“I Can’t Get a Kiss”
The Princess Who Gave Up on Kisses:
My main criticism of Yuri Kuma Arashi so far has been in its repetition and recycling of scenes, and whilst we got some recycled scenes in this episode again we also broke away from the formula that the first three episodes adhered to. I mean, who would have guessed Lulu would become the most interesting character of the entire cast? I mentioned that she stuck out in the first episode, but I never would have considered her particularly interesting or expected much depth to her character or backstory. As it turns out, she does, and it was a much welcomed alternative to the murder-of-the-week we’ve had until now.
You could say that Lulu’s backstory defied my expectations, not only in how it delved into her character, but how it went to before the meteor shower and shifted towards the Bears’ side of the world. Lulu fits into this fairytale world as the princess of the land – the favourite child, that is, until her little brother, Mirun, is born and he is crowned the new heir to the kingdom. We got our fair share of gags that Lulu has provided each episode (mainly of her repeatedly trying to murder her brother as he goes on search for a Promised Kiss), but this time we get to see what her real motives are both in the present and the past. Her poor little brother only wanted to give her what she wanted, and it seemed to be going into an endless cycle until he suddenly died offscreen. Lulu’s reaction? I’d call it disappointment with a tinge of sadness; she wanted to be the favourite child again, and she got it, but at a cost that felt so very wrong. Yet she wasn’t the one who killed him.
This all ties back to one of the first scenes of the episode where we see Lulu choose between giving up on either kisses or love. She doesn’t think twice about sacrificing kisses, instead sticking with love – with Ginko.
Ginko is a mystery at this point, but I expect to see her past fleshed out fairly soon. She labels herself a ‘Criminal Bear’, which I would pin down as her being the true killer of Lulu’s brother, due to Lulu’s dream of with the honeypot being returned to her by her brother, and then waking up to find Ginko doing the exact same thing. I can’t say why she went after Mirun – if she did – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with Kureha’s mother. We got straight up confirmation that she now holds her mother’s necklace – something I noticed from the very first episode.
Overview – What’s Next?
It’s obvious that Kureha and Ginko are linked somehow. However, in typical Ikuhara fashion, it’s impossible to predict the details at this stage. We’ve got slight hints here and there, but I hope we get a flashback episode for both Ginko and Kureha like we had with Lulu. Lulu is now the most fleshed out character of the series, which isn’t something I was expecting. As it turns out though, the focus on one particular character made this possibly the best episode so far. In Ikuhara we trust.
Bach is LOL-ing in his grave
thank you so much… now I get to spread this amongst friends
thank you lol
i got the troll / meme for next week x)
just put this link random when conversing with friend x)
Well, that was a sad episode ;__;
Also, I think the maid explained that Mirun died from a bee sting.
I have to say that this series is much more interesting than I expected.
I really enjoyed this episode a lot (easily my favorite of the four so far) because, as opposed to the societal and sexual themes permeating the earlier episodes, this episode really seems to hone in on more human (or bear?) themes to expound on human nature.
My interpretation of this whole thing is that Lulu’s backstory is supposed to delve into themes of self-destructive behaviors and isolation (I admit I don’t remember a ton about Mawaru Penguindrum, but I think isolation–the boys/people being stuck in their own cages–was a theme running through that show as well). I think the bee is supposed to be a visual representation of the standoffish/aloof personality Lulu had when she was a princess. It circles her, acting as a sentinel to protect against anyone that tries to get close–which is most evident when it goes on the attack to repel the Wall of Severance bears (as the narrator and when they appear as suitors). When Mirun appears in her life, his constant affection is something she doesn’t particularly know how to deal with or accept, so she just tries to protect herself by pushing him away. In the balcony scene, we get the sense that she doesn’t really hate her brother (but she does goes on to talk about love relatively contemptuously!); and by the end of that scene, after we–and she–see his sincere love for her, she starts to slowly accept him in her heart (represented by the bee allowing him to get close to her). All those antics with her trying to murder him are just manifestations of her trying to push him away because she doesn’t know how to accept/deal with affection (which is why he doesn’t actually die–because she never really intended to kill him in the first place). All of this is demonstrated in her constantly pushing away “love” (the word on the box). But when Mirun does finally pass away–ironically by, as heavily emphasized by the show, complete accident–she feels empty inside because she never really hated him, she just didn’t know how to embrace or act on her own feelings. The fact that he dies because of a bee sting is also interesting to note, as it may represent her guilt/regret about always pushing him away and never accepting or reciprocating his love. This regret is fully illustrated in her dream, where she finally looks like she is sincerely willing to accept the honeypot–the one action she regrets not having taken when he was still alive. Given all this, we can also make sense of “I hated you from the beginning, and I must have loved you from the beginning too.”
I think how this particular theme ties into our main storyline is that Kureha seems to have a similar personality as the princess Lulu–she also seems intent on pushing people away and isolating herself from others (which has maybe been reinforced by the Invisible Storm and her choice to openly carry out a relationship with Sumika). In this episode, we see Lulu worry about Kureha in a way that a friend would be concerned about another friend, but Kureha is quick to reject her concern and even shout out “Sumika is my only friend,” demonstrating just how closed off she has become. But we know that, by the end–if the OP and ED are canon–she will have overcome her anxiousness and will have learned to let both Lulu and Ginko in her heart (yay!).
So–trying to piece things together here–does Lulu actually have a brother (that loved her, maybe if only in a child-like way, and who’s love she rejected and now regrets), or is he representative of something or someone else?
Milun = Ginko being in love with Lulu
Honey/promised kiss = love
Lulu swatting/throwing away the honey = Lulu rejecting Ginko’s love
Milun dies = Ginko falls in love with someone else (Kureha)
For anyone confused about this episode, just see it as Shinji Ikari’s character arc (before the Gainax ending) if it was condensed into one episode and if Shinji was a fabulous yuri kuma princess…
The bee=AT field
Box= Hedgehog dilemma
Who is Mirun’s VA? Is it Rie?
I feel the show might be more about interpersonal connections than just lesbians in japanese society.
But then again who knows how we will be shocked next week?
Welcome to Ikuhara’s worlds!
They’re NEVER about sex or sexual relations. They’re always about the depths and complexities of human relationships and psychologies.
Sex is only used to grab, entertain, and distract you.
This episode reminded me of Penguindrum, in particular the episode about Masako’s backstory. Both had characters living in a privileged environment be unhappy about their lot in life, having beef with one family member in particular. Both spend their childhood ended up either planning or attempting to murder that person, but keep failing and eventually the person dies in an accident. Thus giving them wanted all along, but not to great satisfaction. Huh. I’d call this Ikuhara recycling plots if I didn’t know this was based on a manga. Now it’s just kind of a funny coincidence. And I do enjoy the dark humor of children lightheartedly trying to murder someone.
This episode kind of confused me too – I was under the impression that the bears got their intelligence from the meteor as well, but it appears this is taking place in a full-on fantasy world, with the bears having their own kingdoms as well. Either that, or it’s all metaphorical, but I kinda doubt that. Either way, Lulu really is the most interesting character now, though I wouldn’t mind others’ backstories get fleshed out in the same way. Especially Ginko, who’s still one giant walking mystery.
Interesting to hear about Penguindrum. It sounds like the plot device is the same at face value but the thematic significance may be different.
I think the Yuri Kuma Arashi manga is written by Ikuhara too. AFAIK, it’s only a little ways into the story, so I think the anime will exceed it in content soon.
I also initially took the “bears standing on their hind legs” visual as meaning the bears became intelligent, but maybe “rise up” just meant they began to eat humans (instead of just living in their own fantasy kingdoms). And since they started to eat humans, humans built the severance barrier to keep them out.
Decent for removed the yuri.
I believe that Ginko’s pendant is not the one we have repeatedly seen in the family portrait.
Show Spoiler ▼
Therefore I still believe that Ginko is Kureha’s lost childhood friend.
I thought this episode was both hilarious and touching. Like a more concentrated dose of what I liked about the previous episodes (in exchange for reduced repetition and fanservice).
Did her brother actually die or was his “sudden death” symbolic for suddenly realizing, that his sister rejected him and growing out/giving up his love. So in a way his love for her died. But well, there can’t be a Ikuhara show without incest, princess’, princes and funny, failed murder attempts. The judges remind my of the shadow girls.
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