Mieruko-Chan is a collection of mostly stand-alone chapters about a girl (Miko) who can see monsters that no one else can see. At this point you must be thinking that you've already seen the "girl sees things no one else can see" thing done a million times, right? Well, actually that's not entirely the case with Mieruko-Chan. This isn't your feel good story about a girl becoming the "heroine that fights and beats the monsters that she can only see" nor the "girl helps the spirits so they can finally cross to the other side instead of lingering on this earth". Mieruko-Chan is an authentic
black comedy, derived by the absolute terror Miko feels when encountering those monsters in every place imaginable (from her classroom to the girls' locker room and from her bathroom to her own bed).
These monsters whose origin is still to be determined, are drawn in the most horrifying way possible. The designs are vague, as they are mostly deformed masses of flesh with some eyes and mouths thrown in there for good measure, but they get the job done in two levels: 1) It scares the living hell out of our heroine and 2) they make for an interesting visual contrast between the horrific monsters and the girls that are drawn in the most attractive way possible (and in the first few chapters, with a lot of fan-service thrown there for good measure).
It's still early in Mieruko-Chan's run (only 8 chapters out so far) but there are definitely some concerning trends should this series go the distance. After eight chapters the formula of Miko being extremely terrified for an entire chapter is getting a bit repetitive and you would like to see the story move forward in some how or way. The repetitiveness in Mieruko-Chan's formula makes its characters feel a bit shallow and stereotypical up until this point in the story (Miko's best friend Hana is your stereotypical attractive happy-go-lucky girl who has no idea what is actually going on around here, Miko's little brother is your stereotypical younger brother who is kind of concerned with his sister and her erratic behavior).
It will be interesting to see if Mieruko-Chan can find a way to build upon its formula and get closer to any sort of progress in its story and depth on its characters, because the comedy in Mieruko-Chan is not as good at this point to overcome its repetitiveness; a reaction face can only be funny for so long.
Mieruko-chan is one of the best mangas I've had the pleasure to read recently. It's a very young publication, and there are only abut a dozen chapters out. Despite that, it is already showing a lot of potential and talent.
The story is episodic in nature. It's not concerned with how the main character got her power to see ghosts, or her progression in skills. It is more like a weekly fill of horror and comedy. Currently it's difficult to judge the story right away since the manga has barely started, but like I said, it's showing potential that it can achieve something substantial even
with its episodic nature. For example, chapter 4 + 4.5 melted my heart. While he characters and plot were predictable, the execution through pacing and art made it brilliant.
Plus the main character, Mieruko-chan comes across as admirable and brave. She always seems to make the best choice in a given situation, and so, as a reader, you naturally admire her. Even the supporting cast is distinct. Her best friend, a younger brother and a rival. They support the story without ever being an annoyance.
My favorite thing about this manga has to be the art. It is simply beautiful. One of the best illustrations of ghosts and monsters I've encountered. Not only the grotesque imagery, but also how the reveals are handled in a panel format is genius. I can't praise the artist enough for how disgusting and primordial he makes his creatures look. Especially in chapter 11. It's a show of ambition, with the talent and skill to back it up. Additionally, the human characters are well drawn every time. Especially their reactions. Although the designs of the characters borders on cliche, but the author imprints his own style so that it remains unique.
Overall, I would highly recommended checking out this manga regardless of your tastes. The only caveat is this: Don't go into the manga expecting a deep story or a dark and twisted plot. While the concept of having to see ghosts everyday might sound inherently spooky, this manga isn't trying to scare you. It's not about that. It's a humorous manga, with strong horror elements, and the humor aspect is derived from Mieruko-chan trying her best to ignore these (incredibly drawn) abominations in her everyday life.
I can't wait to see where the series will go from here, and I hope you join me for that ride by checking out this manga.