Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear ?
“In which our heroine meets her first challenge.”
It's interesting to think that, here we are, 11 episodes into the series, and this is the first time that Yuna's actually has real problems defeating an enemy. Sure, she may have needed to do a bit of quick thinking in early episodes but fights have become rather effortless for her as she's leveled up—whether it be facing down giant monsters or armies of smaller ones.
Last episode, Yuna arrived in a town that is pushed to the edge of starvation by the combined threat of bandits and a giant Kraken. Even though the bandits were easily dealt with, the Kraken was another story. Last week Yuna briefly entertained the idea of fighting the Kraken but gave up rather quickly—after all, while it is weak to fire, the fact that it's encased in water makes that a bit of a moot point.
However, Yuna learns some new and vital information this week that makes taking down the Kraken imperative. No, it's not the continued troubles facing the fishing village. Nor is it a personal realization that with great power comes a duty to help those weaker than you. No—it's that a boat carrying soy sauce and rice visits the village on a monthly basis, but won't be able to with the Kraken camping out in the harbor. It is for this sin that Yuna decides the Kraken must die.
While her motives are typical of Yuna's self-centered mindset (and to her credit she is under no illusion that she is doing it for altruistic reasons nor does she pretend to others that she is), this puts her in a situation she has yet to experience in this world: having to rely on strategy instead of power.
This, in turn, leads to a great comedic scene where a sleep-deprived Yuna wanders the town trying to come up with ideas. Now, the normal narrative trope would be for her to see something random and have it immediately inspire her on a way to beat the Kraken. However, while Yuna does get inspired several times on her walk, all the ideas she comes up with are inadvisable at best, suicidal at worst.
Each of these scenes is hilarious and shows at the same time that Yuna really is outside of her element. Thinking on her feet—that she can do. Strategic planning? Well, that takes some time and effort. Luckily, after some rest she is inspired by the hotpot she has for dinner and has an idea that, while crazy, is at least plausible: trapping the Kraken and boiling it alive.
Now, this is obviously not the most efficient plan (as it pushes Yuna to the brink of exhaustion), but it does work in the end. This whole ordeal demonstrates that Yuna does indeed have limits in both her raw power in creativity. And beyond that, we see that she has the will to push herself to do great things when properly motivated. It's equal parts sad and comedic that it's the need for Japanese food that pushes her on instead of wanting to help her fellow man, but if that's what it takes for their village to be saved, I doubt the villagers would complain.
• It still makes me chuckle that, so far, every bad guy has been male (or a monster).
• Sometimes, the dumbest stuff can break the suspension of disbelief. Is it boiling the squid alive in the ocean that got me? No. It was seeing the tree they tied the worm to. There's no way the branch they were using as a pulley would hold the weight of the worm, much less the squid pulling on it. And the idea that the tree would be uprooted before that tiny rope would snap was likewise laughable.
• Yuna says that she wishes she had turned her bear clothes inside out for the revitalization and healing properties but that probably would have been a mistake. Her bear magic is much weaker when wearing the white on the outside—and she's trying to boil like a billion tons of water.
• Having the “Japan” of this fantasy world being called the “Wa Country” is a bit of a linguistic joke. In Japanese “Wa” means “harmony” or “peace” and is often used to represent Japan in words. For example, literally translated a “Japanese to English dictionary” is a “Harmony to English dictionary;” Japanese style squatter toilets are “harmony-style toilets;” and Japanese food is “harmonious food.” Of course, the “fun” linguistic implication of all this is that non-Japanese things are disharmonious.
• Are we ever going to meet the god that sent Yuna to this world? She seemed very interested in having Yuna wear the bear clothes so I'm surprised she hasn't shown up in some capacity.
Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear is currently streaming on Funimation. Save on Anime Streaming Subscriptions with Funimation.
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