Yuri Kuma Arashi – 03

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Kuma Shock! I know you were lead to believe that you’d have the sounds of two dudes this time around, but no it’s just me…skylion! So join me as I call into session the latest case….

The Invisible Storm

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Don’t mind us…just a very literal take on peer shaming

So, while I don’t think the show is coming to a point where it can “calm down” I do think that it has reached a point to where we can  identify what thematic approach it is embarking on. Ikuhara is not a stranger when it comes to taking on the media and it’s varied portrayals of certain groups both in and out of trend. Utena was, more or less, about female empowerment in a patriarchy with a heavy amount of lesbianism (something he tinkered with in Sailor Moon, if my research is correct…I have no real direct experience). Penguindrum took a very dark look at generational issues, child abuse, and terrorism, focusing on the victims and how they cope with additional lesbian themes. With that I don’t think it’s overly-generous of me to look at Yurikuma as see the broad stroke of lesbian culture as depicted and accepted by men in a male dominated culture.

The name of the game is yuri. That is probably a term that has jumped out of the plain definition into the realm of the colloquial definition. For most in the anime watching community it is a shorthand or actual meaning for lesbianism. But that is not, strictly speaking, the case. Yuri is an accepted condition of female to female love, a heterosexual bonding of deep frienship, passion, and even physical contact. But it is meant to be temporary. It’s not something that is supposed to last. At least by the largest of cultural outlooks. So with that setting of the stage we see the importance our characters are giving to, “I won’t give up on love”. In the face of the Invisible Storm, this become almost more than just a mere challenge…it’s can become raison d’etre…

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Don’t mind us….just being literal again!

And we can also see the darker aspects that come about in this mindset. In doing a fair bit of research, enough to at least start a conversation here, lesbianism in actuality comes off as predatory in media. The rough, the one that preys on weakness, not love but pure lust. All of these negative aspects. Something that Mitsuki is enjoying to the hilt, enough to knock out any and all competition along the way (as of last episode). She even curries favor with the defacto leader of the Invisible Storm, in very covert sexual way that looks like it has appeal to Oniyama, just to see that Kureha is ever further secluded.

This is a vicious crossroad of peer shaming and anonymous activity that can leap from the screen to the world at large. In Japan, homosexuality is not a crime. But it’s not exactly a status that enjoys equal favor under law. In this respect the faceless law is the oppressor in it’s own way. And the thousand tiny cuts enforced by the media certainly dosen’t make it the most attractive of lifestyles to find yourself.

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Cheers of Aoi Yuki’s performace during this scene

Yuri Approved!

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Don’t mind us…just being a literal titillation…

But it gets a bit more uncomfortable doesn’t it? Judgemens? Really. So that’s what it might mean? Life Sexy? In the Court of Severance? A line in the sand between what is acceptable and not? Well, that’s one way to take it, I guess. I cannot help but feel they ask the rhetorical question and answer it in one go. When is lesbianism acceptable? Well, when it’s hot and sexy, that’s when! Nothing like the eternal male gaze to give legitimacy…and quite a few female gazes as well.

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Don’t mind us….just letting a rifle be a rifle… <——click for Webm

Now I am not one, in my posts, to say that I’ve said all that needs be said and done. I like this to be part of a conversation, and in fact, enjoy that aspect very much. But here we have a whole host of symbols crashing into the orchestra pit; but with miraculous and fabulous aplomb, making good music all the same. To me, the Court seems to be approving the one and only way to go. This is sexual, this is primal, you can’t ignore. So ride it the best way you can. But you can’t ignore that it will last. It will end. There’s nothing for that. With that in mind, I think Ikahura is challenging the status quo. Both Ginko and Lulu are giving me clues there. On the very basic level they haven’t changed one bit, but our viewpoint on them this episode does. We know they are predatory, but here their roles as both protectors and agents of empowerment shine. But they don’t leave some negative aspects behind…..

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Don’t mind me….just literally dying…BRB?

Final Thoughts

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If I left a few bits and pieces out, it is mostly because I wanted to save them for last. While I did concentrate on what I feel is a media issue, and how it presents it’s topics, I want to go into Kureha and her mother for a brief moment. When the school principal touches upon her relationship with Kureha’s mother, I had the feeling of generations. That the brief, intense love of these schools girls are fond memories, that wear away like an eraser. That is until they become grim. Reia and Sumika are lost…but are they dead? In this show the definitions of “eaten” and “dead” are up for grabs still. As is the term, yuri for that matter. I can’t quite put a finger on exactly what is going on, but it’s interesting and illuminating to find out how.

And one more brief thing. Does anyone else hear the tune of Somewhere Out There from An American Tail in Kureha’s music box? Does anyone else hear that tune carried over into the OST for the Yuri Approved transformation? If so, what a very interesting piece to include. In the film it is a story between brother and sister, yet the faith in love against separation is undeniable…and quite suiting…


All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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28 Responses to “Yuri Kuma Arashi – 03”

  1. Di Gi Kazune says:

    The fu… Has it already been a week already? I thought I just finished episode 2 over the weekend… T_T

    Yuri is to girls what yaoi is to boys. That doesn’t sound right. Yuri between girls is what is yaoi between boys. I stopped caring and learned to like both. Anyway the show is grizzly cute (cannot resist a bearpun) and it will probably go through to the end of the season despite the general the general wtf.

    Also, vrooooooom! *shoots blue shell* 1734.

    • BlackBriar says:

      The fu… Has it already been a week already? I thought I just finished episode 2 over the weekend… T_T

      Yeah, it doesn’t like it’s been long since the show started but here we are and three episodes have passed.

      I’m one-sided on the subject. I can deal with yuri without problems, it’s a thousand times easier on the eyes and doesn’t make my stomach want to turn but I absolutely can’t stand the sight of anything related to yaoi.

      Side note: You’ve finally done it. You’ve gone and stolen the second rank on the top 20 list. Usurper!! Now that it’s come to this, I say to you: Bring it on, knave!!! 😉

      • skylion says:

        I can take either as long as neither are nasty or exploitative…pretty much the same business for straight coupling. Which might be calling out why many enjoy either yuri or yaoi…do they want a cheap, “dirty”, yet accessible thrill?

    • skylion says:

      I think, like Penguindrum, we’ll be talking about it beyond this season.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Was this the very first anime to air this season? We’re already three episodes in and it doesn’t feel so long either.

    Aoi Yuki made quite the performance acting out Mitsuko’s last moments in human form. That arrogant and self-pleased attitude as she basically said “I ate your friend and cornered you here to eat you as well. What are you going to do about it?”

    Yeah, the court sequences makes you give a little more thought to it. Ginko and Lulu have been on the stand for the third time around whereas I was previously expecting other bears. At this point, I’ve just decided to let that go and roll with the punches. Plus, there’s the sense of irony in the whole thing. They both are influencing Kureha’s survival when they’re after her as much as any other bears.

    • skylion says:

      They both are influencing Kureha’s survival when they’re after her as much as any other bears.

      Ah, but for different purposes, or the same? I hope we get an all Ginko and Lulu show next time…that should be Life Sexy…

    • MarkS00N says:

      As I’ve mentioned in my post below, I think the Yuri Trial scene is there for those with True Love (which include Ginko, Lulu, and Kureha) thus only them ever being judge…
      We don’t know what force them or why this system is available to them yet, but at least we know that after the Trial, Kureha can shoot bear that attack them, thus I assume the Trial gives somekind of power-up…
      Ginko and Lulu thus aren’t being judge because they want to eat Kureha but because they want to eat human that endanger Kureha (due to how they eat the person responsible for Invisible Storm against Kureha, I think the first episode victim is the one that responsible for Invisible Storm against Sumika)…

      I don’t think Ginko and Lulu want to eat Kureha in the same sense of eating other girl, but just ‘eat’ her to gives them power-up or something in Yuri Trial…

      • skylion says:

        Well, as is usual for a Ikuhara show, I don’t know what is really happening in-universe or what is meant to be metaphor. I kinda dig that…

      • BlackBriar says:

        I don’t think Ginko and Lulu want to eat Kureha in the same sense of eating other girl, but just ‘eat’ her to gives them power-up or something in Yuri Trial…

        In other words, because she’s cute, useful to them and should be considered off limits to others.

        • MarkS00N says:

          I don’t think it because she is cute, but because her love is true, but I guess as viewer, one can call this concept they introduce with any other name…

          But remember though, Kureha also gain power-up by this process (so they are also being useful for Kureha) and it appears they don’t actually want to eat other girl but have to because they need to protect Kureha (so they don’t want the power-up but need to in order to protect Kureha thus less about them and more about Kureha, or I speculate about their survival in a world that can’t accept differences)…

          • BlackBriar says:

            The troubling part is Kureha is in the dark on the whole thing and doesn’t realize she’s targeting the same ones who are helping her out.

  3. T.K. says:

    I feel like I can interpret The Judgemens as audience inserts, they’re the only men (albeit beautiful men) in a show full of beautiful women, and they’re the only ones giving approval to the the bear’s beastly natures. Like how male audience’s approval to Sakura Trick.

    I definitely hear something familiar in Kureha’s music box and during the Yuri Approval transformations but I’m not too sure if it’s from “Somewhere Out There” or other classical music sources. Will have to wait until the OST releases, and I’m looking forward to it!

    • skylion says:

      Like how male audience’s approval to Sakura Trick.

      This is more or less what I was seeing…

    • BlackBriar says:

      they’re the only men (albeit beautiful men) in a show full of beautiful women, and they’re the only ones giving approval to the the bear’s beastly natures.

      That kind of power must be intoxicating.

  4. MarkS00N says:

    I think the judgement scene isn’t about when lesbian is allowed or not (because both side, either human or bear, engage in lesbian activity but in different form of them with the bear being the more explicit one), but whether a fanservice is allowed to be shown or not…
    Seeing the series as a commentary on yuri work PoV, this pretty much sums up what people see in a yuri work, whether a fanservice is necessary or just there to distract the viewer…

    In meta point of view, viewer is represent by Cool and Beauty…
    You can be cool, you can be beauty, but by the end of the day the one that decide whether a fanservice would be used in that episode or not, is the production team, Sexy…

    The Yuri Trial seems to be there for only certain people, Ginko, Lulu, and Kureha and that because the trial isn’t for the bear but the trial is put in place for people who has true love (Kureha’s love has been said to be true love, Ginko said her love is true, and Lulu said her love for Ginko is true) and that’s why Kureha needs to be there, because Ginko and Lulu does the Yuri Trial for Kureha…
    From in-universe perspective, The Yuri Trial seems there to power up Kureha and in return, Ginko and Lulu must eat a human girl (which they use to eat human that endanger Kureha such as the one that instigate Invisible Storm against Kureha this episode)…

    Yuri Trial is for these people what Invisible Storm is for people without true love…
    Yuri Trial isn’t to judge whether you are evil or not, but whether you are allowed to do it or not…
    Invisible Storm is the one that judge whether you are evil or not and it appears to be a majority vote, showing that evil is not absolute, but depend on whose side has the most voice to shout about it (or sway the most people to agree with that side of argument)…

    One person that interest me this episode is the tomboy girl shown very briefly…
    She is interesting because she is very different from her other classmates (so far in her uniforms) which pit an ironic tone to the whole ‘uniformity’ thing they try to force on other people…

    • skylion says:

      From in-universe perspective, The Yuri Trial seems there to power up Kureha and in return, Ginko and Lulu must eat a human girl (which they use to eat human that endanger Kureha such as the one that instigate Invisible Storm against Kureha this episode)…

      Yes. This. I like this angle. And it further muddies the waters about the definition of “eat” in all the contexts…

      As for the tomboy, that might have just been a style choice…or someone in character design just went all…this one is a tomboy…tired of drawing school uni…

      • MarkS00N says:

        I don’t think this one can be pin down to laziness though because she is the only person in school with that uniform (even the main character who certainly supposed to be different use the same outfit) and again in a place where ‘uniformity’ is important, I think her style is a sign for her role in future episode…

        • skylion says:

          I don’t know if I can agree on laziness, just a need to draw something else..but I’ll be on the look out for her none the less….

  5. skylion says:

    Oh…I forgot to include the button! It’s a button. Have fun!

  6. lvlln says:

    Wow, I was wondering why that melody sounded familiar, and I think you nailed it. I’ve never seen An American Tail – only seen its sequel – but I’ve heard that song, and the melody sounds a lot like it.

  7. Overcooled says:

    Gaomenasai! I’m late to the party, gao!

    I know very little about Japan’s view of homosexuality, so I’m glad you went ahead and tackled it. Good stuff to know! I can see that they’d be all for the temporary kind of lesbian love that’s just there for others to enjoy. Any serious, permanent kind of love and it’s no longer a turn-on so it’s not as accepted. Although I’m curious if Ginko’s love for Kureha will transcend just being lust…or if they’ll say lustful love can actually be true love just as much as emotional love.

    I also really liked how the students decide that anyone who doesn’t fit the norm is automatically evil. So no one really panics at these random disappearances/bear eatings because the people who go missing are evil and therefore “deserve it.” Interesting bit of victim blaming there, and it looks like the same thing is slowly happening to Kureha. I don’t think they would care at all if she got eaten now because she’s “different”. This whole Invisible Storm thing just gets more and more complex…

    So….who is the next revealed bear gonna be????

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