Time for more gay bears! I did an absurd megapost for last week’s episode, and that’s not sustainable, but I should be able to keep up reasonably-sized writeups on this thing. I mean, it’s really up to Ikuhara, I suppose – I feel like I’ve got a decent handle on the flower/bird/bear imagery at the moment, but who knows where we’ll be five episodes from now. All that we’ve seen up til now could very well be a clever trap, and the bears will end up being representative of late capitalism instead of societally villainized sexuality. Stranger things have happened.
But no use theorizing on how exactly this show will make me look dumb in the future. Let’s get to the bears!
1:00 – I like the phrasing of this. “Our only line of defense” emphasizes how thin and arbitrary the line between girl and bear is
1:08 – As their names are called, the spotlight removes the birds that previously covered them. They’re no longer invisible, but are they also no longer birds? In last week’s episode, the birds specifically avoided covering all the girls that episode would reveal as bears – we still don’t know exactly how metaphorical the “being eaten” is for characters outside of Kureha
1:31 – Emphasizing that the power of this society lies in the ability of group consensus to maintain conformity. People are most safe from bears in the group, where they are most invisible and least likely to deviate in word or deed
2:15 – Yeah, she’s great
4:38 – Nice new set, appropriately set at the corner of the school’s triangle. And the teacher knew Kureha’s mother, Reia
4:55 – Everyone is gay
5:05 – Interesting. Does the flowerbed represent a third way, outside of the bear/bird paradigm?
6:26 – Black lillies. Mitsuko can’t help herself
6:31 – Laughed out loud at this. Goddamnit Ikuhara
6:46 – So the bears just hang out and play games out back during the day. Sure, makes sense
7:09 – I love these bears. This is the best horror movie
7:30 – Ginko don’t give a shit
7:54 – The girls are learning about the crusades. Different directions you could take that, though “long, artificially inspired war against assumed cultural villains” works well enough
8:20 – Wonderful image. The eraser she gave her getting smaller in her hand. Losing someone is a terrible thing, and then losing the markers of them over time, be they objects or memories, is a second tragedy
8:58 – Yep
9:43 – It seems their love wasn’t violent like the bears’ lust, but still wasn’t accepted. It’s good we’re getting these character moments for both of them – it initially felt weird that we didn’t have nearly enough time to understand Kureha’s feelings before the story began, but we’re getting it now
10:12 – Well that sounds pretty ominous
10:25 – This is quite the dystopia they’ve created. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book – create the threat of an assumed “other,” and use that to enforce your own values and the necessity of preventative measures. Here in America, politicians use dog whistle terms like “the criminal element” or… actually, hell, you don’t even have to move the metaphor outside of gay rights to illustrate the ways modern politicians manipulate people to create an assumed “normal” perspective that furthers their personal goals
Not that this has to be the overt scheme of specific bad actors. This is also just how culture works, particularly conservative, communal cultures
10:54 – Ahahaha. Also wow, that was a really nicely animated phone-raising
10:57 – So is the invisible storm just the court of public approval itself? Makes sense, given “invisible” has already been defined as reflective of the accepted people
11:05 – Nice image
11:34 – And there’s the spotlight again. They’ve decided you’re a bear whether you like it or not, Kureha!
13:59 – Like the eraser, people are eventually ground down by the society that surrounds them. You can only fight a dominant culture for so long
14:47 – Lulu saying the magic words. She definitely seems less driven by instinct than Ginko
15:46 – Confrontation on the high stage. Theater again
17:01 – AW SHIT THESE DAMN BEARS
19:00 – And here we finally go
19:09 – Lulu’s sad bear face
19:35 – Gets me every time
21:03 – This is a very deep show
21:25 – THE PROMISE KISS!
21:35 – Great shot
22:37 – How civilized of them
Ahhhhhh great stuff. The first evil bear has been defeated, Ginko has resolve to protect Kureha, and hell if I know where we go from here. I didn’t expect so much to be resolved so fast – it seems like we already know what the invisible storm is, and the one real “antagonist” so far is likely dead. Kureha seems to have a bad habit of forgetting everything she learns about bears each episode, so I doubt she’ll be outright accepting of Ginko and Lulu next week, but it seems like they’re moving towards the same side ahead of schedule. AND NOBODY’S GIVING UP ON LOVE.