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EP. REVIEW: Yurikuma Arashi


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CrowLia



Joined: 24 Feb 2012
Posts: 5317
Location: Mexico
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 4:43 am Reply with quote
I agree that, being the only male characters in the series (aside from Milne and Yuriika's father) they should in theory represent something, especially because early on they seem to be in a position of power over bears, but the more I think about it, the more I get convinced that "something" is not the patriarchy and that whatever it is, it might not even be a negative thing.

That being said, Gabriella said in her first review "Lesbians symbolize lesbians". Maybe in this case "Shaba-da-doo symbolizes Shaba-da-doo"
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Grungehamster



Joined: 27 Feb 2015
Posts: 41
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:51 am Reply with quote
CrowLia wrote:
^But the point is that they're not really judging anyone. They're not saying "Oh you're a bad lesbian because you don't conform to this or that type and we won't allow you to exercise your sexuality because of that"


They don't ever sentence them or deny their motions, but they both acted as an authority that was gating the defendant's actions and judged them in the sense of providing criticism of their intended course of action (but it was constructive criticism). They definitely were not the masterminds of any dark conspiracy like I and many others thought they were (in my defense they were bishies in an Ikuhara show! How could they NOT be evil?). However they certainly were given a position of authority and placed hurdles in the way of the characters (what with the mind wipes and bans on discussing the terms of their agreements.)

Also: they were involved in a majority of the deaths in the series, either signing off on a request to kill (all justified as expressions of love by the defendants) or engineering a conflict (calling the girls and bears to tell them to meet on the roof if they want to prove their love knowing it would lead to a confrontation.)

They were positive antagonists: they were more often a source of problems than offering any sort of solution, but their hearts were in the right place. Can definitely see both sides of the issue.
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Selipse



Joined: 04 Sep 2014
Posts: 216
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:31 am Reply with quote
I still think they were just the id, ego, and super-ego.
Cool says "that's wrong", Beauty says "it's just bear nature", and Sexy takes both sides into account and yuri approves.
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GeOMeek417



Joined: 25 Mar 2013
Posts: 16
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:51 am Reply with quote
the court symbolises the patriarchy. abso-shaba-daa dootly

the symbol of the 3 court bears transforming into kumaria is a call back to pengundrum's chisel episode when the giant michealangelo's david turns into Tokyo tower. its is the forces of patriarchy (or this patriarchal world) being transformed by the power of true love/sacrifice.
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Grungehamster



Joined: 27 Feb 2015
Posts: 41
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:56 am Reply with quote
Selipse wrote:
I still think they were just the id, ego, and super-ego.
Cool says "that's wrong", Beauty says "it's just bear nature", and Sexy takes both sides into account and yuri approves.


Or alternatively:


(Why yes: I did somehow miss that the main characters and Judgemens are color coded until I saw that.)

Like I mentioned, chances are they aren't supposed to be any one single thing: using established elements for multiple things is very common in these shows.
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NothingIfNot



Joined: 25 Feb 2015
Posts: 35
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 11:42 am Reply with quote
The Judgemen are, by strict definition, a patriarchy: An exclusively male institution that exercises authority over a basically female world. Interesting is that they freely admit, in episode 11, that Kumaria-sama is missing, instead of pretending to be following her instructions, and that, in episode 12, they welcome their dissolution when Kumaria-sama returns.

So, the Judgemen acknowledge that ideally they shouldn't be in charge and willingly abdicate to Kumaria-sama; the bears and humans are victims of social conditioning; Yuriika is a victim of her "father"; which leaves Yuriika's "father" as, apparently, by far the least morally redeemable character in the show. Especially when we consider that he owned the school, which raises the question: Did he make the school? Going further, did he make, or at least help to make, the entire existing social order?

It's tempting, but maybe reductive, to see an element of self-criticism in those high heels, considering Ikuhara's own dabbling in cross-dressing.

Also interesting: The timing of Kumaria-sama's disappearance - the meteor shower on the Day of Severance - and return. The human and bear worlds seem to have existed as somewhat distinct entities before the Day of Severance (Yuriika was "an unwanted bear abandoned in the human world"), though maybe not in conflict with each other. Or, at least, if there was a preexisting conflict, it clearly became much more intense on the Day of Severance. And the conflict continues even after Kumaria-sama returns - though maybe Kureha's and Ginko's example has decisively turned the tide.

This actually seems to approximately work as a metaphor for the historical development of lesbian rights (or the rights of subjugated groups of people in general). As the subjugated group starts to break free, the hostility of the dominant group intensifies, as they can't simply take their control of the situation for granted any more.

(Not that we see a dominant group and subjugated group in Yurikuma Arashi, exactly. Rather, the human girls seem to represent what society considers acceptable behavior for lesbians, while the bears are a projection of society's paranoia about what lesbians will do if they're allowed to deviate from that behavior. Though of course the bear girls are just as indoctrinated as the humans. The role of the bear church, whether it knows it or not, seems to be to educate bears into playing the role that human society needs them to play in order to perpetuate itself.)

@ Grungehamster

I couldn't believe it the first time I saw that gif! Talk about hiding in plain sight.
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SejinPK



Joined: 22 Dec 2013
Posts: 110
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:59 pm Reply with quote
@Hope, anonamon, and Gabriella: Thanks very much for your responses (though I know Gabriella wasn't just responding to me)! Many of the ideas about sexuality that the show deals with are things I hadn't really thought about or even really come across or actively looked into before, so it's all sinking in rather slowly, and your responses have been very helpful in getting my head around it all and understanding it just a little bit better. In that regard, watching Yurikuma was just as much a learning experience regarding its subject matter as it was regarding parsing a show like this.

I don't think I said it before, but I just wanted to say a huge "Thank you!" to Gabriella for writing her reviews about the show. They were immensely enjoyable and informative!
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anonamon



Joined: 05 Feb 2015
Posts: 15
PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:43 pm Reply with quote
Chrysostomus wrote:
Also, do people still think the Severance Court bears are supposed to be the "patriarchy"? Didn't they like return to Kumaria once she was reassembled? They were literally just fragments of hers.


Yes. The keyword here is that they were fragments, severed parts of Kumaria and just like every individual and system that have been severed from the whole they were deeply flawed.

Compare and contrast the transformation sequences when Life Sexy "yuri approves" to when Kumaria approves. As has been said over and over again what follows is for Life Sexy and for the (male) audience, just look at how their bodies are put on display for the him and the audience, how the lily rises from Kureha like a phallus and is licked. Then look at the sequence at the end, it's still sexy, cool, and beautiful but it's not for us. Ginko and Kureha are looking at each other the entire time, the lily envelopes the both of them, shielding them from the audiences view. There's no winking or sly looks at the camera.

Then of course, there's the role of the patriarchy in ep 4, the man who appeared as a woman and instilled impossible standards of female innocence and purity in Yuriika, etc.

Anyways, maybe I'll address the rest of your post later, after I'm done laughing at you calling the participants in the invisible storm "innocent".
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Aylinn



Joined: 18 Nov 2006
Posts: 1684
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:17 am Reply with quote
I have just finished Yuri Kuma, so I wanted to add my thoughts.
Quote:
I don't like how they played into the imagery of lesbian double suicide (a recurring phenomenon in Japanese history and art) as the bridge to the heroines' transcendence.

I am not an expert on Yuri, but I saw this whole thing a bit differently. It seemed to me that Kureha simply stopped to care whether or not society excludes her and her lover (after all, she was the one who turned Ginko into a human) and realized that she cannot have both, so she chooses Ginko (turns into a bear). Once society’s approval has lost any importance to Kureha and society’s attacks cannot reach her anymore, her life becomes, literally, a paradise. For me this whole afterlife seemed to be just a metaphor of their living happily ever after, not that they really died in order to be together.
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Grungehamster



Joined: 27 Feb 2015
Posts: 41
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 11:36 am Reply with quote
Aylinn wrote:
I have just finished Yuri Kuma, so I wanted to add my thoughts.
Quote:
I don't like how they played into the imagery of lesbian double suicide (a recurring phenomenon in Japanese history and art) as the bridge to the heroines' transcendence.

I am not an expert on Yuri, but I saw this whole thing a bit differently. It seemed to me that Kureha simply stopped to care whether or not society excludes her and her lover (after all, she was the one who turned Ginko into a human) and realized that she cannot have both, so she chooses Ginko (turns into a bear). Once society’s approval has lost any importance to Kureha and society’s attacks cannot reach her anymore, her life becomes, literally, a paradise. For me this whole afterlife seemed to be just a metaphor of their living happily ever after, not that they really died in order to be together.


It's purposefully ambiguous: is this like Utena, spoiler[where her apparent death we are explicitly told is simply her going beyond Akio's grasp and he's too blind to see it, with Anthy leaving to join her shortly after,] or is it a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale ending: "then everyone died, but it's OK because they all went to heaven"?

Each interpretation is equally valid, but I love that people in both camps both consider it a happy ending because of the effect it has on Ai to lead her to seek out Konomi and accept her. This might be tied with the Utena movie for least bittersweet ending (which portrays an unambiguously happy ending so long as you ignore all the revelations leading into the third act.)
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Mr. Oshawott



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 6773
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:22 pm Reply with quote
Today I finished watching Yurikuma Arashi. I was shocked at how the show maintained its dark tone yet, at the same time, portray the gruesome events in a seemingly playful light. The episode of the The Life Bears' explanation of Lulu's history of being a princess balanced it out with its slightly comedic nature.

Overall, I had an awesome time watching Yurikuma Arashi. The conflicting interactions of yuri between the bears from Kumaria and the humans were a thrilling watch. Smile
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