Yuri Kuma Arashi – 02 (Second Impressions)

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Lesbearian Storm continues its march towards pure crazy with two giggle inducing bear-reveals, another I-can’t-even-describe-it court session, and a double homicide for its second outing.

It’s packed with content, wild twists, and over the top yuri action. I will do my best to avoid spoilers but, if you haven’t seen it yet, turn away now and come back later!

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To sum up: it turns out Yurizono really did witness the bears eating Sumika, and not some random girl as I expected. So Sumika is dead and Kureha is in emotional shambles.

Yurizono is also devastated, though possibly because she’s infatuated with Kureha or possibly because she knows Ginko and Lulu are bears. Regardless of which, Yurizono admits to her jealous lover that Kureha is most likely the next to be eaten…

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Then Lulu and Ginko invade Kureha’s house under the pretext of needing a bath. Then Lulu takes a bath and Ginko licks Kureha’s face and then Yurizono shows up with a rifle and saves the day…

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Later, the bears face another trial before Judge Sexy and are Yuri-approved, which is followed by Kureha’s emotional showdown with a bear, Yurizono killing a bear, and a bear eating another, apparently less tasty student.

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The good: killing off Sumika, the girl who stands at the center of Yuri Kuma’s promotional art, was a fantastically bold move. That said, this show is so many layers of crazy and populated by unreliable narrators that I don’t even know if she really is dead, or may re-materialize later in some form.

I’m not even sure if that would be a bad thing? This show is so wacky, and pokes so much fun at it’s own twists, that I may just accept such a return.

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This week also managed to stuff in plot developments, important reveals, secret identities, action and maintain a strong connection with Kureha, who is essentially the most human and emotional center to the show.

Quality of the animation aside, this was Yuri Kuma’s greatest victory: I felt bad for Kureha and empathized with her confusion at the nonsense whirlwind of crazy unfolding around her.

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However: if extreme sexualization of young characters creeps you out, this week we got grinding, licking, wet kisses, (bear) butt holes, ass-sniffing and a whole lot of skin. If tasteful can be used in that context, I think Yuri Kuma did a decent job integrating it (to the point that nothing needed a censor-shape over it) but the raw lust can not be overstated.

Also, on a production note, it was strange to see some of the animation recycled from last week. Sure, that honey-lapping scene with the three girls is dripping with wet appeal but…I hope it isn’t a sign that we’re in for serious budgetary issues later on?

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Second Impression: my biggest issue with Yuri Kuma is not how silly it is or how casually provocative its yuri yuri yuri all the time wants to be… it’s that I have a really hard time telling Kureha and Yurizono apart!

No seriously! The hair color and shape and the fact they both carry rifles makes it hard to tell who is on screen at each scene swap! Goodness, it’s almost as if one of them is doomed to join poor dead Sumika soon!

Growl! Growl! Yum! Yum!

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Kamisama Hajimemashita 2 – 02

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Preparations for and the start of Nanami’s trip to Izumo for the Divine Assembly provide plenty of fodder for comedy and intrigue alike, kicking me back into that “Oh yeah, that’s why I liked this show so much!” gear that I wasn’t in last week.

Like Tomoe pretending it’s a chore to help Nanami with her necklace, yet jealously defending the duty when Mamoru takes human form (“grade school size” as Nanami cheerfully puts it) and offers to do it for her. Or Tomoe and Mizuki bickering to the point Nanami gets smacked in the head with some random wooden box.

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She leaves the two to play a game of shogi (a game neither has ever played) to determine who will accompany her to Izumo as she runs errands with Mamoru. She’s jumped by a host of former gods who warn her not to go, but she stands her ground. When a human male in the park gets injured, she uses Mamoru to dispatch the baddies, but the dude is more annoyed at her than anything else, then tries to steal a kiss, forcing Nanami into swift retreat.

That dude turns out to be more than just a random guy, but a god in human form who is scheming to leave it so he can once again rule the world (or something). Someone to watch out for later, to be sure.

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That dude turns out to be more than just a random guy, but a god in human form who is scheming to leave it so he can once again rule the world (or something). Back home, Tomoe beats Mizuki, but Nanami picks Mizuki to go with her anyway, fearful that if the other gods pick on him or her, things could turn ugly.

Tomoe must pose as Nanami while she’s gone, and while her classmates are fooled he’s her, they feel his nasty aura, one of the details I forgot from last season, but now that my memory has been jogged, I remember how much I liked that fact. Body-swaps done right, are the best.

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Of course, we don’t see much of that at all, because the focus here is Nanami. Mizuki promptly drops her on the way to the Grand Shrine, and she wakes up without Mamoru or her bag in front of a huge procession of gods.

The only one who even speaks directly to her is the war god, but when she can’t impress him, he zooms off with the others, warning her not to speak to him, or anyone else. It’s hardly a warm welcome for lil’ Nanami, but to her credit she sounds super-serious when explaining her gift for white talismans.

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With Mizuki stuck at the gate with a by-the-book guardsrabbit, Nanami is alone, and soon gets lost in the strange space between the world of the living and the divine. Even her guiding flame goes out, she seems on the edge of panic, but a glowing butterfly god leads her the right way.

That’s not all he does: Nanami was unable to give the war god a straight answer about her special skill, but the butterfly guy knows what it is: among all the myriad gods, she’s the only one who can see and feel with the eyes and heart of a human. That makes her just as special and valuable as all of them, and it’s something she should carry with pride.

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Buoyed by those kinds words of the nameless butterfly, Nanami enters the assembly hall with her head held high and with big, pretty brown eyes unclouded. Her reception is cool, save the assembly’s host, who “chooses” her on the spot. Nanami wondered what kind of god lived in such a grand shrine; it’s looking like he’s some kind of casanova.

While last week was pleasant and charming enough, it didn’t really enchant me; this episode remedied that by stripping Nanami of her protection and plunging her deeper than ever into the surreal realm of the divine, while reinforcing her worth and right to stand among them. Intolerant gods underestimate this high school girl at their peril!

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1,000,000 Views!

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All the money we could have made if we’d spent time working instead of watching and writing about anime. Ah well, it was worth it!

Last night, we quietly reached a milestone and went over one million page views all-time. That’s not a lot, really, but it isn’t not a lot, either. So, as always, thanks so much for reading our stuff! Here’s to two million! :D

– RABUJOI STAFF

Oigakkosan’s Winter 2015 Bracket (First Round Losers)

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Winter’s first week was a busy one! I reviewed 12 new shows, gave second opinions on six, and continued to co-review two more. Overall, I’m not exactly blown away by anything the season has to offer so far, though I’m happy enough.

So here we are on Monday morning and, as promised, I must drop half of the new roster. Honestly, these weren’t hard choices. That, I think, comes next week.

The Cuts:

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1. Sengoku Musou (4/10)

By far the easiest show to drop, Sengoku was all wrong. Ugly, fussy design, constant exposition, and no attempt to ease us into any of the characters (let alone introducing any of them in a way we could keep track of while all of their names were thrown around) it is a terrible show. Tragic really, because I have a deep love for samurai and pseudo-history.

2. Tantei Milky Holmes (5/10)

Even if it weren’t otaku-pander-food, which I had no interest in watching, Milky Holmes is rather disposable. The fact that this is it’s third season but didn’t require any knowledge of that, nor showed any meaningful connection to earlier work, proves that point. There’s a slim chance you’ll enjoy it if you liked Magic Kaito 1412 last season but I doubt it.

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3. Juuou Mujin no Fafnir (4-5/10)

It’s subjective but Juuou beat out Absolute Duo for blandest magic school harem fighter in my book by the narrowest of margins. Even if it weren’t dull, derivative, dribble, the lolicon vibe to the ‘students’ at elite magic whatever is a turn off. Despite it’s lower rating, Juuou is worth more than Milky because it’s a more palatable genre…

4. Absolute Duo (6/10, 6/10)

‘Absolutely’ unoriginal. Nothing about this show stands out, which means it isn’t terrible but devoid of value. If you are very new to anime you may enjoy it. Otherwise, if you absolutely must watch a bad harem this season, try World Break instead.

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5. Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha (6/10)

Some reviewers have noted that Demon Step Sister does a better job than most in its genre. The protagonist comes pre-trained, which avoids the laborious process of mid-season teaching. Likewise, he isn’t special (at least, not yet) He’s just a hero, which is more special than a normal person, but not uncommon for the mystic world. Still, ugly, fanservice heavy, and zero emotional attachment makes it awful hard to recommend.

6. Military! (7/10)

I’m not exactly sad that I’m dropping this show (I’ve never managed to stay with a mini-format for an entire season) but it wasn’t that bad, as far as silly over the top comedies go. Honestly, if I wasn’t so confident that I’d lose interest it’s debatable if I would keep this over World Break instead. Still, what’s a wacky, forgettable three minute program really got to offer?