Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 5

THE BEARS HAVE RETURNED. I am writing this piece in the midst of yet another actual storm, so once again, you may have to bear with me if stormclouds force me to paws the episode or something. Last episode was fantastic, and finally gave the show the sense of humor and humanity it was desperately needing – whatever else happens, we now at least know that Lulu is amazing. Hopefully this week will continue on the humanizing-this-cast theme, but who knows. The bear-filled sky is the limit.

Episode 5

0:52 – Welp, there’s one mystery solved. Kureha did indeed know Ginko as a child

Yuri Kuma Arashi

1:09 – omg too adorable. A neat trick how the camera’s framing removes the truth of Ginko’s presence from history. History is often framed as reflective of the present’s prevailing narrative – if bears aren’t allowed to be friends with girls now, bears were never friends with girls

2:10 – Another intro shot explained

3:13 – Yeah, this is how we normally see that image. So has Kureha blacked out her bear-infused history because she blames them for her mother’s absence, then?

3:25 – Sorry Ginko, but you’re dreaming. Flustered lovebird Ginko is great though

Yuri Kuma Arashi

3:51 – Bears do love eating fish, after all

4:08 – These weirdo bears

4:30 – All their staring classmates

5:01 – Nice shot and word choice

6:08 – So what’s the teacher’s game? She’s the instrument of this society’s system, regardless of what she says about Kureha’s mother. And the bird brooch…

6:15 – Reaaally loaded statement, considering the Japanese history of “you can fool around with other girls when you’re young, but eventually you must put away childish things”

Yuri Kuma Arashi

6:38 – I wonder what this photo might be leaving out

6:51 – Remember, stars seem to be the culturally accepted identifier of love

7:08 – Is there a distinction between ‘not forgetting love’ and ‘not backing down on love’? It seems like you can “not forget” love while still accepting you will not be allowed to possess it

8:40 – WELP

9:02 – Little Full Metal Jacket reference on the right there

9:14 – This is the most adorable origin story I have ever seen

Yuri Kuma Arashi

9:34 – Lecherous bear smile too good

10:21 – YEAAAH GO KUREHA. Nice to see the girls aren’t monsters – they’ve just been raised into instruments of a dehumanizing system

10:43 – These girls better step off

10:54 – All the yuri you could need at the yuri store

10:57 – omg. This show is too good

Yuri Kuma Arashi

11:31 – Lulu trying to help Ginko make a meal for her crush. Yuri Kuma has arrived at a pretty comfortable, endearing place after the whirlwind first few episodes

11:47 – Goddamnit these bears. This episode is clearly more simple than last week’s, but I think I’m liking it just as much – these characters are just so endearing now that we’re actually into the swing of the narrative

12:22 – Sorry Ginko, you’re dreaming again

12:35 – Ginko plz

Yuri Kuma Arashi

13:11 – How can you say no to that face!

13:48 – Fairytale rules

14:15 – Goddamnit Ginko, you’re… you know

14:26 – This is a very complex and subtle show

14:28 – Oh my god that face

Yuri Kuma Arashi

15:21 – Aw jeez, too tragic

16:02 – Well that seems… suspiciously portentous. Also, “I want you to always be smiling like that, like a flower” seems like a translation of “don’t let this place make a bird of you”

17:30 – Painting her accepting their friendship as Sumika’s wish. I DON’T TRUST ANYONE

18:07 – Nice pan

18:27 – Oh hey, Kureha smiling. Shame your new friends are about to be eaten by bears

Yuri Kuma Arashi


19:05 – Imagine the girls in 2nd through 6th place. They must hate evil more than anyone. Fear of exclusion’s a pretty good way to enforce social order!

20:15 – A cutting accusation from the patriarchy!

20:41 – Ginko’s tired of playing into their dumb expectations


Yuri Kuma Arashi

21:36 – Feels like a Utena thought. There are many kinds of love

22:40 – Terrifying

22:44 – Ono Ginkoooo

And Done

Alright, I think we’re there. This episode wasn’t a step up in the way last week’s was, but it was totally comfortable with what it was, and just extremely warm and endearing all through. Lulu and Ginko are both very likable people at this point – this episode’s explication of Ginko’s past wasn’t nearly as full as Lulu’s, but Ginko sold herself through her silly pining for Kureha all episode. This show’s early issues largely came down to too fast pacing and too little emotional center – but at this point, both those issues have resolved themselves. Yuri Kuma’s just way too fun to watch, and I’m eager to see where it goes next.

4 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 5

  1. This show’s first three episodes were almost as bad and off-putting as Simoun’s start, but 4 and 5 have been completely likable, while maintaining the themes. I’ve been wondering how the first three could have been done better. It’s not until this episode that I’ve gotten a handle on what exactly Ginko and Lulu are doing with the Severance Court, and what Yuri Approved is referring to. (I never understood what the Survival Strategies were, either.) It was never made clear that they could only eat invisible girls, and that Yuri Approval allowed them to transfer the power from that kind of eating to Kureha, which is a different kind of eating.

    In which case, I don’t understand why they needed the Severance Court for the first episode. They weren’t helping Kureha in any way, so why challenge her? It seems that it would be tighter to merge Ep 1 and Ep 2, for a more consistent set-up, and introduce the exclusion ceremony earlier, instead of the gossip segments we got, to make it more explicit how the classroom targetted Sumika, and how that knowledge would have weighed on Kureha all this time, explaining some of her behaviors. Why couldn’t they have applied more of this episode’s atmosphere in the earlier episodes? Yes, it reflects on how Ginko has a happier outlook than Kureha, but it’s poor episodic structure to be this inconsistent in atmosphere this early in the season. Just sprinkle in more of this stuff in the earlier episodes to contrast how the bears experience more emotional freedom than the repressed environment cultivated by the humans.

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