Typically, I like to be an anime-only watcher but because of my commitments to The Outerhaven, I’m being exposed to more and more manga series. Mieruko-chan was one of those series I ended up picking up from Yen Press to review so this is a case of me reading the source material before seeing the anime adaptation. Doing so comes with some certain cons… but the question I’m here to answer is if Mieruko-chan exhibited those dreaded cons of knowing the source material going into a new series.
First Episode Synopsis
Miko is a typical high school girl. She goes there and hangs out with her obnoxious friend Hana with a massive chest. They are even quick to point out that Miko knows who it is that jumped onto her from behind thanks to her massive bazongas squishing up against her back.
Thanks to some horror television show that opened the episode and all of the teasing we’ve gotten throughout; we are led to believe that monsters are real and they are a lot closer than one would imagine. The first half of the episode does a nice job teasing us this way by making us think a monster is going to pop out of nowhere and scare the ever-living crap out of us.
But that doesn’t happen. Instead, a monster appears but it’s done so in a way where it’s just there. Miko pretends not to see it and, eventually, it goes away. Apparently, she has been seeing monsters all along and has also been ignoring them. They don’t physically interact with her or anything but, instead, they ask if she can see them. It’s almost as if they are looking for validation for their own existence which makes the first episode rather interesting.
YES – Before I got into the first episode synopsis, I mentioned I am a manga reader first in this particular case. While I voted YES… that is for all of you anime-only watchers. From an anime-only standpoint, I think this show is going to be a massive hit. I know that I would have been hooked right away and wanted to see more.
However, this show for me, personally, is a MAYBE because the first episode deviated so much from the source material, I had to question if I was really watching Mieruko-chan just five minutes into the show. As it went on and on, I was about to lose my mind over all of the things that changed. Then, after I finished the episode, I gained an understanding of why they did that. I even reflected back on my review of the first volume and how lackluster I felt it was until they had a huge unveiling at the end of that volume (by the way, the manga STILL hasn’t explored that first volume ending yet… like… what the hell!?)
If they had adapted the manga panel for panel… I think this first episode would have had to REALLY sell the monster/ghost/apparition/whatever aspect of the show to keep people tuned in. The first volume was literally just page after page after page of Miko going through her normal life, seeing monsters, and ignoring them. Nothing more… nothing less.
It got really boring and stale after a while and I almost apologized to Yen Press and dropped the series had it not been for the interesting ending. Then the second and third volumes picked things up and stuff got way more interesting.
Looking back… I think the anime did a better job of easing viewers into the story and it certainly created a better hook. The question now remains… can they keep those viewers interested in episode two and beyond and… if so… are they going to go anime-only again in order to do it?
This is why it’s a maybe for me because if they change too much to where they back themselves into a corner, the show may lose its identity that manga readers are already familiar with but…. If they do deviate; they are going to have to pull some Fullmetal Alchemist-level originality to make the show better than the manga to keep everyone watching.
Again… I say all of that for those who have read the source material. If you’re an anime-only watcher… unless they REALLY screw the pooch here, I think you’re going to be completely fine which is why I gave this a resounding YES recommendation for you all.