For four episodes now Mieruko-Chan has continued to surprise me with how it has used its simple premise and formula. While the fan-service is a little on the obvious side, and that continues in episode 4 with an extended bathroom scene, the rest of the story manages to feel fresh and interesting and actually pulls off clever twists and reveals in each of its segments that sometimes you see coming and sometimes you don’t.
However, regardless of what scenario Mieruko-Chan sets up, what remains true is that Miko and her reactions to the sudden ability to see ghosts is what sells this story.
Miko is the heart of Mieruko-Chan.
While episode 3 had a heavy focus on Miko’s relationship with Hana and their friendship, episode 4 moves into family territory with Miko’s brother and parents appearing in a number of the segments this week.
The episode starts with Miko’s brother waking her after she has had a nightmare before we go to a short skit at the convenience store where she sees a ghost standing behind the cashier and she buys a pudding while Hana buys more or less every snack in the shop. It’s a pretty ordinary kind of segment and left on its own it wouldn’t even be all that memorable, except that each segment this week actually ties back in so the whole pudding shopping is more significant than it at first seems.
And, as usual the ghost design is creepy as.
What follows this week in Mieruko-Chan is an evening of Miko watching ghost stories with her brother and abruptly deciding to go buy a drink. It’s assumed this is because she’s seen something and wants to avoid it but you’ll have to wait for the post-credits scene to see how the TV looks to Miko.
While out and about Miko drops her 500 yen coin and when it rolls under a vending machine she spots a little ghost. Then she makes the superbly dumb decision to follow it.
You know, prior to this point Miko has been a pretty switched on protagonist but I guess even switched on people get tired or curious and occasionally just make dumb decisions. This one turns out to be pretty terrible however just when you think we’re finally going to see what happens if the ghosts know she can see them help arrives in a truly unbelievable form (and yet it fits within the anime so far).
And then we get the connection to the next story as Miko returns home to tell her brother she doesn’t have drinks and because her lie about why not is so terrible, he decides she must be keeping something from him and his friends at school decide she must have a boyfriend.
Brother stalker segment begin.
This is a much lighter segment (not only because it happens during the day) but also because of the misunderstanding her brother has about why she’s acting weird. It ends with the extended bath scene and yet another ghost, but I think this segment of Mieruko-Chan is sold through the relationship being explored between Miko and her brother.
At their core, horror stories are all pretty much the same but what makes one stand out from another is usually the cast and Mieruko-Chan is spending the necessary time in really building up Miko’s relationships in these early episodes.
There is one more segment after the bathroom one and it is very much about Miko’s family. However, other than saying it ties back to the pudding purchase and does a brilliant job with the cast, I’m pretty much leaving this one alone because if you haven’t watched this episode of Mieruko-Chan yet you deserve to see it for yourself.
It was the perfect conclusion to the episode and then the post credits scene where we see a different take on the earlier segment just stitched it all together.
Mieruko-Chan continues to nicely balance out its sillier moments with some decent emotional beats and some good tension in the more horrific moments. Honestly, if they would tone down some of the fan-service that still feels a little intrusive and unnecessary in this story, there’d be pretty much nothing to complain about as so far each episode of Mieruko-Chan has delivered.
That said, I am glad I am watching this episodically. As each episode is already pretty split up into pieces I think binge watching this might not be the best way to really enjoy the story.
You can read the full season review here.
Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021
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