It takes a lot of skill for horror and comedy to be blended together in a way that doesn't come off as campy or unbalanced. Mieruko-Chan: The Girl That Sees "Them" has managed to pull it off perfectly, though. Written and illustrated by Izumi Tomoki, the series was initially published on the art site Pixiv before getting picked up by Kadokawa for a print release and Yen Publishing for an English release. It's also getting an anime adaptation from Studio Passione, which will air later this year.
The series follows Miko Yotsuya, a girl who can see spirits but does her very best to ignore them and attempt to have a normal life. The creatures she sees are horrifying, and despite how hard she tries to avoid them, they always find her. Not only are they drawn to her because of her abilities, but it seems that her best friend Hana has a powerful aura that spirits love to feed off of, making her just as susceptible to attacks as Miko. Throughout the story, Miko tries to find ways to alleviate the stress caused by her abilities, and meets others who can see the spirits as well. Despite how terrifying the situations she finds herself in are, Miko manages to overcome her fears and protect her friends when things are dire.
One of the main plot points of the series is that appearances are deceiving. It's implied in one of the later chapters that the appearance of the spirits varies from person to person, so while Miko sees them as horrific abominations, others see them as more human. Not only does it show that the most evil-looking creatures can be good, it also shows the opposite to be true. It also explores the idea that you can never really know what someone is going through just based on their personality or mannerisms.
Much of the comedy of the series comes from Miko's reactions to situations where she sees a spirit, but can't react because she's in public or she doesn't want to attract the spirit's attention. It also comes from simple misunderstandings between characters. Julia, another girl who can see spirits, often thinks that Miko is trying to show off whenever she does something heroic.
This mostly stems from the fact that Miko's sight is stronger than Julia's, and she sees Miko as a rival because she thinks Miko is the reason that her mentor retired and left to live in the country. The comedy in the series is used as a breather from the grotesqueness of the spirits that Miko sees and the dynamic between the two tones is indicative of the series as a whole. Laughter brings light to the series's dark moments just as Miko ekes out a life amid all the death that surrounds her.
With the new anime announcement, fans of the series are hoping that it will keep this golden balance that Tomoki has developed. Mieruko-Chan is one of the precious few horror series that knows how to keep up its tension without resorting to cheap cliches. Instead, it's propelled by its protagonist and her attempts to just live a normal life.