Yurikuma Arashi – 11 Review

[C12] Yuri Kuma Arashi - 11.mp4 - 00005After all, love is game for try-hards. It’s why stalking is such a GREAT way to earn love.

Yurikuma Arashi is the only series where after watching it once you can say you’ve seen the series three times already.

Review:

[C12] Yuri Kuma Arashi - 11.mp4 - 00001“This book is SO bad, it killed its author!” Jesus… I get it, she doesn’t like the book but hell… talk about exaggerating things a bit, right?

Yurikuma Arashi hasn’t learned any new tricks this week and the same problems we’ve had to deal with over the course of this show also come up in this episode. Even now as we’re nearing the finale (this IS a 1-cour-show, right… RIGHT?!) and the episodes start to get more dramatic and there’s a plottwist from time to time as the series comes to a close, there’s apparently not enough narrative here to have an episode that isn’t needlessly padded with stuff we already know. Half of this episode is once again beating the same old drum whose rhythms have overstayed their welcome a long time ago.

Although, and this makes this episode actually kinda better than the others before it, this episode’s repetitiveness does serve to illuminate Ginko as a character. And that flashback was necessary to make Ginko’s decision to part with her desire seem sensible. If you look at this episode independent of its place in the series, this is actually a fairly decent episode with good direction. There’s even some of Ikuhara’s stylishness coming back and in terms of soundtrack (announcing Lulu’s death with a sudden cut to silence), nice imagery (Ginko and her evil companion suddenly walking on two different staircases instead of the same one; the scene where Kureha gets excluded by the other kids) and the pacing of the episode building up towards a climax is nicely mirrored by Ginko’s journey from her past with Kureha towards finally meeting Kureha on the rooftop again.

It’s a decent episode – on its own. If you look at this as being this series’ eleventh episode, then it’s continuing the infuriating tendency of this series to withhold important pieces of information. In fact, the series relies on withholding so much that it would rather needlessly spin its wheels as it tirelessly repeats itself time and time again. For eleven episodes this series has been stringing its audience along by always offering new information as it withheld even more information at the same time. And this hasn’t helped the series in any way! It has made it worse!

If there are vital pieces of information that you have to keep hidden to keep the drama going, then you ruin the pacing of the series. A mystery-series does the same but where there the lack of information serves as a way to create momentum, this show has just been stalling. And in a mystery-series the information is gained by the actions of the characters. Yurikuma Arashi’s mysteries get revealed when it’s convenient for the story. This series hides its information behind multiple layers and no matter what the series shares with the audience it’s never the whole story. And how can you trust a series’ storytelling that constantly tells lies of omission?

The flashback of Ginko’s past together with Kureha is important in SO many ways. It starts with the bears excluding Ginko and it further blurs the lines between bears and humans. More and more humans and bears seem like nothing more than two sides of the same coin. Then there’s a montage-sequence showing how she became friends with Kureha. The first highlight is certainly the moment when Kureha gets excluded by the other kids. Exclusion isn’t just literal exclusion but it’s an actual witchhunt where the pariah gets bullied and beat up. And the other highlight follows after that which is Ginko’s idea that if she weren’t a bear everything would be fine (well, technically she IS right about that) and this leads to the court-scene.

The court-scene is one of the weaker moments of this episode as it fails to show the logic behind it. Ginko gets to be human but in return Kureha forgets her. Why? Who knows. The judges don’t explain their reasoning there at all. I guess, the reason why Ginko takes the deal is because she has faith that true love is stronger than this “bullshit”… but still, what a shitty deal. Also, unnecessary repetition rears its ugly head in that scene as well. The scene goes through all the introductions for the judges which may make sense in how this is Ginko’s first time meeting the judges but we, the audience don’t need to see this.

But whatever, Ginko takes the deal and then she leaves the human world with the help of Reia – as we already know. Of course we still have to sit through a few short snippets of connecting the already existing dots with this new information. And the second highlight is certainly the montage highlighting Ginko’s determination that starts with her confronting the priestess at the church in her village. She leaves her hometown behind (which wasn’t that hard considering how she had already been a pariah there anyway) but it’s her admitting to loving a human being that nicely shows off her determination and courage.

And the weakest moment is certainly Ginko then later leaving that evil bear-girl behind. The evil bear-girl managed to seduce Ginko since Kureha had shot her and Kureha clearly had a problem with how Ginko had been connected to Sumika’s death. It was an understandable moment of vulnerability – but it’s one that only makes sense if you haven’t gotten a glimpse of just how determined Ginko has been to find Kureha again and win back her love. The person we’ve seen in those flashbacks is a fanatic. And so it makes sense that ultimately Ginko doesn’t get worn down by desire. But with that in mind the previous scene where Ginko is wavering doesn’t make sense. That’s the problem with the series withholding vital information like this: It fucks up the drama. It’s very hard to be consistent when your story can’t freely express itself because of some bullshit-drama-scheme based on withholding information.

[C12] Yuri Kuma Arashi - 11.mp4 - 00003Yeah, because so far Ginko’s overtures towards Kureha have just been a homerun for love…

Lulu’s death, though, is just a case of cheap writing. When Ginko started out with insisting how great of a friend Lulu has always been to her, the series might as well have screamed “She’s gonna die!” and then later the series shows the two bear-eyes which is a very strong hint as to who’s back. And dramatically Lulu’s death is pathetic. Not because of her necessarily but because of how stupidly staged the whole scene is. Like usual, Kureha’s actions in that scene are frustratingly wishy-washy and she also seems very naïve in how she’s handling the situation.

And you know that you’ve written a bad character when another characters has to bluntly state what said character is feeling. When Lulu’s last words are basically her describing what’s going on in Kureha’s mind (because Kureha herself doesn’t manage to be expressive enough for that), then you know that Kureha’s characterization is really stupid. Lulu explains that Kureha has supposedly already forgiven Ginko for being involved in Sumika’s death and I’m like “She has?”. And supposedly Kureha has been lying when she told Lulu that the next time she would see her she would shoot her. I mean, I guess, that could be what’s going on. Or it couldn’t. With Kureha’s flimsy characterization, I really have no idea what’s going on in her mind. If Lulu had said the total opposite of what she had said there, I would’ve had the same reaction. The problem with Kureha’s character is that she never seems to have a motivation. She throws tantrums, sulks and/or is feeling desperate because she has no clue what’s going on. But at no point does it feel like she has a plan of what to do next.

And the writing for her character is just SO tepid. She sits there bound to a chair, seeing the person who she loves walking into a trap and you get the usual “Stay Away! I hate you! Just go!”-spiel but instead of getting more dramatic as Kureha is unable to make Ginko leave, she just starts crying and… just continues doing her spiel while quietly adding little snippets of truth like “I don’t want to lose someone again.”. But the scene never builds up the tension that would lead to the shot. The shot just happens at one point during a dialogue that hasn’t been going anywhere (it feels like both Ginko and Kureha are kinda deaf in that scene and don’t even listen to each other) and Lulu’s just suddenly there to sacrifice herself (and explain Kureha’s state of mind).

But after the credits there’s a scene of Kureha facing the judges… again. Fuck you, Yurikuma Arashi. Seriously, this series could be over by now if the series would stop fucking around so much with all this pointless repetition and needless secrecy.

Episode-Rating: 6.5/10

Random Thoughts:

  • This episode also has this voice-over-narration from Ginko where she opens with the teaser “And that’s how I gave up on love…”. *yawn* Yeah, whatever. It isn’t bad enough that the series is withholding information, now it’s turning the whole thing into teasers as well.
  • I guess, the series will never address how Ginko has killed multiple people in this episode as she was overtaken by desire.
  • In the judges-scene, something curious was mentioned about how Kumalia has been missing for some time now and now the judges are acting in her stead. Maybe Reia has been Kumalia…? And Kureha will be the new Kumalia? After all, there were moments in the past where the series tried to build this connection between how Kureha is similar to her mother, in some ways even identical.

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on March 24, 2015, in Anime, Reviews, Yuri Kuma Arashi and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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