But for all its vibrancy and charm, there is a sinister implication to Coco's afterlife. As Miguel learns, the reason honoring the dead is such an important tradition is that it's the only thing keeping the spirits of the deceased in the afterlife. As long as someone alive still cares enough to remember them, the dead get to keep "living" in a society not so different from the one they left behind. Once they are forgotten in the living world, they just disappear. Where do they go? What becomes of them? Nobody knows. But what are the odds that there's an after-afterlife?
But there's another way of being remembered besides having a loving and dutiful family, one that's a lot more effective: being s**t-hot famous. Coco doesn't shy away from showing us the effects of this fame-based caste system, either. In one scene, we see over half a dozen famed Mexican icons: