Yuri Kuma Arashi: Episode 8

Warning: Doll yells at lesbians.

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This week begins with the cut off from last week. Kureha’s put together that Ginko is her childhood friend, and is about five seconds away from molesting her on the porch. Until, that is, she sees that Ginko is carrying the pendant her departed mother left.  This railroads into straining our patience.

See, Kureha already makes the observation “Only the bear who killed my mom should have that”.  And Kureha has been ADAMANT to tell others who she thinks will believe her that bears have taken Human form and have infiltrated the school.

But she doesn’t make this connection, not on her own.  Being generous, we can say she secretly thought this, but was trying to rationalize this away. Because…because a friend so unimportant to her life she COMPLETELY forgot about her by the time she was five has suddenly reappeared and that’s just SO SPECIAL she can’t bear to feel betrayed? I’ll get into this business later, but keep this info filed away.

The rigging on the good ship Yuri Kuma is starting to buckle. It’s being forced to carry far more weight than it is designed for, and these little issues which hurt a little have become too obvious to our gaze as we head towards wrapping up Act 3.

It’s time for Sensei’s backstory, much as Episode 4 was Lulu’s. Though this will be more of an interwoven narrative than a cut-away.

She was an orphaned bear, and taken in by the former headmaster of the school.  The headmaster explains that “only the unsullied have value here”, which is probably something we should be keeping in mind as the revelations pile on in the coming weeks. Translations have referred to the headmaster as male, but I don’t think that’s the intent. If anything, the headmaster is a nod to the manga-version Court, where the judges (collectively here though I realize only Life Sexy is judge) are totally androgynous, rather than their “femboy” stance with male voices as presented in the anime.

Or at least that’s assuming it’s based on a female using “bokuwa” (which happens all the time). If this is just because she’s wearing a shirt and tie I’m pulling this internet over and giving everyone a stern talking to.

I have no idea if this trivia will influence how we see the headmaster at the end of the series, or if she’s even meant to correlate to the Court of Severance,  Maybe one of you is more clever and sees a connection there though, so there you have it. Continue reading

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Yuri Kuma Arashi: Episode 7

Black helicopters!

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This week begins with Kureha’s mother telling her the final bit of that story, about how the girls live happily ever after, and we get confirmation that it was supposed to be Kureha and Ginko.

Back from credits, and Kaoru is sleeping with the teacher…I MEAN, THAT MYSTERIOUS BEAR THAT WILL TOTALLY KUMA SHOCK US ONCE SHE’S REVEALED! Speaking of, she eats Kaoru.

Kureha is keeping vigil over Ginko.  Like a human keeping vigil over a shrine guardian or something.  The pair are now officially accepted as a part of Kureha’s home, she trusts their good intentions.

In a reversal of previous episodes, it is now Kureha that has random fantasies about sex with Ginko.

But this seems involuntary.  Could these be visions produced by Kumalia?  We could write off Ginko’s that, maybe, she was too into Kureha, too prone to daydreaming.  But this is much more “against type”, and Kureha, while accepting Ginko and Lulu’s good intentions, still doesn’t harbor ROMANTIC feelings for either.  So the fact she has this elaborate dream sequence which tries to tell her enlightenment can be found in Ginko’s vag is a curious conspiracy theory.

Adding to this conspiracy theory of Kumalia’s influence, we see Kureha CONVENIENTLY start to piece together her past, that she once had a “special friend” before Sumika and that she might have been the girl in the story. Continue reading

Yuri Kuma Arashi: Act 2

Sure, Hunnylingus is a word.

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Let’s embark on a tour of plot entering this series.

Episode 4 begins as a backstory episode.  It’s rather cute, with the Judges narrating Lulu’s life.  She was nobility, apparently royalty if the tale is to be believed as 100% accurate, but again, you can’t trust everything you see as is. She was doted on by her parents. But as soon as her little brother is born (see: the new heir is born) she begins to miss her old life of privilege as everyone’s attention turns to the young prince.

And credit where it’s due, this little story takes on the form of a western fairy tale, even incorporating the “trial of three”, something modern retellings generally abandon.

Speaking of our trial of three, it comes in the form of Lulu putting her little brother in a box and kicking him down a cliff to his death. From which he returns almost completely unharmed.  He does this to earn Lulu’s “promise kiss”, because he wants to marry his big sister (he is like, three).  This is the first mention, but it will recur many times from now on, and it seems to be something within Bear lore similar to “true love’s first kiss”.  And yet, the choice the judges present her is the following.

“Will you give up on love? Or will you give up on kisses?”

So is the kiss PERSONAL love, while love in general is just the concept? Or what? Who knows, still up for debate.

Lulu’s little brother dies trying to bring her a pot of pure honey.  Ginko, however, is the one who returns it to her.  She is a “criminal bear”, and is off to the other side of the Wall of Severance. Lulu, feeling a combination that she owes Ginko a debt and that she must repay the favor of a promise kiss by helping Ginko claim hers, will join her. Continue reading

Yuri Kuma Arashi: Act 1

With 31 flavors of lesbian.

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I was originally going to just catch up this series one by one in the traditional manner like a beast. But…it had to be THIS show. Only now, at the Ep. 3 mark, is the form of the series taking shape. And even then, it is JUST the shape, the shadow on the wall as the pieces assemble together.

Which is, to be sure, a serious weakness in this first act. And it comes down to intent. One phrase was used in the marketing of Yuri Kuma Arashi that raised eyebrows and palmed faces the world over.

“Intellectual fantasy”.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of symbolism as a story-telling medium (not as a narrative tool, that’s different). Saying your piece is “intellectual” is often an easy screen to hide behind because, duh, it’s not SUPPOSED to make sense! It’s SUPPOSED to confound you and make you wonder who’s dick got blown to get it on the screen! Just as often, it’s an easy defense screen to hide behind, “It’s intellectual, you dope! You wouldn’t need it explained if you were who it was MEANT FOR!” like certain anime whose title rhymes with bill la bill.

Yuri Kuma Arashi may not be this type of show exactly, but you’re probably driving through that neighborhood to get there.

But, it’s still early. Perhaps it won’t be this bad looking back. Perhaps there will be a Madoka effect where the most seemingly innocuous, distracting conversation takes on a whole new shade on second viewing.

And in that vein, I will describing things as they appear from hindsight, not as the information is originally delivered, because that would be two episodes of me saying “Then X happens…for some reason.”

Some years ago a planet exploded, raining fragments on the earth that caused bears to rise up and begin preying exclusively on humans.  Because of this, Humanity has begun to build, well, what the Funimation dub has chosen to call “the Severance Wall”, but it could just as easily go “Extinction wall”…again, TOO MUCH SYMBOLISM to determine which translation works best for now. So I’m going with the guys in a somewhat official capacity.

We are in the land of Yuri. Is it all of Humanity? Or a bubble universe where this small town of Yuri is what constitutes “Humanity”? Hard to say. I mean we SEE a map of Japan in news broadcasts but then why is the world this…weird way? But in this world every girl has a “Yuri-” name, as either given or surnames. Every one, except one of the protagonists BUT I’M GETTING TO THAT! The entirety of Humanity is female, and every girl is a lesbian it would seem.

Again, this is just what’s on screen. But hell at least Sakura Trick ACKNOWLEDGED (and later, showed us) fathers and other male attachments. No such luck yet in this series. So it’s confusing.

But not only that! Apparently there are STILL social pressures about BEING lesbians…for some crazy reason.  I have two theories about this, one hilarious and one glare-inducing, but I’ll get to them. For now, just keep that nugget of info to yourself. Continue reading