Mieruko Chan might have been the most underrated show of this entire season, and it is now time to discuss why. Let’s get right to the review!
Mieruko Chan Overview
Mieruko-Chan is a comedy, horror, and supernatural anime that received an anime adaptation as part of the Fall Anime 2021 anime season. The studio behind it is Studio Passione, which has had its hand in various horror and comedy anime in the past, including Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and High School DxD. It is an adaptation of a very popular manga series of the same name written by Tomoki Izumi.
It is being directed by Yuuki Ogawa, who has prior experience directing Ishizoku Reviewers for Studio Passione. She has also directed episodes in FLCL progressive and Miru Tights. The series is also stylised as Mieruko-chan. If you would like to check out our review of the last episode, you can do so right here! Alternatively, since this is the review of the show’s final episode, you can go back and start reading our reviews of the show from Episode 1 onwards. It is really helpful for rewatches!
– Mieruko Chan Review does not contain any spoilers –
Mieruko Chan Review- The Plot
“Miko Yotsuya’s eyes water as she fixates on a single spot on her phone—she ignores yet another dreadful, horrific monster that is in her face, uttering the disturbing words: “Can you see me?” Before now, Miko enjoyed her unassuming high school days, with late-night horror shows serving only as a form of entertainment. But ever since one fateful day, she is the only person aware of the invisible monsters walking freely among humans.
Courageously, Miko makes a bold decision: she will never, under any condition, acknowledge the presence of the horrid spectres. However, even though she pretends they do not exist, she can still see how they disturb the people around her, especially her best friend, the energetic and lovely Hana Yurikawa. In order to protect them from the monsters’ annoyances, Miko gives it her best to continue her school life and avoid every troublesome crisis—even when they scare her to tears.”– Courtesy MAL Rewrite.
Mieruko Chan‘s story is less of a plot and more of a concept, a very interesting one at that. There have been plenty of shows and mangas in the past that use ghosts of dead people and being able to see them as a plot device, the most popular of them being Bleach (the best of the Big 3, and no, I will not be taking questions). Mieruko asks the important question of “what if nobody told the ghosts that they could see them?
On a serious note, while this concept is wacky and fun at face value, the show can turn it into something quite sinister and foreboding. If only Miko could see ghosts, only she could warn her friend who is about to be violated by one. This would have been hard enough without her trying to hide her ghost vision from the ghosts themselves. Thus, every situation involving a ghost has its threat level increase tenfolds just by the sheer ingenuity of the concept.
The overall worldbuilding and storytelling of Mieruko Chan are quite subtle, which I tremendously appreciate. Often, viewers are spoonfed details about a show’s universe. While convenient, it can get boring from time to time. Mieruko doesn’t do that. On the contrary, it prefers to “Show Don’t Tell” a lot of the story elements, which is something wonderful that not enough shows do. Sometimes, a light touch can go a long way.
The subtlety means that the show rarely explicitly explores why some of the events in the story happen. That can be quite an issue for some people, which is fair. While most things aren’t explained to the viewer, everything that happens makes a lot of logical sense when we, as viewers, learn more about the world. The deliberate keeping of secrets can get annoying at times as it starts feeling unnatural and artificial, but that’s only a minor issue.
However, when things in Mieruko-Chan finally click, the show feels like the best thing in the universe. When a mystery is solved, when some powers are uncovered, and when the show successfully succeeds and scaring and tricking the viewer, it feels like a huge accomplishment on the part of a viewer and the show. There is also a certain slice of life element to it, as there are multiple segments that involve the characters taking in the joys of life while surreptitiously dodging ghosts.
Mieruko Chan is at its best in the emotional moments, explaining most of which would involve breaking the no-spoiler rule. Horror is also a huge part of the entire package, and the show nails that aspect of it. While most times, the horror elements are just eerie and uneasy, the show manages to make some of them bone-chilling and the scariest things in anime this year. The comedy is okay, and the best compliments I can give it is that there isn’t much of it and that it is rather tame and not offensive.
Mieruko Chan sexualises its 16-year-old protagonists a little too much. While there isn’t anything explicit because the show is an anime and not hentai, you get the expression the Studio Passione haven’t yet given up their High School DxD roots. Speaking of that, Studio Passione couldn’t have been more perfect as the creators of this anime. They have experience with both horror and comedy, and they could nail the aesthetic perfectly. A little less inappropriateness in Mieruko Chan Season 2 would be appreciated, Passione.
Mieruko-Chan Review- The Characters
This is where the show slightly falters, as there aren’t many impressive characters to speak of here, except one. The character the show is named after, Miko Yotsuya, is a very well written part of the show. She comes across as smart and capable, something most of her kind in anime isn’t. Her desperation in being able to see ghosts and not being able to do anything about it comes across nicely and is the best part of the show. Her rather stoic reactions to most other things is also a great touch.
The other characters are mostly inauspicious, as they all have two characteristics and personality traits at best. Miko’s best friend, Hana, is a caricature, to put it kindly. She just eats and is oblivious to everything going on around her. The most attention she gets from anyone is because of her rather voluptuous breasts. She’s 16, by the way. The secondary side character, Yulia, is used for worldbuilding and information gathering. She is a fleshed-out character, at least, and her interactions with Miko are always great. This also counts for Hana and everyone else Miko interacts with because she is that great of a character.
Mieruko Chan Review- Art and Music
The great animation of Mieruko chan plays a huge part in making the show as scary as it is. There is a split between the good and bad sides of the occult in the show, and the animation displays that perfectly. The music also sets the show’s atmosphere very well and succeeds in making one of the most chilling shows this side of Higurashi. Studio Passione delivered on both of these fronts very well.
The opening and ending themes of Mieruko-Chan are both quite catchy and pop, which fits well with the aesthetic. The show portrays how teenagers talk and act surprisingly well, and the music fits that aesthetic perfectly. While the show doesn’t look or sound as good as some of the more high-budget shows going on right now, what it can do fits the show and is good enough to not count against it.
Mieruko Chan is a supremely underrated show that was a very fun and scary watch and got most horror-comedy elements right. There were a few misses here and there, but not enough to make the show anything worse than “great”.Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to keep yourself updated with the latest news and reviews.