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Yuri Kuma Arashi – 03 »« Yuri Kuma Arashi – 01

Yuri Kuma Arashi – 02


“I Will Never Forgive You”


「このみが尽きても許さない」 (Kono Mi ga Tsukitemo Yurusanai)

She Really Died:

It was pretty clear by the end of last episode, but we got confirmation that Sumika is in fact dead. I genuinely thought she’d be a character that would stick around for a while, but her death is being used to effectively paint Ginko and Lulu as villains, as well as giving Kureha even more reason to hate those man-eating animals. I liked seeing her shaken by the loss of her friend and lover, both in her failing to shoot the bear targets as well as allowing her to have a quiet moment in her room, reflecting on all that’s went down so far.

If there’s one thing I’ll take from Sumika’s death, though, it would be that no one is safe (except maybe the three main characters). Murder is going to be prevalent in Yuri Kuma Arashi, as another has fallen victim to the bears’ hunger. This time though, it’s not Ginko and Lulu who are the assailants…

Bears, Bears Everywhere:

I was right! Kind of. In my Honeypot Theory I originally suspected that both the teacher and Mitsuko had something to do with the bears, with one of my suspicions being that they themselves are bears. And it turns out I was right, as Mitsuko reveals herself to be a bear at the end of the episode, eating another victim in a similar fashion to how she saw just one week ago. It was easy to think she was harmless in this whole affair, but I had my suspicions about her and I’m glad I predicted it. Now to wait and see if the teacher also is in on this, which I suspect she is in some fashion. It would be ridiculous for her not to be at this stage, wouldn’t it?

Another bear we see is Yurikawa Konomi (Koshimizu Ami), who attacks Kureha out of jealousy for being the object of Mitsuko’s affections. So let me get this straight so far: Kureha loved Sumika, and Sumika loved her back, but Sumika was eaten by Ginko and Lulu; Mitsuko witnessed the event but kept it secret and now thinks she has a shot with Kureha, but didn’t suspect that Konomi would go after Kureha because of that – though, in the end she did shoot her down, so she was prepared to deal with her at the very least. I wonder what sort of love-shape we have at this point, especially once you factor in Ginko being attracted to Kureha as well. Some six-sided one at this point, I’d guess.

Last week I said Lulu made the best impression of the two transfer students, but this episode was definitely Ginko’s moment. She’s still the same stoic girl who says ‘growl growl’ at the end of nearly every sentence (which should surely be an obvious hint that she’s a friggin’ bear, if you ask me). Her alone time with Kureha was uncomfortable, for sure, and makes me wonder what it is that attracts these bears to Kureha. Everyone wants to lick her lily and I’m sure there’s a reason behind that. Ginko, however, seems to be connected to Kureha at a deeper level (see the Details Digest).

Recycling Scenes:

Though this episode gave us a fair amount to ponder on, it could have been so much more. Recycled scenes are another recurrence when it comes to Ikuhara, so I was expecting it to take place in Yuri Kuma Arashi. However, adding in the recap at the start of the episode with the near identical Severance Court and transformation scenes, we lost over four minutes of content. Honestly, it felt very cheap to see the exact same scene (barring two lines of dialogue between Life Cool and Life beauty) rehashed in this episode. I really hope this isn’t going to be a regular occurrence, because it seriously took away some enjoyment on my part.

Overview – What’s Next?

In truth I found this episode to be a little less exciting than the first, mainly because the bizarre novelty has settled in and now I’m wanting to see just how this is going to unfold. Learning the identity of two more bears was a nice surprise, but other than that this episode pretty much followed the same formula as the first. For now it’s still working, providing a good second episode (not great, not terrible), but we do need something to shake things up fairly soon, especially since there’s only 1 cour to work with.

 

 

Information Digest:

Synopsis:

  • A long time ago, a planet Kumaria exploded and its shards fell onto Earth, causing the bears to attack the humans, resulting in the Severance Wall being built to separate them from the humans.
  • However in the present time, two bears, Yurishiro Ginko and Yurigasaki Lulu have arrived to Tsubaki Kureha’s school, disguised as humans.

Previously:

  • Kureha and Sumika’s relationship is revealed, as news of a bear sighting puts the school on high alert.
  • But before long their romance is brought to an end as Sumika ends up eaten by Ginko and Lulu.



 

Details Digest:

Kureha’s Mother:

  • I mentioned last week about the theory that Ginko was the bear that murdered Kureha’s mother, even though the story hasn’t delved into that quite yet.
  • But I noticed that Ginko wears the same necklace that Kureha’s mother used to wear, which is as much of a confirmation as you could get.

Symbolism of Birds:

  • We see several references to bird silhouettes throughout the episode.
  • Whilst the symbolism is generally over-the-top and sexual in nature, this is one motif that I’m unsure about.

Bear Designs:

  • It seems each bear has their own recognisable features to their designs. Konomi has the leaf, and Misuko has her hairbeads.
January 12, 2015 at 5:29 pm
28 comments »
  • January 12, 2015 at 5:51 pmqwert

    “but Sumika was eaten by Ginko and Lulu”

    Nope. At the end Mitsuko in her bear form mentions how Sumika tasted wonderful. She had herself a snack and got rid of the primary obstacle between her and Kureha.

    The girl Mitsuko saw being eater was another girl who was mentioned as being missing after the service for Sumika this episode.

    • January 12, 2015 at 6:03 pmSamu

      Hmm, good call. I assumed that Sumika was the girl being eaten by Ginko and Lulu at the end of last week’s episode (as you would think?) but I suppose it could be true that they were eating the other missing girl and it was Mitsuko who ate Sumika off-screen. If that’s the case then I missed on that, but that’s pretty much what the show wants us to think, so we might get confirmation of that next week.

      • January 12, 2015 at 6:25 pmqwert

        It wouldn’t have been Sumika at the end of last week’s episode.

        The tape was still up at the crime scene so it wasn’t a flashback or anything. The bears would have had to attack her there, dragged her away somewhere so no one would find her while investigating the scene and then have dragged her back the next day/evening/whatever the time difference was to finish up eating her in time for Mitsuko to catch them.

        If you think about it Mitsuko would have been the one to set up the entire murder. She wrecks the flowers, happens to conveniently show up when the other two find the ruined flowers, invites them to come to school nice and early in the morning when no one else will be around and then takes out Sumika when she shows up alone.

      • January 12, 2015 at 7:35 pmScruffy

        If Ginko and Lulu didn’t murder Sumika which is looking increasingly likely then it leads to the question as to what exactly are those Court scenes all about? Are they just wanting to ‘eat’ her as in screw the stuffing out of her? The images suggest that the ‘yuri approved’ is sexual. There is also the OP showing threesomes/live triangle between Ginko, Lulu, and Kureha suggesting that they are going to be getting much closer together!

        There is also something odd about the Invisible Storm. Is it some organized bullying ring? From the response last episode Sumika was a schoolwide target for bullying and the common response to her death was not grief but who would be the next target. This bullying, not anything to do with same sex relationships is probably why they had to hide their relationship.

    • January 13, 2015 at 7:08 pmJohn Hayabusa

      Wow, bears sure are becoming the new yuri thing.

      And Mitsuko is voiced by Aoi Yuuki. Imagine hearing Madoka with a yandere-ish voice.

  • January 12, 2015 at 6:15 pmtrunkmonkey

    This is soo much fun.. Thank you Japan for putting two of my favorite things together, Yuri and man (or rather girl) eating Bears!!

  • January 12, 2015 at 6:21 pmDvalinn

    Those Severance Court guys are still weirding me out. They’re probably some kind of manifestation of the Severance Wall, but I wonder what kind of role they play in the grand scheme, besides seemingly governing those bears. Their comments about becoming invisible or eating people also seem to imply that there are a lot of bears hiding among the humans – the man-eaters are the more rare ones. Makes me wonder if the bears aren’t really running the show, and that the walls are there to keep the humans in instead of the other way around.

    Rest of the show so far has been a bit more direct this episode, though. I was kinda right about Mitsuko also swinging that way (I’m going to assume everyone with Lily in their names are lesbians) and it was a nice twist that she was actually a more evil, manipulative bear than our main antagonist duo. No hesitation in shooting her lover either, harsh.

    And poor Sumika, guess she wasn’t long for this world. Wonder what was up with big wall full of photographs in lockers though. Was it some sort of memorial wall?

  • January 12, 2015 at 7:31 pmdrzero7

    This is a series where Pedobear went wrong. Either that or this is Pedo-bear’s cousin, Yuri-bear.

  • January 12, 2015 at 9:46 pmMomogoldfish

    So far the main symbolism I can pick up on is the relationship between id, ego and superego. According to the Freudian model (at least the one the comes up in English) id is pure instinct, wanting instant gratification of its desire without caring about any moral or social consequences. Its opposite is the superego, which is basically an internalized version of all the social rules and mores, that denies the desire of the id sometimes to the point that the self comes to harm. In the middle we have the ego, which mediates between helping the id achieve what it wants but in such a way that it is acceptable under the rules of society.

    Hence, the Severance Court is basically the three parts at work with Life Beauty being the Id who advocates eating, Life Cool being the Superego who advocates holding off and Life Sexy being the Ego who adjudicates between them (but still giving the id its approval).

    Another interesting place these three aspect of the psyche comes into place is in Tsubaki’s house which as people in the ANN forums have pointed out, looks like a pink version of Norman Bate’s house in Psycho which like most horror houses is structured to resemble the Freudian psyche with the attic (where Norman Bates mad and critical mother lives) being the superego, the middle storey where everyday life occurs is the ego and (I am assuming) a dark cellar which is the id. Tsubaki’s mental conversation to her mother then takes on another significance when we look back at Psycho’s big revelation where Norman Bates’ murderous mother who lives in the attic was Show Spoiler ▼

    . There are also other references to the film (such as the shower scene) but this post is getting way too long so I’d just recommend watching Psycho (its the classic thriller film for a reason).

  • January 12, 2015 at 10:18 pmMakise Kuristina

    Right off the bat, it seems that all the bears have something to do with Kureha. She’s coveted by all of the bears for one reason or another.

    That being said, I’m still trying to connect the dots. How Lulu, Ginko, Mitsuko and Kureha are connected to each other. Also, it’s highly hypocritical that Mitsuko would point the gun at Lulu ad Ginko. The thing is, don’t the bear know who other bears are?

    One more thing that I noticed that for all of the bears this far, the word “Yuri-” is attached as a prefix to the name. Therefore is it suffice to say that any girl, with the “Yuri-” prefix to their name, are actually bears? I think that this is one indication on who the bears are. Heck, I won’t be surprised that the bears have already broken through the Severance Wall.

    The other thing that really strikes me most is Kureha’s house. Your opinions and speculations on this guys? Compare it to Homura’s house and the house in Cossette no Shouzou

    http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20Kuma%20Arashi/Yuri%20Kuma%20Arashi%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2007.jpg
    http://images.puella-magi.net/4/45/Homu_x_cossette_homes.jpg?20110226112214

    • January 17, 2015 at 5:47 amRider

      More like Bates’ Hotel…

  • January 12, 2015 at 10:24 pmMakise Kuristina

    Got this off Wikipedia

    Yuri-ka Hakonaka (箱仲 ユリーカ Hakonaka Yurīka?)
    Voiced by: Kikuko Inoue
    A teacher at Arashigaoka Academy.

    Going by my deductions, the teacher herself is a bear since thus far all the bears have the “Yuri-” prefix

    • January 13, 2015 at 4:35 amewok40k

      I am susecting she has eaten Kureha’s mom. Gao, gao!

  • January 12, 2015 at 10:58 pmCorin

    And now for the M. Night Shyamalan twist… everyone is a bear.

    The court rehash felt very extraneous this time, yes. And Kureha is slightly beginning to border on annoyingly incompetent at the moment, which isn’t a great sign.

    On the other hand, that’s a great reason for why Yuuki Aoi sounded a bit plastic in episode 1, contrasted to how much more natural she sounds in this one. And my, she can do a good ravaging voice…

  • January 12, 2015 at 11:05 pmlester

    This whole series is going to symbolizes the state the yuri subgenre is in right now with its cutesy Class S moe stuff and the more sexual nature of yuri and criticizing them both.

    I’d imagine those 3 guys are the “loser yuri fanboys” who think they know what thy want in yuri.

    • January 13, 2015 at 5:13 amlester

      Someone didn’t like my comment?

  • January 13, 2015 at 1:41 amdean

    From what I understand is, that the whole bear thing is about lesbian and how they are seen in society, especially japanese society. The bears are lesbians and being a lesbian seems to be forbidden. The guy with the glases is anti-lesbian and basically sais “What they had sex with a woman again, is once a week not ebough for them?” the other guy is pro-lesbian and sais “Well some people have bigger needs and a bigger sex-drive. Lesbian eat woman, it’s what they do.” and life sexy is…Shabadabadu. Seriously I’ve no idea what he represents. Maybe the view of men that lesbians are only ok, because girl on girl is hot?

    Anyway when he asks will you become invisible or will you eat humans, he basically asks, will go back into the closet or not? Girls that are eaten are declared dead, because they are lesbians and won’t bear children, thus they as well could be dead for society.

    Those that accept that they are lesbians or come out, will become bears I think. Mitsuko wasn’t imo a bear until this episode and didn’t kill Sumika. We saw her reactions to Sumika being eaten at the begining of this episode and end of last, which made her question her sexuality and later transformation into a bear. SO I guess by the end of the series everyone will accept their orientation, come out and become a bear or something like this.
    I wonder though, being eaten by a bear, thus this mean being seduced or being raped? Probably the former but still.

    • January 14, 2015 at 2:58 amPlayer

      Your explanation feels most right to me. Especially your hypothesis about what the bear boys represent.

      I’m still wondering about excluded versus invisible. I had been thinking that excluded refers to one type of lesbian relationship, and bears another type. Like maybe not giving up on love (excluded) could mean focusing on an emotional relationship over a sexual (bear) one. I think being eaten doesn’t mean being raped or seduced, it could just mean initiating a relationship (so choosing to eat could mean something like choosing to look for a partner). Maybe excluded = yuri originating from friendship, and bears = yuri originating from flirting. The emotional component could be why the excluded taste better.

      • January 14, 2015 at 3:19 amPlayer

        Oh, and the invisible storm = romance occurring between girls. People fear it and say that to avoid it, they should stay in groups. Sounds like they’re saying: Make sure you don’t go off and develop weird interests, go hang out with normal members of society and become part of the herd, because if you don’t you might end up “excluded” (emotionally a lesbian) and thus risk “getting eat by a bear” (entering a lesbian relationship, thus not being able to marry and fit into Japanese society).

        I think this makes sense, but my memory of what they said is kind of vague. I’m really enjoying this show just as a piece of entertainment with fast pacing and likable/funny characters.

    • January 14, 2015 at 10:35 pmRyan Ashfyre

      Granting all that, wouldn’t that imply that Kuma is little more than a proverbial poster board for equality and understanding? I’m all for those of course, but I’d hope the entertainment value doesn’t suffer purely for messaging, lest this anime cut itself off at the knees.

      Then again, maybe yuri action on its own is enough? Who knows?

  • January 13, 2015 at 4:35 amewok40k

    gao! gao!
    we have more fatalities, and surprisingly enough one bear amongst them…
    ironically enough shot by another bear

    taken verbatim the show doesnt make much sense, but when you start to dig into metaphoric meanings it is all in the interpretation

    I’m going to continue to watch if only to see what happens to Kureha – will she be eaten to death too? and if so, which of the three bears pursuing her is going to take the prize?

  • January 13, 2015 at 9:15 pmPrivate

    Is this the best NTR lesbian of the year?

  • January 14, 2015 at 5:42 amMr. Raindrop

    Wow, shit is getting real pretty fast :D

    Nice episode, I really love how every single of Ikuhara’s anime bring us to theorize about everything in the screen, in search for answers that will normally come just when the series is about to end haha

    I think a “Mystery” tag on MAL would be pretty accurate!

  • January 14, 2015 at 6:21 amัีัyuyuyu

    All those sexy voices.

  • January 14, 2015 at 1:18 pmCrunchie

    BEAR SHOCK!

  • January 14, 2015 at 9:49 pmRyan Ashfyre

    Not that I don’t find her reluctant yuri antics just ever so adorable, but it really doesn’t inspire much hope for our heroine protagonist Kureha’s intelligence that she has girls in front of her going ‘growl growl’ – OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN – and all that comes to her mind is, effectively: “…Huh, wonder what that’s all about?”

    Like… seriously?

    And as if all that weren’t enough, her infatuated classmate comes over, points a damn gun at ‘em, says “I know what you two really are!” right to their faces and all Kureha can think to say, quite literally is: “What was that all about?”

    I mean… c’mon, let’s just call that for what it is. Bullshit.

  • January 15, 2015 at 10:18 amreborn96

    I’m not sure if you guys have mentioned or noticed this, but I found out that the bird symbolism (http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20Kuma%20Arashi/Yuri%20Kuma%20Arashi%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2002.jpg) that Samu mentioned is very similar to, and probably takes reference from, the paintings of M. C. Escher, several of which have recurring patterns that gradually metamorphose into other shapes. You guys can see the complete list of his works here in this website: http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/. Regarding the theme of birds, you can just find most of his paintings on google image: https://www.google.com.sg/search?q=mc+escher+tessellations&rlz=1C1CHMO_viSG605SG605&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=667&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9P-3VJntF5Ht8gXIm4HACw&ved=0CBsQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=mc+escher+bird+tessellations&revid=1878008357

    So, what do you guys think?

    • January 15, 2015 at 10:36 amreborn96

      I forgot to mention my take on this whole symbolism of birds. So in this particular scene, we have the lily (which most probably represent either a girl’s purity, a yuri relationship, or both of them) slowly turns into various birds. As birds usually represent freedom, maybe this is a message about our view of the freedom of same-sex relationship between girls in modern society or something along the line? The closest thing that came to my mind after seeing this scene is this picture: http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/transformation-prints/liberation/; which also represents the idea of liberation from restraints towards freedom. There’s a high chance that I might be reading too much into it though …