Kuma Miko is a remarkable safe, enjoyable comedy that relies on the goofiness of its setting and central relationship for most of its humor. Previous episodes have hung close to Machi’s urge to leave her small rural nest and her challenge she must overcome to do so.
This week took an unexpectedly interesting look at how heritage itself must face the modern world. The result was clever, even if it wasn’t any funnier or more dramatic than before.
In the opening act, Machi notices she’s gained a weight and attempts to co-opt ritual dance into exercise – complete with gym-coach style one-two-one-two dance music.
Natsu finds this a little sacrilegious at first but eventually bumps it up a notch further with a bear-based DJ session…that results in angering the mountain gods and bringing the rain.
In the second act, the towns people have made 4 summer-style costumes for Machi to wear at the shrine. Machi is initially very excited by the prospect of seeing a new take on Ainu tradition, but quickly learns the costumes are all embarrassing to wear and make minimal nods to tradition.
The second costume in particular includes bear ears and a tail…
What stood out: the bear clubbing session was fun and it added nuance and supportive nature to Natsu’s character. Some of the animations of Machi moving around on the floor were also above average. The throw away gag about learning the history of electricity at the open was also entertaining.
Over all, Kuma Miko is a low 8 but still an 8. It isn’t remarkable in many ways, as it generally plays it safe, but the humor and core relationship has a good hook.