As to be expected, there are SUPER HUGE SPOILERS here.
Episode 9 Summary:
Continuing on from last episode, Kureha shoots Ginko and she (Ginko) ends up falling from the rooftop. Thankfully, Ginko manages to survive! Ginko finds herself beyond the “Door of Friendship,” which was that mysterious door in the lily garden. Beyond the Door of Friendship is an eternally snowy landscape—the place between the human and bear world. There, Ginko meets with Mitsuko’s ghost, who talks to Ginko. Ginko’s sin was in letting Sumika die. There were two chances for Ginko to have saved Sumika, but Ginko’s emotions were conflicted. After being consumed by despair over Kureha having given her love to another person, and of letting Kureha’s precious person die, Ginko is possessed by Mitsuko’s ghost.
Back in the human world, Kureha eventually realizes that Ginko couldn’t have been Sumika’s killer, because Mitsuko was. She gets a call from an anonymous person, telling her to prove her love by coming to the lily garden. In actuality, this is just a set-up by Yuriika, who plans to eat Kureha that night. Kureha ends up in the garden, and is nearly killed by Yuriika-bear, but some students from her class save her by shooting Yuriika. Yuriika has just enough strength to make it back to her office, where she sees a vision of Reia and dies—but not before telling that she hid the ending of Reia’s book in one of her drawers. Kureha somehow manages to find the missing part of this book, and is disturbed at what’s written for the ending.
I honestly don’t even know what to say about this series anymore. It’s still a fascinating watch, but what the hell. Mitsuko is a ghost and apparently the embodiment of lust? What? And now Ginko is possessed and evil, what??? How does that even work? Did Mitsuko-ghost somehow manage to carry Ginko to the place beyond the Door of Friendship? Is that even possible? I would have thought that Lulu saving Ginko would be more of a likely story, but that wasn’t the case…? My head hurts.
I pretty much expected for things to go the way they did on Yuriika’s end, though. As I predicted, she wants to eat Kureha because she believes that Kureha contains the love that Reia had. Fortunately for Kureha and unfortunately for her, Yuriika gets offed right away. Now that… I wasn’t expecting. As much as Kureha’s classmates may exclude her, they still ended up saving Kureha’s life. So… yay?
Yeah, I know this isn’t the best review of this episode but I honestly can’t muster up anything other than saying “what” over and over. I do like that we’re shown that Ginko honestly feels guilty about what happened to Sumika. In a way, she DID “kill” Sumika, because her jealousy over Kureha’s love was what made her hesitate and allowed Sumika to be killed. That she’s still so conflicted over this turn of events shows that she’s not really a bad person. Well, besides the fact that she and Lulu did murder a few girls already…
Meanwhile Yuriika gets sorta redeemed in death. She’s reunited with Reia again (supposedly), and Reia seems to hold no ill will towards Yuriika for having eaten her. Though since this IS Ikuhara, it could have really just been a dying hallucination all along.
Overall, a really “wtf” episode, but also a really good one. Yuriika’s now out of the picture, but Ginko is being possessed by an evil bear ghost; which means the story and conflict isn’t over just yet.
Out of five:
Episode 10 Summary:
After the numerous bear attacks, the students now patrol the school grounds with guns, seeking to exterminate the last of the bears in hiding. Meanwhile, Lulu searches for Reia’s star necklace, while Kureha reads the ending to the storybook her mother wrote. Apparently, both the Forest Girl and the Sky Girl managed to shatter the mirror that acted as the barrier, and delivered the promised kiss to one another. And with that, they overcame the Severance Barrier. Even though this was the fate mapped out for her, Kureha still doesn’t think that a love between a human and a bear is possible.
Lulu unexpectedly drops by just to return the necklace, but Kureha invites Lulu into her home. They have a chat, and Lulu says that she betrayed Ginko because she was jealous. Nonetheless, Lulu still wants Kureha to forgive Ginko. Unfortunately, their meeting is cut short because Kureha’s classmates find out that Lulu is a bear, and attack Kureha’s house. Kureha and Lulu make a run for the Door of Friendship. As they are running, Lulu reveals the secret to how the bears get their human transformations. They have to give up something precious in return. What Ginko gave up was Kureha’s love, which is why Kureha can’t remember anything about Ginko. Having revealed the secret, Lulu’s pact is broken and she returns to her bear form.
Even though Lulu attempts to sacrifice her life for Kureha’s sake, Kureha won’t let her, and quickly carries her to the Door of Friendship and pushes her through. Thanks to Lulu’s help, Kureha finally remembers who Ginko is, and her love for her. Unfortunately, Kureha is found out by the other students, and is now cornered. But it appears that the possessed Ginko is lurking nearby…
Before the episode ends for good, we see Kureha… in bear court?!?
So Lulu only betrayed Ginko because she was jealous. I half-expected that, but now that the series has confirmed it I’m a bit disappointed. Basically, everything that has happened in the plot so far is because someone was jealous of another person’s love. Wow. Okay. Normally I would hate these sorts of plotlines for sounding utterly contrived and eye-roll worthy, but at least Yuri Kuma Arashi manages to make it sound genuine. Even though it’s happened not once, but SEVERAL times.
At least Lulu did try to make amends, and she did give up her human form just to tell Kureha the truth. So Lulu is alright in my book. But Kureha is now in trouble for “siding with the bears” and it almost looks like she’s going to be executed by the other students at the end of the episode. Come on guys, you need to give that girl a break. Maybe if you stopped trying to pin the blame on just one person all the time, you guys would probably realize that trying to exclude people only ever made the problem worse. Well, I can say that easily because we, as the audience, are given full insight into all viewpoints on the matter. But obviously if you only ever knew one viewpoint or argument since birth, then any counterarguments are that much harder to accept. Yeah, I’m betting that’s what Ikuhara was trying to convey.
What the hell was up with that Konomi cyborg bear??? I get the feeling that was just thrown in there as some sort of dark humor, but what the hell Ikuhara.
Anyway, this was a good episode! We finally see the ending of Reia’s fairy tale, and we see some nice parallels between Reia/Ginko and Kureha/Lulu when they opened and closed the Door of Friendship. However, possessed!Ginko is now on the loose, and Kureha is cornered with guns pointed at her. I get the feeling that this series will end like what Reia’s book predicted, but it’s not going to be easy to get there. There’s only two episodes left, though; so this is the end-game now.
Out of five: