TV reporter / female / 28
A TV reporter who visits Hanuda Village to film for the occult show "Darkness Japan". While researching the village's secret ritual, she becomes caught up in the strange events. Also, though the ultimate lingering doubt is over why she drowned herself in the red water, a lot of this is due to Mihama's age.
Below is the investigation of a female editor (the same age as Mihama) who worked on this book. The game's director Keiichiro Toyama has already commented that it is based on "Ankoku Shinwa" (by Daijiro Morohoshi). It seems certain that Mihama never actually intended to kill herself.
"Mihama's Internal Conflict: Age 28-29"
① Self-loathing due to the collapse of her career as a gravure model whilst her friends are choosing between getting married and having children or becoming career women, making huge decisions in their lives, and because of her situation she can do neither.
② Since girls like forming groups, they divide themselves broadly into the two groups of "married" and "career", and some think that they are behind those around them and need to do something about it quickly. In Mihama's case, at one point she had decided to switch to being a TV reporter and join the career group! ...But it seems as though her dissatisfaction with being put on an occult show (which, however you look at it, is hardly first-rate) and discontent with herself for not being able to get any better job comes out as haughtiness. In a setting where she takes may desperate actions, she appears to display (a degree of) confidence in herself that "this isn't how it ends for me". She strongly craves the limelight, and this is why at first glance she appears selfish.
③ She is a former gravure idol, and as such pays rather a lot of attention to aesthetics. She looks to have decided to drown herself (commit suicide) based on her desire to be pretty forever. A similar incident occurs in a Junji Ito manga, though Mihama drowns herself out of curiosity after picking up on the information that submerging yourself in red water will make you pretty. This might be why she is excessively frightened of her looks declining.
Conclusion: Perhaps at first she had no intention of committing suicide. But girls are greedy, and good at giving their all to something. Maybe she drowned herself to test whether it would allow her to be beautiful forever...?
Bold actions even in the face of danger
Lost without her staff and just not getting the old guys from the countryside, Mihama's irritation meter is at max. Anger triumphs over fear, and her actions are bold.
Indecisive but quick to anger
Though just a regular on an occult TV show, Mihama continues investigating even after becoming caught up in the strange incident. Perhaps she believes that if she can make it back safely, people will take notice of her...!?
Tell me I'm pretty!
Having turned into a half-Shibito and obtained eternal youth, Mihama's expression seems as though she is happy at her wish having been granted.
A shadow of her former youth-seeking self
Unlike the other main characters, who become Shibito Brains, Mihama ends up as a dog Shibito. The shadow of her former self, who sought youth, is a little tragic.
Day 1 / 22:00:00 (Gojaku Peak - Jakobe Pass)
After becoming caught up in the strange incident, Mihama is lost all alone for around ten hours. This is not due to Mihama having no sense of direction, but most likely because she repeatedly returns to the dosojin that marks the border between the real world and the Underworld, trapping the road near Gojaku Peak in another dimension. In order to find her way she needs cigarettes and a lighter, but she's run out (based on Ryoko Yamagishi).
Day 1 / 22:11:08 (Hanuda Elementary, Oribe Campus - Gym)
Mihama enters the school via the gym's emergency exit, but is once again plunged into despair by the door being locked from outside as a Shibito's casual prank. However, as she tries to escape from the school, in the library she stumbles across an anthology of folk tales that contains folklore and legends of the village about the incident that caused the curse on Hanuda Village. This serves to explain the reasoning behind Mihama's actions.
Day 1 / 3:33:33 (Hirunotsuka - Mizuhiruko Shrine spring)
Learning of the correlation between the red water and eternal life, Mihama intuitively senses that if she drowns herself in the red spring at Mizuhiruko Shrine she will obtain eternal life, and does so. Though she does not understand what is the central part of the curse (becoming immortal and no longer being human), after leaving the red water-filled spring, Mihama's wish is finally granted.
Q: What is Naoko Mihama's actual age?
A: You can see in [No.069] Naoko Mihama's CV that her birthday is 23 August 1976, so on 2 August 2003 when the incident happens she should be 26. However, since [No.061] Naoko Mihama's Graduation Anthology was published in 1989, you would assume that if Mihama graduated from middle school in March 1989 that would make her birthday 23 August 1974. In other words, Mihama is falsifying her age, and on 2 August 2003 she is actually 28, almost 29. Mihama's age is also clearly displayed on the menu screen.
Q: Who locked the gym's emergency exit?
A: It's a mystery. You could call it a carefree prank by a Shibito that dropped Mihama into the depths of fear.
Naoko Mihama Character Archive
Mihama sits in the gap between the woman she wants to be, and not being able to be her... Usually, between the ages of 26 and 28, most girls have considered at least once what they want to do with their lives. This comes from their friends marrying and having children, or getting ahead in their careers, though they seem to get over it once they enter their thirties. They mentally convince themselves that they will make themselves able to do what they like.
...Not that Mihama has made it that far, though.
The Day Before
Stays the night in vehicle with TV crew. Unable to sleep, goes outside. Goes for a cigarette, when she sees a strange light
0:00 - Siren. Loses consciousness
1:00 - Regains consciousness. In shock when she realises that the film crew has vanished from bus. Angry
Wanders through mountains alone
11:00 - Passes by Shimura
19:00 - Passes through Gojaku Peak (by eliminating all Shibito here, Makino is able to pass through safely)
22:00 - Stumbles upon school gym while wandering through mountains. Learns of the connection between red water and eternal life from folk tales anthology
3:00 - Drowns self in red spring
6:00 - Crawls out of red spring. Half-Shibito
18:00 - Umi-okuri
23:00 - Umi-gaeri. Dog Shibito
22:00 - As dog Shibito, attacks Takeuchi on third level of Shibito Nest