OP: Mienai kara ne!?「見えないからね!?」by Amamiya Sora
“Can You See Them?”
The first episode of Mieruko-chan does an excellent job at creepily easing you into the anime’s atmosphere, allowing you some time to breathe as it slowly starts to introduce the idea that wandering spirits regularly interfere with Miko’s life. As we gradually shift into the horror that comes from Miko’s daily routine while she bumps into a series of horrifying ghosts, we begin to see the true potential the anime has to be both genuinely freaky and darkly humorous.
Any humor that might come from the first episode is how large of a contrast there is between the bright, poppy aesthetic of the world that surrounds Miko and the jagged, twisted ghost designs that haunt her regularly. It does an excellent job at disarming you because, even with the bait-and-switch horror program at the beginning, you are left waiting for the moment where the show allows us to see our first spirit.
Is it while Miko’s carefree, food-loving friend Hana is having a casual conversation about plushies? Not quite. Is it when Miko hears rustling in the bathroom? Not quite. Is it when Miko finds her charm in an empty classroom as the lights flicker? Close, but no cigar. But because of the gradual build-up, it makes it all the freakier when we see Miko’s SMS glitching out due to spiritual interference as the episode’s first ghost gets right up in the camera’s face.
In fact, from here on out, the ghosts aren’t shy about giving you a good jump scare. It doesn’t help that the designs are honest-to-goodness horrifying as they are gargantuan ghouls with warped faces, vacant black eyes, a corpse-like presence, and no interest in personal space. I wasn’t sure how much the anime would lean on the comedic aspects of it, but the staff working on Mieruko-chan did excellent work on making it believable that Miko would have to hide her fear as she stared at these terrifying spirits in the face and pretend they don’t exist. Even the end credits start with a ghoul rushing the screen as it screams like a banshee.
That’s not to say that it was entirely flawless in its direction. Even if it built suspense effectively and has wonderfully fear-inducing character designs for the ghosts, Passione leaned a bit much on the fanservice in this series. I know anime is anime so it’s not the end of the world for there to be fanservice. But I feel like this particular show operates so well off of its own merits that it didn’t really need to overcompensate by constantly showing Miko bent over.
But I am very hopeful with Mieruko-chan as it provides an interesting story about a girl who has to navigate around her life while trying to pay as little mind as possible to the monstrous ghosts that roam the streets, begging for her attention. It’ll be interesting to see how her quest to find any kinds of tools she can to exorcise them and if she’ll be able to gain some kind of normalcy in her everyday life.
ED: Mita na? Mita yo ne?? Miteru yo ne???「ミタナ? ミタヨネ?? ミテルヨネ???」by Amamiya Sora