Slice of life mangas inspire nostalgia, joy and can reignite gusto for life. But I love when they include paranormal activity because navigating life and the supernatural combine laughter, happiness, and terror. Mieruko-chan reminds me of Kimi Ni Todoke and one of the shorts in the Tales of Terror from Tokyo and All Over Japan anthology series. The one with the guy who ignored ghosts that were literally hanging onto him. Miko’s sweetness and her adamant refusal to acknowledge the creepy things she sees is endearing. I sympathize with her because I’d go the same route and probably less effective too. Mieruko-chan Volume 3 balances the horror and hilarity with the unfolding mystery, and I am excited for what’s next.
Mieruko-chan Volume 3 has illustrations and writing by Tomoki Izumi. Mieruko-chan series is published in English by Yen Press with translations by Leighann Harvey and lettering by Alexis Eckerman. In volume 3, we learn about the creepy teacher, Zen’s backstory, and why all those cat creatures are around him. I would freak out if there were a teacher with that thousand-yard, horror film gaze too. Combine that with the cats disappearing and dying and Zen looks like a walking danger sign.
Scary Creatures, But Still Laughter
The creatures are now popping up in school. Miko struggles to ignore them, but they show up everywhere. Miko is a sympathetic character but inspires laughter too. Every time there’s a creature in front of her that no one else sees, her response is stiff and filled with fear, but she resolutely ignores the creature as sweat drips on her face and tears form in her eyes. Tomoki Izumi draws these monsters in such a way that you can understand why Miko struggles. They are icky with horrific faces. I also love the difference between Yuria and Miko’s responses later.
When they go into the House of Horrors to earn free donuts if they can make it through, Miko’s joy that she can release the fear she bottles is hilarious. Yuria’s reaction in the House of Horrors to the costumed terrors and Miko’s joy is priceless. She was so cocky that, thanks to her ability to see spirits, she would cruise through. But when she realized the costumes were more Leatherface and less Sadako, Yuria did not cope well.
Pacing Top-Notch With Horror/Hilarity Balance
The pacing is wonderful. I didn’t find myself skipping past parts nor was I tempted to either. The balance between chills and comedy works well. I just need more answers is later issues. I, like Miko, need info about these creatures, those two fox-masked saviors, and what is happening to Hana. Miko tries to help Hana, but something is amiss as Hana becomes hungrier and hungrier. Miko needs a crossover manga so Karin from Bleach can teach her how to ice creepy things out. Or Yuria can help Miko, and I hope they have a conversation since Yuria seems to know more than Miko does.
Mieruko-chan Volume 3 gives us horror, comedy, and friendship. We get some resolution, but they still allow some larger mysteries to linger. Tomoki Izumi also opens new secrets since we still have questions about creepy Zen and his neighbor, who constantly brings him food. I can’t wait to find out more about all these characters! And with an anime of the series now, I’ll get to enjoy this series through two different mediums!