Yuri Anime: Yurikuma Arashi (English)

April 14th, 2015

yurikumaThe Yurikuma Arashi anime from Funimation is, like so many of Ikuhara Kunihiko’s works, a fairy tale. Like so many of his previous works, in this fairy tale the fairy ex machina is the tale itself.

Tsubaki Kureha has met – and forgotten – a childhood friend who is a bear. Ginko has never forgotten her childhood friend and seeks to become a girl to be with Kureha. Surrounding this bastard child of The Gift of the Magi and every outsider story ever, is a series of repeated, variably meaningful images and a story that is never quite sure if it believes in itself or not.

Because there’s no coherence in the story in and of itself, there’s a lot of time to just enjoy the random bits of imagery and wonder what it means to Ikuhara, since it’s almost never given any meaning in the context of the story.

Buried as we were  in overuse of “Yuri” imagery, some with overtly sexual connotation, some completely lacking anything of the kind, all those lilies ceased to have any meaning, which was sort of interesting. Lily petals, whole lily flowers showering down upon the heads of characters and yet, it had almost no connection to the narrative.

There were two standout qualities of the series for me – first and foremost, seeing animated versions of Morishima Akiko-sensei’s art made watching this series worthwhile. Additionally – and I have thanked her personally on Twitter for this – I really appreciated Yuriika, an honest-to-goodness, Evil Psycho Lesbian character. She was my favorite and her death was utterly meaningless, as befits someone who is so pointlessly obsessed.


I do not feel that this series was compelling, in the way Utena, or even Mawaru Penguindrum was, but the ending was not predictable, none of the loose ends were tied up and everything we experience in the body of the story turned out to not be true, so that has to count for something. ^_^


Art – 8 Two great tastes that tasted deeply odd together
Story – 7 Once upon a time…oh fuck it.
Characters – 7 Uncarved blocks, one and all. Just remove everything that isn’t a bear
Yuri – 14 million
Service – 7 Much higher than I’d like

Overall – 7

My final thought on the end of Yurikuma Arashi is this: There’s something right/not right about “Ave Maria” becoming a Yuri anthem.

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6 Responses

  1. Ichigo69 says:

    >14 million

    I lol’d (and agree)

  2. Cryssoberyl says:

    I was profoundly disappointed by YKA. Ultimately, the show sank into the mire of the unpleasant atmosphere it worked hard to create. Which is the point, I know. It was intended that way. It’s a show about intolerance, obsession, and death, and revolves around a repetitious series of events caused by those forces. However, in contrast to Utena and MPD, I just felt wearied by it rather than compelled.

    I agree completely that, ultimately, the “yuri” in the show was rendered meaningless. It exists in a state of quantum superposition, with observers – this observer at least – unable to tell where it is supposed to be, and where it is going. However it may have ended, it managed to become a “yuri anime” that leeched all pleasure out of the yuri. That’s certainly a unique accomplishment, I guess you could say, but for once, I’m not sure Ikuhara would feel complimented by me thinking so.

    One thing I can certainly say: his confident claim in that interview that he would “keep the soul of Morishima’s work intact” was a total failure. Next time her work is adapted (and I pray there is a next time, many next times, and soon), let her writing stand on its own.

  3. Jackie S says:

    After thinking about it for a long time, I think I wanted to like YKA a lot more than I actually did. Which isn’t to say I disliked it, I just didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. God, especially that ending…
    **No, seriously, SPOILER ALERT**
    So not a lesbian double suicide exactly, more like a double homicide? Like they just accepted that they were going to die for loving each other? Seriously? Did we REALLY have to go there for the ending? I know it’s a little vague about whether they actually were shot and killed or were “whisked away in a ray of light to some peaceful alternate dimension where they can live alone in peace” (… right…), but I just can’t make myself see that ending as anything other than all three of the leads getting killed. Are we not in a day and age yet where we can have an unambiguously happy (read: together, not dead) ending for our canon yuri couple? (>.<)

    Speaking of, I never really connected with Kureha and Ginko as a couple. It just didn't work for me. Kureha and Sumika yes, but Kureha and Ginko didn't quite feel earned.

    I loooved Lulu though, and wasn't expecting that. The episode where she kept trying to kill her little brother was far and away my favorite episode of the show. I thought it was completely hysterical and adorable! … Not sure what that says about me, hahaha. (I also have a little brother, for what it's worth.)

    I also really loved seeing Morishima sensei's art animated, and I cannot get enough of the cute little psycho-looking bears, hehe. I have no regrets about buying all those YKA character goods (teacups!!!) with Ginko and Lulu in their bear forms. (^_^) I'll have to track down the rest of the YKA manga to see what Morishima sensei does with her version of it.

    There's my 2 dollars worth.

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