Revolutionary Girl Utena and this series share quite a bit from each other– strong sexual tension between girls, heavily and sometimes overused metaphors to indicate the innocence of youth how it forms and how these characters transition from child to adult. With this episode it’s the villain of both these series that share similar ideas. Kaoru reminds me a lot of Lady Touga– they share the same bedroom and have this innate ability to seduce others into their plans.
Before I really jump into the heart of this episode I want to talk about the animation in the opening. Etsuko Sumimoto one of the lead animators on Honey and Clover really poured in her inspiration to animate light-hearted fluffy scenes with the bears and this also shows off quite strongly in this episode. Kunihiko Ikuhara did a wonderful job at establishing Kureha and Ginko as the Moon Girl and the Forest Girl with this here– the storybook style is completely different than the rest of Yuri Kuma and it pays off!
It’s obvious where the real story is headed now that we know Reira’s book is unfinished and I’m glad its taking this turn. It takes a generic story and raises the bar using the real world as a bizarre opposite of it. I like how we are pulled into Reira’s story, it feels somewhat old-fashioned and a nice breather from the craziness Ikuhara has developed with yuri, bears and a storm that is soon-to-be approaching. I get the feeling the storm is actually the students in the classroom exorcising evil. The student council president takes matters into her own hands that if others aren’t fitting in with the group they are evil. Every time we see this happen it’s always been Kureha being excluded– she loves Sumika and wants to keep the flower garden intact. Cutting the flower lilies and burning them represents two things. Severing ties between friends– we see that gradual build up where Kaoru and the other students help Kureha fix the garden only to burn it by the end of the episode. The other is what the flowers depict in a sexual manner– Kureha has been pursued through desires of various girls and its interesting to see how the fire establishes this. Wonderfully written and portrays the reality of bullying at school quite well. Which moves me to my next point about Sumika. She is one of the most interesting characters of this series for me for a few reasons.
The first being she’s been dead for most of it yet plays such a pivotal role in how Kureha feels about humans and bears. I’m sure that we will see some interaction between the two of them in some otherworldly form later on due to her flashback scenes being so important that director Ikuhara repeats them.
The second being the theme of friendships. Ginko deeply cares for Kureha and Kureha cares for Sumika but what’s to happen when she is to find out Ginko didn’t save Sumika from Mitsuko. The bond between human and bear and what will symbolize their friendship will most certainly stem from Sumika. The letter represents Sumika’s unending love for Kureha not to mention the girls standing before her. Powerful message it sends about being unique and finding your own self in the company of others.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 8/10