Original Run: October 3, 2021 - December 19, 2021 Number of Episodes: 12 Genre: Comedy, Horror, Supernatural Based on the Series Created By: Tomoki Izumi
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Mieruko-chan. Reader discretion is advised.***
In every conceivable way, Miko Yotsuya (voiced by Sora Amamiya) lives a no-thrills, completely ordinary life where nothing strange or unexpected ever happens. Then one day, her peaceful existence turns nightmarish.
On a dark stormy night, standing alone at a poorly lit bus stop, Miko encounters a horrifying apparition. Through sheer instinct and willpower, Miko gives no indication that she can see the entity. Although the creature eventually wanders off, it isn’t Miko’s last run-in with beings from the other side.
From then on, ghosts, ghouls, and the undead follow Miko wherever she goes. Despite doing all she can to ignore these spirits, their grotesque, unnerving, and sometimes violent nature dig at Miko’s psyche.
What’s worse, who would even believe her if she said anything?
Mieruko-chan was one of the fall 2021 anime I was looking forward to the most. From the outset, this show’s premise seemed like it could be a ton of fun and, if done well, quite hilarious. But, since I had no previous knowledge of this series, whatever anticipation I carried going in was baseless.
Having now sat through this show and looking back on my expectations, I don’t think I could have been more off the mark – in the best possible way.
You see, Mieruko-chan exceeded everything I could have hoped for when starting it. While there were elements of this show that prevented it from standing alongside 2021’s best, it is an anime that you should not overlook.
I suppose we should begin by determining what genre of anime Mieruko-chan was: comedy or horror. Well, the truth is, this series was both.
At one end, this show had an incredible sense of humor, thanks mainly to its protagonist, Miko Yotsuya. Considering the situation she found herself in, her mental fortitude was damn near superhuman.
When she encountered a ghost – the frequency and severity of which increased drastically as the story moved forward – Miko’s deadpan resignation towards everything around her was gold. Additionally, the lengths she went to protect her friends and family from inadvertently crossing paths with a spirit were as clever as they were humorous, which is to say she had to go above and beyond.
Without shoving it in our faces, Mieruko-chan was very good at reminding us that Miko was the one person who saw the totality of an encounter; only she knew the extent of how messed up things actually were.
However, Mieruko-chan’s true strength was not its comedy.
While Miko was an amazing straight man, it was only her personality that was ever funny. What she was going through was anything but a laugh. On the contrary, this series made it clear how mentally stressful Miko’s plight was. Her quick wit and sarcasm were coping mechanisms, ones that if she didn’t have, her mind would have probably broken.
A handful of the ghosts Miko came across had lingering regrets and goals that needed achieving. While those spirits were gruesome to behold, their intentions weren’t hostile or menacing. Those incidents were few and far between. Most of the time, though, the beings Miko faced had, undoubtedly, sinister goals in mind.
Yes, Mieruko-chan was a reliable comedy, but it was also a solid horror anime.
Miko had the presence of mind to act as though she couldn’t see the ghost around her. Whether she was in perpetual danger is impossible to say; I am willing to bet there were spirits that would have done her no harm. And yet, while one out of ten encounters might have been benign, the other nine sure as hell didn’t come off that way.
There was one scene where a being caught Miko off guard; she reacted to its existence. The result was legitimately terrifying.
When Mieruko-chan wanted to be a horror anime, it was a f@#$ing horror anime. So to those with weak constitutions, I highly advise employing some serious discretion should you choose to watch this show.
But more than anything, prepare yourself. When Mieruko-chan is funny, it is funny. When this series is scary, it is scary. And on more than one occasion, this show will land a direct blow to your heart. I cannot believe how teary-eyed I got while watching.
Without giving too much away, there were, at least, three distinct moments where Mieruko-chan kicked me right in the feels. One was an insanely well-done twist, and the other two struck unbelievably close to home. For one of those three moments (the one I don’t feel too guilty going into a bit of detail over), let me put it this way:
At the time of me writing this review – and hopefully long after – I have two cats that I love very much. After what this show did, I had to take a second to go and hug both of them very tightly.
Any series that can elicit a reaction that profoundly is doing something right.
To wrap up this section, Mieruko-chan had a lot more to itself than I was initially willing to give it credit for having. While I had assumed this would be an enjoyable, tongue-in-cheek foray into horror-esque anime territory, I got so much more out of the exchange.
This is one of those shows that needs a follow-up. There is still so much more left in this story; I can feel it in my bones.
I am encouraging all of you to make it a point to put Mieruko-chan onto your “Need To Watch” list. Believe me; it is well worth your time.
Reading through the Series Positives section, I wouldn’t blame you if you came away with thinking Miko was this show’s only character. Although she is the only one of note, there were other significant players in this story. Thus, if there were a negative I can attribute to Mieruko-chan (there is another, but we’ll get to that in a moment), it would be the lack of weight anyone other than Miko had.
Granted, this is a dilemma that is solvable with a season two. But as things stand, no one else in this show came anywhere close to Miko’s level of memorability. Heck, aside from our protagonist, this series’s cast was rather flat – in the personality sense.
To be fair, Mieruko-chan ended with many unanswered questions, the resolutions to which may go a long way to developing certain characters. For example:
Why were ghosts attracted to Miko’s best friend, Hana Yurikawa (voiced by Kaede Hondo)? This series gave hints to a reason, but nothing akin to a firm conclusion.
Fortunately, this lack of well-developed secondary characters isn’t too pressing an issue. After all, Miko was more than enough to carry this show. There were plenty of elements that worked in Mieruko-chan’s favor:
- Sufficient horror moments
- Robust comedy
- A capable protagonist
- An interesting narrative
This was a series that didn’t need to resort to cheap, eye-catching tricks to retain viewers’ attention. Therefore, one has to wonder: Why was Mieruko-chan unapologetic with its fanservice?
My god, this was an utterly unnecessary quality that did nothing but distracted from everything this series was doing so well. We get it; Hana’s chest was massive, girl’s skirts were ridiculously short, and everyone’s shirts were a size too small. These things did not need to be here.
Mieruko-chan had qualities that allowed it to stand out. All this egregious fanservice did was belittle an otherwise unique anime.
Aside from its unneeded “polish,” this series was a phenomenal surprise.
This show could be funny, scary, and heartwrenching within the same episode without sacrificing anything; things were in beautiful balance. It would be a massive crime if this story never gets the continuation it so rightly has earned.
Mieruko-chan has earned a recommendation.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Mieruko-chan? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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