|This article is about the story arc in Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni. For the character, see Marie Moriya.|
Mesomeso-san (めそめそさん) is the first chapter of Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni - Dai Ichi Ya. The chapter is named Recruiting the Eighth Ghost Story (第八怪談募集中 Dai-hachi Kaidan Boshūchū), which is also the subtitle of the prototype light novel of the series, in the manga.
A girl is in a bathroom stall, down to her underwear, crying into the abyss. The onomatopoeia for crying is mesomeso. Her name is Marie Moriya. Known for being weak, she had become a target for everyone to bully. Despite this, she strived to change herself, to leave her weaker self behind, but thus far her efforts had been fruitless. With no one to help her, she had resigned to doing things she didn’t want to.
At some point in the past, Marie did something very wrong and was caught by her teacher, Yoshihito Kanamori. She heavily feared being bullied for what she did, so in order to keep it a secret, she followed anything he said. This seemingly included sexual assault, as he would meet her in the bathroom while she was next to naked. Marie saw this as protection. She had grown tired of such arrangements, though she found comfort in his protection from other people, especially her classmates, bullying her.
Kanamori saw himself as greater than all people, even if they, at the time, stood above him. Lacking rewards from others, he grew enraged, yet could never show it publicly. He often channeled that rage through his times with Marie. His goal: to control her. With this feat accomplished he had convinced himself that he had elevated himself from a mere human like all the rest.
Fearing that Marie may one day tell of his actions, Kanamori contemplated different ways to stop her from doing so. He arrived at a single solution: to kill her before she rebels. He began plotting to carry out the deed.
Within the school, there had been new tales of a youkai, Mesomeso-san, that cries “mesomeso” in the old school building’s restroom. If one knocked on the stall door one would get the response: “Mesomeso, mesomeso. You out there, please listen to my pitiful story.” It is further explained that one must never speak to Mesomeso-san or try to open the door, for if one saw its true form all of the bones in their body will be crushed. This story was passed around by many students. Hearing of this tale, and knowing that he often left Marie in the old school building’s bathroom, Kanamori’s worry skyrocketed. He was worried that Marie already had been telling others of his actions. Though, he was somewhat comforted by the fact that students thought it to be a youkai, not a real person.
Upon hearing this ghost story, Marie already knew it was about her. She felt downhearted at the thought that her courage was attributed to that of a youkai. With no hope of an end to the abuse in sight, and reasoning that telling anyone would be useless, Marie began contemplating suicide. She feared that she would be fated to be bullied wherever she went in life. Marie wished she could take revenge and pondered that if she could become Mesomeso-san and obtain all of its powers, then she would have more than enough to exact her revenge. To break free of her fate and exact her revenge, she decides to die as a human and to be reborn as a youkai. A long black-haired girl soon appears and introduces herself as Higanbana, having overheard Marie’s thoughts of becoming Mesomeso-san. Higanbana presses Marie further for whether or not she's Mesomeso-san, much to the latter's bewilderment. Higanbana still sees through and determines the answer. In this school, there were already Seven Mysteries, seven youkai, which would already be enough for any normal school. Since this school was big, there was already talk about increasing the number of seats for youkai in the school. Marie soon realizes that Higanbana is indeed a youkai: “‘The Dancing Higanbana’, the third rank of the seven seats,” who lives as the doll in the infirmary. Higanbana leaves as quickly as she appeared, leaving Marie wondering if that conversation was even real. With fresh determination, Marie swore to end her life as a human and become the eighth ranked youkai, Mesomeso-san.
Marie later heads to the bathroom to have another meeting with Kanamori and asks to have a talk with him. Knowing what it was about, a worried Kanamori confirms Marie had not told anyone. Determined that he had to end it there and then, Kanamori chokes Marie to death.
A student enters the bathroom to test their luck with Mesomeso-san. At the sound of a knock, frightened and frustrated, Kanamori lets out the cries of mesomeso, followed by Mesomeso’s line. The schoolgirl who had attempted to be courageous runs out of the bathroom screaming.
Elated, Kanamori takes Marie’s corpse and works his way outside of the school. Worried that someone may find her corpse, he throws her body in the septic tank of the old storehouse. Before dumping her corpse, Kanamori noticed that a button was missing on Marie’s uniform. Due to his acting as Mesomeso-san, Kanamori had convinced himself that he had actually become Mesomeso-san; he had surpassed humanity and become a youkai.
Marie awakes, in soul only, tormented by her death. Higanbana greets her into the spirit world. With condolences, Higanbana informs Marie that only one person may be Mesomeso-san. Due to Higanbana’s recommendation, the school youkai had approved Marie to be Mesomeso-san if no one else wanted to; because Kanamori claimed he was Mesomeso-san, the plan went into turmoil. The victor shall be determined by the vote of the seven school youkai. Before departing, Higanbana warns Marie that in order to be a more suitable school youkai, she will need to be a bit more wicked and cruel.
The next morning, police were looking everywhere for Marie. Kanamori had been questioned and denied everything, claiming ignorance. On Kanamori’s way to the staff room, he accidentally slips while walking by the Vice Principal. As Kanamori is bleeding, he suggests that the Nurse take him to the infirmary. Noticing a button on the ground, he informs the nurse that the button must have fallen off of the doll next to it. The nurse tells him about the cursed doll in the infirmary, one of the school’s seven mysteries, Higanbana. After inspecting the doll, the nurse says it must be the doll’s right sleeve button. Kanamori is filled with worry, as that was the same place Marie had lost a button. The youkai Higanbana mocks and teases Kanamori, saying that Marie’s missing button will be found by someone and will not disappear otherwise.
Fueled by a desire to find Marie’s missing button, Kanamori headed to the old school building. Higanbana attempts to scare him by talking, proving the existence of youkai. Afraid, Kanamori enters the stall where he had previously killed Marie, searching on his hands and knees for the missing button. Kanamori was unable to find it until shining his flashlight upon the toilet paper dispenser.
His excitement turned to fear as he heard mesomeso from the other side of the stall door. After listening to and mocking Marie and her story, he opens the lock and throws open the door. Marie is then brought into the stall where she had died before. In order to make her spirit understand that she is dead, Kanamori tries to strangle her to death once again, however Marie fights back and strangles Kanamori as well, proving too strong for him and crushing his bones. Higanbana appears to announce who is more suited to be Mesomeso-san. Because Kanamori broke the rules of Mesomeso-san, he if unfit to become a youkai. Marie is told to give the finishing blow, however her expression changes and she admits that she used to love Kanamori. Maria asks for forgiveness as Kanamori finally dies.
Higanbana congratulates Marie for becoming Mesomeso-san, the eighth rank school youkai. Marie is guided by her new friend to join the nonexistent class, Class 13.