This anime is DEEP guys. SYMBOLISM.
I’m going to share some of my thoughts on the symbolism. We’re only in episode two so this is all just preliminary guesses, obviously.
The Invisible and Those Who Are True to Love
There seem to be two groups in Yuri Kuma Arashi. Those who are invisible, and those who are excluded.
In the high school setting of Yuri Kuma, which most of us has probably experienced, this is certainly how it feels at times. You can fit in and be invisible or you can be “excluded”.
And, critically, being true to yourself, or “true to love”, seems to require that you be in the latter group. To be excluded, to not fit in. But it’s the people who are excluded, who won’t back down on love, who are the most “delicious” and amazing.
Kureha and the girl who died are excluded because of their love for one another. They were in their own little world, and didn’t back down on love even if this led to their being excluded. But bucktooth girl tasted nasty because she hid her love for the president in order to fit in. She wasn’t “true to her love.”
Note that those who are true to their love are then scapegoated. Others can’t befriend them because then they will become outsiders as well. This is the wall of separation (more later).
Bears as Destructive Forms of Love
Bears are humans who practice a destructive form of love. We see this clearly when bucktooth girl transforms into a bear after she swears to eliminate the rival for president’s love that is Kureha.
We also see this in the main two bears, whose love is so true that it requires them to devour the objects of their love. Bears are monsters because they practice their “love” in a way that harms others.
To Cross the Wall
In the trial, conducted in the wall of separation, the bears are asked: Will you be invisible? Or will you eat humans? For the court and for these two, who enjoy “devouring” girls without their consent, this is a binary choice. Be accepted or invisible, or be true to their love and eat humans. Honestly… in this particular case they probably should have stayed invisible.
The wall of separation is a wall of social norms, constructed by humans to separate the insiders from the outsiders. What separates the insiders from the outsiders is whether they’re willing to be true to love or whether they will lie to themselves and the world in order to fit in. Tellingly, the wall is determined by a bunch of men, not women (the only men in the entire show) who “judge” those who cross the wall, completely arbitrarily, and announce whether their love will be accepted or not. The wall works through scapegoating, in that those who befriend those deemed outside the wall are likewise stigmatized.
Those on the other side, the excluded, want to cross the wall and become “true friends” with the rest and to be accepted. But they cannot do so since crossing the wall would require them to deny their love.
The wall does not actually separate bears from humans. However, this is the illusion that the wall strives to maintain. We see this when bucktooth girl becomes a bear. She was not true to her love, since she hid it in order to become invisible, but she still became a bear since she followed her destructive urges to the point of attempted murder. But since she remained invisible and his her love she was always accepted by the wall, even if her actions became monstrous and inhuman. On the other hand, Kureha is on the outsider / bear side of the wall, since she has been scapegoated for her lover’s death (and apparently was already stigmatized for a previous death and was ostracized at school). However, she is not a monster by any means.
Another interesting thing to note is that it was the wall which told Kureha where to meet the girls, to prove whether her love was true. And the wall told her that if her love was true she would have to feed herself to them. This is the illusion the wall creates, that those who do not follow the social norms society creates must become bears, outsiders, monsters. That you must be invisible or eat humans, as the judge at the trial asked the bears. But this is a false choice. It is possible to be true to your love in a non-destructive way. It is a tragedy that both the insiders and the outsiders except the judgement of the wall as to what constitutes acceptable forms of love.
Bears take paths of love which lead to destruction. The wall claims to separate humans from bears, but is really an arbitrary human judgement separating the cool kids from the losers. Is the only way to be true to your love to be a loser?