I’m kind of loving that 8 episodes in Mieruko-Chan is giving Miko a reason to second-guess her own decision about how to deal with the things she sees. So far the running gag has been her attempts to ignore them entirely but after two encounters this week Miko starts to wonder whether that really is the right approach, before reaching a conclusion that she’s just not equipped to deal with it so might as well continue to ignore the problem.
That would work well enough for the episode but just as Miko is thanking Hana for inadvertently advising her through her story of the moth on the soda can, in walks in their new teacher and wouldn’t you know it, he’s the creepy cat guy from episode 2.
Mieruko-Chan keeps playing with its formula but never strays too far from the tried and true path.
Compared with episode 7 which had more or less one ongoing situation, episode 8 of Mieruko-Chan returns to the formula of setting up a few different situations that are loosely connected as Miko goes about her normal day and then resolving them. This episode starts with Miko and her brother shopping for a present for her mother when Miko has an unwelcome visitor in the dressing room.
I’m not going to comment on the fact that they once again found an excuse for a girl having a changing sequence in this episode. Particularly as Miko wasn’t even shopping for herself so trying the dress on in the first place made little sense. Anyone who has made it this far in Mieruko-Chan will know there’s fan-service dropped in periodically and usually it feels forced into the scene so no sense really asking once again if it is even necessary.
After successfully buying a different gift, the siblings take the train home and we get a fairly tense sequence that leads to some interesting wonderings about the world of spirits. For Miko, it is pretty traumatic. She’s sitting on the train, brother sleeping on her shoulder, and a ghost is walking down the line swinging his axe through the head of everyone sitting. And don’t think about moving, the ghost is making sure to swipe his axe multiple times through anyone moving.
While Mieruko-Chan is never actually scary, scenes like this are pretty tense and the emotional resonance the audience has with Miko as she panics and works through her options really sells the scene. Of course, if you’ve not connected with Miko as a character I suspect the effect will be somewhat diminished.
What makes the scene even better is that it turns out this axe won’t cut the person, but the girl next to Miko apparently has something inside of her which axe guy cuts, pulls out and then puts in his sack. What is he doing? Is he actually helping? Why was the other spirit thing inside the girl? We don’t know and it isn’t as though Miko is going to sit down and ask the axe wielding ghost.
It was a pretty great sequence though one I feel that was kind of let down by the final gag they decided to throw in before transitioning on with Miko needing to go buy underwear. I get that this is a comedy and we have had these odd moments of fairly flat and obvious humour at times, but here it really did take my enjoyment of the overall scene down a notch.
On the back of the scene where the ghost wasn’t hurting people but other ghosts, we see Miko and Hana saying farewell to their pregnant teacher when Miko notices a transparent blob hovering around their teacher and touching her stomach.
Mieruko-Chan builds this one up as Miko wonders what to do and finally she gives her teacher some encouragement and wishes that she’ll be careful for the remainder of her pregnancy. It is then we learn the truth about the transparent blob in a pretty touching sequence that once again makes Miko wonder if she’s doing the right thing by simply ignoring what she sees.
But in case the audience was getting all warm and fuzzy feelings about spirit babies and ghosts hunting other ghosts on trains, as Miko considers this, she encounters a truly disgusting looking creature near a vending machine and immediately reverts back to simply pretending not to see.
It is kind of the nature of Mieruko-Chan. They never stray too far from the formula they established because it is kind of the whole gag behind the story and when you have a working formula messing too much with it isn’t a good idea. Still, it was nice to see that Miko is still at least thinking about her situation and isn’t just going through the motions.
You can read the full season review here.
Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021
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