I didn’t expect an extensive backstory on Yurika and Reia, but I’m glad that’s what we got for the first half of this episode. It did a good job of making me feel sympathy for Yurika before everything turned out horribly. We get flat out confirmation that Yurika is a bear – there is no mystery behind it; she’s a bear who was abandoned at the foot of the school’s doorsteps, saved by a boy who channels Dorothy heel-clicking goodness. We also got some insight into those boxes, surprisingly enough. I always made jokes about them and thought that was meant to symbolise where the deceased go in Yuri Kuma Arashi. As it turns out, the boxes are what Yurika inherited from her traveling saviour before he left for something else. I’m glad that the boxes really mean something – a place for the unsullied and things of importance and placed. Does this mean that all the girls’ portraits that have been shelved will return at some point and become relevant to the plot? It’s possible, but it may just be a place that Yurika keeps so that their memories aren’t left in tatters.
Things were going so well with this flashback. I was starting to think that my hunch about Yurika being the final villain were misplaced, but she just had to go and kill Reia. It all comes down to the necklace (as well a Kureha being born). That piece of ribbon got passed from Yurika to Reia as a confession of romantic love, even if Reia didn’t feel the same. It was sad to see that Yurika knew that she never had a chance, an all too common reality for anime girls attracted to other girls. Tamako Market comes to mind straight away. Regardless, that does not justify Yurika killing Reia; she simply couldn’t accept that Reia was loving and affectionate to others. In typical Yuri Kuma Arashi fashion, we don’t see the killing, but that doesn’t prevent it from being a terribly unfortunate event. I could have had sympathy for Yurika… but she threw all that out the window.
The Present Drama:
The last few minutes of the episode were quite shocking and almost fitting for a finale. Prior to that moment I was already satisfied with the episode a whole, but the confrontation between Kureha, Yurika, and Ginko was a perfect balance of high strung emotions and intense drama. Everything is clear now: Yurika is manipulating Kureha to do what she wants, hiding her true identity without flaw (except for her shadow, of course), and is pinning the blame on Ginko. She’s the girl who ruined everything for her. Yurika clearly despises her, but I don’t quite know if she hates or loves Kureha. Clearly she thought low of her upon first meeting her, but she must see Reia in her now and feel like she needs to protect her… or be the one to deal the final blow. It’s all intense stuff, but then Lulu appeared and added another layer to this whole mess. What did she say? Did Kureha really kill Ginko? We need answers now but I’m certain we’re going to get them next week.
Overview – What’s Next?
The past and present are intertwining as everything starts to become clearer. There’s still mystery in the air, but it all makes sense now. I really enjoyed this episode – it focused on what matters right now and revealed the perfect amount of the mystery whilst hiding enough to keep us wondering. The art direction this episode was also very nice; I liked the long panning shots and the frilly frames that gave me Mawaru Penguindrum vibes. Whoever thought Yuri Kuma Arashi was going to be plotless pandering were so, so wrong.
Mysteries in the Past:
Ginko is Sumika’s…?: