“The Girl Who Sees, Mieruko-chan”
The finale for Mieruko-chan seeks closure for the cat-killing story by vanquishing the spirit of Zen’s mother. But to quote Randy from Scream, “This is the moment when the supposedly dead killer comes back to life, for one last scare.”
WRAPPING THINGS UP
With the last episode ending at the moment where Zen’s mother is weakened, there wouldn’t be too much to dwell on for the first couple of scenes for the most part. Now that Zen is freed from his spiritual restraints, the show does its best to resolve the initial mixup between him and Miko quickly by having him apologize for the confusion as the cat spirits pass on peacefully.
On Miko’s end, the main issue’s resolution helps to give a little more insight into her and her friends. While the cat debacle gave Miko the resolve to face ghosts head-on from now on, and not allow herself to be burdened by the ghosts she comes across on a normal basis. I mean, once you face massive ghouls large enough to swallow human-sized ghosts, your garden-variety bathroom ghoul looks like Hanako-kun in comparison.
One neat detail is how Miko has her first actual conversation about ghosts with Yulia. Yulia can read between the lines that Hana is being kept in the dark to protect her from being exposed to seeing ghosts. It was nice to see them have a small chat where they can finally have a conversation where they’re on equal footing as people who can see ghosts. With how much Yulia constantly tries to leave Miko’s shadow, it was a nice change of pace for Miko to be open enough to explain why she tries to keep Hana from learning about ghosts existing.
ONE DOOR CLOSES, MANY MORE OPEN
What makes the finale neat, however, is that there is still a push to give this season an open ending. Zen had his Hollywood ending where he used his experience with Miko as a way to move to a new place with his new cat Nekomaru and tell his creepy neighbor to stop making food for him.
But then, we also learn that he likely kidnapped and/or murdered the cat killer with a missing poster for the culprit. Even if Zen ends up being peaceful from this point forward, Miko’s definitely gonna have to deal with the cat killer’s ghost if that’s what his fate was.
They also make it clear that Miko will not be living in peace anytime soon. Miko’s dream where she attempts to thank the spirits for helping her out three times backfires horribly when they get angrier after her tribute of dango and loose change, summoning even more ghouls to intimidate her.
The situation being a dream doesn’t change much either since the holy spirits proceed to stalk her by the end of the show. The last half of the show builds a solid foundation for a second season to explore the shrine spirits, especially with the godmother being weary of the selfie that Miko and Hana took at the shrine. As a side note, it was funny to see the Kadokawa credits glitch out to give you one last surprise scare with a couple of ghouls breaking the fourth wall to press themselves against the screen and call out to you.
What a hell of a show. Mieruko-chan was an unlikely blast of an anime that managed to be genuinely scary and pushed the boundaries for what a horror-comedy can be when you’re left on the edge of your seat.
There are several funny moments in the anime, but Mieruko-chan was set up specifically to capture nervous laughter. There were so many instances where I was laughing just because of how ridiculous a situation got when all the prep work Miko did to avoid tense encounters with ghouls amounted to nothing.
Compared to actual horror anime that merely have the window-dressing of a spooky story with spooky characters, the ghost encounters with Mieruko-chan are shown to us as a balls-to-the-wall thriller that pushes Miko to her limit. Even if you know she won’t crack, the show won’t stop pushing it close as Miko goes from one horrifying ordeal to another.
And the stakes are relentless with the kinds of ghouls that Miko has to face. Does a large ghoul feel the same? How about a ghoul twice its size that eats smaller ones!? Most of the ghosts are hideous and repulsive, but if ones that invade your personal space in a fitting room feel routine, how about one that slashes at people with an ax and is itching to see if their steel can hit Miko?
The show’s direction has the tone down relatively well when it’s taking its scares seriously. There will be many instances where you watch Mieruko-chan at the edge of your seat as a scene teases out its scares in agonizing detail. The anime did have a difficult time wedging fan service into scary sequences, but thankfully, they dialed it down by the time the story wanted to get heavier on the lore behind Miko’s abilities and the threats she faces.
Mieruko-chan is a messy, chaotic thriller, but that’s what makes it shine and thrive. It’s a unique take on supernatural stories as Miko has to navigate around a scary world that’s made thrice as dreadful with all of the ghouls she can see roaming the streets. I’d be ecstatic to see if Mieruko-chan could continue through a new anime, but if not, I’ll definitely have to give the manga a run-through, see how they pull off some of the anime’s story beats, and continue following the twists and turns the story has to offer.