Mieruko-Chan really is riding on the power of friendship for its character motivations and emotive notes for the audience, fortunately it is doing it well with the Hana and Miko friendship firmly established and Yulia being an awkward but somewhat cute addition to the group.
While the comedy elements seem to have disappeared completely, episode 10 of Mieruko-Chan gives us a fairly decent horror set up right from the opening scene with the creepy new teacher Zen opening his door a crack to the nosy but well-meaning neighbour. Tension builds through the episode until events force Miko to really consider her strategy of ignoring the ghosts and hoping they’ll go away.
Mieruko-Chan ups the tension as we move into the final episodes.
It isn’t hard to feel sympathy for Miko in this episode. While she’s been seeing ghosts for a while now you can’t help but wonder how hard it would be to focus in class if you could see a ghost looming over each student that the teacher spoke to. Worse when that ghost is looming over you and with the teacher surrounded by angry cat spirits on the other-side, who wouldn’t feel caged?
That said, Mieruko-Chan definitely picked the right awful thing for Zen to be doing to garner contempt from the audience. The guy kills cats (and we all know anime cats are the best). If we learn nothing else about him that’s enough to make him a decent enough bad guy in this story.
However, while Miko is freaking out because of what she can see, it is Hana who we really needed to be paying attention to this episode. The first scene we see with Miko and Hana together involves them running in class and Hana as always complaining she is hungry.
This isn’t unusual and Miko largely dismisses it. However, as the episode progresses it becomes clear that something has changed because while Hana has always been hungry she’s now taking it to a new level.
But because Miko has spent the last nine episodes refusing to see or understand anything about the spirits she sees, she really doesn’t have any idea what is happening with Hana. Which is why Yulia’s inclusion in Mieruko-Chan is going to prove so necessary. Like Yulia or not (and her cute mushroom hair ties may be enough to tip you into the like group), her unthought out comment in the nurse’s office about Hana’s aura was absolutely necessary.
Without it, Miko wouldn’t have a clue and more than that, while she’s though once or twice that maybe her approach is wrong she’s never really thought she needed to take action.
Now though it is different.
Hana is being affected and more than that, Miko has also realised that the god or whatever from the shrine is only going to protect her one more time after the fox masked spirits save her from a ghost child she accidentally waved at in the park toward the end of this episode.
While the fight between the foxes and the ghost is visually interesting, it isn’t the real climax. The real climax for episode 10 of Mieruko-Chan is Miko’s emotional revelation as she realises that staying ignorant means she won’t be able to help Hana and she is also going to be in danger because what little protection she has is about to run out.
Face with this situation, you have to wonder just what Miko intends to do next. It is one thing to decide she needs to do something and another to know what it is she should be doing. I guess I’ll find out as I jump into the next episode of Mieruko-Chan.
You can read the full season review here.
Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021
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