Miko Yotsuya a.k.a. Mieruko-chan is a high school girl with a kuudere attitude who doesn’t seem to be fazed by anything or get excited about anything. She & her younger brother watch horror shows at night without much thought and goes by her daily life ordinarily with the support of both her parents and younger sibling. She has a friend who is the clear opposite of her i.e., she’s cheerful, optimistic, friendly, and eats a lot. One day at school she forgot something and went back to get it when it was getting dark and started to rain. She waited at the bus stop and suddenly she noticed a disfigured body standing beside her; asking if she can see it. This was the first encounter with a specter, (or so we thought). She can also hear it, smell it, and shiver just by pondering when these entities have been around her. She stays cool and doesn’t wanna draw any more attention. She realizes if they notice her, she’s a goner. And so, she pretends not to see them.
The Intimate Psychological Horror
We’ve seen countless horror stories, one having many similarities & clichés to another. What Mieruko-chan does differently is that it makes her character stay in character. The show is atmospheric with the less to no music at all and lets us hear the environment and camera perspectives as if someone is glaring at them. The mood lightens up a bit with some ecchi scenes but that doesn’t escape the horrifying ghosts she sees that often molest the girls. Certain plot twists and turn of events are well executed to surprise us momentarily & keep us on our toes. Not a moment goes by boringly. It’s an intimate horror that connected us to her mind. Everything we see is from her point of view. Mieruko often gets confused by whether she’s seeing real people or ghosts. But she cannot do anything but pretending not to see. She can’t even talk to anyone about this and in certain circumstances she has to manage in a tricky way so that the ghosts don’t realize that she can see them. Hack, it’s a mystery whether she’s just imagining them or not since her & another girl who claims to see ghosts seem to be seeing different things. It’s like a mental existential struggle that only she has to deal by herself. Just think about going through day-to-day life when you see ghastly horror lurking all around you breathing on your neck; when you eat, go to the bathroom, sit alone on a bus, go to sleep and pretend they don’t exist at all. It takes an immeasurable amount of courage and resolve to keep moving despite being afraid at the same time. Later, you start to feel sad rather than fearful and disturbed.
The Unforeseen Twists
Despite Mieruko-chan being able to see many things, there are many events that she couldn’t perceive. Most importantly, she doesn’t have a way to combat these invisible entities. Once she found a way to drive them away, it came with a price that still remains a mystery. She started noticing a lot more than meets the eye. People that are close to her aren’t safe from these monsters as they get harmed by them spiritually. Her best friend who emits positive energy is a beacon for these ghosts, her homeroom teacher got pregnant and her child falls into danger, some random people she sees are haunted by the deceased who have beef with them, and many other characters who have some kinds of agendas to have the ghosts haunting them for life. She just can’t seem to catch any break from all these. What’s more surprising is how certain events turn out. Just like Mieruko, we the audience also misunderstand upon first glance, which works great as the story. It brings the horror in the most unexpected situations. After a long time, they finally figured out how to do horror anime properly.
The Mieruko-chan manga is authored by Tomoki Izumi and published by Kadokawa. Studio Passione adapted this into anime in the Fall of 2021 and 12 episodes were aired. There is no sequel in planning or no confirmation about it. The Opening theme “Mienaikara ne!?” by Sora Amamiya is a colorful one despite the dark aspect of the story and the Ending theme “Mita na? Mitayo ne?? Miteruyo ne???” also by Sora Amamiya is also fun-oriented but mixed with the insanity of the specters lurking around. The title “Mieruko-chan” comes from the meaning “The Girl Who Can See Them”. The episode titles also have various forms of the word “See” e.g., “Can You See Them?”, “Don’t Look”, etc.; which is pretty interesting and playful.
Season 1 ended perfectly on a cliffhanger and an urgent mystery unfolded. We sure would love to see Mieruko-chan getting a sequel. The manga is the best option to pick since nobody knows if the anime will ever continue. In my opinion, the manga is better in terms of art and paneling. It’s on another level than that of the anime and screams much louder. If you are interested, check out both the anime and the manga as they both have something unique to offer. Mieruko-chan is undoubtedly one of the best psychological horrors of this era.
Thank you for reading. ~♡~