‘The Imaginary’ Anime Spoilers & Summary Explained: Is Emily Dead Or Alive?

As kids, we all lived in our own magical world where we had friends no one else knew about. These were our only companions in solitude who embarked on impossible adventures with us. However, as we grow older, we get so busy with work and responsibilities that we don’t have time for the make-believe world anymore. Our imaginary friends seem to disappear too, as we get more logical and rational in the real world. In Netflix’s animated film, The Imaginary, we came across a girl named Amanda who, too, had created an imaginary friend of her own. Rudger is someone only Amanda can see. But something happens to Amanda that makes her forget about Rudger’s existence. As Amanda starts to forget Rudger, he begins to fade. He is all on his own now and have to find a way to survive in a world where his creator no longer remembers him. There’s also a villainous character named Mr. Bunting, who is like a nightmare to all imaginary characters and poses a threat to Rudger and the others. Who is this man, and what ultimately happens to him? With the help of other imaginary friends, Rudger sets out on a mission to help Amanda remember him and defeat Mr. Bunting. Does Amanda finally remember her best friend, Rudger? Let’s find out from this explainer of the movie The Imaginary.

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Spoilers Ahead


What happened to Amanda? 

Amanda was a regular young girl who didn’t have many friends in school. To keep herself company, she had created an imaginary world which she shared with her imaginary friend, Rudger. In Amanda’s make-believe world, trees danced, whales sang, and dinosaurs flew in the sky—in short, it was all like a dream. Together with Rudger, Amanda went on secret adventures. Rudger was created by Amanda and was only three months, three weeks, and three days old. Rudger and  Amanda promised each other they would protect each other and never disappear from each other’s lives. Amanda felt that Rudger was her true companion and couldn’t bear the thought of losing him. Actually, after her father’s death, Amanda felt very lonely. She had loved her father very much. He was her inspiration for everything, and they used to play together and go on secret adventures which Amanda’s mother, Lizzie, didn’t know about. After his death, Amanda found Rudger. Lizzie was always busy working at their shop and didn’t have time to play with Amanda. So, you can imagine how protective Amanda was of Rudger. Her mother didn’t understand Amanda’s obsession with Rudger and thought it was just childish foolishness. Maybe Lizzie had forgotten that when she was also a little girl once, she too had an imaginary friend named Fridge, who looked like a dog. But after growing up, with all of life’s responsibilities and complexities, she had forgotten about this imaginary friend.

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Still, Lizzie didn’t stop Amanda from playing with Rudger. Everything was going normally until one day, a mischievous middle-aged man named Mr. Bunting came to their shop and claimed to be conducting a survey on children to understand how their brains work. Lizzie was shocked by the unusual nature of the survey, but Amanda and Rudger were even more shocked. Why? Because besides Mr. Bunting, there was an entity that Lizzie couldn’t see, but Amanda and Rudger could. It was a black-haired girl who looked like an ominous creature, probably Mr. Bunting’s imaginary friend. At first, they didn’t understand why an old man like him had an imaginary friend and why he was researching children. But then the tragedy happened. One day, Mr. Bunting hunted Amanda and Rudger down again as he was trying to suck the life out of Rudger and pull Amanda into the real world. As he was draining the life out of Rudger, Amanda, in an attempt to save her best friend, jumped into the street and was hit by a car. Amanda was rushed to the hospital, and it was seen that Rudger started to fade away slowly.


What happened to Emily? 

Rudger somehow managed to escape from the grip of the villainous Mr. Bunting at that moment. But he still didn’t know who this man was or why he was hunting him down. Even after that incident, Rudger kept being chased by the ominous creature and Mr. Bunting. He also noticed that he was starting to fade away, beginning to disappear. But Amanda had promised him that he wouldn’t, so why was this happening? Was she okay? Was she dead? These thoughts kept coming into Rudger’s mind. In the meantime, Rudger met a cat with one red and one blue eyeball named Zinzan. Zinzan took him to a secret alleyway leading to the Town of Imaginaries. Here, Rudger hoped to find the answers to all his questions. This town was like a secret world for imaginary characters, where they could live on even if they were forgotten by their creators once they grew old, died, or simply moved on. By coming into the Town of Imaginaries, these characters could make new friends and continue to exist without fading away. The town was housed in a magical library where books created new imaginary worlds every day. This discovery excited Rudger, knowing he wouldn’t disappear after all. But he was still scared of Mr. Bunting. What if he hunted him down again?

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When Rudger mentioned Mr. Bunting’s name, he realized that Mr. Bunting was like a nightmare to all imaginaries—someone who must not be named (like Voldemort). Rudger didn’t understand why until Emily, another imaginary character, revealed the truth about him. Mr. Bunting had the ability to feed on imaginaries, which had allowed him to live for hundreds of years. He did it because each imaginary had special abilities and powers that made Mr. Bunting powerful and strong. Even as an adult, he wanted to hold onto this power to maintain his destructive imaginary world. He hunted down the imaginary friends of little children by sniffing the aroma of the imaginaries to take them away and feed his world with ultimate power. Perhaps he was the reason why, as we grow older, our train of imaginary thoughts disappears and leaves us to dwell in harsh reality without the escape of imagination. For a long time, the imaginaries thought Mr. Bunting might not really exist until one day when Emily, Rudger, and other imaginaries went out to play with children. Rudger took this chance to find out about Amanda and see if she was still alive. But Mr. Bunting found him again. Why was he so obsessed with Rudger? Unlike other imaginaries, Rudger had feelings and emotions. To him, Amanda wasn’t just a play companion; he truly cared for her and was upset at the thought of disappearing from her life. As Mr. Bunting was about to suck the life out of Rudger, Emily came to his rescue. But there was a problem. These characters didn’t have the power to dwell in reality; they were imaginary beings. Mr. Bunting, however, had the power to imagine. Through his imagination, he killed Emily. Before passing away, Emily gave Rudger a magical pair of sunglasses imagined by her creator. Rudger kept them safe with him. Despite this ordeal, one thing became clear to Rudger: Amanda was alive and in the hospital. He knew he had to find her, no matter what.


What happened to Mr. Bunting? 

Rudger realized that the only way to get back to the real world and find Amanda was through her school friend, Julia. When he appeared in Julia’s imagination, he transformed into a girl dancing in a choir in a ballerina costume. For a moment, he forgot about Amanda because he was living as and pretending to be Julia’s imaginary friend. But then, Zinzan came to his rescue and helped Rudger get to the hospital to find Amanda. At the hospital, Rudger discovered why he was disappearing from Amanda’s imagination. Amanda was unconscious after the incident, which caused her to lose her make-believe world and Rudger. But the problem was that not only did Rudger go to find Amanda, but Mr. Bunting was also there. Mr. Bunting wanted to drag Amanda back to reality so that Rudger would be lost forever and he would gain all the power over him. Amanda, at first, did not recognize Rudger in his girly ballerina costume until she saw him through the magical sunglasses given by Emily. She realized that Rudger was the one she had been waiting for so long. Just before it was too late and Rudger was taken away by Mr. Bunting, Lizzie came to the rescue. When she saw her daughter being tormented, she remembered her own imaginary friend, Fridge, from her childhood. Fridge came to the rescue, and together with Fridge’s help, Rudger was saved. As for Mr. Bunting, he made a mistake and gobbled up his own destructive imaginary friend, the ominous black-haired girl whom everyone despised. He got a taste of his own medicine and disappeared along with his imaginary friend.

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In The Imaginary‘s ending, Amanda and Rudger were reunited, and they realized the power of imagination and the importance of holding onto those who mattered the most. But they also realized a hard truth: even though they had promised to be each other’s companions forever and never disappear from each other’s lives, that simply wasn’t possible. Amanda was going to grow old and wouldn’t have time to dwell in her make-believe world or play with Rudger. So, before bidding farewell, Amanda and Rudger went on one last adventurous trip together in their imaginary world. They cherished every moment, as they knew it was their final journey together. Even though Rudger would eventually fade away from Amanda’s life, one thing was certain: he would always be a part of her. Their adventures and memories would remain in Amanda’s heart forever.


Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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