“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.