Yuri Kuma Arashi – 01 (First Impressions)

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Lesbian Bear Storm, as it shall be henceforth translated, is best described as a stylish, soft-touch yuri-infused stylistic mashup of Dangan Ronpa and Bakemonogatari… with a little Evangelion and retro-ness anachronistically sprinkled in to spice things up.

The first episode makes a sort of insane self-contained logic that I found equal parts baffling and exciting. At once we know everything about the world and about it’s characters and their motives, yet the world is so completely insane, we understand nothing. I can’t even tell if the show is serious or an absurdist comedy!

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To sum up: One day the bear star exploded over earth and rained shooting stars upon us and made the bears stand up and attack man all at once. The survivors built an ‘extinction wall’ and hide safely behind it. Except two bear-chans transform to look like human girls, tanuki-style and infiltrate human all girls high school and maybe eat someone.

That some one possibly wears glasses and is the love interest of a gun-toting blonde girl who’s got a bear-based tragedy in her past and did I mention everyone is female and a yuri? Even the bears!

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You will like this if: you like either of the shows I mentioned. The art is fantastically bizarre sharing the odd-spaces of the ‘Gatari series and the weird black/red/white CGI design and camera work of Ronpa. Likewise, it has ‘Gatari-style philosophical monologues and one-on-one character meandering character interactions and Ronpa-style violence and weirdness. (like the bears’ teeth-grinding animation and audio that sounds like jackhammers) It even has a court session that I won’t even begin to try and explain!

And if deeply weird psycho-dramedy isn’t your cup of tea, Yuri Kuma is beautiful to look at. Dare I say, to the point of being creepy, given the subject is dominated by the love of little girls for one another and plausible social commentary of society trying to keep them apart.

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You may not like this show: if you want simple escapist anime entertainment. To be clear, this is a challenging show to make sense of and, girl-love aside, there’s nothing easy to latch onto here. I don’t even know what the show is about — is it a wacky love story? Social commentary? Sci-fi?

It may not be as frantic as Kill La Kill or Sensei-despair, but it also isn’t as clear-cut about its goals as those shows were from the beginning.

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First Impression: Yuri Kuma is right up my alley. It’s quirky, fantastical and stylish. It’s also mysterious without seeming overly serious. However, and most importantly, it’s unique and the dialogue and events were not so densely packed or frantic that I couldn’t keep up.

Yuri Kuma will certainly give me a ton to say each week!

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5 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi – 01 (First Impressions)”

  1. Seems like you’ve forgotten (or never seen) the show that should be drawing the most direct comparisons: Mawaru Penguindrum. It and Yuri Kuma Arashi share, so far as I know, the exact same staff as each other, and are both original stories conceptualized by their director: Kunihiko Ikuhara.
    A lot of the themes and stylistic choices cross over between the shows, and there is symbolism up the wazoo here – for instance, a lily (yuri) not only represents a woman (more explicitly, her naughty bits), but it also represents purity and chastity. Cutting all of the lilies in the garden means something, as does the bears licking “honey” off of a “lily.”
    I strongly suggest (if you haven’t already) that you go back and check out Penguindrum if you like this sort of thing. Mindfucks abound, just as they will in this series.

    1. I don’t remember if Oigakkosan ever got a look at Penguindrum (my reviews of it are here). It remains one of my all-time faves.

      Now that I know Yurikuma is by the same staff (and really, I should have known), Ogi-san’s “9” makes perfect sense. I must watch this.

      Thanks for making the connection, GwiLo!

    2. i got a decent amount of symbolism … though the sheer volume and crazy of it all was so wonderfully confusing.

      I have not seen Penguindrum!

  2. I’ve just finished watched this…and that is one fantastic-looking (and sounding) show. Is there a line in it that couldn’t be construed at least two different ways?

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