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Mieruko-chan Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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Mieruko-chan Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In Mieruko-chan Episode 1, “Can You See Them?”, Miko Yotsuya seemed like a typical young woman in high school. She mostly listened to her mom. She ignored her dad. Plus, she had a good friend at school. But Miko’s life wasn’t completely ordinary. First, she had a seemingly innocuous interest in occult merchandise. So did her friend, Hana Yurikawa. Second, she had experienced typical high school students don’t have. One day when coming home from school, her phone seemed to misbehave. And then she saw… something. Can she maintain her hold on a normal high life? Or will the somethings take her life in a different direction?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Mieruko-chan Episode 1

Mieruko-chan Episode 1: Hana is squishy

“The squish” indeed. Capture from the Funimation stream.

I have to say that Miko reminds me a lot of a golden-eyed version of a much less angry Yozora Mikazuki from Haganai. So, of course, I immediately liked her.

The show had been teasing us with scary moment feints. You know, the kind of moments that scary movies use to make you think you’re about to get startled, but then something normal and completely innocent happens.

Miko had just arrived at school. She yawned, because she’s not a morning person, and someone came up behind her and grabbed her. 

“Morning, Hana,” Miko said. When Hana asked how Miko knew it was her, Miko replied (06:24), “The squish.”

Hana is not lacking in feminine charm department. That, plus all of the feints, convinced me: This is a classically-minded horror series, and I think we’re going to get along just fine.

Best in Show Best in Show Moment for Mieruko-chan Episode 1

Mieruko-chan Episode 1: Miko has nerves of steel

The Reddit thread said that in Japan, if you don’t acknowledge the ghost, they can’t hurt you. But if you do… Capture from the Funimation stream.

Setup: Flashback to the 1980s

I remember when the original Halloween movie came out. It was 1978. I also remember films like Altered States and An American Werewolf in London. Those movies helped set my expectations for what horror films should be, for better or worse. And to be honest, I won’t disagree with you if you say those were for the worse. I can’t say they were fantastic films, though I can say Halloween was effective! And, of course, who can argue with Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance? 

I’ve also watched anime horror. Another was a lot of fun. I still can’t see an umbrella without shuddering! Blood-C and Blood-+ were also enjoyable. What’s interesting to me is that those series had a distinctive feel to them that differed a lot from what I expected from horror. The shows seemed to lack the moments where you didn’t know if doing something normal, like opening a breadbox, would turn into a nightmare. The shows I grew up with played with those ideas. They strung together enough innocent little moments with fake musical cues that by the time something scary did happen, you were ready for it. It was a trope that I hadn’t realized I enjoyed — until I watched this episode!

Mieruko-chan Episode 1: Crows are intelligent and sensitive creatures

Crows gathering is never a good sign. Though I have to strenuously object to any negative stereotypes of crows. Sure, we sense the supernatural and then make a ruckus, but it’s because we’re so smart and helpful! Capture from the Funimation stream.

There’s another trope from the 1980s horror movies that I’d forgotten. You couldn’t go five minutes without some young horny couple jumping into bed, or some poor girl’s shirt getting torn off, right before stabbing and blood and screams. These movies put together the thrill of being scared with the thrill of seeing folks get naked. What is horror, after all, but a particular act of voyeurism? What’s the difference between watching a couple make out and watching a couple get terrified?

Well, there is a difference, but in the 1980s, the horror movies I watched put those two ideas together. It didn’t play right into my favorite moment, but it set the tone for the series. We couldn’t go five minutes without a low camera angle to appreciate short skirts. Even Miko in her jammies contributed. 

Mieruko-chan’s first episode felt like a trip down memory lane. Maybe that’s why I decided to review it!

Delivery: Miko Is In for a Rough Ride

Miko seems like she’s acquainted with occult concepts. So when she saw the hideous creature while waiting for the bus, she knew enough to freeze and pretend she didn’t see it. I’ll give Miko credit. I’m not sure I could have remained that calm while a creature like that got in my face and asked if I could see it.

I’d probably blurt out, “Nope! Can’t see a thing!” But that’s why Miko is the main character and not me.

Mieruko-chan Episode 1: Tooth brushing? Alone at night? Bad stuff's about to go down!

It’s a horror show. A young woman is alone at home brushing her teeth. You just know something dreadful is about to happen! Capture from the Funimation stream.

She was trying to come to grips with what happened while she brushed her teeth. Her brother wasn’t home, and her mom had to work late. So, of course, she was home alone. Seeing a smudge on the mirror, she cleaned off an odd shape that turned out to be a hand-print on the mirror. That was the second time that day. Blaming her brother, she bent to rinse. When she stood, she saw it

Japan really likes their long-necked supernatural creatures (Rokurokubi), don’t they? This one looked like a salaryman gone bad. 

“Can you see me?” it asked (17:33). “Hey, can you see me?”

Miko pretended she had something in her eye, so she bent to rinse it in the sink. I’ll say this for Miko: She’s got courage. She showed it at the bus stop, and she showed it here. What I thought was particularly cool about this moment is that it raised a very simple question: How is Miko going to live a normal life with these supernatural creatures demanding to know if she can see them? Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m really interested in finding out!

What did you think of the ghost looking for its “mama?” What was your favorite moment from the episode? Please feel free to let me know in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Mieruko-chan Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. That was quite a good premier. I could have done without the fanservice shots; around 10 years ago, I’d have been used to them – they were very common back then, but they’ve sort of faded away, so when I re-watch older shows they tend to catch me by surprise.

    Those ghosts are pretty frightening, too. The show gets the threat across really well.

    And finally, I really like the family dynamics. The interactions all feel so… casual. Anime tends towards either the idyll, or the manic, but here we have a rare case of matter-of-fact routine. Interestingly, that helps set the stage for the horror all the more – that the backdrop feels so… mundane.

    One of the better premiers so far.

    1. “they were very common back then”

      It’s one of the reasons I felt so comfortable with this episode. It reminded me strongly of back when I used to watch horror films in the 1980s. Felt like an old glove, so to speak.

      As far as the family dynamics go… You’re right. It felt like a real family, especially the way she just blew off her dad. She didn’t mean anything by it; she was just doing her teen thing. I’ve been on both sides of that experience, so it also felt really familiar!

      And the ghosts… yeah, they were intellectually frightening, which are (as far as I’m concerned) the most scary kind. Obvious threats like teeth and knives I can handle. It’s the implied that really gets to me.

  2. Bookmarked. Hoping it turns out interesting. Being able to see monsters that nobody else can see has been handled both well and poorly. Natsume’s Book of Friends was probably the best at it.

  3. From the trailer, I expected a more “can see the supernatural, but apathetic towards them” kind of direction with Miko, but loved that ignoring them takes all the power she has. Great post, can’t wait for the next week!

    1. I read in a Reddit thread that according to some Japanese lore, if you pretend you can’t see a ghost, it can’t hurt you. But if it knows you can see it, it can go after you! That makes her reaction all the more scary!

      I’m looking for next week, too!

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