Miko has a new problem on her hands that somehow is worse than just being able to see creepy spirits — their teacher is haunted by cats. Of course, she’s the only one who can see them, and with Yuria’s level still being relatively low, Miko has to find out how to protect her friend Hana, as his presence ends up taking her energy. After then resolving to make sure she would never tell anyone or do what she could to act like the spirits can’t see her, Miko might ultimately reach her breaking point and give up the act in the end…
Volume 3 of Mieruko-chan actually did a pretty good job of playing with expectations this time. The subtlety of the horror has been growing stronger since the first volume and it’s only gotten better from then on, but now you have strong story twists…and still finding a way to maintain its humor? This time, while we have a few one-shot stories (one of which involves the friends going into a haunted house…and Miko can actually “act” like she’s scared for a change), the story revolves around a mysterious teacher who comes across as anti-social and also is someone familiar to Miko…and he’s got a very strong spirit attached to him. As it continues to bore down on Miko’s psyche, once she realizes Hana’s aura is being affected by him, she resolves to find out why this is happening, despite all the terror that comes with it.
Between the continued combo of excellent art and a genuinely intriguing plot, this is my favorite volume of the series right now. It meets the best of both worlds regarding its attempts at putting on a fright while then making well-timed jokes — see when Miko does her best to act like nothing’s wrong in the bathroom as the grotesque spirit stares at her, only for Miko to end up opening a stall and act like she’s grabbing toilet tissue and find Yuria eating her lunch there and not with friends. Or any of the shenanigans that occur at the haunted house.
And then it ends in a surprising manner that involves the teacher’s past and current present, and those mysterious shrine maidens once again showing up to save Miko. One day Miko will get to the bottom of their appearances…but until then she’ll just have to make do with them throwing down on a large, grotesque spirit for her sake.