Alright, time to type out the best synopsis I’ve ever written on this website.
At some point in time, an asteroid known as Kumaria exploded in space, resulting in a meteor shower on earth that caused all the bears to rise up against the humans and eat them. Eventually the humans managed to shut the bears out with a special barrier, but it is still regularly breached by bears who then set off a massive alarm. At Arashigaoka Academy, two schoolgirl lovebirds Kureha and Sumika carry out their romance amongst all this Bear Panic, despite growing concerns that an ‘Invisible Storm’ is approaching. One day, two new girls named Lulu and Ginko appear at the school, who are actually bears in human form. They want to eat everyone.
Eventually Sumika goes missing and is presumed eaten. When Kureha follows a strange phone call that seemingly gives her the chance to save Sumika, however, something very strange happens…compared to everything else that’s happened so far, I mean, although she’s still just as in the dark as I am.
Tempting as it would be to just leave the opinion section of the review as ‘what’, I feel like that wouldn’t be quite fair to the show. For one, there’s quite a lot of things I can talk about – especially in regards to how nice it looks – and secondly…it somehow manages to be even more bizarre than the synopsis implies and a mere ‘what’ can’t remotely cover this.
I’m going to talk about the visuals first because they’re clearly the shows strongest aspect. Silver Link are behind it, although I probably wouldn’t have guessed from looking because it’s a very different style to their norm – it has more in common visually with SHAFT’s works, particularly Madoka. However, the colours are much more soft and delicate, in both the characters and the backgrounds. The art style of the characters is very likeable – it’s kind of like a subtle blend of modern and retro. The backgrounds especially have some really interesting colour choices that really make the entire show look fascinating. I don’t actually think there were any shots in this first episode that weren’t visually interesting in some way – and if there were, they must have gone past relatively quick. This could likely be the best-looking show this season.
As for the plot, well. I first gave the synopsis a read about 2 weeks or so before this aired and I was laughing about it for almost all those two weeks. I kept wondering if it was one of those plots that only sounds ridiculous when it has to be explained to someone else but this show is definitely ridiculous. I can’t stress enough how many times I said ‘what’ out aloud while watching this. Almost every third line in the notes I was taking for the review is ‘what is happening’. It’s very hard to take seriously, but it’s also hard to tell exactly how seriously it wants to be taken – after all, ‘bears eating people’ may sound potentially scary but the bears in this show literally look like either stuffed animals or human hybrids with giant cartoony paws and ears. Exactly what Ginko and Lulu have done to Sumika and what their exact intentions for Kureha may be are not revealed in this episode, but given that the promo art shows the two bear girls with Kureha as a trio, it can’t be entirely malicious. Utterly confused as I may be…I’m actually pretty interested, even if just to find out what the fresh hell is going on. Well, mostly because towards the end of the episode the two bears find themselves in a magical court room with three prettyboy bears acting as judge, prosecutor and defense attorney who are legitimately named Life Sexy, Life Cool and Life Beauty, but I digress.
Of course, I can’t ignore the yuri element of this show – it would be impossible to, after all, and not just because it’s right there in the title. The show simply does not want you to forget that these girls are gay – I’m willing to bet every girl in this show is, and it actually begins to get kind of funny how completely unsubtle it is in reminding you. In the opening twenty seconds of the episode alone there is a giant CG lily, and they only get more numerous from there. Lilies, lily closeups, ‘Yuri’ in surnames (Lulu and Ginko are Yurigasaki and Yurishiro…which mean ‘Lilies Are Blooming and Lily White respectively), that one scene towards the end of the episode where Lulu and Ginko lick honey off of a lily growing out of Kureha…we get it. Granted, the last time I watched a yuri anime it was that cringe-inducing Sakura Trick creepfest so I’m hoping Yuri Kuma Arashi will be a better show for cartoon lesbians at least. That bizarre ‘eating’ scene was pretty risque, but it was all so weird that I couldn’t even immediately register it as fanservice.
Was this episode good? …I honestly can’t say. It certainly wasn’t boring. It’s a pretty fascinating-looking show, and it’s managed to catch my attention enough to want to watch more of it. It’s also directed by Ikuhara Kunihiko (AKA ‘the Utena/Penguindrum dude’) so I’m sure there’s a lot more to this show that will meet the eye at first (and there is definitely a lot that meets the eye in this first episode alone.) I’m actually kind of hoping that it ends up good enough for at least somebody here to blog, even if it isn’t me. We’ll find out next week I guess.