Yurikuma Arashi – 09 Review
Guess, Kureha likes to shoot first and ask later…
Good thing this series has Kureha to drive the plot forward. After all, I can’t imagine an ordinary person to change her opinion on things that radically that fast – multiple times! Maybe next week she will hate her classmates again who she had become friends with in this episode because why not, right?
That’s why I hate this series’ lack of reflection. Instead of having Ginko deal with her guilt and find some way to move forward, we get a dialogue-scene where another character TELLS Ginko why she had done what she had done and all Ginko has to say is “Yeah, you’re right.”. It doesn’t help that this tepid analysis of Ginko’s guilt gets repeated in the flashback-scene.
Yurikuma Arashi is one of those series that is more defined by its flaws than its strengths. It opened with no story and all the story has been doing since is to tell the story. It has no plottwists because all it can do is just to reveal new details about the story. The characters don’t experience any development as the series is just illuminating details about the characters that had been there from the beginning. And the plot no matter how many times it tries to move forward just ends up running in circles around the story that progressively gets more illuminated.
Case in point: This episode. Let’s start with the most obvious problem of this episode that I had: It has been predictable from start to finish. Well, except the reveal about the book but I’ll talk about why that’s another typical problem of this show later. So the eighth episode ended with this somewhat dramatic showdown and after that the series did a… well, it wasn’t exactly a recap but instead there were a couple interviews that were also stylized kinda. And there was a preview for this episode because of course, we were all sitting at the edge of our seats trying to find out whether Ginko had done the thing… this series had already told us about a couple episodes ago! Some people have theorized that Lulu has been talking about something beside Ginko’s involvement in Sumika’s killing because the series had already revealed that in a post-ED-sequence. And that would’ve made it kinda obvious. But it’s exactly what the series has gone for.
Self-awareness is an important element of any modern TV-show nowadays. As long as the medium already exists a lot of storytelling-tropes and conventions have become common knowledge. Stuff that would’ve been exciting back in the day is now just “this thing TV-series sometimes do”. You have to add something that feels fresh or otherwise the story might seem too dull or boring. And this is the problem with this episode. It’s just boring. There’s nothing exciting about the storytelling in this episode. We know where the series wants to go with this revelation before it even finished revealing this supposedly exciting thing – and then the episode simply comes to a standstill.
Forget about how predictable the reveal of Ginko’s guilt had been because what’s way more egregious about it is how the episode can’t shut up about it. First, it’s the evil girl-bear talking about it, then it’s the flashback of what Ginko has done and then the showdown-scene on the rooftop gets repeated for the SECOND time in this episode. And all those instances really just repeat the same fact of how Ginko had let Sumika die. That’s it! This is the kind of repetition that isn’t stylish anymore. We basically get all the minutiae of this plot-point without any reflection or style. Yeah, one does wonder where the stylishness has disappeared to in these various repetitive moments. The conversation between the evil-bear-girl and Ginko is a little bit fantastical (but it’s more interested in showing off another yuri-fanservice-moment) but stylish…? Not at all.
It’s a sign of how this series just doesn’t have a story to support its stylish ambitions. There’s a noticeable lack of substance in this series and all the stylishness that promises more just calls attention to that. Without the stylish appearance it would’ve been easy to write this series off as a mediocre romance-yuri-show with fantasy-elements. With the stylishness, though…? Then you really start to notice how the story is struggling in each episode to find something noteworthy to say.
Okay, there’s a line that’s called “too on-the-nose” and this has definitely crossed it.
But the final nail in the coffin is Kureha. Her character is written SO badly that she manages to drain all dramatic scenes of energy. Just take this episode for instance: Kureha ends up shooting Ginko – but doesn’t kill her. She then goes home. Yeah, that’s what she does. And then she worries about Ginko. You know, the person SHE HAD JUST SHOT because said person had admitted to have killed her lover! Kureha cares about Sumika enough to shoot someone dear to her as revenge – but then is chasing after the shot person because she wants to hear the truth! What truth is she talking about?! They had just talked about the whole thing on the rooftop and more than that, Kureha had no trouble believing Ginko when she had talked about how she had acquired Reia’s pendant and when she had said that she hadn’t killer Kureha’s mother. And Kureha isn’t even thinking about Sumika at this point. Then later when Kureha gets ambushed by Yuriika and her new buddies end up saving her, she chases after Yuriika to find out why the latter had killed her mom. And Kureha just takes it in stride. She doesn’t seem to give a fuck from how little of a reaction she had. That character has literally NO perspective to offer. One moment she loves bears, the next she vows to kill them and then she goes back to worrying about them. It’s SO obvious how Kureha’s behavior has been driven by what’s convenient for the plot and since the series doesn’t have much of a throughline anyway, her character is just doing whatever’s necessary to keep the plot going. And her reactions are just whatever the writer thought would be neat.
Kureha now joining her classmates in the Illuminati-racism-circlejerk is another one of those useless plotpoints that’s clearly there to offer a hook for a few plotdevelopments and obvious charactermoments. Of course, it isn’t enough to just magically let her be friends now with the same people who had told her go fuck herself on her birthday a few days ago. So the three bear-judges are nearby explaining the whole thing to the audience. And guess what they do to fill the time visually during this stupid exposition-moment? Yep, yuri-fanservice… again. Apparently that’s the series go-to whenever they need to fill time.
And what’s supposed to get me to watch the next episode this time…? Well, as it turns out the book about the Moon-girl and the Forest-girl has a second half – and it’s a prophecy now. Okay, thematically I’ve already talked about the fairy-tale-notions this series has and I’ve also mentioned how this series’ story is about showing what true love is. The book becoming a prophecy and Yuriika directly saying that it’s about Kureha and Ginko just proves me right in that regard which makes this another very predictable story-development for me.
But in reality it isn’t even a story-development. It’s never been established that there’s a second half. As far as I remember it has been pointed out that Kureha’s version has no ending but it has been said that her mother had never finished it before she died. But it’s SO typical of this series to just drop this detail on you where previously the story had no place for this detail. This second half of the book didn’t get any buildup and if Ginko’s and Kureha’s love is indeed fated to be then what about Sumika? Was she simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, fell in love with the wrong person and ended up getting killed for that? I fear that when we reach the end of this series and look back on it, it becomes obvious how much of this series’ story has been shabbily constructed to fit a dull and eventless plot. I think the only time I came close to liking this show had been during Lulu’s flashback-episode.
- Ginko fuses together with evil-bear-girl and Ginko’s eyes start to glow red as she’s evil now. BOORRRIIING! First of all, hadn’t Ginko already reached that point when she had let Sumika die? She already had indulged her selfish desires at that point. The only difference seems to be that Ginko now gets to be evil for evil’s sake and just straight-up become a murderer who’s after Kureha.
- Where’s Lulu?
- Right now, I don’t think this series will have a reveal ready like the Children-boiler in Mawaru Penguindrum for its finale. It will be just this corny battle to prove that love is real and that humans and bears can live happily together.