Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 12

Well here we are, with bearly twenty more minutes of Yuri Kuma to go. I enjoyed a lot of what this show had to offer, and though I wish it were a bit more emotionally strong, it’s certainly offered plenty to talk about. Even if they did kill the best character goddamnit Ikuhara that’s not okay. Let’s see it end well!

Episode 12

1:11 – Right back where we left NOOOOooooooo

Yuri Kuma Arashi

2:35 – Poor cyborg bear still roped into all of this

2:41 – This is certainly a very pure and classic form of exclusion. A group ritual of forcing someone to sacrifice themselves that binds everyone else together in complicity

4:40 – Kureha’s turn to shatter the mirror/herself for love

4:54 – I really like how much the show has focused on how we become instruments of our own oppression in this last act. It’s easy to think of stuff like bigotry as an abstract “enemy,” but it’s propagated through intelligent systems that aren’t apart from the people it affects

5:10 – Man, what a great response. The girls who are accepted hide in being nobody, but that doesn’t make life satisfying for them, either

Yuri Kuma Arashi

5:42 – Often the best they can do for each other is attempt to please the system

5:52 – But Kureha is tired of hiding, and has never been good at playing by these games

6:30 – Nice Ginko expression

8:13 – And she walks down the stairs herself! Directly challenging the system, no longer a victim being debated

8:34 – Nice stark shot

Yuri Kuma Arashi

9:12 – Always time for more last-minute revelations, I guess!

9:40 – Ouch. Really sharp to portray the guileless Kureha as attempting to change Ginko “for her own good,” but plain infuriating that these assholes are the ones lecturing her about it

10:06 – I’m not really sure how this even works timeline-wise with the last flashback. Did Ginko just contextualize her own rejection over time? Or did the court just tell each of them something different

11:04 – Does the court even have to exist as an external force? Could it solely be the unfair judgments we place on ourselves and each other? I mean, obviously it’s already somewhat metaphorically that, but what if it’s a, a double metaphor. We make sacrifices of ourselves because we fear the external, we live hobbled by an inability to love because we compromise with the court society grows in all of us. It’s a necessary fear in an unfriendly world, but if Kureha doesn’t give a damn, the court has no power

I also like how this gives Kureha her own version of selfish love

Yuri Kuma Arashi

12:24 – Aw dang, yep, seems like that’s where we’re going. When she figured out her actual legitimate crime, she was set free

Though the cultural assumptions that hold us back aren’t all internalized, obviously. But maybe that’s just not what this show is specifically about

12:40 – Kureha’s restraints are destroyed in the crosshairs of the pattern of the roof that’s always been the place of judgment

13:36 – They’re once again framing Kureha and Ginko specifically in frame to create a sense of intimacy. At the same time, the ominous wall of severance dominates Ginko’s background, implying the weight of everything behind her

14:06 – Two girls suspended, small among the giant walls in the distance

Yuri Kuma Arashi

14:36 – Kumaria is alive and apparently also real! Who knows what the fuck is going on

14:47 – This is what I get for doing writeups of an Ikuhara show

15:08 – Ikuhara sure knows how to make an ending

15:31 – Why not. Not like anything can surprise me anymore

16:04 – Yeaaaaaah! Fuck wanting to be human, bears are awesome

[HorribleSubs] Yuri Kuma Arashi - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.03_[2015.03.30_16.55.40]

16:05 – This episode’s got some shots

16:45 – Don’t worry girls, I don’t think anyone expected “Kumaria is real and Sumika and a bear”. Though I guess Kumaria would be any one person’s Sumika – the important thing is what Sumika taught Kureha

17:01 – She makes a pretty great bear

17:27 – No friggin’ “they’re just really good friends” for Ikuhara. He damn well heard people arguing Utena isn’t actually gay

18:20 – Yeah, that was some crazy shit

Yuri Kuma Arashi


18:58 – The leaders always have the most to lose. And also some people are just bigots – whatever brought them to internalize that, they’re not going to change

20:03 – Seeing the alternative has made one girl realize who she is. It’s why shows like Yuri Kuma are important, after all – these systems work because they disallow alternatives, but stories like Reia’s book can always offer us other potential truths. Which may be why this love story took the form of that storybook altogether – not because that storybook demonstrates the one correct way people could cross severance and come to love each other, but because having been given that one alternative, it was the only path Kureha and Ginko knew to follow

21:03 – Whoa. So they’re in a “better world,” one way or another

Yuri Kuma Arashi

21:20 – Systems are slow to change, but individual hearts can

21:40 – This is the saddest thing. Abandoned in Yuriika’s equally abandoned boxes

22:04 – This show is too adorable

23:00 – Lulu damn well better have gotten herself “excluded” right back into her original happiness

23:38 – Jeez these are some lovely shots

Yuri Kuma Arashi

23:58 – Gorgeous

24:28 – Now with kissing and no text!

And Done

Well that was a crazy damn ending for a crazy damn show. It all tied together quite nicely there – the bear court ended up being somewhat metaphorically vindicated, as the show’s villainy proved to be most sharply focused on the ways fear makes the social order propagate itself. Framing Kumaria as Sumika was an unexpected but nice touch, and I think my favorite thing might have been the burgeoning romance between the former excluder and her poor cyborg lesbian bearfriend. This was a dense show, and it didn’t always possess quite the emotional weight it deserved, but I think it pulled together very well. The world will be less bright with fewer lesbian bears.

4 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi – Episode 12

  1. So from what I understand, the bears symbolize lesbians and Kureha turning into a bear at the end was her finally accepting her gayness to be with Ginko, even if it meant being ostracized by her peers? Sorry if I’m stating what’s completely obvious, lol.
    Anyways, I agree that I wasn’t very emotionally invested in YKA; I didn’t really warm up to any of the characters and I didn’t feel anything when it ended aside from being slightly bummed that my Mondays will be less gay. But it was certainly very interesting; between the unique aesthetics and hilarious catchphrases and extremely subtle yuri moments, I don’t think I was ever bored. And Ikuhara’s recurring themes of exclusion and “unwantedness,” and his sincere portrayal of yuri relationships, spoke to me as always. Here’s to more Ikuhara in the future!

    • Yes, one aspect of the show was a blatant allegory of being young and lesbian in conservative Japanese society, including the influence of media (in particular Class S, exemplified by one of its modern incarnations: Virgin Beary Watches Over Us) and the somewhat recent (past two decades or so) popularity of yuri among male demographics (because it’s sexy, shabadadoo.)

  2. Ikuhara’s works, including YKA, are great for learning Japanese phrases. Their repetition of lines are reminiscent of language-learning audio books.
    Just think of the words and phrases you all were able to pick up from YKA:
    – Watashi wa kuma wo yurusanai. Watashi wa kuma wo hakai suru!
    – Watashi tachi wa, saisho kara anata tachi ga daikirai de, saisho kara anata tachi ga daisuki datta. Dakara, hontou no tomodachi ni naritakatta, ano kabe wo koete.
    – Watashi wa suki wo akiramenai!
    – Suki wo wasurenakereba, itsudatte hitori janai. Suki wo akiramenakereba, nani ka wo ushinatte mo toumei ni naranai.
    – Sore ga sekushi, shabadadoo
    Not to mention the countless vocabulary words…

  3. As for Sumika as Kumaria – we theorized it with a friend. Indeed after episode 11 I remembered this citation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_is_dead , and I thought it was quite on the spot with YKA.
    My friend noticed this citation: “We have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? […] Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it ?” and told me that if any character of the show could embody Kumaria, it would be Sumika. We lost our shit when we saw that we were right though! (Even though Kumaria is NOT really Sumika, but just how Kureha represent her because Sumika did “saved” her by giving her love? Daaamn.)

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