Before I dive into this I want to talk about how this series was conceived. Kunihiko Ikuhara contacted famous yuri mangakan Akiko Morishima around the time Mawaru Penguindrum was finishing its run on Japanese television waves. Popular BL and yuri mangakan Akiko Morishima being a huge fan of his works initially didn’t want to ruin the creativity Ikuhara had in store for Yuri Kuma Arashi but decided anyway to help develop a love story that wasn’t too cliche. He wanted something different and with the yuri genre he could do that however his presence would guarantee that some elements would be too loose-ended. I’ve been following the manga and there are quite a large amount of deviations from what we’ve got with the anime adaptation– the origin of the bears are almost non-existent in the manga as well as the heavy use of metaphors and allegories. It’s interesting to see how more developed Reira’s scenes with Yurika are as opposed to the other girls. Morishima is known for writing love stories about older women so this is no surprise here. What’s interesting to note is that Ikuahra wanted to receive inspiration from Morishima by using a story concept he wrote that was only one page long. She filled in the details and thus created a bond between this obscure director and yuri mangakan to establish the identities of Yuri Kuma‘s characters. Most of the staff that worked on this manga and animation project are female just like Ikuhara’s other works. The staff that would initially be hired on were just receiving the title before coming on board the project: a lot of the responses were mixed. Just some interesting details about the how this story was created. On to the tenth episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi!
Thought I would point this out as I may not have mentioned it before: every time we see Kureha’s house and the two streets divide it there’s a human sign on the left and bear sign on the right. So The Severance Wall separates bears and humans and the Invisible Storm separates society. This episode finally brings these two diverging points together!
This is probably the best work SILVER LINK has ever produced because of how good the facial expressions are. The backgrounds by Studio Kokoro in this series are incredibly detailed too. Having quite a few talented animators working on various designs even in this episode paid off extensivly. The storybook sequence is some of the best artwork out of this entire series and provides a nice contrast to the bears uprising against humans. The city setting and just outside of the school is done by Sakamichi no Apollon background animator Hiroaki Matsui. I can really tell because he uses a distinct hand drawn style on objects that is really defining.
Remember how I said language in Yuri Kuma is somewhat disillusioned in this world? We’ve heard “is your love true” so many times I feel it has lost its meaning intentionally. It’s worn out over so many different people and for good reason. Lulu originally was jealous of Kureha because Ginko only had eyes for her, Mitsuko wanted Kureha– everyone desires someone they can’t have. I wonder if Kureha will become the leader of Kumalia after all this, I only say this because it’s interesting to see how many girls are interested in her that its only fitting for her to become this unattainable goddess of the world. Also how after the credits, Kureha shows up in front of the judges inside the Severance Court.
Ginko’s absence throughout the majority of this episode is barely noticeable because Lulu steals the spotlight with so many wonderful moments! Ginko’s love is keeping apart the friendship that Lulu and Kureha share and I like how greatly explored in the scenes at Kureha’s house ventures into this train of thought. Lulu doesn’t want to back down on her love and promise kiss [devotion] to Ginko and what do the creators do here? Well towards the beginning we see her obtaining information and hiding from the newly formed and downright bizarre KMGRT team of girls and one brought-back-to-life robotic bear. She’s devoted to Ginko and will do anything even sacrifice herself to make her dream come true.
The Door of Friendship flashback scenes provide just enough fill in to what connects bears from humans and how they form bonds. I really like how we get confirmation that it’s indeed a backdoor in crossing the Wall of Severance. Follow your temptations, never backing down on your love and you just might remove any distance between bear and man to escape the harshness of bullying. In a sense its like absolving of your sins. Lulu revealing the transformation sequence to Kureha is in fact a sin among bears becoming humans. So the judges have a pretty strong system set into place for situations like these– smart move. It’s neat to see how she’s unable to change back into a human after the judges’ decision on keeping with the rules. I do wonder what bear the KMGRT ended up killing by mistake.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: 9/10