In early 2015. Yuri fans were treated to a dream collaboration – Morishima Akiko and Kunihiko Ikuhara were working on a blatantly Yuri anime and manga series, Yuri Kuma Arashi. I reviewed the anime in Spring 2015, and the manga (Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3) between 2015-17.
As we were watching the anime I came to the conclusion that we were watching a “Cards for Humanity” Yuri edition. The word Yuri was repeated so often, with such little context, that it quickly ceased to have meaning. I quite like non-linear, multiple perspective stories. Ikuhara’s Mawaru Penguindrum kept me riveted right through the end. But the service, the repeated footage of an uneeded naked transformation with use of both lily and phallic imagery, as well as the Court scenes that established little, made for tough going in this series. It was a relief, in fact, to be able to read the manga, in which a coherent story was built up, even if it did end symbolically. There was no such story here in Yurikuma Arashi: The Complete Series,Disk 1.
Which gives us time to ponder things, like why are bears considered so ferocious in Japanese folklore?
It’s not hard to grasp the place that, in every culture, the apex predators own in stories through the ages. Wolves, bears, lions, tigers. No one has to “explain” why Robin Riding Hood is threatened by the Big Bad Wolf or why Shere Khan ruled the Jungle.
It might be heard for someone looking at this to really think about the ferocity and power of a bear.
We’re just forced to remember Colbert’s warning that bears are not our friends.
And we are reminded, repeatedly, that bears eat humans.
BUT. We’re also told that bears are only allowed to eat invisible girls – girls that have been “excluded.”
And maybe in that oft-repeated footage of the court that makes little sense, except to provide us with boy bears (there are no male humans in this world, only mothers and female teachers)…maybe…we can see a parable of bullying, of ostracization, of the kind of othering that homogeneous groups are prone to.
Or maybe it’s all a really sloppily-conceived series of fairytales that uses concepts like “bears,” “Yuri” and Stalingrad Fuyu Keshiki all mushed together.
Art – 8 Two great tastes that tasted deeply odd together
Story – 7 Once upon a time…oh fuck it.
Characters – 7 Bears all the way down
Yuri – 14 million
Service – 7
Overall – 7
Ultimately the two things about this series worth seeing are Morishima-sensei’s art animated and the obviously Evil Psycho Lesbian bear (Spoilers. But surely it was the most obvious thing ever.) Yurika.
Many thanks to Okazu Superhero Dan P, for sponsoring today’s review and the fetching gift bag in which it arrived!