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Yuri Kuma Arashi – 03


“Invisible Storm”


「透明な嵐」 (Toumei na Arashi)

Mitsuko vs Sumika:

For whatever reason, last week I didn’t quite piece together that Mitsuko was the killer of Sumika, even though it was obvious in hindsight. Still, we got the reveal this episode and if anyone else was a little slow to the truth they may have been surprised, and I wouldn’t blame them. Heck, last week I was so caught up in the story we were being sold with Ginko and Lulu being the killers that I never even considered Mitsuko’s position in Sumika’s death. It was obvious that she was jealous of her and wanted Kureha to herself, but she played her game well – smart enough that both the characters and (parts of) the audience were fooled by it.

Do I think Kureha really killed Mitsuko though? No. Being sent off a building isn’t enough to confirm that she’s gone, and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if she pops up next week like nothing went wrong. Poor Sumika, however, is still dead, yet it doesn’t feel like it when you consider how prevalent she still is whenever the focus is on Kureha. I thought the flashback of both the girls racing through the a rainstorm to try and save the garden was possibly the sweetest moment we’ve seen a series otherwise wrapped in sin. There may be death and lies at every turn, but the love shared between Kureha and Sumika does a great job at highlighting just how important their relationship is. I hope we continue to see more of her through Kureha’s flashbacks, because it’s up there as one of my favourite parts of the show so far.

The Invisible Storm:

The concept of the Invisible Storm is still as vague as ever, so I’ve been reading up on theories as to what it might be. One of which that seems most plausible right now would it being the symbol for lesbianism entering society. So far all the bears have shown their attraction to the same sex, but the only humans girls swinging that way appear to be Kureha and Sumika. Could the Invisible Storm be symbolic for the arrival of an alternative sexuality that shakes up the dynamics and rigid enforcement that exists in the human side of the world? Who knows, it’s still up the air, but that would be my best guess so far.

When you also consider the Exclusion Ceremony that took place this episode, it adds weight to that interpretation. Oniyama Eriko (Ise Mariya) declares that Sumika was ‘evil’, which apparently explains why she was targeted by the bears. It wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine that ‘evil’ could be replaced with ‘lesbian’ in this scenario. And as it turns out, Eriko had her own moment of lesbianism (resulting in her lilies turning black) before being targeted by Ginko and Lulu at the end of this episode. I’d say the theory seems pretty much on point.

Repetition in Action:

Each episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi has basically been the same, just with a focus on different characters, a different murder, and different bears. I didn’t like how it was done last week, but for whatever reason I didn’t mind it so much this time around. Maybe I’m just getting used to it, but I’m pretty sure if we’re going to get this same formula for the next nine episodes then I’ll grow tired of it pretty quickly. At least the transformation sequence changed slightly this week.

Overview – What’s Next?

Overall, better than last week for me, but I’m waiting for something to totally flip Yuri Kuma Arashi on its head. We may not get that for a few more weeks, so I’m not being too hopeful. It’s also funny when I consider that Sumika is the one character who has left the most impression on me despite dying fairly quickly into the first episode; I hope to see more of her as Kureha grows into her role and starts shooting down those evil bears.

 

 

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:

  • Sumika is decleared dead and Mitsuko is increasingly suspicious of Ginko and Lulu as they try to get closer to Kureha.
  • It turns out though that both classmates, Konomi and Mitsuko, are secretly bears and their sights are set on Kureha.



 

Details Digest:

Teacher x Mother:

  • Kureha’s mother gets mentioned, as it’s heavily hinted that she and Yurika had some sort of relationship back in their youth.
  • I’m still convinced that Yurika is a bear in disguise, ever since my original Honeypot Theory. This may in fact be hinting that she was the one who killed Kureha’s mother.
  • How that results in Ginko now wearing her necklace, I’m not so sure…

Kureha is Evil:

  • Singling out Kureha as ‘evil‘ unsettles me. I don’t know where this is going, but from what we’ve seen I can’t imagine that Kureha will be killed anytime soon.
January 20, 2015 at 9:59 am
34 comments »
  • January 20, 2015 at 10:39 amKanba

    Aoi yuki voice is pure sex.

  • January 20, 2015 at 12:13 pmJaguar

    Meh, since the first episode everything felt a bit “let’s put a lot of stuff together to make ppl think it’s something deep and simbolic like mawaru, and hope they notice the plot is lacking enough late to keep watching the show”.
    Bad news is that it was probably true.Repetition in action isn’t an absolute evil in anime, but I won’t forgive a “crazy” author like this one if he doesn’t add some spice and dreamlike material to the story.
    Yeah the fanservice is good and all, but I expect a lot more and not just bears shooting other bears down the roof, because it can be fun once, even twice, three times will get awful.
    And the trial scene is stupid and useless, at least in the first episode was something new, now it’s just “we want to **** her, ok go and **** her”

    • January 20, 2015 at 4:16 pmPancakes

      It’s the main problem I’m finding with the show so far too, the focus seems entirely on imagery, motifs, symbolism to the detriment of a tight story or otherwise attention-grabbing focal point. Still plenty of time to improve (it is only episode 3 after all), but this format cannot be kept up forever before it grows stale.

      Style over substance can work, but not for an entire season, there needs to be something else that gives bite to all the symbolism being thrown around. Hopefully we get that something else pretty soon.

      • January 20, 2015 at 4:59 pmSamu

        I think with Yuri Kuma Arashi, much like Penguindrum, there’s a certain wait-and-see element to the experience. There are obvious similarities between the two, but YKA is for sure much more heavy handed in everything it does. Does that mean Ikuhara doesn’t have a masterful plan? Who knows. I’m confident it’ll be worth it by the end. We’re still in the early stages so I think it’s too soon to say that there isn’t any substance to this, because there is – though I don’t think people are wrong for disliking how over the top YKA is, it’s just preference.

      • January 20, 2015 at 5:58 pmJaguar

        I agree with both of you.Anything can happen considering who we are dealing with.Let’s just hope for some improvement and twist.
        Since I’ve almost watched anything from spring 2013 (when I decided to go full anime mode) i haven’t dropped so many terrible shows, I won’t drop this one for sure (expecially being a yuri lover to start with lol).

  • January 20, 2015 at 2:16 pmMakise Kuristina

    So in the show, lesbianism is seen as something so unnatural and evil?

    While the bears are the “moral police”, weeding out the lesbian elements in the society?

    It still disturbs me that the girls were mutilated and eaten by the bears.

    Also, could the Invisible Storm be a metaphorical representation of a collective disdain and abhorrence towards lesbianism?

    • January 20, 2015 at 4:16 pmTitanAnteus

      No. No I don’t think so.
      Yuri is loved in every country (Fact: http://www.pornhub.com/insights/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/pornhub-2014-top-5-searches-country.jpg)

      I don’t think the bears are a “moral police” either. This might be weird from me who’s not seen much of this show. I don’t like yuri, but I tried anyways, BUT, I think the bears might represent men, and lesbians might represent innocence?

      The invisible storm might represent adulthood? I mean… is the teacher Yuri. The show might also be poking fun at how guys are quick to sexualize same-sex female couple’s in a deconstructionist kind of way.

      Those are my thoughts… I couldn’t get through episode 2, but the discussion on this post is making me want to finish it and watch this episode as well.

      • January 21, 2015 at 6:52 amPlayer

        So in the show, lesbianism is seen as something so unnatural and evil?

        No. No I don’t think so.
        Yuri is loved in every country

        It’s just representing Japanese society, which does not accept homosexuality. Anime like Sakura Trick and Yuri Kuma Arashi are acceptable because they’re seen as silly fanservice (homosexuality is often “accepted” as a form of comedy), not as advocating same-sex relationships.

        The 空気を読め (“read the mood”) phrase is a well-known reference to the way that Japanese society expects people to fit in and blames them when they don’t. Cases of brutal bullying often draw attention to this issue in the press.

      • January 21, 2015 at 12:15 pmj

        Oh wow. Linking to a porn site to prove that lesbians are accepted?
        Men acting as voyeurs over women faking lesbian sex in porn videos doesn’t show acceptance of actual gays and lesbians. Treating homosexuality like a fetish is not the same as accepting and respecting homosexual people and their lovelives as valid.

      • January 22, 2015 at 2:12 pmTitanAnteus

        Hmmm… even in the comments section of this show, some people are saying they can’t watch this show because there’s “not enough yuri.”

        So when Makise said that in the show lesbianism was seen as unnatural and evil, all I could think about was the fact that it’s accepted on a sexual level, and that sexual difference between lesbians and other people are really the only difference, which then led me to bring up a “sexual acceptance chart”

        @Player
        I never thought about it that way. That homosexual relationships were treated like silly fanservice. They normally feel really real to me whenever I watch shows that include them, which is extremely rare so my opinion on this might not be worth much.

        @J
        You make a good point.

        To be honest, my underlying thought was that if people are accepting them on sexual terms. Oh look, two girls having sex is hot. That relates to accepting them on societal terms.
        Oh 2 girls in relationship. There’s no problem with that..

        Not that they’re the same thing mind you, but they correlate.

        So, basically in our male-minded world, since a good majority of men like yuri I thought people had no problem with lesbian relationships.

        That makes me think about whether or not anyone would be watching this show if it was BL instead…

    • January 20, 2015 at 9:12 pmAnonymous

      You got most of that wrong – which is actually good news. Although I really don’t understand how people can get this wrong, as it’s really being made extremely obvious, here’s what’s happening. There are basically two factions, Bears and Invisible Storm.

      Bears: They are passionate nonconformists who live life according to their moment to moment instincts. Although they appear threatening to the human social order, they in fact represent freedom and loyalty to one’s desires. Naturally, they have nothing but disdain for the Invisible Storm.

      Invisible Storm: The human ideology holding sway in the school, which is one of conformity and groupthink. This ideology upholds equally distributed “friendship” among all classmates (members of society) and brands those who refuse to conform to the group mindset as “evil”. Naturally, they fear and hate Bears.

      Bears do not represent men. Not sure how you even came up with that…as stated, they represent personal independence, self-determination, and the indulgence of personal desires.

      Kureha IS innocent, in that she is caught in the middle. All her life she has been taught to hate Bears, but obviously she does not toe the Invisible Storm’s line either, especially since her romance with Sumika flowered.

      Here, in episode 3, we receive the strongest proof yet that Ginko and Lulu are – not despite being Bears, but BECAUSE they are Bears – benevolent characters who intend to protect Kureha and her love from the oppression of the Invisible Storm. They have, so far, only “eaten” two Invisible Storm enforcers, Katyusha and Eriko. Within the moral context of the story, they are the “bad guys” and deserved it.

      (One final note: please don’t obsess too much about girls being “killed and mutilated”. It’s extremely probable something more metaphorical is going on. My personal running theory is that those who are “eaten” move on to the Bear World, outside the social dictates of human society which the school represents.)

      • January 22, 2015 at 2:49 amOasis

        i dont think they move to bear word..they are dead..eaten ,,,killed..but thats my thought..

        now after reading what you said..and thinking..hmm maybe you on something..but in a way its the same like he wrote in the article.. how kill girls for having same sex relationship,

        but then its also related to your comment..how the group..saw them as evil..because they do not bend to their group ideas or what they see as normal..

        hmm..any how i am confusing myslef now hahah

        but yeah.. i wonder..if they are protecting Ku. that to them.. the group and any other human or beer..is evil to ku..because of how she is steeping outside the box. that they pose a threat to her..

        does that mean..they will go after M..soon because she is going near Ku

      • January 22, 2015 at 3:03 amOasis

        but also..at the end..even if thoes two are protecting her.. she will have to acppet that they eat..to live..i mean its going to get crazy…

    • January 21, 2015 at 1:47 amc2710

      Correct me if I’m wrong but…

      Metaphorically, the bears represent lesbians (or any other life style choice or orientation per se). These bears, those that choose to be invisible represent those that chose to be in the closet while those that “eat” others are the ones that either announce pubilically of their life style choice and/or orientation?

      Similarly, the Invisible Storm, the imagery that represents it as well as what Anon has mentioned, is a metaphorical representation of group think? In this case like those who oppose the alternative life style? If that’s the case, than the incumbent class president may be seen as a lobbyist that’s against the alternative life style?

      • January 21, 2015 at 1:50 amc2710

        Going back to the context of the show prior to looking further ahead; the bears being the non-conformist members of society

  • January 20, 2015 at 4:43 pmLyn

    Do you have any plans of dropping this show and blogging something else, like Junketsu no Maria?

    • January 20, 2015 at 4:51 pmTitanAnteus

      Or you could blog unlimited fafnir…
      Surprisingly, not a shit show.

      Is anyone blogging Yoru No Yatterman?

    • January 20, 2015 at 4:55 pmSamu

      I’m just sticking with Yuri Kuma Arashi and Kiseijuu this season. Junketsu no Maria and Yoru no Yatterman are, however, two very promising shows this season and I’m enjoying what we’ve got so far (I did the intro for both after all). As for Fafnir, I don’t think any of the writers are even watching it. At the moment there are no plans to pick up any of them, but that’s what the Monthly Impressions posts are for.

    • January 20, 2015 at 8:35 pmTitanAnteus

      What? Fafnir is a dark horse. Not that it’s a great show by any means XD. Even I’m surprising myself for watching and liking it.

      Thanks for blogging kiseiju and I didn’t know that’s what the impressions were for. I thought it was just a “should you watch” kind of thing.

      • January 21, 2015 at 11:56 pmPtolemaios00

        Fafnir is pretty horrible. The second episode was a total waste with a countdown timer waiting for a clear threat to approach and a super extended fanservice scene marauding as character bonding.

        This seasons’ Unlimited Fafnir, Absolute Duo and World Break are pretty much interchangeable hero RPG shows of badly adapted light novels. I’m sure the LNs have redeeming qualities on their own, but the anime adaptations are clearly lacking with skipped details/scenes.

  • January 20, 2015 at 6:56 pmGeebun

    I have to say episode 2 scared me a little but this one brought my hopes back a little. It might not end up being the second coming of Mawaru but I’m still really interested in seeing where this goes from now on.

    I also really like Sumika from a story telling point. I love dead characters still having a lot of impact and screen time like Aika from Zetsuen no Tempest.

    Ginko and Lulu being super cute is a good thing too.

  • January 20, 2015 at 7:03 pmTrunk monkey

    I’m really liking this show a lot.

    This will be a minority view. The complexity of pulling many threads along in each episode just makes the story all the more compelling to me. I can’t wait for each weeks episode to arrive to weave in ever greater lines.

    And who can truly but love Yuri and bears!!

  • January 20, 2015 at 10:02 pmEhhh

    Huh? Mitsuko being the killer was revealed last episode when she said that Sumika was delicious. Did you miss that part somehow?

    That being said I have to disagree with you about Sumika and flashbacks. I honestly feel like the constant flashbacks are the worst part of the show. Sumika isn’t particularly interesting and her relationship with Kureha is boring and cliche. I’d much rather they built on Kureha’s past with her unknown friend.

  • January 20, 2015 at 10:50 pmTrippwire

    I laughed pretty hard at “Can’t read the mood = Evil.”

    This is my first exposure to Ikuhara’s work, so I was at a loss for words during that first episode. But, after reading all the comment threads and Samu’s coverage, the metaphors are becoming a lot clearer.

    Clearly, the message is that lesbians eat people…

  • January 21, 2015 at 1:37 amewok40k

    I assume this all – Sumika being killed not by Ginko/Lulu, and both of them helping Kureha to deal with Mitsuo is leading slowly and surely to OTT in the form of Ginko X Kureha X Lulu.
    I assume the show has its own nearly ritual way of confirming death – the police car and radio report, so I don’t believe Mitsuo is dead yet.
    There is further confirmation of my suspicions towards the teacher. I bet my yuri goggles she’s a bear too, and ate Kureha’s mother…

  • January 21, 2015 at 4:49 amJack Spicer

    I found this post which I thought had a smart analysis of what we’ve seen so far in these first three episodes of Yuri Kuma.

    • January 22, 2015 at 8:31 amAozora

      Thanks for that!

  • January 21, 2015 at 6:14 amPlayer

    Here’s my current theory, similar to the one I had last week but this episode helped me clarify a few parts. The key words are invisible storm, invisible, excluded, bear, eat.

    The invisible (all of the schoolgirls who “read the mood” and conform) represents society. The invisible storm refers to what happens when women conform to society–they give up on a love which doesn’t conform to that society, and perhaps marry a man in order to fit in. Kureha fears this and vows to herself that she won’t give up on love.

    To be excluded is to not conform to society, and instead love women (be a lesbian romantically/emotionally, not necessarily physically). I’ll say that the ceremony itself doesn’t make one excluded–since Mitsuko mentions that the excluded taste better (I’ll elaborate on this when I talk about “eat”). To be clear, exclusion isn’t about whether society actually knows you’re a lesbian or not–if you’re a lesbian and don’t give up on your love, then by definition you can’t marry a man and fit in like everyone else.

    Bears are lesbians who act upon their sexuality and have sex with other women. However, there are different kinds; Mitsuko has given up on love (if she ever had it?) and conformed to society, in a sense “invisible” like the others, but continues to satisfy her lust (and NTR fetish? ;p). On the contrary, this last episode indicated Ruru hasn’t given up on love.

    Anyway, to “eat” is, as you’d expect, to have sex with another women. I’m not sure why having sex must mean you should “die”, but it’s true that if someone’s lover has sex with a third party, that lover is “dead” to that someone romantically, in most cases. (I mean, since cheating is grounds for breaking up.) But I think it’s more likely that Ikuhara is just taking the metaphor to its logical conclusion by having the girls actually die. It’s not like this anime is bound to conform to all possible aspects of its metaphor. Also, I think that when Mitsuko said the excluded “taste better” she meant that casual sex feels better when the other party has romantic expectations.

    …Okay, now that I’ve gotten it out there, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the story at face value. Because it’s hilarious and interesting, plus I want Kureha to find happiness.

  • January 21, 2015 at 1:12 pmleatherhead333

    To be honest I think I’d like the show better if there wasn’t so much damn repetitive and cringe worthy dialogue. Seriously characters will repeat the same lines at least 10 times within the span of an episode.

    Ex: “I’ll ruin the bears!” “I’ll prove my love!”

    It just gets so grating to listen too. These characters are barely relatable (HAH see what I did there?)because they do not talk like normal people. They talk like humans being dragged through a story at the whims of the writer. These emotional struggles keep getting overshadowed by a constant barrage of symbolism. Were never given time to really identify with these characters. A show can try to deliver whatever message it wants but if I don’t care about the characters what does it really matter? I get that the show is sending hidden messages for the audience to figure out it’s theme. That’s fine. But is it impossible to do that WHILE given us characters that aren’t just smashing said heavy handed symbolism and nothing else?

  • January 21, 2015 at 3:21 pmEthan Zed

    I actually think the “invisible storm” represents bullying someone by excluding them. When you exclude someone from society, even though nothing active is happening (invisible), the target suffers immensely from it (storm). This is supported by the fact that Eriko says “we must become invisible!” at the start of the Exclusion Ceremony. Additionally, the physical storm that rages through the city tries to tear down the flowerbed, which either symbolizes the love between Kureha and Sumika or just lesbian relationships in general. That fact that the storm is tearing them down points more towards the storm being a symbol for bullying rather than lesbianism.

  • January 21, 2015 at 6:46 pmInanis

    i found myself skipping a LOT of the episode… i guess im dropping this show.. doesnt have enough yuri to even say im watching it for the yuri >.<

  • January 21, 2015 at 11:30 pmJames

    I can’t say I love this show. It’s a mix between ‘okay’ and ‘interesting’

    However, I see a lot of criticism of the show for straying away from conventional storytelling such as having well developed characters and a clear plot. While it’s perfectly fine to be put off by a show like this, you just have to come to terms with the fact that there are no inherent rules to telling a story. Yeah, the primary focus is symbolism. So? Is that a bad thing or is that something you just don’t like?

    It’s hard to judge the merit of this show in a week to week basis. I think it might be better off being marathoned, so I can make connections between episodes (to create a larger picture) without forgetting certain details.

  • January 22, 2015 at 2:33 amOasis

    wow..i didnt see it that way..So what..their are scare of..female human & bears relationship .. what gives that it some how.. they feel will mess up birth plans or something much more deeper or act of some silly witch hunt fear ..

    geezz that’s kind of crazy how they are seeing same sex female couples as something which needs to beremove..

    i mean..there has to be something more.. for sure Ku..is special..the girl bears want her for something..

    but geez… i dunno if i can watch this now..after you open my eyes like that.. i do not think i can have the stomach to keep.. watching something about hunting down lesbian

  • January 23, 2015 at 9:47 amRuben

    Vulgar, awful, disgusting.