Screw the ghosts, did you see that twist coming? In its penultimate episode, Mieruko-chan lastly hits the climax of this season’s longest-running arc, reining all the things in with a personality examine of Miko’s infamous cat-stalking substitute instructor, Zen Toono. While it ends with fireworks, the physique of the episode is quieter and extra melancholy than Mieruko-chan‘s ordinary comedy-softened mode. And it makes use of this tone splendidly to attract out each our sympathies and Miko’s latent heroism.
Obviously, our principal growth is the proof of Zen’s innocence, and I knew I ought to have trusted my instincts final week when that dang chilly open laid the horror tropes on so thickly. Even an precise serial animal abuser would not have so many creepy signifiers congregate round them directly. Like Miko, I noticed what I anticipated to see and did not query something additional. Rather than rue my gullibility, nonetheless, I’ll chalk this up as a testomony to Mieruko-chan‘s constantly sturdy presentation. A lesser anime would have had me rolling my eyes on the reintroduction of Zen, however Mieruko-chan possessed each the imaginative and prescient and the artistic chops to string me together with its misdirection.
Horror is not any stranger to this episode both, which manages to be the season’s most upsetting installment, whereas additionally relying the least on Miko’s sixth sense. There’s some irony there, however the present is not any stranger to that sort of subversion. Mieruko-chan takes lots of the identical presentation strategies it makes use of for Miko’s specters and applies them to Zen’s abusive mom, whose monstrous visage makes the id of Zen’s current ghastly tormenter all too apparent. She’s not a manifestation of Zen’s inner darkness; she’s the load dragging his coronary heart down into that chilly and darkish place.
Thematically, too, this revelation traces up with Miko’s private journey to date. Her energy is sight, however seeing just isn’t the one metric we must always use on the subject of foisting our judgments onto different folks. In truth, the collection has constantly confused how little info Miko is aware of concerning the spirit world. Just as a result of she will see sure elements higher than most individuals doesn’t suggest she understands the massive image any higher than a non-esper. The identical applies extra broadly to all of us, whether or not or not we are able to see tiny nude previous males scampering underneath our couches. We all have our personal areas of experience, however counting on them an excessive amount of can reinforce our biases and blind us to different views. Miko has the humility to confess she judged Zen too rapidly. While that lesson will get hammered into our morality from childhood onwards, its triteness is tempered by how troublesome it’s to stick to.
I like that the present takes Miko’s snap judgment one step additional and attracts numerous parallels between her and Zen. It’s sort of deliciously ironic that Zen thought she was the one going round hurting cats, and for lots of the identical causes she thought it was him. They’re each odd, gloomy individuals who hold loads bottled up, and their makes an attempt to shirk outdoors consideration inevitably draw them to the middle of it. But they each even have good hearts and good buddies. This makes Miko’s determination to assist Zen way more emotionally affecting, as a result of she’s extending hand to a kindred spirit. She is, in essence, making the choice to assist herself on the identical time by definitively confronting her personal fears.
Along these traces, the cliffhanger confrontation is each about Miko exorcising his mom’s spirit and Zen confronting the reality of his personal trauma. He is each actually and figuratively haunted by her, so solely doing one or the opposite is not going to assist him. Miko appears to have accomplished her half (or moderately, these shrine guardians did it for her), nevertheless it means nothing if Zen cannot settle for his personal blamelessness for his the abuse he and his cat suffered. While the scars would possibly at all times be there, his mom cannot damage him anymore. He has to acknowledge that he deserves to benefit from the unparalleled heat and softness of his personal lovely kitty cat as soon as extra.
Perhaps it is for sure at this level, however I’m an enormous fan of how this arc has unfolded. Mieruko-chan might actually pivot to simple horror if it needed to, however this comparatively compassionate course is certainly extra according to the anime to date. I do not essentially anticipate the way forward for Mieruko-chan to resemble this both, as a lot as I would not thoughts a much less sexy variation of the Monogatari collection with Miko as its resident trauma exorcist. Mieruko-chan has at all times appeared content material to do its personal factor. But I believe this arc has confirmed to be a sensible and affecting notice for this season to finish on. Now we simply must see if it could actually stick the touchdown subsequent week, or if it will fall flat on its butt buns.
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