Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear ?
“In which our heroine falls back into her old ways.”
For the last few weeks, we've seen Yuna grow as a person. She's become less selfish and more willing to offer help beyond resolving the immediate issue in front of her. This episode, however, is a giant backslide in that aspect.
Now, to be clear, Yuna has never had a problem helping those she comes across. So when she finds two people freezing in the snow while traveling this episode, she brings out the portable bear house to warm them up. They tell her about their plight—that the fishing village Yuna is heading towards (in order to get her hands on some authentic seafood) is in the middle of a famine. A Kraken has taken up residence in the harbor (preventing fishing) and a band of thieves is attacking and robbing anyone who tries to leave the town. The few remaining adventurers have their hands full just trying to get enough food from hunting to keep the people alive.
Yuna's reaction to hearing all this basically amounts to: “Welp, sounds like that town is doomed. Sucks to be them. Guess I won't be getting my seafood,”
This is shockingly self-centered and callous even for Yuna. There are any number of ways she could help the town with minimal effort on her part. Sure, while killing the Kraken will likely take more than a single punch, the other problem can quite easily be solved with Yuna's skills (it's not like the thieves can hide from her Bear Magic mapping ability).
There are several non-violent options as well. She could simply feed the town with all the dead wolves she has in her item box. Or she could make a gateway from her town to the fishing village. This would not only allow trade (and thus food relief) but also allow adventurers from the outside to deal with the thieves and Kraken.
But it's not until Yuna sees the starving children of the people she rescued from the blizzard that she even thinks of helping out—first by feeding them and then the entire town the next day (with the aforementioned wolf meat). And while she does debate fighting the Kraken after seeing it in the harbor, it's not until the thieves attempt to kill her in her sleep that she decides to head into the woods and deal with them once and for all.
On a character level, this episode is about showing one thing: on her own without Fina or Noire, Yuna reverts back to her selfish ways. Only when a problem is real, concrete, and directly in front of her does she feel the need to act.
And honestly, this backslide in her character growth is not necessarily a bad thing from a story perspective. People must work hard to overcome their flaws, and sometimes they make mistakes and fall back into old bad habits. Seeing her do so makes Yuna seem more real as a person, not to mention more sympathetic. And it's good to see the all-powerful Yuna fail at something from time to time—even if that something is being an empathetic person.
• It should be noted that it is incredibly detrimental to have a character backslide like this too many times. It makes them feel both static and morally irredeemable—but we are far from that point at present.
• Don't get me wrong, I get that there are plot reasons why Yuna doesn't use the gateway to aid the town (selfish though they may be). But even I don't think Yuna would let the village die to hide that secret—well, not after she's met the people there anyway.
• Does Yuna really believe that Cliff, the good man that he is, would refuse to send aid just because the fishing village isn't a part of the kingdom?
• I have so many questions about the bear phone and how it works. Like did she have to launch a bear communications satellite to get it working?
• I hope the head of the Merchant's Guild isn't the bad guy—and the scene of him peeking out of windows is just a red herring. How great would it be if it turns out that the Adventurer's Guild master was actually the one pulling the strings and not the “greedy merchant.”
• You know, now that I think about it, every single bad guy in this show so far has been male.
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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