First Look: Mieruko-chan

mieruko

Manga Adaptation by Passione
Streaming on Funimation

Premise

Miko is a normal high school girl who sees ghosts. Maybe if she ignores them and goes about her daily life, they’ll go away.

Jel’s verdict: Ignore it

Injecting a horror element into a school slice of life show is an idea that pops up from time to time. You could argue something like School-Live! did this well, and I’m sure there are plenty of other examples. Mieruko-chan does not appear to be one of the good ones. This first episode does nothing to make you care about what’s going on, and puts little effort into meshing the two very different genres it’s working with.

If we look at Mieruko-chan as a slice of life show, it’s quite basic. Miko is a quiet girl that just wants to live her normal life. She goes about her business, doing exciting things like brushing her teeth and waiting at a bus stop. The only other notable character we meet is her friend at school, who is very lively and her only other defining characteristic is, you guessed it, her huge boobs. If any of this was endearing or funny, it would make the horror elements devastating. But it’s not. In fact it’s a little bit gross, as they insist on sprinkling in close-up voyeur creeper cam shots throughout the episode. No, director, you don’t have to shove the camera up Miko’s ass every time she even slightly bends over.

mieruko 2

As far as the horror bits go, they feel toothless. The ghosts always leave, and Miko never seems to be in real danger. I suspect this may change over time as she can’t just keep ignoring the problem forever. That leaves open the possibility of delivering more substance later, but in the first episode there’s no direct evidence that will happen. It’s just as likely that Mieruko-chan will be a vehicle for dudes to get off on seeing scared anime girls, and that’s all there is too it.

While it might sound like I’m thoroughly denouncing this show, it does not inspire passionate feelings in me. All the criticisms I just mentioned result in a dull first episode. I don’t feel strongly about it, and if you like it that’s fine. If I do have to say something nice, there is some surprisingly high quality animation on random, mundane shots. The episode looked good overall. It felt like maybe some young animators were trying to use this opportunity to build their portfolios. Good for them.

mieruko 3

Peter’s verdict: What even is this show?

On paper, this show seems like a one trick pony that should be shot in the back of the head. In practice, it’s too soon to tell. Episode 1 certainly tries to channel a tiny bit of School-Live! energy as Jel said, but with extremely unnecessary fanservice thrown in for good measure, and doing a gradual reveal rather than a big surprise at the end of the episode. Like, if they went all-in on pretending it was an ecchi slice of life show and then bam utterly terrifying monsters show up and a “by the way I can see monsters everywhere”, that would have a decent impact.

So what comes next? Are they gonna actually do something interesting, or is the entire show going to be an ecchi slice of life with inconsequential monsters thrown in for arbitrary contrast? It sounds like mostly the latter, and some have said the manga is much less lewd, so I guess we’ve got that to deal with as well. I don’t think this show will get better, but I suppose it’s somewhat unique at least.

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