I usually don’t do this anymore, but this episode drops some pretty heavy plot bombs so SPOILER WARNING.

Oooh, story time!

Summary:

Life Sexy and the rest of the bear court helpfully decide to tell the audience a story of the events leading up to Ginko and Lulu arriving in the human world.  Lulu was actually once a princess of some sort of magical bear kingdom.  She was the center of attention and the next in line to the throne.  But that all changed one day when her baby brother was born.  As he was the prince, he would be the one to take the throne, so everyone paid attention to Prince Milan instead which left Lulu basically abandoned.

Little princess Lulu is just the most adorable thing.

Prince Milan is also a cutie. This balcony scene is actually my favorite part of the episode. Such great atmosphere!

Milan really loved Lulu as an older sister, though; and one night asks her about the story of the Promised Kiss.  Apparently true love’s kisses turn into stars, but the Promised Kiss shines brightest.  Thus, Milan decides to make it his life goal to get the Promised Kiss for Lulu, so that he can get a kiss from her.  This leads Lulu (who hated Milan for stealing all the attention) to devise numerous ways to off her brother.  They all failed, as Milan would always manage to come back to Lulu, bringing her a small pot of sparkling honey (which Lulu always threw away).  However, he one day gets stung by a bee and dies, thus restoring Lulu’s place as the center of attention.

Lulu certainly has an interesting room…

However, as Lulu continues to grow older, she realizes that even though she got what she wanted, she wasn’t all that happy.  It’s only then that Lulu finds out (the hard way) that she really did love Milan.  Not long after, Ginko visits her one night, giving her the pot of honey that Milan used to bring her.  Ginko claims that there is a girl past the Severance Barrier that she must give her Promised Kiss to.  Lulu decides to follow along as she had already lost the person to whom her Promised Kiss belonged.

The “first meeting.”

And that is how two bears eventually infiltrated Kureha’s school…

My Opinion:

This episode was just amazing.  I’m a sucker for fairy tale-styled episodes, and this episode certainly delivered; along with several fairly big pieces of information.

I certainly never expected there to be a magical, fantasy bear kingdom!  (And yes, I’m fully aware that it could just be a “human imagined” version of the bear kingdom–for all we know, the castle could have just been a plain old bear cave or something) And for Lulu to have been a princess at that!  This episode really made Lulu a more complex character than I initially thought.  Although the morals of “you don’t realize how much you love something until you’ve lost it” and “be careful what you wish for” are pretty old hat, I did like the “you don’t want what you don’t desire” quote.  And I loved how the scene where Lulu throws away the honey pot is a mirror to the scene later with Kureha shoving aside Lulu’s honey-porridge when Lulu says that they’re all friends.  After all, you don’t want what you don’t desire.

Ginko is apparently also some sort of royalty, judging from the crown she has while in bear-kingdom.  I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that the person Ginko is supposed to give her Promised Kiss to is Kureha.  The episode even ends with a dramatic zoom in on the necklace Kureha’s mom is wearing in Kureha’s framed picture—the same necklace that Ginko has currently.  What it means when a Promised Kiss is finally fulfilled has yet to be seen, though I’m assuming we’ll find out by the end of this series.

I’ll say it again; I love the fairy tale aspect of this episode.  Even though Lulu’s attempts to kill her brother were rather horrifying, this episode seemed much less “dark” than past episodes.  It’s probably because Lulu’s kingdom is so bright and colorful, compared to the oppressive environment of the human world.  The scenery in the bear-kingdom was so lovely; I had to mentally stop myself from taking too many screencaps.

Overall, this was a really great episode, and one that should not be missed if you are following this series already.  There was probably a lot of symbolism and metaphors hidden in this episode (is that red bee supposed to represent Lulu’s dark side?) and I probably missed a ton of them.  As with most Ikuhara works, it’s hard to really understand how these subtle messages tie together until the end, so I’m really excited to see where this series heads next.

Out of five:

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