Yuri Kuma Arashi Review — D+

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Penguindrum if all the characters were soulless archetypes.

One of the main characters died and I didn’t even bat an eye. It takes a certain amount of effort to make me care so little about your show’s characters. I’m impressed Yuri Kuma succeeded as much as it did.

I loved Penguindrum and Utena and all their symbolism and style. But this is all that fluff without any human factor. Penguindrum had characters like Ringo who you could sympathize with, and who made you laugh. It’s supposedly about true love, but I can’t for the life of me tell why any of these characters could possibly love each other. Unless they just want to fuck. Because that’s sure what it seems like.

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Furthermore, Yuri Kuma is deadly serious throughout its run without a lick of humor (or if there was humor, it failed miserably). It’s hard to imagine how a show about murderous bears with giant fluffy claws can take itself completely seriously but there you go.

P.S. Sorry I started blogging this and didn’t finish it. I feel behind and then I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough to continue.

  • Storytelling – D – No heart.
  • Voice – A – It’s unique, I’ll give it that.
  • Characters – F – They died. I didn’t give a crap.
  • Attention Grab – F – I finished it over a month after it aired since I didn’t care.
  • Production – A – Does look cool.
  • Overall – D+

Recommendations – Mawaru Penguindrum, Tatami Galaxy, Utena

10 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi Review — D+

  1. “It’s hard to imagine how a show about murderous bears with giant fluffy claws can take itself completely seriously but there you go”
    If a series is about that then does it really need to add overtly intentional humor.

  2. “Sorry I started blogging this and didn’t finish it. I feel behind and then I just couldn’t bring myself to care enough to continue.”

    No problem, as a fan of the series I understand that feeling…

    IMO, the problem really is down to inefficiency…
    Remember those girls that start Invisible Storm? No? Exactly. Just imagine if those girls were one person instead, that girl could probably be a memorable villain…
    The bear villain gain a lot of background and die soon afterward while the main character’s development goes in crawling speed…
    And if you decipher the symbolism like me, you already know the ending from episode 3 and the rest of the episode become more or less unnecessary…

    Maybe this is a sign that Ikuhara can’t do anime with small amount of episode (these character (including the main character who only become interesting later on the series) would certainly be more fleshed out if there is more episodes) or maybe Ikuhara is restrained by his need to present his idea through symbolism (thus these characters need to die and need to be different character each time to represent different things regardless of how well they are as a character)…

    In the end I still like it, but because I come to see it (since episode 2 at least) as representative of the community I care (which I think can be seen from my other long winded post), thus I kinda bleed inside when the series unfortunately stop there (being representative) instead of stand on its own like Utena or Penguindrum…

    And thank you for blogging the series while you can (and have the will)…

    1. “No problem, as a fan of the series I understand that feeling…”

      Should’ve been:

      “No problem, even as a fan of the series, I understand that feeling…”

      Ugh…

    2. “Maybe this is a sign that Ikuhara can’t do anime with small amount of episode”

      Maybe… the weird thing is that I actually think this series would’ve fared better with even less episodes. This series’ story and drama isn’t very complicated and there wasn’t a lot of worldbuilding either. Thematically you can of course try to interpret the role of the Invisible Storm, the reason why the bears and humans live separate, what the deal with Kumalia is and so on . But the actual story just turns that stuff into little mysteries you have to solve without getting a payoff from the actual story of the series. There’s NO payoff to that stuff! I mean, if love between a bear and a human is a good thing, then why does the wall exist, why did the humans and bears fight? What’s so bad about this love that it’s forbidden. It’s obvious that such love is good but why does anyone think otherwise in this series? All this series offers for that are just “That’s how it is!”-tidbits to explain that. And with that level of bluntness you don’t even need 12 episodes to tell a story.

      1. “…the weird thing is that I actually think this series would’ve fared better with even less episodes.”
        I also think about it and I think a total of 7 episodes (3 episodes introduction about love, 3 episodes addresses the one-sided love issue, 1 episode grand finale of true love) would fit well with the theme, assuming the girl initiating the invisible storm is combined into one character…

        “There’s NO payoff to that stuff!”
        Well, more episodes is needed if you want the series to have a more concrete pay-off (which is why I say there should be more episodes)…

        Because there still a lot to be answer within the show like, we don’t even sure who start the wall, what is its true purpose, why left a door if you built the wall to separate the wall, is the wall truly to separate human and bear, who invent the invisible storm, is the invisible storm a wide scale system or simply within the school, etc.
        There are a lot of possible plot left hanging for more episodes to explore (if only there are more)…

    3. Yeah, I think it could have done better with more time as well. There were a ton of ideas crammed together, to the point where none of them were communicated well.

      I want to like it too, and there are certainly aspects of it I do enjoy. But it just never came together for me. 🙁

  3. Ikuhara’s visual style is still there and characterizes a lot of the series but the direction was self-indulgent in how style often got prioritized over effective storytelling and the writing relied on a bunch of tropes and ideas that just didn’t work. The worst thing about this series is that it keeps its drama going by constantly withholding vital pieces of information. There are a ton of “plottwists” in this series that only exist because this series ALWAYS tries to hide stuff from the audience. And so at some point you naturally just give up trying to take an interest in what happens. And the big themes, like Marks00n said, get telegraphed early on.

    All this makes things even worse for the characterizations of the main-characters. Lulu, Ginko and Kureha always seem naive, impulsive and prone to sudden mood-changes to varying degrees. Especially Kureha might as well be considered to be on drugs during the entire series for how inconsistent her behavior is. You never know whether she wants to fuck, kill or befriend Ginko. At one point Kureha is supposedly shooting Ginko to take revenge for her being involved in Sumika’s death and then later she’s running out of her home to find Ginko and ask her why she had confessed. And there’s little stuff, too, like that the second half shows this shooting-scene on the roof with Kureha, Ginko and Lulu a couple times wasting precious time with such needless flashbacks.

    1. Good point. Most of the twists are things that are hidden from the audience. But… that’s true of Penguindrum and Utena too. And both of those kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. So that may be part of it, but I also think there’s something else going on. For me I think it’s that the characters in Yuri Kuma are much less compelling, as you hint in the second paragraph.

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