OP Sequence

OP: 「あの森で待ってる」 (Ano Mori de Matteru) by Bonjour Suzuki

“Never Back Down On Love”

「私はスキをあきらめない」 (Watashi wa Suki o Akiramenai)

Ikuhara’s Style:

I think it’s fair to say that Ikuhara Kunihiko’s return to anime was just as wild as expected. If you’re a fan of his previous works (Utena and Mawaru Penguindrum) then Yuri Kuma Arashi will be right up your alley as well. The approach in storytelling is near identical, Ikuhara’s favourite themes are prevalent even in this first episode, and by the end you’ll be left with that same sense of confusion that he manages to to achieve oh so wonderfully every time. And let me say this: the truth is in the title. There is Yuri, there are Bears, and there’s a Storm coming.

As expected of Ikuhara, the setting is gorgeous, making use of sharp angles and bold colours in the architecture of Arashigaoka Academy, accompanied by the scenic gardens that surround it. But behind all that beauty there is devastation. Ever since the Kumaria Meteor Shower that made the bears on Earth rise and feast on humans, the Severance Barrier has been put up to keep the humans safe from the bears, and the bears from eating the humans. On the human side we have our princess-like main heroine, Tsubaki Kureha (Yamane Nozomi), and her secret girlfriend Izumino Sumika (Ogura Yui). I say secret because Sumika seems aware when no one is watching, allowing them to spend some bonding time together. In typical Ikuhara fashion there is a fair amount of symbolism surrounding this, one of which being the recurrence of lilies. White Lilies symbolise chastity, virtue, and purity, so having the human girls be introduced as ‘lilies’ is clearly intentional, as is having Kureha and Sumika’s secret romance spot being a lily garden. Their love is as pure and untainted as the flowers that surround them, that is until an Invisible Storm comes and ruins them, destroying not only the garden but everything it represents within the series: their secret relationship, their honest love, their purity.

Lots of Concepts:

At this point the Invisible Storm is a strange concept, apparently set out to destroy that which is ‘pure’, but it’s brought up as if it has happened before and isn’t something entirely new. That being said, bears have arrived, and if I were to place a bet I’d say they might have been the cause for this ongoing storm. Yurishiro Ginko (Arakawa Miho) and Yurigasaki Lulu (Ikuta Yoshiko) arrive on the scene, but even if they look like human girls, they’re actually vicious little teddy bears; cute, but still deadly. Ginko doesn’t leave much of an impression, but Lulu certainly does – she’s pretty open in her affections towards Ginko, and she makes it clear that she’d love to eat as many girls as possible. Take that as you will, because there are several ways you could interpret that and they’re probably all accurate.

Whilst the girl bears are exciting, I equally enjoyed the Judge-Prosecutor-Defence Attorney trio that we see in the Severance Court. Life Sexy (Suwabe Junichi), might just be my favourite so far – his declaration for doing things that are sexy as well as his ‘Shabadadu’ were enough to give me the giggles. Life Cool (Saiga Mitsuki) on the other hand seems to be more of a human sympathiser, whilst Life Beauty (Yamamoto Kazutomi) defends the needs of bears – they have to eat, and eat they shall. At this stage it’s a little difficult to piece all of these concepts, places, and characters together, but I think we’ll be seeing more of these bear boys before too long, which I’m definitely looking forward to.

Mixed Reactions:

I’ve seen a lot of mixed reactions to this first episode, which has surprised me a little. I suppose if you’re coming into an Ikuhara series without any prior knowledge then it can be a bizarre experience, but at the same time we’re getting something that’s certainly unique when compared to a lot else that seems to be on offer this season. Ikuhara has his own type of storytelling, his own bizarre ideas and recurring motifs, and I personally love it. The fanservice was pretty heavy in this, I won’t lie, but I didn’t mind it too much. And I don’t think I need to go in depth with the symbolism of this particular scene. I’m confident you can all decipher the hidden meaning behind such imagery.

Honeypot Theory:

I already have a theory on what’s going on behind the scenes, and it could be way off, but much like Mawaru Penguindrum it’s fun to try and guess what’s actually happening. I’ll call this the Honeypot Theory, and it has to do with teacher Hakanaka Yurika (Inoue Kikuko) and fellow student Yurizono Mitsuko (Yuuki Aoi) pouring honey in the opening, which I think may hint to them luring the bears towards these girls. It’s common knowledge bears are attracted to the stuff and eat it, so I have a feeling these two might be in on what’s going on here. Also, they both have ‘Yuri’ somewhere in their names like the two bear transfer students – that could be a null point but I’m going to stick with it for this theory right now. However Mitsuko did look genuinely shocked at the discovery at the end, and seems to care for Kureha, but her feelings may be part of her reason for luring the bears to her – if that’s what she really is doing, but then again, I could be proven wrong very quickly. She may just end up another victim to the bears like poor Sumika.

Overview – What’s Next?:

I didn’t expect death so soon, but I’m definitely interested in what’s going on. Kureha has lost her girlfriend, so I hope that she pulls out that sniper rifle and starts getting things done (was anyone else surprised when she started shooting at the carved bears?). I also presume we’ll be diving into the morality of Ginko and Lulu after we’ve witnessed them kill someone so soon. Honestly, it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen this early in the game, but you can count me excited to see how this is all going to play out.



Information Digest:


Details Digest:

Kureha’s Mother:

  • I saw someone on twitter suggesting that Ginko could have been the one to kill Kureha’s mother.
  • I think it’s obvious that we will dive into that story soon, but that would certainly add more fuel to the Kureha’s fiery revenge.

Anime vs Manga:

  • I read over what was available of the manga that started last year, and it should be said that even though the story is still the same, the approach is very different.
  • The order of events has shifted and the general tone and style here is so much more in align with what you’d expect from Ikuhara.
  • I think it would be safe to call this an original anime as opposed to an adaptation of the manga
  • They’re both telling the same story in their own way.

Sumika’s Fate?:

  • I really thought she’d stick around for a while longer, but that seems unlikely now.
  • Wild Theory: Unless she comes back as a bear?

ED Sequence

ED: 「Territory」by Miho Arikawa, Yoshiko Ikuta, and Nozomi Yamane


  1. I suppose if you’re coming into an Ikuhara series without any prior knowledge then it can be a bizarre experience

    I can totally confirm this – this show was way too crazy, weird and bizarre for me. o.O

    1. It’s this season’s Twintails. The plot is boring and stupid so they make up for it by adding sexual innuendos to hook the gullible watcher. No thanks, I’d rather watch real lesbian porn. Dropped!

    2. It’s this season’s Twintails. The plot is boring and stupid so they make up for it by adding sexual innuendos to hook the gullible watcher. No thanks, I’d rather watch real lezb0 p0rn0. Dropped!

      1. Still too early to judge an anime by its first ep, at least give it at least 3 eps. So far this anime is kinda bizarre I mean the bears invading this planet with a fetish to girls is a story that is full of weirdness and that makes me cringe for more.

      2. It’s NOT too early to judge it. The basic rule of novels is to capture the reader’s interest in the 1st page (about a minute) otherwise most won’t buy it. If this failed to capture mine in 24 minutes then I don’t see why I should waste more of my time.

      3. Twintails was actually funny, so stop being so arrogant and elitist.
        also, Novels and Anime are two different mediums and some anime do in fact need more time to hook viewers than novels do, don’t try and compare them
        I just wish people could be friendlier on the Net instead of talking hate 99% of the time. I know it’s impossible, though

      4. @James. No, most readers dont even read the first page. Just the blurb or they take a look at the cover. And even that is too much for many – they get recommendations by bestseller-lists or by friends. But even THAT is too much for some people, they dont read at all and judge a book just by hearing about it. What I want to say: Advertisement and overly fast judgement does not equal to having the right to do so or at least the right to be taken seriously.
        Course you can judge for yourself already if thats not your type of show. But saying this is this seasons twintails…You can say that but nobody who does not belong to the infamous group number 4 can take that seriously :S That said: I havent seen the episode yet 😛

      5. Err… Is this your first time watching anime? I think there’s an unwritten rule called the “three episode rule” where you judge an anime after watching three episodes. I recall a lot of anime I regretted dropping because I judged too early. I also recall a lot of anime I was happy I did not drop because it got interesting.

      6. Main difference between Twintail and this is that Twintail was downright stupid, not trying to take itself seriously, but I loved every moment of it. Been a while since I was able to watch an anime I could just simply enjoy. Only bad thing about it was the degrading animation after the first few episodes which… I will admit was cringe-worthy to watch but hopefully they’ll fix it up in the Bluray release.

        While this anime, knowing some of the guy’s previous work will turn out to be a social commentary and definitely not an anime for the faint of heart. I don’t blame anyone for not liking this anime and probably dropping it even before the OP rolled. However, that does not mean this anime is bad. Just means people don’t have the tolerance for it, that’s all. I’ve enjoyed many anime that lots of people didn’t because it’s just simply not their cup of tea. Although they try to make it out to be a bad anime without many justifiable points.

        Goodwill Wright
      7. “It’s NOT too early to judge it. The basic rule of novels is to capture the reader’s interest in the 1st page (about a minute) otherwise most won’t buy it.”

        That is a mass market publisher standard that has nothing to do with the quality of the book as a whole. Yes if your trying to write a best seller for the masses you have to follow that rule. And you probably are looked down on by the people who made that rule as a commoner and most Literature Departments at Universities also consider this mass market standard a major negative.

        Now I don’t always want to work at all the allegory and symbolism the books that Professors of Literature and book elitists love, but I can enjoy it even though it takes work. But I also like a good simple tale and consider The Lord of the Rings great literature even though most book elitists don’t like it.

        There is nothing wrong in simply wanting to be entertained with out having to deal with puzzle peaces. But don’t assume that something is bad just because it is complex and needs time to see if it’s great or trash, it just not your cup of tea, at least at this point in your life.

    1. Pardon me if I sound snobbish, but I don’t think labels such as yuri or yaoi can really be applied to a series such as Shinsekai yori, which was adapted from a novel. I always think of yuri/yaoi in terms of fancervice, which was refreshingly absent from the whole show 🙂 Sorry for going off topic…
      On another note, welcome back, Ikuhara! Even while I was prepared for it, the sheer weirdness on screen caught me off guard again 😀 Shabadadu!

  2. I’m sure there is a place to the metaphoric in this world, but I don’t like it being so metaphoric that I’m grasping at straws as to what the heck it is I am seeing. This first episode has me disturbed somewhat like penguin drum did, but for different reasons. What bothers me is her seeming to be getting along with and maybe following in love (who knows) but definitely spending time with the bear girls who (theoretically – it’s not like they showed the body’s face) ate her girlfriend. That sorta bothers me. But it’s only the first ep. I’ll give it a few more.

  3. I didn’t realize it was Ikuhara’s. My first thought after watching was Sakura Trick meets Penguindrum. Definitely his style. So many sexual euphemisms that it seems like he’s trying to see what he can get away with. Oh and honeypot also has a sexual connotation also. IDK what he’s going to throw in next. Orchids and Irises maybe?

    Seems like there’s also some backstory with one of the bear girls, Kureha and a previous lover.

    1. It’s actually not hard to derive if you have a dirty mind 😛

      What’s happening is Tsubaki is being “deflowered” by the bears, not a phrase you often hear these days as it refers to the purity of a virgin being lost through premarital sex. She is being eaten yes, but not in the common usage of the word. Eating also colloquially refers to oral sex (i.e cunnilingus) which is what the two bears are engaging in. The nectar being licked right up, to just shoot past any ambiguity, likely refers back to the oral sex, specifically vaginal secretions produced to ease copulation.

      The chopped lilies (especially the one being licked by the bears) shown throughout are an interesting motif too because in addition to purity, the flowers are actually edible and used as a vegetable in certain Japanese dishes.

      Basically everything you’re seeing here directly refers back to the prevalent yuri present throughout the entire episode.

  4. Lilies are “Yuri” in Japanese, but I like how u discussed the symbolism of the flower since the corruption of purity is one of Ikuhara’s favorite themes. I am a huge fan of Utena (not the movies though) and enjoyed Mawaru Penguindrum, but Yuri Kuma Arashi gave me the impression that all the fantastical elements and the deliberately mysterious storyline are merely means to an end: lots of yuri fanservice.

    I knew this series wouldn’t be my kind of thing, but still gave the first ep a try due to Ikuhara…yep dropping it.

  5. Stole/Ate the existence of Yuri from the lover -> Goes in the Yuri circle -> Creates a Yuri love Triangle -> plot of the whole series -> as long as yuri exist they will continue feeding on it.
    ก็็็็็็็็็็็็็ʕ•͡ᴥ•ʔ ก้้้้้้้้้้้ ~Gao! Gao!

    1. C’mon, there was like one scene with nudity in the entire episode (not counting the opening).

      You guys are all overreacting to this in the first episode (Kill la Kill all over again).

  6. (No prior experience with Ikuhara here)

    The reaction this episode got from me, on multiple occasions, was a flat mouth-gaping “what?”.
    I didn’t always have the time to close my mouth before the reaction came again.

    Life Sexy was hilarious.

  7. The reaction is mixed even among Ikuhara fans. One difference is that Utena and Penguindrum were extremely accessible early on: symbolism and mysterious imagery aside, the basic stories were straightforward and plausible (in terms of suspension of disbelief) enough.

    YKA is highly allegorical from the start, with symbol (perhaps too deliberate) and style (yuri service) seemingly the main purposes. In that regard, it’s hard to tell what the show is trying to accomplish in terms of its overarching story.

  8. I think that the average anime viewer doesn’t know what to do with a series that’s bizarre and unpredictable like this. Same with Romeo’s Jinrui wa Suitaishimashita. Well, if you dislike fanservice (or don’t like this particular type of fanservice) there’s no helping it.

    So far it seems like the central metaphor is probably related to what the invisible storm entails and what it means to cross the barrier. Maybe to traverse from the hyperbolically idyllic pure and innocent girls’ love to a different kind of (more predatory? threesomes?) girls’ love, as a deconstruction of how yuri is portrayed in manga.

    I’m fortunate to have taken a liking to the personalities of the characters (mainly all the bears). I basically hated all the characters in Penguindrum so that’s a happy surprise.

    Also, I wonder if Sumika is really dead? I think the whole bear thing might just be completely symbolic, e.g. her existence will be in a limbo state while Kureha resolves her feelings toward the bears and such.

    1. Regarding Sumika I’m personally leaning towards her actually being dead/reawakened as a bear. The eating is entirely symbolic, but it’s likely that it also serves as the central twist of the series where eating is meant both in its literal and colloquial forms.

      Until the show gets further along I’m inclined to also agree that the Invisible Storm is a reference to love, but IMO more along the lines of a chaotic teenage lust that often accompanies the sudden shift into puberty. It would make sense considering how the bears (at least the two girl bears here) are indicated to be “sinfully” lusting for one another whereas Tsubaki and Sumika are shown in a pure and idyllic relationship, staying just on the proper side of friendship. Furthermore it would also explain Tsubaki’s talk about defeating the Invisible Storm.

      Either way definitely need a few more episodes to better flesh out and make sense of the above.

  9. Let everyone BEAR the witness tot the power of YURI taking the world by the STORM!

    Puns aside, this series definitely bends the borders of the TV-show due to both fanservice and risky metaphores… it is obviously ONLY a show for someone who is not distubrbed by neither yuri nor fanservice.
    I am OK with both.

  10. My first thought when this episode ended; yep, that’s Ikuhara alright. And it’s weird even for his standards – Penguindrum got balls to the walls crazy at times (even in the first episode) but never so soon to this degree.

    Still, I liked it. It was, uh, quite the ride, I suppose. And besides that, one thing I like about this kind of storytelling is that the show plays out like a giant puzzle. It rarely straight up tells you anything, and you’re just constantly given more hints (puzzle pieces) that allow you to slowly make sense of it all. Because it’s never randomness for the sake of it, everything is symbolism. It makes theorycrafting a rather fun side-activity, and you’ll be thinking about the show a lot. And unlike your average artsy anime (*cough*Aku no Hana*cough*), these shows never get boring to watch either, between all the grand visuals and shocking happenings.

    Yeah, this one’s a guaranteed watch this season.

    As for the Honeypot theory, I think it’s a bit too early to tell and there’s a bit too much discrepancies (Yurizono’s shock at seeing the bears) to theorize that she and the teacher have anything to do with luring the bears. For all we know, the yuri in their names means that they’re swinging that way too. Maybe even with each other, as some other kind of third yuri couple. Not like we haven’t had any other teacher-student couplings in Ikuhara’s shows, after all…

  11. Anime fans nowadays are a sad bunch. There was nothing overly difficult to understand about this episode.

    I guess if you’ve come into anime recently and the most difficult thing you’ve ever watched was Hunter x Hunter, then it’s understandable. But shows like Utena/Evangelion/etc. used to be pretty common and appreciated.

    People just don’t like to think nowadays. This is why stuff like Kill La Kill/Transformers/Frozen is so popular.

    1. Anime fans nowadays are a sad bunch. There was nothing overly difficult to understand about this episode.

      Nothing? Oh good. Then you can go back right now and give us a minute-by-minute detailed explanation of absolutely everything that happened in this episode. Start from 00:00 and work your way forward. Leave nothing out. If anyone still has any questions about the series after you’re done, you lose.

      1. Hey, let me know what you had a hard time understanding and I’ll gladly explain it to you. I’m not giving a play-by-play. That would be ridiculous…are you actually suggesting that you couldn’t understand ANYTHING in this episode? That’s the only reason a person would need such an explanation…and I can’t believe any of you are THAT stupid.

      2. You know that’s ridiculous and unfair. Why don’t YOU post EVERY question you have instead? What are you so full of hate?

        It’s sad to see so many people upvoting stuff like this. You all really are babies that need to be spoonfed everything and everything explained within the same episode aren’t you? Is it wrong for an anime (a medium which combines many kinds of arts including animation, drawing, acting, directing, composing, etc.?) to try to be artistic, or (before you roll your eyes at the word artistic as if I’m saying this is the new Mona Lisa which is not what I’m saying) interpretative and surreal?

        If you don’t have patience for it or it’s not your type that’s fine. But Chika is absolutely right.

      3. Your implication was that ANYONE who has ANYTHING that they don’t understand 100% of the details of is too stupid to be watching anything other than the simplest of shows. You were insulting, and you continue to be insulting with your response. I didn’t appreciate that, so I gave you a snippy response: if you understand it all so perfectly, prove it. Explain EVERYTHING, every detail, so completely that NO ONE can still have any questions about the series whatsoever. If you can’t do that, then maybe you shouldn’t have started off with such a condescending tone.

      4. >If you can’t do that, then maybe you shouldn’t have started off with such a condescending tone.

        You’re one of those people who always jumps to Godwin’s Law in arguments, aren’t you? You fully understand how ridiculous it is to ask someone to sit down and write some ridiculous play-by-play for every plot point in this episode. It’s the stupidest form of “argument” imaginable, because you know the other person wouldn’t waste their time. But in your delusion you still somehow think it means you “won” the argument.

        Frankly, if a person has to resort to that sort of absurd argument, it’s no surprise you found this show difficult to follow. You’re the perfect example of today’s “anime fan” and you deserve every bit of condescension I can give.

    2. I’ll agree that there was nothing overtly “hard” for me to follow or understand in this episode, and that that the anime industry has, in general, moved away from producing more challenging work, but let’s not act like no one on this blog has seen Evangelion, okay? “People” is about as general a category as you can get, and the world can do without more sweeping generalizations.

      1. Maybe we’re talking around each other: I assumed you meant that readers here hadn’t seen Evangelion when you implied that the most difficult show they’ve watched is HxH. Said readers having fit into your definition of anime fans who are predominantly a “sad bunch.”

        Misunderstandings aside, you’re right that I don’t disagree with you about the state of the industry in general; in fact, many prominent names in the industry express concern about the direction mainstream anime is taking). I do think, however, that it’s unfair to make sweeping assessments of other fans for disliking YKA so far. You can’t assume all viewers who disliked the episode just “don’t like to think.” Personally, I understood all the symbolism but thought the application was just way too heavy-handed; like lilies = vaginas, got it, ohgodthey’renotdone. Now I’m going not likely to drop this series because I’m familiar with and a fan of Ikuhara’s past works, but the point is: try not to sound so judgmental of your peers straight off the bat.

      2. HA! That’s a first—my reply to Chika is awaiting moderation! Samu-kun, I think it’s because I used the V-word…my bust. I swear it’s clean otherwise! At least the use of the V-word was relevant? LOL

    3. I actually enjoyed this episode but I downvoted you for insulting Kill la Kill and Hunter x Hunter, another 2 shows I also enjoyed. That just made you sound narrow-minded & snobbish. You’re no different than those elitists calling this anime hipster-material.

    4. While I agree that too much of the ‘anime community’ seems to get upset when a show does not spoonfeed the plot (see Tomino’s current Gundam), it was also very common for anime in Utena/Evangelion’s time to not require much brainpower either.

    5. I think this starts when people who like “Artistic” works with symbolism and lots of mystery and puzzle peaces read what are basically insults to them of people rejecting the show because it is “artistic.” and they make the logical but only half right conclusion that people who will not give an artistic work a chance and who don’t find mysterious things interesting are unsophisticated, unwilling to expand their tastes and maybe not as intelligent. To be clear none of assumption is necessarily true of people who dislike this. You might be brilliant but like your story telling to be clear and not work. Also people who like Artistic works resent the lack of support people who don’t have Artistic tastes and resent that there is not a pressure to get people to try to expand their tastes.

      Ulysses by James Joyce is considered by many in the artistic literary world to be one of the greatest books ever. Many non artistic people find the book unreadable and almost gibberish in places. You will have trouble in any University Liberal Arts area if your not into dealing with huge amounts of symbolism and allegory. And thus the elitist vs common man wars start as each side is insulted others don’t like what they like.

      Personaly I have been in both camps. I tend to like my reading be story rich and plot rich but not mysterious and not want to have to work at my reading to get to the enjoyment. But in video media I love the “Twin Peaks”, “Mulholland Drive”, and works like this might be. I also love the War and Peace of Anime “Legend of the Galactic Heroes” that many non fans accuse us of being anime elitists. Legend is not a jumble of symbolism type like this artistic type but is a talky deap in the study of ethics man and politics and military strategy show.

      One Piece is a total throw logic out the window extremely silly comedy/melodrama that has not been the type of show I would watch but as it on the Toonami schedule I made myself open my mind and watch it and now find it and enjoyable time.

      So both sides need to back up and try not to look down on the other side just because the other side does not love what they love. But for those rejecting this show I would recommend you might just like this type of show rather now or later in your life if you make the effort to open your mind, allow yourself to be confused, allow yourself not to like it at first, but see where it goes and see if this type of story can grab you. Do watch artistic lovers comments as things go along because artistic works can blow up into incomprehensive stupidity or just be poor stories hiding behind a artistic surfice, so if people like me start saying not worth it you can drop your effort.

      I do see the Yuri in part as the creators effort to give a hook for people not into artistic works to stick around long enough to maybe get into the rest of it.

      1. Wanted to clarify fist sentence as it not clear enough. “I think this starts when people who like “Artistic” works with symbolism and lots of mystery and puzzle peaces read what are basically insults to them of people rejecting the show because it is “artistic.”” This is taking comments as an insult even if they are not intended to insult. I just when people say something you like is trash it is a natural tendency to feel angry at them. This is whether the show is Artistic or One Piece.

        I do like One Piece.

    6. Even if something is easy to understand, there are many different ways to understand it depending on the viewer. Hell, even after a show has laid bare all the answers, viewers may still have different interpretations of the answer. Some shows even try to target and expose the different ways a viewer may interpret something.

      Even if Chika were to give the answers, he/she may or may not be right or even if they were right, you may or may not agree them.

      But of course, people who don’t enjoy this anime shouldn’t watch it and people who may or will enjoy it should. We all spend our time how we want to.

      Goodwill Wright
  12. What if the bears are men? the deflowering scene would make sense and the portrayal of men as sexual predators would fit in a series with over the top stereotyping. The wall represents the wall between sexes, the invisible storm is losing purity and childhood (a.k.a it blows the flowers/purity away). The only question is, how does the court fit into this? So far I love it. Bizarre style and substance only Ikuhara can deliver.

    1. Hmm, you could be onto something. The “pre-invisible storm” yuri that’s depicted is pretty much a parody of yuri cliches, and the fear and tension of the girls seems almost comical, so maybe Ikuhara is constructing a metaphor for the typical Japanese attitude toward lesbians of “It’s just a phase or a hobby, these women need to grow out of it and get married [to a guy]”? I’m not sure how Ikuhara views girls’ love in the larger context of society, so I don’t know whether or not he has a stereotypical Japanese view. (I haven’t watched Utena or much of Penguindrum, but I once read someone say that Utena fans read too much into the interactions between female characters and too little between male and female, so maybe it’s possible?)

      I think the court could be a deus ex machina of the author himself passing judgment on yuri, or a representation of Kureha’s inner doubts. If Ikuhara really is making this a 100% yuri fanservice show in which the bears ironically don’t represent yuri, they represent “graduating” from yuri, the bear boys in the court are merely male because Ikuhara isn’t planning to let them take part in the fanservice/physically intimate parts of the show, so he can afford to make them male.

    2. I was wondering about that. I re watched it with the proper subs and I don’t recall seeing a male on the ‘human’ side, including the cops and the tv announcers so it may be possible that is the case.

      However, there does seem to be a big undercurrent of bullying going on and I wonder if that is what the Invisible Storm thing is all about. There was comments made about the girl being taken because she wasn’t ‘invisible’ because she had no friends (apart from her lover) and stood out.

      Odd thing about the OP though, it showed alot of the 2 bears getting it on with the girl with the gun.

  13. was interested in the show at first but found out it had yuri in it =.= …. I’ve seen enough yuri shows cuz they come out every season so I’m gonna pass on it have no interest in it, sorry xp

  14. After watching Episode 01, I have two main thoughts. First, this is exactly what it says on the tin (or box) – it’s yuri, it has bears, and just to be thorough, the bears are yuri. OK… fair enough. Second, WTF did I just watch? (Sorry Samu, but “bizarre” doesn’t quite convey my reaction)

    The yuri premise didn’t bother me – watched Sakurak Trick. The level of fanservice didn’t bother me (watch HS DxD & similar) though I can understand if some felt it was overdone. Still, the OP was a pretty big hint that this was going to be quite an ecchi show. Oh, might as well add that I have nothing against bears as a species. Quite the majestic creature.

    The presentation and style though… This is my first introduction to Ikuhara’s work and it’s definitely “different”. However, “different” (or even “unique”) does not by definition = “better”. It means, well, different. Now it might be better, but that of course becomes a subjective evaluation by each viewer. So while the presentation was “different”, the phrase “heavy-handed” came to mind. “Excessive” is another word. Symbolism is fine and all, but there’s a limit to where I think it becomes counter productive, and Yuri Kuma crossed that line. In spades.

    This scene speaks for itself (I would hope). Other scenes/backgrounds may not have been so “in-your-face” about it (no pun intended… well, maybe a small one :P) , but still lacked any subtly whatsoever IMO. The copious amounts of lilies – lilies being loved & cared for, lilies being caressed, lilies being cut/plucked, lilies being dirtied, licked (and presumably “eaten”). Speaking of “eaten”, we had another “eating” double entendre with Lulu saying to Ginko that Ginko can “nibble” on her while she wiggles her ass at Ginko. Gee.. I wonder what Lulu could mean. >_> There’s the pink motif school buildings (complete with triangles), the “purity”/deflowering theme (see lily examples above), etc., etc., etc.

    I get it. No really, I get it. Again, symbolism is fine and all when used appropriately, but Yuri Kuma Arashi’s level of symbolism struck me as more “symbolism for the sake of symbolism” rather than anything “deep”, “intellectual” or meaningful. Cut the frequency by 50% and I think it would be an improvement. The anime did make me curious enough to read the manga (all one translated chapter’s worth). Have to say that while I didn’t think the manga was outstanding, I did think it was better. More coherent for sure. To be fair, I do get a sense that there is something in the anime beyond all the fan service and excessive (IMO) symbolism, but so far, that has been grossly overshadowed by the presentation.

    I suppose if one likes Ikuhara’s style then it’s all good. However, if one doesn’t and/or is unfamiliar with Ikuhara’s previous works, I am not surprised at all that such a viewer might have issues with Yuri Kuma Episode 01. I did, and enough so that I’m not sure whether it’s worth my time to give Episode 02 a shot.

  15. Wow,what a polarizing first episode. I’m suprised at all the negativity. I’ll just say this…..if I had judged Penguindrum on only the first episode, I would probably have dropped it. Glad I stuck it because it was quite a ride.

  16. It’s sad how toxic some of you are being, really.

    Ikuhara creates good (though very strange I can say) shows. He mixes humor and charm and elaborate visual theatrics to make his shows more entertaining and engaging, but underneath all that is a serious message he’s trying to convey. Penguindrum was a beautiful story about family, predetermined fate vs free will, love, sacrifice, and so forth. Regardless of whether or not you liked it and regardless of whether or not you felt it was executed well or not, Ikuhara is one who’s at least trying to create meaningful works and putting quality before quantity, instead of taking the easy way to make money and just directing a generic LN sister incest anime every season, which he could easily do. If you are offended by YKA’s yuri or fanservice, you really need to stop being so immature. First of all, yes there is some fanservice but it also shows restraint by not explicitly showing sexual acts, so you can’t act as if it’s some degrading hentai. And it’s not some Sakura Trick either. Also, it’s only the first episode, the direction of the story as well as the kinds of themes and messages it will try to convey aren’t even confirmed yet.

    If you haven’t seen an Ikuhara show before, don’t worry if you’re confused. You’re not supposed to understand everything at first. Just take it easy; Ikuhara gives you just what you need to know. If you don’t understand something it’s because you’re probably not supposed to yet, though it can be fun to guess. Honestly it’s nice to have an anime that is thought provoking and not just one that spoonfeeds you everything, taking away all eloquence and limiting the viewer’s experience (by reducing the amount of interpretations).

    It may not be for everyone, but those of you who are hating on people who like it and accusing them of being hipsters or elitists are no worse. If someone likes a show like YKA, then most probably it would make sense that he understands it (or finds meaning in it), right? And likewise it follows that someone who doesn’t like it probably didn’t understand it or didn’t find any meaning in it to him. It doesn’t make anyone a hipster or an elitist for liking a show. The one who accuses another of being a hipster/elitist is a hypocrite, because you are the insecure one who jumped first to those terms. If someone says you don’t understand it and it’s true, that doesn’t make him an elitist. However, if you refuse to attempt to understand why people like a certain show, then you can’t go around calling people elitists and hipsters for liking something you don’t. Like what you like, and let us like what we like, OK?

    Inb4 I word something incorrectly, or someone gets a misconception about what I say, and i get flamed for it. Communicating on the internet is really hard when people take everything as an attack and lash back relentlessly. Can we just be civil?

  17. I honestly think both Utena and Penguindrum were more accessible in terms of symbolism vs. storytelling than this first episode would suggest this show might be. Especially Utena. There’s nothing terribly subtle or mysterious about most of the symbolism so far either, though, so it’s not like the story is unintelligible, so we’ll see.

    I’ll admit the ‘court’ had me doing a SHAFT head tilt with one eyebrow sharply raised throughout the whole scene, though.

  18. Style is great, music is great, the general plot is good, and the symbolism isn’t overtly confusing. Just needs more episodes to help us connect the dots (naturally)

    It’s also funny reading people’s complaints about fan service when all the SHAFT shows, with their out-of-place fan service get lots of love on this blog.
    And the themes of this show seem to actually be about sexuality, so at least it’s relevant!

  19. I am very hooked by the mystery and look of the show. But with a show like this I will not know if I actually love it or hate it to much later. With this type of story it hard to tell if the author is going to put it all together well or it will fall apart till much later.

    The three episode rule many have for Anime is not a bad one.

    Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo needed 4 to 10 or so to actually start grabbing non Japanese, going glad I stuck this out, it doing ok in Japan. Warning Cross Ange has a dehumanizing cavity search and yuri rape overtones that many found shocking, these things not shocking to those familiar with women in prison movies or for that matter real life documentaries. Cavity searches have been used by guards in a rape type way to intimidate new prisoners. There are some valid arguments I disagree with in that you should not do fan service or light things and then shift to stuff like that in the same work.

  20. Weird show.
    Watched both Athena and Penguindrum before.
    Confusing concepts, repeating scenes and wacky visuals.

    The bears.
    An advanced evolved bear civilisation with humans forms, operate a court.
    (Are the 3 Life judges the only male characters in the anime?)

    Severance Barrier.
    Feels like the bears made the humans fence themselves up.
    Fencing the lifestock.

    The bears passing as humans and eating humans reminds me of Kiseijuu.
    The Kumaria fragments reminds me of those parasites.

    So it will be a weekly Severence Court affair, leading up to hopefully some fruitful story.

  21. The show seems pretty interesting, but seems like a lot of the concepts are just put together without clear indication of what is happening. It does carry a lot of symbolism, and it’s pretty straightforward compared to Penguindrum. It seems like the show is gonna focus on themes of purity in various angles so it’ll likely be more enjoyable. The court trio were pretty interesting, but not sure if the show will be entertaining enough with a pattern of trials happening every episode. The abundant use of sexual scenes made it less enjoyable to me, but i hope it picks up later on.

  22. Really loved Penguindrum, hated every second of this one.
    I’m not saying its bad, not my cup of tea I guess…
    But I’m a bit surprised about how dumb the main plot is, sounds like some random story written by some uninspired kid.
    Animation is top quality though.

    Nice Tea
    1. I wouldn’t say, “uninspired”. Maybe just inspired by the wrong things?

      I watched an enjoyed Penguindrum as well, but I will give props for this one catching my attention nearly every step of the way. Penguindrum was slow to start but that’s because I wasn’t familiar with the writer’s works before. Thankfully I did watch it all though.

      While YuriKuma, even if I hadn’t watched Penguindrum, I’d probably still be entertained with its presentation.

      Goodwill Wright
  23. I looked at the title expecting Strawberry Panic style of overt yuri but what I got was way much better.

    SILVER LINK seems to have returned to the days of their SHAFT-y beginnings. I thoroughly enjoyed the premiere. No doubt I’m still trying to make sense of the entire premise of the show and the plot, I still thoroughly enjoy it.

    I don’t give a hoot about what the detractors here or in MAL says, I’ll have my yuri bear cake and eat it!

    Thank you Samu for picking this up and blogging it.

    While I’m here, I’ll leave this here…


    Makise Kuristina
    1. You’re welcome. I really enjoyed this first episode, and honestly, and I’m quite looking forward to blogging something as divisive and controversial as this (at least going by the first episode). Should be fun~

  24. I have never seen this director’s other work, though I have every intention of doing so (some day). Yes, by the end of the episode I was sitting in front of my computer going, “What the fuck did I just watch?!” It was very different to what I am used to and very symbolic, except for when you get so symbolic it goes right back around to being obvious (licking stamens). But, given I know the director is highly regarded in the anime community, this was beautifully animated, and it still had me interested enough to want to stick with it I will be coming back for more. According to MAL this is 12 episodes; I may have been more leery of investing time if this was 24-26.

  25. The first episode was head scratching in a too obvious way. As in, is it really nothing more than girls fucking? The whole thing is just society thinks “teh gay” is bad, but it’s love and love is good, so fuck some more? The same old boring virginity/innocence bullshit? That’s IT? And I have to put up with a shit ton of “I’m so deeeeep, look these craaaaazy visuals prove it” and lesbian fuck scenes to get to that insipid theme? There isn’t even a plot, it’s just a bunch of scenes revolving around a theme, and the scenes are just puerile. Sigh. And every anime has good art these days so I’m not even inspired by that. I was just confused as to all this stupid window dressing on such a basic theme, I expected something more for all the bullshit he’s making me sit through. I kept trying to find something more to justify being so wacky, but there’s isn’t. And I bet that’s why everyone else is confused or put off too.

    1. No. It is definitely more than ‘girls fucking’. In my later posts I’ve talked about how the first first episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi scared people off, but from episode 4 onward, it only gets better. Right now I’d say it’s one of the better shows of the season. It’s seriously proved itself with its story, all the main characters have extensive and interlinked backstories, and it’s building up to a pretty epic conclusion. Most people who have stuck around are pretty damn positive about the series (from what I’ve seen). If you want to give it a chance, then I say go for it. It’s worth it.


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