First confirmed anime for the blog, aw yeah.
Also hella spoilers because this is an Ikuhara work.
As Kureha despairs over Sumika’s death, another student goes missing. While Mitsuko (the student council president) and Konomi (yet another student) have… a moment together, Ginko and Lulu take the opportunity to force their way into Kureha’s home. Ginko nearly does… something to Kureha, but Mitsuko intervenes (with a GUN) just in time. She chases both Ginko and Lulu out, and rushes after them.
After this strange series of events, Kureha gets a call from the same mysterious man, telling her to go to the tower again to prove her love for Sumika. Once there, she meets with Konomi—who is actually a bear. Konomi is jealous that Mitsuko’s getting so close to Kureha, so she intends to eat Kureha. However, Kureha again “falls” into Bear Court, with Life Sexy ruling in favor of the bears (again). Back in the real world, Mitsuki again saves Kureha, by putting a bullet through Konomi-bear’s head.
Kureha once again ends up in the nurse’s office, while Mitsuki muses to herself about eating Kureha. Because it turns out she is ALSO a bear.
I was hesitant to review this series at first because I predicted it would be hard to review (I mean, it’s Ikuhara); but I just couldn’t let it go. I’m still kind of sad about Mawaru Penguindrum being dropped on here, so what the hey, I’ll review this one. (Also Ginko is voiced by the same VA who did Himari in Penguindrum, which is neat.)
Par for the course with anime directed by Ikuhara, the second episode just raises more questions than it answers. And, while it’s still too early to get what everything is supposed to symbolize, I do have some theories. It seems that all the bears will have some form of the word “yuri” in their family names, because all the bears so far already have that. Also, I get the feeling that the bears are supposed to represent the sexual side of a girl-girl relationship, based on the way they act towards each other and Kureha. It’s so far presented in a sort of bad light (because they ARE killing the girls) but who knows. Is Kureha’s “test of love” really just a test of how “pure” her love for Sumika is? Again, who knows.
What is obvious in the second episode is that all the bears really want to kill/eat Kureha for some reason or other. And they’re willing to kill each other to get to her, as shown by how Mitsuko just coldly kills what appeared to be her girlfriend. What is still not too obvious is the mechanics of Bear Court. It’s somewhat apparent by now that Kureha actually doesn’t “fall” into it, because the scene on the tower continued afterwards as if nothing had happened. Also, I’m not sure if Ginko and Lulu are actually the ones on trial—rather, they seem to be the “enforcers” of the verdict that Life Sexy passes. So this seems so far to be basically like the Princess of the Crystal thing all over again.
My terrible theories aside, the animation in this episode was still just as great as the previous one. I admit, I did roll my eyes at the “THERE’S NO TIME TO EXPLAIN” bit with Mitsuko. But if Mitsuko had explained that Ginko and Lulu were actually bears, the series would probably be over too soon. It’s a painfully clichéd anime trope to create conflict, which is kind of strange as this is an Ikuhara work, but ehhh whatever. Am I the only one who’s kind of annoyed at the “SHOCK” sound effect that plays every time a bear appears? I honestly don’t know if that’s meant to be a serious thing or if it’s meant to be sarcastic. Anyway, I’m also a bit worried about all the stock footage this episode. Supposedly Yuri Kuma Arashi is only going to be 12 episodes long, so that there’s so much stock footage in just the second episode is… kind of worrying.
Overall, this was a pretty solid episode, stock footage aside. The story’s still interesting, and the background design is still lovely. Yes, there is still the same level of fanservice as in the first episode, but honestly there’s so much more to be concerned about in this series than that. Characters are getting killed left and right and it’ll probably only get worse from here. But then again that’s pretty typical for Ikuhara.
Out of five:
Close to a four but I have to knock off some points for all the stock footage.