Wouldn’t it be awful if you had nightmares while awake?
Imagine you’re waking up one day, getting dressed, and walking with your friend to school. Now imagine that when you get to school and open your locker, a melting severed head is sitting on your top shelf and crying as black tears drip from it’s eyes onto your face. When you go to the bathroom and enter a stall, a mass of decayed arms with pustules and exposed flesh flail aimlessly in the bowl of it. And when you go to the cafeteria to have a sandwich, it has bologna instead of ham. Oh, and there’s a screaming mass of heads gargling viscous slime under your table and you’re a high school girl wearing a skirt. But the worst and most alienating thing about this whole situation, is that you are the only person who can see these things happening and everyone else just goes about their daily lives without a care in the world. This is the daily life and struggle of our protagonist Miko.
Miko isn’t some esper from Mob Psycho 100, she’s no spirit detective from Yu Yu Hakusho, as far as anyone knows she’s a completely normal person. There’s honestly no origin or explanation for why she’s able to see the things that she does. She simply just woke up one day and could see them as vividly as regular people. But just seeing these apparitions isn’t the big issue, the big issue is that these apparitions can see her back. Miko has to pretend like she can’t see them, because if they know she can see them, they may never leave her alone. Again, she’s not a battle manga protagonist she’s a normal person. Seeing these things terrifies her, and having to maintain the act she can’t see them is incredibly hard for her. It’s not like the ghosts just fly around and bother no one. They will do things like latch to peoples backs, coil around peoples bodies, hiss at them when they accidentally touch, attack people with weapons or tendrils (even if they just phase right through living beings), and all manner of terrifying things. But do they do these things simply because, or is there a deeper meaning to what they do?
The ghosts in Mieruko-chan for the most part seem mindless, that is until they start to show oddly specific actions toward certain people. One of the ghosts that Miko encounters would follow a man who was meeting with a woman at a terminal, and scream profanities at the woman to no avail claiming to own the man.
Through observing it, Miko finds out it’s possibly the dead girlfriend or wife of the man at the terminal. This is a recurring theme that develops in the story for Miko later on. Some ghosts are mindless, but others have a clear purpose for their wandering and Miko can indirectly interact with them once she knows what that purpose is. If the ghosts are aided, they’ll usually just head off somewhere and actually leave her alone. Whether or not this is some calling for Miko is unfortunately still not clear, as the manga is relatively newer with only 17 chapters. But, it’s clear now that there is more to why Miko can see these creatures and hopefully we’ll find out the reason as the manga continues.
It’s been really fun to read this manga so far honestly. Horror is an iffy genre at times in manga, but this manga’s use of it to enhance comedy stands out to me. The characters are very distinct and filled with personality, and the monsters are well… just look at the posted images for god’s sake. Miko herself has a really relatable motivation, that motivation being not wanting to have to wake up to the horrifically vivid night terror of walking affronts to God himself assaulting you when you just wanna go to the damn store. Overall I would highly recommend this manga if you’re looking for something comedic, or something horror-ish without diving into the genre as a whole. If you liked this manga and want more recommendations read my other Manga Spotlight article on Kengan Ashura. Or you can wait for regular updates from Escape Zero hopefully every Monday.