“What We Hope for”
The Story of Ginko’s Love:
Every episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi manages to flip my opinion on Ginko. At first I didn’t think much of her, then I found her funny, then likeable, then unlikeable, and now we get this fantastic episode focusing on the love of her life, and how it made her who she is. I think it’s fair to say that the best was being held off until the end, because this was easily the best episode of the series. The comedy antics have been amusing to see, but an episode like this that focused heavily on what mattered is what we needed.
I went into this thinking I wasn’t going to shake off my irks when it came to Ginko’s character, but I was completely sold on her love story all over again. We already know the events that drove the story to where it began, but this episode filled in the little details – some essential, some less so – and helped paint the bigger picture. And the best part was that it made Ginko completely likeable and sympathetic all over again, whether it be for the good times she shared with Kureha in their youth, seeing her stand up for the love she believed in at the risk of being excluded from bear society, or her meeting and unspoken love with Lulu. It was the best flashback the series has produced, and it can now be said that Yuri Kuma Arashi is much less convoluted than many assumed after the premiere; this is a story about love, plain and simple. There may an extensive history to everything, and all the character backstories needed an explanation, but we got there in the end, and it was totally worth it.
Letting Go of Desire:
Back in the present storyline, Kureha is being used as a sacrifice (as voted by her terrible classmates) to lure Ginko out one final time to deliver the killing blow, and Ginko ends up going on a savage spree thanks to her fusion with the deceased Mitsuko. I was wondering how these two were going to come together, but Mitsuko herself explains it perfectly: she brought Ginko back and became her desire. Ginko may feel love, but Mitsuko is there for the kill. They both seek Kureha for different reasons, and so seeing Ginko break away from that desire was incredibly satisfying. True love concurs all, it seems.
If this episode wasn’t powerful enough already, the final minutes on the rooftop are just as dramatic as they were last time. I thought Lulu’s time in the story had come to an end, but she makes her return and manages to save Ginko’s life in doing so. It’s a bold sacrifice, but very fitting for Lulu’s character arc. Ginko ignored her love for so long, and this was Lulu’s way of showing how much she cared. Seeing Lulu die like that was sad, but there was a sweetness to it as well, as she died with a smile. Rest in Piece, Yurigasaki Lulu.
Overview – What’s Next?
Geez, what an episode. This could have been the finale, but it’s not. And for better or worse, it seems like we might be in for a twist ending. Apparently Kureha has her own crimes to admit for? It could be a red herring, or the spell for a bad ending. Instead of predicting what could happen, I just want to revel in how wonderful this penultimate episode was. In Ikuhara we trust.
Full-length images: 19.
GRRRR… I’m not happy about this…
But will all true love end in death?
(With at lest two other characters who did not back down on love ending up dead – Reia and Sumika)
In the end it’s beautiful as expected.Can’t wait for all this to wrap
I read a statement on the Tv Tropes, to quote laculus, “Nah, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Reia’s picture-book is offering – it uses a lot of very scary, untrustworthy symbolism that indicates the traditional Japanese escape route of lesbian double-suicide rather than anything else. If the girls want a happy ending, they’ll probably have to discard that too.”
He has a point. The true message may be that if you love another, whether it be as a homosexual relationship or heterosexual relationship, you need to find your own path and not try to follow the crowd or what other think you should do.
At least Lulu will finally be able to meet her little brother, again… and of course we can’t actually end the series without one last shock-thing; gotta love a twist ending~
I was tempted to drop this some weeks ago, it felt too nonsensical and confusing (it’s my first time watching an Ikuhara work too) but I’m glad I stuck with it till now, it ended up being a pretty good love story. Now waiting for the finale to see if it comes with a twist.
A twist ending would be for Kureha to turn into a bear and eat Ginko. The ultimate “bear shock” lol
Lulu for Ginko.
Worst. Trade. Ever.
I think this series shot itself in the foot with the first 3 episodes; Ikuhara’s style is difficult enough to get used to, but even knowing that going in I still found the first 3 episodes more of a chore to get through. I stuck with it because I wanted to love this story (and I do), but I know a lot of people weren’t that dedicated and it’s a shame that it lost so many viewers early on.
Lulu’s death wasn’t very shocking but it was still very upsetting; she was the life of the anime–and unsurprisingly a fan-favourite. I’m glad Ginko and Kureha got more backstory and development before she died, but it’s still going to feel pretty empty without her in the last episode.
I’m excited to see how this will end, and hopefully if there is a twist it’s not too negative. I’d hate for the series to leave a bad taste in my mouth right at the end.
While I enjoyed the first episode, I agree that the first three episodes taken together seem to me a baffling mistake. First, the characters of Lulu and Ginko were highly unlikeable, even though it was clear from the OP and ED that the audience was supposed to relate to them. What really killed the first three episodes, IMO, was the repetition. It felt like the series was spinning its wheels and recycling plot and motifs from the earlier episodes to bad effect. Thankfully there was episode 4.
Some of bits in that episode were expressively animated.
lulu =[ *sad gaogao*
Such a sad episode. The end absolutely wrecked me. I loved Lulu. Damn you, Ikuhara! I should have expected this…