details in it are far too accurate for it to be a hoax.

Is it a Stalker with a Crush? Does Mima have a Split Personality? Or is it something far, far worse?

Insanity ensues.

The film debut of director Satoshi Kon, who would go on to produce other work investigating the boundary between the real and the imaginary such as Paprika, Paranoia Agent and Millennium Actress.

Provides examples of:

  • Acting in the Dark: What the director of Double Bind does to his actors, making the parallels between the Mima and the character she plays in the movie even creepier as both start to suspect they are the killer.
  • Animated Adaptation: Adapted from a novel.
  • Asshole Victim: Arguably one or two of them.
  • Attempted Rape: Near the end of the film the stalker Me-Mania attempts to rape and kill Mima but she knocks him out by slamming a hammer into the side of his head.Or was him?
  • Author Appeal: In-universe - it's suggested that the seedier aspects of Double Bind are done largely so the screenwriter can indulge his own perverted fantasies.
  • Ax Crazy: Me-Mania, Mima at one point and Rumi, only that this one is for real. Well, at least the one we are certain about.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When Mima poses for nude photos, her pubic hair is shown and the cleft of the vulva is very briefly visible. What, did you thought this an cartoon for kids?
  • Bland-Name Product: Features a "Niken" camera early on, only to show a "Nikon F4" camera later on. A bit of Fridge Brilliance, when you realize that they were using the "Niken" on the set of "Double Bind," while the "Nikon f4" was the photographer's personal camera.
  • Break the Cutie: Thanks to the mind screwy nature of the plot it's hard to say what exactly broke Mima, but she is broken alright.
  • Celebrity Is Overrated: Specially when there's people that are obsessed with you in a very unhealthy way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mention early on that Rumi was a former idol singer herself.
  • Contractual Purity: In-universe example, which has some horrible consequences.
  • Cuckoo Nest: One of the hallucinations indicates that Mima's Detective Drama character is the real person, and her "Mima" identity was fabricated as a coping mechanism to deal with being raped in a strip club (which may or may not have been part of the show she was working on). At least, it was probably a hallucination.
  • Deconstruction: Of Idol Singer.
  • Deranged Animation
  • Detective Drama: Mima's first post-singer role is the sister of a serial killer victim in one of these, at least at first.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Me-Mania is a very ugly guy. But was him a devil?.
  • Dream Within a Dream: Used multiple times (as well as showing us conversations or scenes that seem like they're really happening, only for a director to yell "cut!" — the main character was just filming a scene in the television show she's in) to ramp up the suspense and paranoia that the main character feels.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: As Mima loses grip on reality, she does this more and more often.
  • Dying Dream: Sometime after a near-death encounter with a truck, Mima speculates that this trope is in play as she doubts that she's really alive.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the end, when visiting Rumi in the mental hospital, we see that Mima's not only a famous actress now, but also seems to be quite well-adjusted.
  • Extreme Doormat: Mima, at least for a good chunk of the movie, seems to always be doing what Tadokoro wants her to do, to Mumi's discomfort. She is still proactive enough to decide to buy a computer without knowing exactly what to do with it, that ironically makes her situation worse than should be the moment she begins to read "Mima's room".
  • Eye Scream: A man gets stabbed in the eye by a supposed pizza delivery guy. Another man is murdered, and later on his body is shown with the eye sockets all bloody and the eyes missing. Me-Mania gets hit in the eye with a hammer. Well, maybe There's basically a sample of this in every murder.
  • Fan Disservice: A good amount. There's the rape scenes, the scenes where Mima is getting photographed naked, Rumi in the CHAM get-up, etc.
  • Foot Focus: The film is littered throughout with numerous closeups of Mima's bare feet, particularly during chase scenes.
  • Foreshadowing: Rumi constantly repeats that Mima is a pop idol, well after it's clear that kind of public image is something that Mima put well,well behind her. Mima's hallucinations were basically her opinions in the form of a imaginary figure, and in the end Mima see Rumi as her imaginary self.
  • Freak-Out: Mima, coming home at the end of a particular traumatic day after filming a rape scene, finds her beloved pet fish dead, and loses control for a moment, trashing her apartment. The fact Rumi had a delusion involving the fact she was Mima and she is a pure pop idol makes we question if the scene was real, specially because in hindsight that's where she snapped. She (as well as Rumi) has numerous moments where she freaks out throughout the rest of the movie.
  • A Glass in the Hand: Mima does this with a teacup at one point.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: Rumi in the ending, is seen permanently delusional and institutionalized at a mental hospital.
  • Gonk: Arguably a few characters due to the art style, but most definitely Me-Mania.
  • Groin Attack: One of the murder victims is repeatedly stabbed in the crotch with a screwdriver.
  • Harassing Phone Call: After Mima converts to acting from her pop-idol career, she receives at least one threatening message and phone call each from her stalker Me-Mania.Though it could have been Rumi.
  • Hey, It's That Voice: In the original Japanese-language version, Hikari Horaki is Mima and Satoshi/Ash Ketchum is Rumi. Oh, and Might Guy is the pornographer that takes naked pictures of Mima.
  • Idol Singer: Mima, Yukiko and Rei, making up the idol group CHAM.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Rumi is like this toward Mima by the end.
  • Improvised Weapon: An umbrella, in this case.
  • Internet Mimic: Rumi posing as Mima.
  • Jump Cut: Faster and faster as Mima loses her grip on reality.
  • Kill the Cutie: Averted, several times, the last almost by death by Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Loony Fan: Me-Mania.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Mima begins to hallucinated a image of her pop idol self who questions her decisions to become a more mature actress.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: When Mima's Double Bind character is manhandled and raped by a rowdy crowd, the actor playing ahn, the guy who directly rapes her character, if you know what we mean, quietly stammers out "I'm so sorry" between takes.
  • Meaningful Name: Mima, mime, imitate. Good name for an actress and and for someone who is being imitated.
  • Mind Screw: Oh god, so much you can't believe it. This makes even the examples of tropes confusing and hard to define thanks to the extremely unreliable structure of the narrative.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In the final confrontation between Mima and her alter ego, both Mima and the audience see the alter ego as the phantom Idol Singer Mima that has been haunting Mima. Only the mirror reflection shows the truth — that it's really Rumi dressed up as Mima.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Downplayed both in the act and the reaction(Mima is an adult after all, though a bit passive), but Tadokoro seems kinda of regretful after the filming of the rape scene.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Non-Napoleon example: Rumi, Mima's manager, increasingly comes to believe that she is Mima.
  • Never Found the Body: Seems to be the case with Me-Mania at first, then subverted pretty hard.
  • Nightmare Face: This is pretty much Me-Mania's default expression.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Jodie Foster reference plays it double when you know Foster had also a stalker like Mima, that decided to mimicry the plot of Taxi Driver by shooting Ronald Reagan.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: While not as extreme as many examples, Mima's persona in CHAM! seems very deliberately girlish and childlike. Her attempts to overcome this trope are what sets the plot in motion.
  • Not Himself: Both Mima and Rumi.
  • Nothing Is Scarier
  • One-Woman Wail: Used in the song 'Virtua Mima'.
  • Opera Gloves: The CHAM costumes have these.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: A repeated narrative device in the movie. In a two-minute scene you're going to see it like four times.
  • Otaku: In this case there's an otaku for Mima.
  • Personal Horror: At the end, the movie plays around with this trope. At first it seems like Mima is having that, but after the climax it's more obvious that was probably Rumi that projected these feelings on her, since she wanted to be Mima.
  • Punny Name: "Me-Mania" is "Mimania" is "Mima mania".
  • Psychological Horror: The only blood you will see here is spilled by human hands gentlemen.
  • Psycho Supporter: Me-Mania.
  • Red Herring: Who do you think that is stalking Mima enough to know her life that much? Not her stalker, but Rumi.
  • Save the Villain: Mima to Rumi at the end.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Mima's first acting role, two characters in the scene discuss a serial killer who removes his victims' skin because he wants to be a woman. That plot sounds a little familiar.
    • Tadakoro also mentions "Jodie whatshername" in a later conversation about Mima's career. He was specifically referring to The Accused, in which Foster plays a rape victim.
  • Shower of Angst: Mima is shown taking a bath in the middle of the movie after all the shit she goes through.
  • Show Within a Show: Extreme type 4 example, such that at times it's unclear whether what you're watching is happening to Mima or her character (or maybe both).
  • Soft Glass:
    • Averted: Rumi gets a serious cut from leaning through a broken window.
    • Played straight when that window (one in a storefront, no less) was completely shattered in the first place by being hit by an umbrella.
    • Also averted when the photographer is murdered.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The light, happy bubblegum J-pop tune "Ai No Tenshi" underscores the gruesome carnage throughout the movie.
  • Split Personality:
    • Rumi, at least.
    • Your Mileage May Vary on Mima, though.
    • And another disorder related to Schizophrenia, called Folie à deux. The subjective nature of a person's image and how it may differ from that actual person, possibly even taking on a life of its own, is one of the major points of the film.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: In-universe, Mima's character goes from one-line extra to Big Bad, and that comes along heavy doses of Fanservice/Fan Disservice(Stripper character? Fanservice. Stripper character being raped? Fan Disservice to some, (Fan Service to certain people) to make the public interested.
  • Stalker Shrine: Rumi's room is an exact replica of Mima's room.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Me-Mania.
  • Stepford Smiler: Both Mima (Type A) and Rumi (Type C).
  • Stylistic Suck: The show-within-a-show Double Bind features abundant sex and violence and borrows rather heavily from other well-known psychological thrillers, including a screwed-up ending that mixes itself up with the movie.
  • Tall, Dark and Bishoujo: Mima, despite having short hair.
  • Take That: Double Bind is a show with an improvised script that relies on sex and violence to get ratings...and in the final act the plot of it mixes in a weird way with the plot of the movie itself, that is also kind of violent and sexual...
  • Tears of Fear: Mima's character during the rape scene, during her( it was her?) Freak Out moment after returning to her apartment, and as she's running for her life from Rumi.
  • Technology Marches On: Mostly involving computers/the internet.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Satoshi Kon loves this one, and honestly in the end you probably will be still asking from what eyes we saw each scene. We are.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Mima does this while having a bath, underwater.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Mima. Or was her?
  • The Voiceless: Me-Mania.
  • White Dwarf Starlet: Mima's overweight, middle-aged female manager Rumi was a former pop idol who didn't last and now thinks she's the real Mima.
  • Writer's Block: Shibuya, the writer of Double Bind, shows heavy signals of this just before Tadokoro suggests him to expand the role of Mima's character.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: In-universe, as you can guess from Spotlight-Stealing Squad, Mima's character was never meant to be that important, but the writer decides to expand her character anyway to a point where she dominates the plot, proving that he had no idea who was going to be the Big Bad.
  • X Meets Y: Walt Disney meets Alfred Hitchcock, according to Roger Corman.
  • You Would Make a Great Model: Happens to Mima's character in Double Bind.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: The CHAM costumes feature this as well.
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