Yuri Kuma Arashi 04 and 05 — Do it Again

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My favorite part of Ikuhara’s works is the use of repetition. We see it in episode 3, where Lulu keeps kicking her brother off a cliff and he brings her the honey. Or in all the episodes, with the Yuri Trial and the Kuma Shock. He does the same thing in Penguindrum, with the “Survival Strategy” scene, and in Utena with the spiral staircase and the car scenes.

What makes the repetition so effective is how he builds up your expectations, then inevitably twists them. My favorite example of this was in Mawaru Penguindrum, where Ringo got thrust into the survival strategy scene, dropped down the chute, and kicked herself out of it. We get a similar effect in episode four of Yurikuma when Ginko is caught in the trap after the bear shock.

The human side of the story is becoming a bit more interesting, with the addition of a villain and the backstories for the two bears. It feels more like we’re dealing with humans than with symbols now, although of course the show continues to be heavy on the symbolism.

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Speaking of which, I think MarkS00N may have been onto something last week with his discussion of feelings vs. lust in differentiating humans and bears. To become a human and cross the wall Lulu had to give up on kisses, although she could still remain true to her love.

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I still think there might be a destructive impulse involved as well. Gingko wants Kureha all to herself in a very selfish way. But with that said, Lulu isn’t selfish and doesn’t love in a destructive way. At least not as far as we can tell so far…

6 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi 04 and 05 — Do it Again

  1. I like the style of this series and how it uses that style. Stuff like how Lulu treated her brother are a great example of how this series makes repetition work. And the expectations set up by earlier repetitions being subverted, happens also now with what the stuff in the cliffhanger in the fifth episode does.

    But… what this series still hasn’t sold me is the actual story. It just doesn’t seem that interesting. Okay, Ginko has this love-quest going on and Kureha’s love-affair didn’t quite work out but do we really need a fancy, stylized version for that? I’m just not sure what the stakes are supposed to be which would make me care about this series. Right now it all seems very straightforward despite how the series is presenting itself. You just don’t get the feeling that all this stylish stuff amounts to anything within the story.

    Also, the fifth episode offers examples of how the series doesn’t use repetition for its benefit: Ginko’s daydreams are shown like three or four times during that episode and I guess, that’s supposed to be humorous but that stuff didn’t do anything for me. I still feel like I barely know the main-characters of this serie beyond their established dramatic story-beats. So when this sort of silliness comes around, I’m not really sure why the series would act like it’s ready to sell it via repetition. We’re still in the phase where we learn about the motivations of the characters and what really makes them tick. Therefore stuff like Ginko’s daydreams come off as gimmicky. It’s just another “catchphrase” for the series to use as a go-to for story-beats.

    I feel like this series’ story just isn’t complex enough to really warrant this sort of stylish portrayal and that it actually just keeps the story from immediately hitting the nail on the head and then dealing with the consequences of that, thereby making that the topic of the finale. Instead you get this romantic story that is mostly sold by actually not selling you the entire story. You get these new pieces of information like Ginko’s and Kureha’s relationship and it’s only a new piece of information because there’s also this convenient coincidence of Kureha being something of an amnesiac. And then it goes on to make a point of how Kureha is an amnesiac and therefore not privy to what’s really going on (certainly not the first time this has happened in animes).

    Also, what I want to see Ikuhara do next is a full-on anime-musical. Instead of bothering to come up with complicated reasons for how his surrealistic stuff might work in a somewhat normal narrative, he should just do the whole thing with music.

    1. My take on Ginko’s repetition is less about that the series is ‘ready to use this’ but the series is trying to quickly tell the audience that we see most of this episode from her perspective instead of Kureha’s (or Lulu’s in episode 4) while at the same time shows that despite having a ‘true love’ which differentiate her from another bear, Ginko still a bear, that is she has raunchy thought about the person she loves…

      Thus the series try to show that despite her calm and distance outward persona, she still is a bear and if combined by how much handholding we have this episode, it shows the differentiation of how human and bear express their love (that is human through hand contact and sweet words (feeling) while bear through a more suggestive action (lust))…

      Also, I don’t think Kureha is amnesiac…
      Remember, she has been separated by maybe 11 years (how much you can remember from 11 years ago? especially when you’ve yet reach 20) and Ginko is in her bear form instead of human form, thus possibly Kureha isn’t not remember but she even doesn’t know anything about Ginko in her current form (she also never see bear turn in to human before the events)…
      So I take it as Ginko loves Kureha so much she can’t forget about Kureha (from episode 5 we can deduce Ginko see Kureha akin to angel or goddess because Ginko calls Kureha ‘kuMaria-Sama’, a clear reference to ‘Maria-sama ga Miteiru) despite separated for such a long time instead of Kureha is an amnesiac…

    2. Agreed. Even further on, the story doesn’t interest me much. What’s worse I think is the main character, Kureha. I can’t really bring myself to care one way or the other about her.

      Ikuhara anime musical would be AMAZING. We can only pray.

  2. I am not actually want to comment too much as of now, because I think I need to see how this arc going to end before I can grasp what it tries to say (much like how I need to see the first three episode [which is the first arc] before I get that the Yuri Trial is there for those with true love and that feeling vs lust is the main theme,)…
    But what I get so far from this arc is that the feeling vs lust isn’t just about the nature or implication of society based on those trait, but that the exclusion of one trait from the others is destructive…

    We’ve seen how the bear eat human (and how Lulu’s behavior lead to her brother demise), represent the danger of lust without feeling, but episode five also show us that human could kill bear (instead of forced to safety by hiding behind the wall) which I think represent that feeling without lust also has its own danger…
    Still, I need to see more before I can make a definitive (but still opinion) interpretation of the symbolism…

    So I thank you and all blogger who keep giving their interpretation so I can enrich my own thought of this series (which I must say a beautiful series due to its commentary on the thing I care the most after my parent, yuri)…

    1. That makes a lot of sense. You don’t want to be invisible and exclude people, but you also don’t want to be obsessed with lust and devour people. I’ll buy it.

      (which I must say a beautiful series due to its commentary on the thing I care the most after my parent, yuri)…

      lol

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