Mieruko-Chan Review – Ignoring Ghosts And Wishing They’ll Go Away

Mieruko-Chan Anime Series Review
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I love a good supernatural tale and the story of a high school girl who can suddenly see spirits everywhere she goes seemed like a good fit. I’ll admit though, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The early episodes of Mieruko-Chan were heavy on fan-service, and not of the kind that actually feels like a service but more of the tokenistic and sleazy kind. That said, there’s definitely reasons enough to give this anime a go.

You could definitely do worse than Mieruko-Chan.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

In addition to the potentially off-putting fan-service there’s also the overall sense that Mieruko-Chan isn’t really going anywhere. Early episodes are divided into clear vignettes with each setting up a situation where protagonist Miko will see a ghost and will try not to react and then there will be some kind of resolution, which in a lot of cases was simply the spirit giving up trying to get her attention.

It doesn’t feel like the plot is moving along in particular and it can leave episodes feeling a little fragmented.

However there’s some solid groundwork being done in these earlier stories and scenarios that make later episodes feels far more rewarding than they would have without them. Individual viewers will decide whether there’s enough enjoyment in the earlier episodes to make it worth their while but for those who like standard horror tropes there’s a decent enough amount of tension being built in some situations, the ghost designs are varied and pretty creepy, and there’s a couple of surprise outcomes that shake things up a bit after you get through the first couple of episodes.

Just don’t expect to be actually scared. As much as Mieruko-Chan uses horror elements and builds tension, even occasionally throws in a jump-scare, unless you are naturally freaked out by ghosts you are probably not going to find this one overly terrifying.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 3

So where does Mieruko-Chan shine?

Honestly, my biggest surprise with this series was how much I came to love scenes where Miko was interacting with best bud Hana. Normally high-school girls hanging out at lunch or on their way home from school is not the high point of an anime for me. Yet there’s some very solid chemistry between these two characters and it makes literally every scene with them together charming to watch.

Also, the friendship isn’t just there because they want to establish Miko is an ordinary girl with friends. Hana seems to draw ghosts to her at times, which causes a major problem for Miko given she can see them, and also, Hana being completely oblivious to the spirits and keeping her that way gives Miko motivation to act throughout the series.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 2

Unlike many anime friendships of convenience (where a protagonist has a friend only so dialogue can happen), the writers have really made both of these characters feel real through their interactions and they may very well be one of the best duos I’ve seen in a while from anime.

As the series progresses a third girl is introduced into the mix. I will say that initially my reception to Yulia was a little on the luke-warm side. Largely that was because the friendship between Hana and Miko was so well balanced it didn’t feel like there was space for an interloper.

I was partly right and Mieruko-Chan had to bring the girl back a couple of times in different situations before it started to feel a bit more natural but by the end of the season as the three girls walk down the street together it did feel very natural. Given more episodes I suspect they could really develop the new group’s dynamic and given writing these character relationships was definitely the strongest aspect of the anime they’d probably do a pretty good job.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

Similarly, the couple of stories involving Miko’s family were pretty solid. One of them was actually incredibly heart-felt and the twist in that story was really well handled. I won’t ruin it for people who haven’t watched, but honestly Mieruko-Chan is always on solid ground when looking at the character relationships.

Less so when explaining the lore or rules of this world. Because lets be honest, Miko spends most of her time pretending she can’t see anything so she’s hardly looking for explanations as to why she could suddenly see ghosts or what the ghosts might want.

Also why are some ghosts human like where others are clearly monstrous looking? And some just repeat the same lines over and over whereas other seem to be conscious of their situation. And what was the thing on the train and why did he eat the spirit inside that lady?

Yeah, Mieruko-Chan is definitely hoping for you to suspend disbelief and not probe to deeply into the set-up. The girl can see ghosts. She just can. When she ignores them they mostly leave her alone.

Just don’t ask for any more explanation than that because by the end of these twelve episodes you’ll still be left with questions.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

Visually Mieruko-Chan is not the prettiest anime ever and from an animation point of view it is serviceable but nothing exciting. It works best with the contrast between the brightly coloured human characters and the dark greys and purples most of the ghosts are rocking but its pretty simple and there’s not a huge amount of animation at times.

That said, there’s some remarkably good work in conveying Miko’s growing unease and desperation as a ghost zeroes in one her. Whether she’s clenching a book or the edges of her skirt, getting a small tremble in her face or just stiffening up, they really do convey her emotions very well to the audience and it is easy at times to place yourself in her shoes and realise that while Mieruko-Chan may not be scary to watch the situation Miko has found herself in is pretty horrible.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 5

Finally, the OP to Mieruko-Chan (Mienaikara ne!? by Miko Yotsuya) is very upbeat but also conveys Miko’s overall sense of feeling a bit lost and helpless. The frantic lyrics come at you while Miko runs through brightly coloured paint splotches and kind of conveys the overall tone of the show.

Mieruko-Chan is definitely not for everyone but for those who are looking for something with a supernatural side to it you can definitely do worse than Mieruko-Chan. There’s a few fun surprises along the way and ultimately this is a story with a lot of heart.

If you’ve watched Mieruko-Chan I’d love to know what you thought of it so be sure to leave me a comment below.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Karandi James


Mieruko-Chan Episode 12 – The End of The Season But The Beginning Of Miko’s Journey

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12 Review
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I did not expect that final episode of Mieruko-Chan to wrap everything up but I was hoping Miko would learn a little more about her abilities. Still, I can’t say I’m disappointed with this final episode that gave us some tension, a jump scare or two, and some heart-warming friendship moments. All things considered it was perhaps the best the audience could hope for given how many unanswered questions there still are.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12

That said, without a confirmation of a season 2 you can’t help but feel a little saddened that this has come to a close so inconclusively.

What surprises did the final episode of Mieruko-Chan have in store?

Weirdly (or maybe not) Mieruko-Chan decided rather than give viewers closure it would continue its pattern of making us question are assumptions. See episode 10 had me believe Zen was the big bad before episode 11 had me feel that I was completely wrong. Events in this episode lead me to believe that maybe he isn’t a cat killer but there’s definitely something off about him. The implication from the episode is that he’s responsible for multiple missing persons.

Though this time I’m not going to jump to conclusions. Maybe the guy just ran away after being electrocuted by a high-school teacher.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12

But that’s all just background for the most part and tying up a loose end in Zen’s story.

Mieruko-Chan is Miko’s story.

Her biggest loose end is the shrine and the spirits who have protected her three times throughout the series. In this episode we see her agonising over whether she should go and thank them and having some pretty horrific nightmares about that situation going horribly wrong.

Unfortunately, this plot line is left completely unresolved though there is definitely an ominous sign toward the end of the episode that those spirits have not forgotten about her and they definitely seem to think she owes them something.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12

With so much still to learn about why Miko can see spirits, what the shrine god actually wants from her, about Hana’s aura and appetite there’s definitely space for a sequel to this story.

But at the same time, it doesn’t really need it.

The episodic nature of the encounters up to this point kind of make each part stand alone and really other than the shrine spirits and Zen’s cat story none of the other plot threads have really carried along outside of Miko’s friendship with Hana.

And that’s why, even without tying up the loose ends, episode 12 satisfied enough.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12

The friendship between Hana, Yulia and Miko has continued to grow and while Yulia is still a bit of an outsider there’s clear chemistry now between her and the other two. Mieruko-Chan has really made the power of friendship work for it and with Miko and Yulia now being a little more honest with each other there’s potential for Yulia to help Miko understand a bit more about what she is seeing.

That said, the world moves on and this episode sees a lot of repeated scenes from earlier episodes as Miko walks us through her days with ghosts appearing on the bus, the bus stop, at school and at home and they’ve all become part her daily routine even if she’s still not reacting to them.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 12

And that brings us to the end of Mieruko-Chan. You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Mieruko-Chan Episode 11 – What A Twist

Mieruko-Chan Episode 11 Review
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Well, only one episode after Mieruko-Chan convinced me teacher Zen was going to be the big bad, episode 11 of Mieruko-Chan turns our assumptions on their head in a way that this story has done before but usually within the same episode. In this case though, from the moment we met Zen back when he appeared to adopt Hana’s stray cat find, he’s been framed as bad news.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 11

I must say, this twist played out better than expected because as this episode rolled on it made me think back over everything we actually knew about Zen and what we’d just assumed. Admittedly, when a guy is surrounded by black screaming cat spirits, one could be forgiven for drawing the obvious conclusion.

Mieruko-Chan delivered.

If I’m honest though, this episode started feeling a bit shaky. we began with a flash-back to Zen’s unhappy childhood where his mother was putting unreasonable pressure on him and was clearly emotionally manipulative. For a moment I kind of thought we were just going for a sad back-story to somehow justify or provide a motivation for Zen’s actions. Fortunately, Mieruko-Chan had thought this through.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 11

Though Mieruko-Chan is definitely giving a nod to poor parent tropes, tragic back stories, and pretty much every other cliché in the book, once again this anime takes what we expect and gives it just enough of a twist to make it feel freshened up. It really does understand the narrative elements at play here and what audiences expect from them and knows just how far they can bend it without losing their audience.

However, that isn’t the best part of this episode.

The best part is seeing Miko actually taking action. She’s scared and uncertain and she knows she hasn’t really figured out what to do but as she says to herself, she wants to help Hana. This is a motivation that rings true for her character because this story has done the ground work in establishing a real friendship between the two girls. So Miko following Zen down alleys seems somewhat justified even if I was kind of willing her not to walk into the tunnel.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 11

Naturally things go a bit awry and in the end Miko grabs the cat and bolts.

Like with most scenarios set up in stories, if Zen and Miko had talked this out, things may not have escalated but because the story needs to happen both characters in Mieruko-Chan go in armed with their assumptions and the situation therefore plays out ending up with the usual trope of cat running across the road just as the one and only speeding car races toward it.

Seriously, why is there always one speeding car just as the cat runs across the road? This is almost as overused as ordinary Japanese person getting hit by truck in the first episode of an isekai story.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 11

But I guess that is because it works. If someone asks “Why did the cat cross the road?” my answer would be “If it is in an anime it happened so someone could save it from getting hit by a car.”

Fortunately, rather than dragging out the revelations, we do get a resolution by the end of the episode with the misunderstandings cleared up and Miko having used her final protection from the shrine god. Which does leave me wondering what she is going to do now given she’s seemingly no wiser as to how to deal with the ghosts.

At least though Mieruko-Chan has pushed Miko to a point where she does need to deal with them. Pretending they don’t exist and she can’t see the things she can is no longer an option.

One episode to go and I’m very curious as to how they will end things.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Mieruko-Chan Episode 10 – Can’t Continue Denying

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10 Review
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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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 10

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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Juggling Horror and Comedy, Mieruko-Chan Hasn’t Quite Accomplished All It Might Have Aimed For

Mieruko-Chan - Horror and Comedy (Article)
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The Fall 2021 anime season has seen the release of Mieruko-Chan, an anime that attempts to juggle the horror for the young female lead suddenly being able to see ghosts and monsters around her in her everyday life with comedic elements such as her steadfast refusal to pay attention to the ghosts, her best friend’s enormous appetite and plenty of fan-service particularly in its earlier episodes.

For some it might seem incongruent to combine traditional horror with comedy but when done well these two styles can really bring out the best in each other and lead to the kind of viewing that takes the audience from the edge of their seat in suspense to nearly falling off their chair laughing the next. The ping-pong style emotional beats are what sell it and at the very least you aren’t getting a mediocre horror experience that is so dour because it is taking itself far too seriously.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8 Review

However, it is pretty hard to get the balance right because if you mock your own horrific elements too much you lose any tension when they appear on screen and equally it is hard to make the audience laugh if you’ve just pushed the horror so far that they are too busy being sick to really pay attention to your witty visual gag.

Shaun of the Dead is a great example of horror and comedy done right. Largely because everything you expect from an everyday man survives a zombie outbreak story appears in some form throughout the narrative with the jokes either referencing things you’ve seen in movies before or flowing naturally from character decisions. Even Ed’s stupidity once they get to the pub and drawing the zombies in is a continuation of his character’s oblivious nature and at least progresses the plot. Besides if Ed hadn’t alerted the zombies, something else would have had to in order to get the climax moving.

It’s almost impossible not to feel for Shaun as he tries to navigate this new zombie filled world and tries to patch things up with his girl-friend and also save his mother, all the while burdened by a best friend who just doesn’t get it.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 4

How does horror and comedy work in Mieruko-Chan?

Mieruko-Chan hasn’t quite gotten the mix right and early episodes particularly really had a number of off-putting elements that had some viewers bail out. Which is a bit of a shame because while Mieruko-Chan isn’t a particularly strong comedy, its horror aspects are actually quite interesting.

Not saying Mieruko-Chan is scary. Very few horror shows or movies are actually scary. But using traditional horror elements and good characterisation do manage to create scenes with some brilliant tension and the situation draws out empathy for protagonist Miko as she stands facing a monstrosity and trying not to react to its presence.

Much like Shaun of the Dead, Mieruko-Chan works because you can feel for Miko.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 3

Instead of wondering how you would get through a zombie apocalypse (and wonder if your own life is already a train-wreck and you just haven’t realised it), Mieruko-Chan has you wondering how you would navigate waking up one day and seeing these shadowy ghosts and monsters.

They are creepy and disturbing and when they’ve noticed she can see them, they’ve become downright terrifying. With no defence against them, even prayer beads only worked on weaker ones, Miko is left with the only defence she has and that is to play dumb.

It’s right up there with the scene where the characters of Shaun of the Dead impersonate zombies in order to walk through a mob of them.

Time and again Miko is approached by ghosts and monsters while she is in public spaces like cafes or the bus, or even when she’s on her own having a bath or similar, and time and again she’s forced to take a calming breath and to try to get through the situation without acknowledging that she’s seen anything.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

While you might think that recurring plot point would get old, Mieruko-Chan actually manages to keep making this scenario feel fresh by changing up the setting, the stakes, the outcomes, and Miko’s own reactions to the situations. Regardless that the central gimmick remains the same, episode after episode they manage to bring something new to the table to make it all feel worthwhile.

Honestly, the honesty with which Miko reacts to situations, struggling with her own resolve not to react to the apparitions and her desire to protect her friends and family from the things around them, would be enough to sell this story on.

Hana, the busty friend who largely gets used for laughs, works well to ground Miko and to help set-up particular situations and create more tension. That she’s also regularly used for fan-service seems more a detriment than an appeal.

Then again, most of the fan-service, and the early episodes of Mieruko-Chan are particularly heavy with it, feels gratuitous.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 2

As a long time horror viewer I get that horror and sex scenes have gone together forever. When you are killing off your cast and you’ve already got a higher rating because of it, you may as well throw in some sex and there’s definitely a portion of the audience that it appeals to.

Yet in Mieruko-Chan the weird camera angles and focus on the girl’s bodies as well as groping ghosts that appear in the early episodes definitely takes the audience out of the scene and robs them of some of their tension. It all feels a little bit like someone realised that a standard element in horror movies was the sexy girl but wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into this setting and what we ended up with just kind of feels like a weird amalgamation of fan-service ideas borrowed from other anime.

Equally, some of the lighter moments, or lines that feel like they were added to lighten the tension after a particularly heavy scene, don’t land. Maybe part of this is because it gets lost in translation but it kind of stops me getting truly lost in what is otherwise a fairly solid supernatural drama.

A recent example comes from episode 8 where we get one of the most tension filled scenes Mieruko-Chan has delivered yet. Miko and her brother are riding a train and a ghost is striking each of the passengers in turn with an axe. None of them can see him or feel the axe and they don’t react in anyway but for Miko, sitting there and waiting for the ghost to strike her is a nerve wracking experience and one that is conveyed beautifully to the audience.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8

It is one of my favourite scenes so far in Mieruko-Chan and was beautifully executed in terms of build up and then release of tension as they finally get to the station and get off the train.

Where the scene is then kind of taken down a notch is as they walk away from the train Miko talks about needing a new pair of underwear from a convenience store and her brother comments it is difficult to be a girl.

It added nothing to the scene and I’m not sure that wetting her pants would have been funny regardless of the brother’s misinterpretation of the situation.

But it is moments like that where the comedy elements haven’t quite connected with the horror and the overall impact is that they throw the audience out of the moment.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 4

Still, for the most part Mieruko-Chan has found its flow. Each episode presents a series of situations that Miko navigates through and each one brings a number of positive elements to the table. While it isn’t perfectly smooth sailing there’s a lot to appreciate when looking at how Mieruko-Chan is combining horror and comedy and overall this series has so far been pretty successful at keeping me thoroughly engaged by its characters.

I’d love to know what you think about Mieruko-Chan and how it handles its different elements. Be sure to leave a comment below.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Mieruko-Chan Episode 9 – Letting Your Emotions Out

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9 Review
https://thereviewheap.home.blog/

Mieruko-Chan continues to find ways to use its formula to engage the audience with episode 9 split into two distinct parts. The first focuses on Miko trying to ignore the ghosts in the school and finding the challenge nearly overwhelming. The second part has Yulia, Hana and Miko go through a gimmicky haunted house where Miko realises she can finally cut-loose and react.

The contrasting conclusions to the two parts overall combine to make this a pretty solid viewing experience.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

Mieruko-Chan plays into expectations with just enough novelty to keep it entertaining.

The conclusion of episode 8 of Mieruko-Chan saw Miko’s new homeroom teacher introducing himself and by the strange coincidence that is fictional writing he is the creepy guy that Miko wouldn’t let Hana give the cat to way back at the start of the series. That’s because he’s got a seriously creepy vibe, oh and screaming cat ghosts surrounding him.

mieruko-chan episode 8 and episode 9

Anyway, the guy so unnerves her, as do the other large ghosts hanging around that Miko is kind of on edge. For the most part, hanging out with Hana and listening to Hana contemplate her next meal is enough to distract her, but when Hana leaves her to go collect yet more bread we see just how fragile Miko’s calm actually is.

Mieruko-Chan does a great job sometimes of not-showing the horror so much as showing the effect of it on the protagonist and when Miko stands alone in the bathroom, as far from the door as she can get, looking so small and vulnerable, they’ve done a great job of showing our usually stoic lead girl as someone who is actually a little more fragile than we may have been lead to believe.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

Follow that up with the monster that crawls out of the toilet before Miko finds Yulia eating lunch in the bathroom and drags her out to eat with her and Hana and really Miko is on her last emotional nerve. So naturally, before part one is over, Mieruko-Chan decides to snap it with fairly emotional results.

I think the silent tears rolling down Miko’s face, and her simple statement about getting a bug in her eye, still unwilling to freak out those around her or to show any outward sign of her inner turmoil, was a solid ending for this first half and it leaves us with the sense that Miko is very much on edge and doesn’t have a lot more reserve in her emotional energy bank after months of seeing and trying to ignore ghosts.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

It’s moments like these that really sell Mieruko-Chan to me.

That and they don’t let the episode end on such a depressing note.

Instead we cut to Hana chasing free donuts and the way to get them is to collect a stamp from a haunted house.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

While at first Miko is her usual stoic self as they navigate the faux horrors of the house, soon Miko realises that for once she can react. She can scream and shriek and run around because these are not real horrors. That realisation seems to open a lid on all the repressed emotions Miko has had for several months and she really begins to enjoy herself, smiling as the three of them run from axe murderer to werewolf.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 9

It is such a cathartic release for the character and exactly what episode 9 of Mieruko-Chan needed to balance out the first half of the episode. The end result is emotionally rewarding for the viewer and honestly even the actual ghost turning up in the haunted house couldn’t really dampen the mood too much.

I wonder though if Miko will keep in mind what happened when she told all the horrors, both fake and real, to get away from her. Is ignoring the things she sees really the best way to deal with them? Once again Mieruko-Chan has the audience wondering though no definitive answer is to be found here.

Nope, the episode is inconclusive about the creepy teacher and about Miko’s sight as always but the answers don’t seem to matter as much as just really getting inside Miko’s head and honestly they’ve done a great job this episode taking her through the full range of emotions.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Mieruko-Chan Episode 8 – Second Guessing and Second Meetings

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8 Review
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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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8

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.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 8 Review

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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Karandi James


Hellsing Series Review

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Hellsing Overview:

Alucard is a vampire serving the Hellsing organisation and pretty much eliminating other undead and things. This is a review of the 2002 anime series, not Hellsing Ultimate.

Hellsing Review:

Seriously, this show sounds like it should be right up my ally. We’ve got vampires, horror, violence, secret organisations, it should be a blast. That said, I put off watching this for a fair while because I’d previously watched the first episode and was left feeling pretty meh about the entire series. However, this one came around on my list of watched and dropped anime to give a second go to and so I did.

For an anime made in 2002, this already looks kind of dated. Alucard of course looks amazing as the creature of the night and his Japanese voice (from Jouji Nakata) really suits him sounding both menacing and seductive.

Outside of Alucard, the other character designs are all kind of flat when they aren’t outright ugly. They serve their purpose but they are hardly something to draw you in to the story. Similarly, the occasional setting will grab your attention but too often we’re in generic hallway A, or walking past generic building B. Visually it just isn’t a very appealing show and this is a show that splashes around copious amounts of my very favourite colour and it still didn’t manage to appeal.

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If I get over the fact that this looks its age and focus on the story, the issues actually get worse. While there is an ongoing narrative around an unusual number of vampires showing up and some chip creating vampires that they are investigating, mostly it feels like freak of the week shows up, the expendable human characters get expended (why were there even humans still working for these organisations), and then the vampire/s go in and clean up the mess. There’s the occasional point of interest with conspiracies and media interaction, but mostly its just a by the numbers set up and deliver kind of story.

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All of this is fine for a horror really. Low budget horror movies have kind of made me immune to poor visuals and generic storylines that aren’t that engaging, but there still needs to be some hook. Are the characters interacting well? Is there some sort of twist or surprise? Do we just deliver the same old horror with a lot of energy? Hellsing kind of doesn’t achieve any of these.

Seras Victoria is about the only other character I vaguely cared about outside of Alucard, and she was still incredibly boring as she transitioned from human to vampire. Integra, as the leader of Hellsing, was probably my least favourite character and more than once I found myself wishing something would bite her, which given her limited screen time was impressive that she managed to irk me that much.

Hellsing - Integra

Basically, this was my own fault. The first episode of this didn’t grab me the first time I watched it. Even this time, I wasn’t really keen on it and yet I just kind of pushed through. I became increasingly distracted during the watch and started making excuses to delay the next episode. That’s probably why my review is light on details. I wasn’t paying enough attention after about episode 4 so maybe it has some amazing plot twist that just went straight over my head.

At some point, I do want to check out Hellsing Ultimate, but I’m not going back to this series again. I’ve made it to the end, it is watchable, but ultimately I just don’t see that this is really worth the time investment when there are more interesting stories out there.


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Karandi James


Mieruko-Chan Episode 7 – People Who See Ghosts Shouldn’t Play in Haunted Tunnels

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7
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I will admit that Yuria was not my favourite addition into Mieruko-Chan given I was pretty happy with the Hana/Miko dynamic and honestly, Yuria strikes me as a bit of a brat. Still, episode 7 builds on the events from the shrine in episode 6 and finds a way to integrate Yuria more into the core cast here.

Now haunted tunnels are definitely a staple of most supernatural shows and its definitely a trope anime has explored before. My clearest memory comes from Psychic Detective Yakumo, but haunted tunnels pop up a lot, so not really surprised that this ghostly anime has decided to have the girls visit what is clearly going to be a haunted tunnel.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

Mieruko-Chan sends its trio of lovely ladies into the dark.

For those who have been watching the series so far, you might wonder just why Yuria is suddenly hanging out with Miko and Hana. The set-up is a bit silly but it does make sense given what we know of her character and based on the events of the last episode.

Mieruko-Chan reminds us that Hana is oblivious to all the supernatural things around them by having her proudly displaying her picture from the shrine last week (you know the one where instead of a sunset behind her there’s actually some kind of shrine spirit destroying an evil spirit). Based on the number of likes that photo is getting online, Hana has decided to get into photography.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

Seeing a way in, and wanting to prove herself stronger than Miko, Yuria inserts herself into the plot by offering to take Hana to a great spot to take photos over the weekend. Only problem is they just have to walk through this dark tunnel to get to this amazing view.

With Miko not willing to mention that she can see ghosts, so can’t explain why she doesn’t want to enter the tunnel, and Hana wanting another great photo, it is more or less inevitable that the trio will enter the tunnel.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

One of the things I don’t like about Yuria’s character is her penchant for making assumptions about things around her. When we first really got to know anything about her in Mieruko-Chan, it was finding out that she assumed herself to have been accepted as an apprentice of the god-mother, meanwhile the god-mother just wanted her to go away.

Since that introduction, Yuria’s made a lot of assumptions about Miko and her actions and it continues in this episode as Miko simply goes through the process of removing a stone from her shoe and then tidying herself up after falling. I guess this technically is being played for laughs. Mieruko-Chan is technically listed as comedy. However, right from the start the strength of this anime isn’t in the moments when it tries to be funny.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

What makes this episode ultimately work is again seeing Miko try to navigate wanting to get her friend (and herself) out of danger without revealing that she can see, as well as the ties the solution this week has to the conclusion of last week.

And also, while I still don’t love Yuria as a character, she was fully integrated into the friendship group by the time they wound up the story and ended up eating together. They even symbolically show Yuria potentially moving on from her self-made grudge when Hana sends her a photo of the three of them together and Yuria chooses to make it her new background, removing the god-mother who has already left the story.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 7

While the comedy isn’t exactly great, there’s a lot to love about Mieruko-Chan and this episode was a nice solid build-up of supernatural antics with friendship sitting at the core of the solution and all and all was pretty satisfying to watch.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


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Karandi James


Mieruko-Chan Episode 6 – Protecting Hana Is Becoming A Full Time Job

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6 Review
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I’ve mostly really enjoy Mieruko-Chan this season and while my initial concern in episode one was the clunky fan-service or the slightly weaker comedy elements, they’ve kind of dwindled (not disappeared) and left the elements I was enjoying. That is, the friendship between Miko and Hana, the creepy ghost things, and the reasonably solid execution each episode of setting up a situation and giving us a satisfying resolution to it.

I’d potentially go so far to say that Mieruko-Chan is the anime where I enjoy individual episodes each week the most even though there are other series I’m watching where once they are resolved I know they will stick with me longer.

It is almost as though this anime was made for episodic viewing.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

Mieruko-Chan Loves To Place Hana In Seemingly Dangerous Situations

Anyway, episode 6 of Mieruko-Chan begins with Hana and Miko buying cakes. As usual Hana is cheerful and gushing over an extremely cute slice of cake, meanwhile Miko is a lot more subdued, and originally tries to buy the cake next to the one Hana is admiring, before switching again to a cake elsewhere in the cabinet. It is clear Miko has seen something, though you’ll have to watch the post-credits to see the scene as Miko does because we’re moving on to the real problem in the episode.

Oddly, this episode only has one real issue and it carries across three separate scenarios. After leaving the cake show Hana is suggesting their next location when Miko suggests they go another way and we soon see a fairly grotesque monster in the direction Hana intended to go. Then we get the boppy and colourful OP.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

The first half of the episode then largely follows the oblivious Hana as she eats breakfast, helps a kid find a dog, and heads off to meet Miko. All the time lights are flickering near her and we are occasionally shown the monster from the day before following her and periodically throwing smaller monsters her way to see if her aura burns them.

Here I’m going to identify a small complaint with Mieruko-Chan. We’ve seen ghosts latch on to Hana before. They’ve neve actually harmed her but they’ve definitely been able to touch her without burning up. Maybe it is because the ones the larger creature is using are particularly weak but it kind of seems like an inconsistency given the larger monster doesn’t seem willing to actually touch Hana because of her aura.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

Or maybe I’m asking too much for continuity on this.

When Hana finally meets up with Miko, Miko obviously immediately notices the monster in Hana’s wake and abruptly changes their plans to visit a shrine.

The friendship between Hana and Miko really does continue to be one of the strengths of Mieruko-Chan. Miko is terrified for her friend and really wants to help her but absolutely doesn’t want to alarm her in anyway. Instead of making any kind of fuss, Miko simply tells Hana she wanted to visit some popular power spots and they end up saying prayers at a shrine.

Also kind of cute how Miko ends up tossing in 500 yen instead of the 5 yen coin she suggests to Hana.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

What happens after is kind of interesting though Miko isn’t given any kind of explanation and so the audience is also left a little in the dark about what has actually happened here. That’s one of the fascinating things about this story, because Miko doesn’t have a clue what is happening, and is denying pretty much everything, the audience is firmly kept in the dark.

Normally the protagonist of a horror story would have googled for a bit or found some old book that would explain away the mystery, or sometimes find some random researcher who just happens to have an interest in… Miko may have looked up a few ways to protect herself but we don’t know why she could suddenly see things, we don’t know why she’s seeing more and more things, and while we can make some assumptions about what happened at the shrine largely we’re left in the dark.

Mieruko-Chan Episode 6

And Mieruko-Chan is a decidedly better story because of that. Other stories could take note that you can withhold information about the supernatural element in a story because it is more interesting and intriguing, but everything else makes sense. Miko’s character, her choices, her motivations, all of these are perfectly grounded and make sense given the situation. We’re not face with an inscrutable series of events, rather a clear and easy to follow set of events springing from the appearance of creatures who are the only unknown here.

So yes, another solid episode of Mieruko-Chan and honestly I’m very much looking forward to the next one.

You can read the full season review here.

Images from: Mieruko-Chan. Dir. Y Ogawa. Passione. 2021


Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James