Did I mention that I moved houses this year? Along with all the excitement for our new home came the realization that I could go all out on holiday decorations and people would actually see it. Halloween presented the first chance to do so, and I started out with a humble display that I’m hoping to grow over the years.
When Mieruko-chan started airing, the timing felt perfect; my mind was filled with pumpkins and ghosts, skeletons and spiderwebs. Miko’s ability to see spirits of the deceased fit in with my mood.
I don’t consider myself much of a horror connoisseur, and my dabbling in anime focuses mostly on investigative shows like Ghost or psychological horror like Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. Mieruko-chan fits in a bit more with the latter mood despite her seeing actual dead people more aligning with the former. The show mixes a blend of horror, comedy, and ecchi that somehow works. You’re trembling along with Miko at the terror of a malevolent spirit looming over you, then suddenly Hana hugs you from behind with a soft sploosh of her chest and you’re now warm physically and mentally.
One of the more unique aspects about this story is our protagonist and how she handles her ability. In most other supernatural shows we’d likely confront these ghosts in some way, either peacefully like in Natsume Yuujinchou, or violently like in Jujutsu Kaisen. Miko opts for neither—she ignores her sight and does everything she can to avoid confrontation.
Typically, I’d advise against avoidance for mental health reasons blah blah blah, but for the narrative here it works. Not only is it fresh to the genre, but it also sets up the characters for comedic skits that would otherwise not exist. A good percentage of the time when Miko encounters spirits while in the company of her best friend, the scene revolves around her agonizing about how to not only save Hana, but do so in a way that doesn’t give away her sight.
Encounter after encounter with Miko being scared might get boring very quickly, but we have a few side characters to thank for that not being the case. The aforementioned Hana is the polar opposite of Miko—she cannot see spirits, but she does radiate a warmth and light so bright it actually repels them.
And then there’s Yulia, a classmate who, like Miko, also possesses the sight, albeit a weaker version. She only sees lesser spirits, and none of the more malevolent and larger ones that Miko can. Their friendship is slow in coming with several misunderstandings impeding them for most of the season.
I’m hopeful for a possible anime sequel thanks to a still unexplained thread to what was an otherwise formulaic story. Midway through the season, Miko entreaties deities at a shrine to protect her, and is stunned when they respond. Not only are they unlike any other kind of spirit she has ever seen, but they agree to help her three times. The cost of this assistance isn’t really discussed other than her initial coin, and Miko doesn’t even understand at the start what their intentions are. So when they save her the first time, and even the second time, she is horrified at the brutality of their help despite also feeling grateful.
But the question looms over her as it did me while watching, what happens after the third and final time? We do get to see that last confrontation at the very end, even if the answer to the question still remains unknown. Miko’s attempt to thank the gods afterward does not at all go as expected and we’re left wondering if she has actually put herself into a worse situation…she just doesn’t know it yet.
Rating: 1 dango
- 0 dango – average and forgettable.
- 1 dango – very good in its category.
- 2 dango – excellent show that is worth a try.
- 3 dango – exceptional show one must watch.