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Poll

Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?


SHABA-DA-DO!

71% - 27
SHABA-DA-DON'T!

2% - 1
SHABA-DA-MEHHHH

26% - 10
Voters: 47

#1 | Back to Top04-24-2015 02:49:59 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

Last night I finally got around to watching the first episode of Yuri Kuma Arashi!  I traversed a broad spectrum of emotions from amusement to bewilderment, but I kind of came out feeling like it was... kind of superficial?  Like, compared with the first episodes of SKU and Penguindrum, where a couple characters get established and made sympathetic, it's as though Ikuni said "I am famous Japanimation director Kunihiko Ikuhara, I don't have to pretend that anime isn't just an outlet for my libido anymore, NAKED LESBIANS EVERYWHERE."  There were hints that deep stuff was going to be forthcoming -- lines like "bears eat people" just beg to be deconstructed -- but after Penguindrum I don't automatically trust Ikuni to make good on promises like that.  I have nothing against naked lesbians, but I guess I don't think they will carry a show by themselves.

I would dip into the main thread for this, but I'm afraid of getting spoiled.  What say you, fellow Ikuni aficionados?

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#2 | Back to Top04-24-2015 04:09:48 PM

Ragnarok
Caption Captor
From: Canada
Registered: 10-20-2006
Posts: 4472
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

If Penguins left you dissatisfied, Bears aren't a good investment. It gets better than the first episode, but it doesn't reach amazing heights. This isn't an anime for the ages. It had some fun bits, I don't mind having watched it and it's not a very long series. So there's that?


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#3 | Back to Top04-24-2015 05:56:00 PM

Anthiena
Egghead
From: ...the space between your ears
Registered: 10-21-2006
Posts: 1106

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

Three episode rule and highly Milage May Vary should be in effect. It's third and fourth episodes where it starts to get good. If you aren't on board as of episode 4? It's likely to not grow on you.

Overall, characterization is fairly weak and the pacing is just a little too fast to really let them breathe. The pacing makes the beginning is rather a mess. More time could have been spent overall... On everything. I like the series and parts really choked me up. I was however, able to get into it more than Penguindrum tbh. It seems... Too tightly paced, too tightly focused. And as you saw, rather unsubtle. I do think it's worth giving a chance. It's short at least!


I stopped seeking to be sought after. That wasn't being true to myself.
I want to become someone who can exercise power. I want to become a prince. - Ikuni

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#4 | Back to Top04-24-2015 06:45:44 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

YKA is more about certain themes then about the characters which is why everyone is simplified to a few traits. And for its short run it still felt very repetitive to me and full of not-quite-filler-to-close moments, especially in the beginning.

On the other hand it does get better as it progresses and the ending is satisfactory.

As it's already been mentioned it is a short series so you have nothing (much) to lose by giving it a go and then joining us in discussing it. I would love your insight on 'em lesbian bears. school-chef

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#5 | Back to Top04-25-2015 12:28:18 PM

Yams
Eternal Eschatologist
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 958

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I enjoyed it, and at only 12 eps it is definitely worth a watch, you have nothing to lose. Something about it hit all the right buttons for me, though I do perfectly understand those who hated it. XD Mawaru Penguindrum left me totally cold, whereas YKA got me in tears a few times, and the finale is perfect. It's an experience, I don't think anyone would regret watching it, it's just so weirdly memorable.


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#6 | Back to Top04-27-2015 12:50:03 AM

motorwaymurderer
Saionji Slapper
From: Finland
Registered: 09-25-2009
Posts: 28

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I can see why people hate YKA and I think it's the weakest of Ikuhara's series, but I enjoyed it anyway. It was well calculated series that would've benefitted from few episodes more to give characters more backbone than just a couple of traits, but it told its story well and the finale was once again beautiful. Like mentioned, it's more about themes and social commentary and yuri as a genre than plot and amazing characters. You can get a lot more out of it if you're familiar with tropes of yuri, classic horror movies (those backgrounds) and Japanese literature, but it's an experience anyway.

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#7 | Back to Top04-27-2015 08:18:26 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

On y'all's recommendation, I watched the show.  I... actually thought it was pretty beautiful.  etc-love  I especially liked it after I stopped comparing it to my expectations from Ikuni and let it be what it was.  This was not as easy as it ought to have been.  emot-redface

I liked its simplicity.  This is a twelve-episode series, it understands that it is a twelve-episode series, and it tells a story that fits in twelve episodes.  It's Ikuhara, so of course there's a layer of obfuscation -- the man basically writes in flashbacks occasionally interrupted by plot -- but everything ultimately makes sense, accounting for a certain amount of magical realism.  And while the main characters don't stand out as being super-well-developed by SKU standards, they are actually very well developed by the standards of twelve-episode shows.  Thematically it reminds me of Haibane Renmei and Dennou Coil, but also of Utena and Penguindrum, both of which share, among other things, Yurikuma's interest in being chosen vs. not being chosen.

I'll probably post something about the show on the other thread, where I can spoil things and still be on-topic.  But if anyone, like me, was on the fence about watching the show, I recommend it.  It feels like Ikuni learned the right lessons from Penguindrum.  You are not James Joyce; you are allowed to do weird stuff, but there should be some kind of point to it.  And as a result I liked it considerably better than Penguindrum.  I even got past NAKED LESBIANS EVERYWHERE, because once you get inured to it, it's just imagery. emot-smile

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#8 | Back to Top04-28-2015 08:56:30 AM

mistspinner
Ohtori Paramouri
Registered: 08-10-2013
Posts: 92

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

Satyr, very interesting to hear your response! Penguindrum rang all the right notes for me, which Yuri Kuma didn't quite do, and it seems like a common response - either Penguindrum or Yuri Kuma works for you, but rarely both. Curious as to why this is, though - any speculations from anyone?

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#9 | Back to Top04-28-2015 12:30:23 PM

Yams
Eternal Eschatologist
From: Crystal Millenium
Registered: 02-13-2007
Posts: 958

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

satyreyes wrote:

I liked its simplicity.  This is a twelve-episode series, it understands that it is a twelve-episode series, and it tells a story that fits in twelve episodes.  It's Ikuhara, so of course there's a layer of obfuscation -- the man basically writes in flashbacks occasionally interrupted by plot -- but everything ultimately makes sense, accounting for a certain amount of magical realism.  And while the main characters don't stand out as being super-well-developed by SKU standards, they are actually very well developed by the standards of twelve-episode shows.  ..........  It feels like Ikuni learned the right lessons from Penguindrum.  You are not James Joyce; you are allowed to do weird stuff, but there should be some kind of point to it.  And as a result I liked it considerably better than Penguindrum.  I even got past NAKED LESBIANS EVERYWHERE, because once you get inured to it, it's just imagery. emot-smile

EXACTLY.


http://i73.photobucket.com/albums/i232/YamPuff/im%20holllowz_zpsx9ddh2gp.png~original

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#10 | Back to Top04-28-2015 01:19:20 PM

Nocturnalux
Qualified Duellist
From: Portugal
Registered: 09-10-2007
Posts: 741

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

mistspinner wrote:

Satyr, very interesting to hear your response! Penguindrum rang all the right notes for me, which Yuri Kuma didn't quite do, and it seems like a common response - either Penguindrum or Yuri Kuma works for you, but rarely both. Curious as to why this is, though - any speculations from anyone?

If I had to choose I'd pick Penguindrum because I found some characters to be either intringuing (Sanetonish being so much like Mikage had something to do with this) and/or likable (Shouma, hands down) and I actually laughed at the humor which hardly ever happens. The setting also helped as I am familiar with Ikebukuro and have a soft spot for the town.

As for YKA, I did not care for anyone. I was able to enjoy the story for what it was but it left no great impression on me.

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#11 | Back to Top04-28-2015 01:35:56 PM

satyreyes
no, definitely no cons
From: New Orleans, Louisiana
Registered: 10-16-2006
Posts: 10328
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

Mmm hmm, I think Penguindrum's characterization was definitely better (partly because it was a longer show), and its emotional high points were higher.  But its high points were higher because Ikuni seemed to adopt the "Lost" philosophy and just do whatever seemed awesome at the time, without worrying about whether he was creating corners he wouldn't be able to write himself out of later.  For some people that's not a problem; I know DD has spoken with conviction about not really caring whether things make sense at the end of a work of literature.   But for me it is.  If I don't think the plot basically makes sense, then everything else -- the characters, the themes -- end up with a sense of artifice layered over them that makes me feel like what I watched wasn't real, wasn't worth taking seriously.  Penguindrum solidified my impression that Ikuni is great at spectacle and symbolism but rubbish at telling a coherent story, and it was Enokido's steady hand on the rudder that made SKU the masterpiece that it is.  Yurikuma, happily, makes me question that again.

No disrespect, of course, to Penguindrum's fans.  I have vivid memories of parts of that show even though I haven't gone back to it in all this time, and that's because its images and its characters and its raw feels hit more forcefully than in almost any other anime I've watched.  It just didn't speak to me, in the end -- or if it did, I wasn't sure what it was saying.

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#12 | Back to Top05-06-2015 11:13:03 AM

Maarika
Someday Shiner
From: Estonia
Registered: 10-17-2006
Posts: 2510
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

satyreyes wrote:

And while the main characters don't stand out as being super-well-developed by SKU standards, they are actually very well developed by the standards of twelve-episode shows.  Thematically it reminds me of Haibane Renmei and Dennou Coil, but also of Utena and Penguindrum, both of which share, among other things, Yurikuma's interest in being chosen vs. not being chosen.

I suppose due to its length Yurikuma put more emphasis on the themes and plot, so some characters were pretty much entirely symbolic instead of being developed the way we usually expect them to be (which I personally loved). This is definitely NOT an anime for everyone, and I don't think it's the best introduction to Ikuhara's world (in the same way the Utena movie may seem absurd to people who aren't familiar with his visual language). Basically I wouldn't watch Yurikuma if I weren't interested in lesbians or yuri.

I'm a huge Utena fangirl and I have to hand it to Ikuni, no one else could've created something that I'd be fangirling more than Utena. emot-biggrin Yurikuma moved me because its themes are very relevant to my own life experience, and as far as yuri anime goes, nothing else I've seen before is as self-aware and fun as Yurikuma AND actually has a broader message about lesbians.


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#13 | Back to Top06-27-2016 10:51:12 AM

ShiningSanctum1
Touga Topper
Registered: 11-23-2012
Posts: 57

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

YES! YuriKuma is totally worth the watch. The first three episodes, I was like "wtf" at the explicit lesbian hints too, but after that, the show starts to get good. I mean REALLY good. There being yuri was intentional, if you keep watching to find out how and why. It shows you how a love for another girl can bring you consequences yet you can't give it up. The story also focuses a lot on racism, bullying issues, and how those who don't follow social norms suffer. This show is truly a masterpiece. I still love Mawatu Penguindrum and Utena way more, but this series told a beautiful tale still.


Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

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#14 | Back to Top06-27-2016 11:45:32 AM

ShiningSanctum1
Touga Topper
Registered: 11-23-2012
Posts: 57

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

satyreyes wrote:

Mmm hmm, I think Penguindrum's characterization was definitely better (partly because it was a longer show), and its emotional high points were higher.  But its high points were higher because Ikuni seemed to adopt the "Lost" philosophy and just do whatever seemed awesome at the time, without worrying about whether he was creating corners he wouldn't be able to write himself out of later.  For some people that's not a problem; I know DD has spoken with conviction about not really caring whether things make sense at the end of a work of literature.   But for me it is.  If I don't think the plot basically makes sense, then everything else -- the characters, the themes -- end up with a sense of artifice layered over them that makes me feel like what I watched wasn't real, wasn't worth taking seriously.  Penguindrum solidified my impression that Ikuni is great at spectacle and symbolism but rubbish at telling a coherent story, and it was Enokido's steady hand on the rudder that made SKU the masterpiece that it is.  Yurikuma, happily, makes me question that again.

No disrespect, of course, to Penguindrum's fans.  I have vivid memories of parts of that show even though I haven't gone back to it in all this time, and that's because its images and its characters and its raw feels hit more forcefully than in almost any other anime I've watched.  It just didn't speak to me, in the end -- or if it did, I wasn't sure what it was saying.

I don't think Ikuni's intention is ever to tell just one story. His works are more like analysis of human nature, and what it means to grow up and come of age.


Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present.

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#15 | Back to Top03-16-2017 05:35:19 AM

Decrescent Daytripper
Best Disney Princess
Registered: 04-09-2007
Posts: 2786

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I'm starting to watch it now, and... it's really really working for me.

satyr's right on me not generally caring if things come together to "make sense," but this feels very right to me. It feels like a thing.

Also, it's funny. That helps.


My Brain is the Wakaba and Shiori Funtime Hour. With limited commercial interruption.

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#16 | Back to Top03-16-2017 08:23:44 AM

zeedikay
Sunlit Gardener (Prelude)
Registered: 02-22-2014
Posts: 170

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I watched YKA when it was first airing up to the 9th episode. There was a filler documentary the next week, so I ended up skipping that... and the rest of the series. From what I watched, it was pretty interesting even if the characters were more thematic and broad than anything else. I tend to lean towards shorter length series in a binge watching sense anyways.
One of these days, I need to catch up with the rest of the series, even if it means rewatching the episodes I saw before.

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#17 | Back to Top06-02-2017 10:48:49 AM

Koshernova
Touga Topper
From: City 7
Registered: 08-22-2010
Posts: 54
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

hey all! Needed some opinions so, hope it's ok if I resurrect this thread.

I watched the first couple episodes with one of my partners the other night. Visually, I appreciated the look of the show, definitely a lot of Utena Movie vibes in the architecture especially.

We were both intrigued in seeing where the show led, but there's something that was nagging at us: The Trial. I was trying to research it but nobody seemed to bring up the issue we had. In the trials we saw, at the end of it there's that scene where Kureha's 'honey' gets licked by the two bear girls. It appeared to be metaphorical but the scene always ended with Kureha waking up afterward.

My question is: what is happening at that point? Because to us it looked like something really heavily non-consensual. And none of the dozen or so reviews of YKA that I found mentioned the consent issue, instead I find out one of the bear girls will have a love story with Kureha. Did we interpret the scene incorrectly or is there stuff that becomes clear later?

It's one of those things where, if the show has sexual abuse and doesn't address it as such, we kinda wanna know.

Thank you!

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#18 | Back to Top06-02-2017 11:58:47 AM

Arale
Ballgoer
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 145
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

The first few episodes of YKA are designed to mess with you. Lulu and Ginko aren't the best with personal space, but I think that the more you learn about them the more you will understand.

There is some sexual assault in the show later on, none of it committed by protagonists. In true Ikuhara fashion, everyone is a victim of some kind, but the antagonists are still very wrong people.

Last edited by Arale (06-02-2017 11:59:17 AM)


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#19 | Back to Top07-19-2017 05:38:47 PM

HonorableShadow
Cow Bellhop
From: Ohio
Registered: 11-03-2006
Posts: 470
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I have mixed feelings about YKA. It started off slow for me, then the ep with Lulu's backstory happened and it was amazing.  After that I was like "finally, this series is picking up!" But... that was its peak for me. It was an interesting series overall and I enjoyed it, but it wasn't memorable in the same way Penguindrum was.

Last edited by HonorableShadow (07-19-2017 05:41:34 PM)


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Keep me safe from my trouble and pain.

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#20 | Back to Top08-07-2017 01:31:02 PM

Ciara
New Student
Registered: 07-27-2017
Posts: 5

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I didn't realize it's already two years since Yuri Kuma Arashi first aired. Sheesh, does time fly.

I watched YKA when it first aired and wasn't all that amazed. I guess it's partly because of self-induced hype - after watching Mawaru Penguindrum I realized I'm in love with Ikuhara's style and will watch everything that come from him because obviously it's gonna be at least the nearest thing to masterpiece I can watch nowadays. And then YKA happened, which I felt was waaaaay more style than substance. I remember that I got similar feeling when watching Penguindrum but overally the number of episodes provided for enough time to actually weave a coherent plot. Utena and Penguindrum operated evenly on both symbolism and story-telling planes, while Yuri Kuma Arashi drowns in countless metaphors, becoming a plotty mess. I also thought YKA is one of those anime, that elude the Three Episodes Rule, because said first three episodes should be completely rewritten and the show really picks up from 4th onward where, you know, the plot actually shows up and is not overshadowed by licked lilies and shabadadoo. This was the time that I came to conclusion that...

satyreyes wrote:

Penguindrum solidified my impression that Ikuni is great at spectacle and symbolism but rubbish at telling a coherent story, and it was Enokido's steady hand on the rudder that made SKU the masterpiece that it is.

Just replace Penguindrum with Yuri Kuma Arashi. Still I'm going to re-watch the series in binge to gain some perspective and hopefully have a chance to change my view on lesbian bears saga. Take my ramblings with a grain of salt - I only remember the strongest feelings I had during airing; I'll probably write something more coherent after watching Yuri Kuma Arashi again.

My biggest problem with YKA was the fact that it bombed hard in sales, which could close doors for any future projects from Ikuhara. Unless I have out-dated information and it picked up in later volumes, for what I sure hope so.

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#21 | Back to Top08-07-2017 02:44:31 PM

Arale
Ballgoer
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 145
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I think it's kind of hard to tell what Ikuhara is or isn't good at, because of the relatively small sample size of three main projects, plus the ten-year gap between two of them and all. Still, I like his sensibilities enough that I'm still going to enjoy whatever he's up to whether it's amazing or not. If a work has weird shit happening in it, I'm still going to find it miles above all the other stuff, and I can count on Ikuhara to deliver on weird shit.


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#22 | Back to Top08-07-2017 07:06:58 PM

Giovanna
Ends of the Forum
From: Edmonton, AB
Registered: 10-12-2006
Posts: 8710
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

YKA bombed in Japan? Huh. Can't say I'm surprised because TBH I didn't really find it compelling at all and didn't finish it. Penguindrum was interesting, and worth a view, but it lacks a strong emotional attachment to the cast, and like satyr said, I think that's because that particular element in SKU wasn't actually Ikuhara's.

That it bombed is...kind of a good sign if you're hoping for new SKU anime? Because if they're not going to give him new projects, they almost definitely would let him do more Utena, since that's like free money as far as there being an audience ready to consume it on brand recognition alone. I'm kinda wondering if all this 20 year stuff they're doing is kind of a testbed for interest.

With Ikuhara there's also Schell Bullet and Nokemono, the former has a scanning maybe translating project going on, and the latter I just bought the manga for so could feasibly start a project to bring stateside myself. I'm honestly interested in both because he used the Utena wave to attach himself to very big name artists for the projects, and the latter is if nothing else a fucking pretty picture orgy, since it's affiliated with Baby the Stars Shine Bright. But at the end of the day, my experiences with Ikuhara have been that he can be a very compelling director, with some real style to his work, but he needs someone else to lead his characters into being effective. He is kind of a Christopher Nolan type, in that he does the aesthetic like a boss, but someone else better write the characters or they're going to be simple vehicles for his story.


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Chiefest of Calamities

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#23 | Back to Top08-08-2017 06:16:35 AM

Ciara
New Student
Registered: 07-27-2017
Posts: 5

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

@Arale, yeah, at the end of the day I feel the same about Ikuhara when it comes to his style and delivery of delicious weirdness, but at the same time I feel it's the best when there is someone there to keep him in check. I'm still going to watch everything that has his name plastered to it, it's just that Utena set such a high threshold that every other anime from him gets enormous pair of shoes to fill.

@Giovanna, I read that sales for first DVD/Blu-Ray volumes were abysmal and that's why after one the episodes the show took a break to air this special event with Ikuhara and voice actors, because apparently Japanese forums where filled with opinions that YKA is too complicated and nobody gets the symbolism in this show. So the staff took it to explain at least some of it. I'm not sure if something changed after that, I lost interest in following the sales figures.

That it bombed is...kind of a good sign if you're hoping for new SKU anime? Because if they're not going to give him new projects, they almost definitely would let him do more Utena, since that's like free money as far as there being an audience ready to consume it on brand recognition alone. I'm kinda wondering if all this 20 year stuff they're doing is kind of a testbed for interest.

I actually wonder about that if with all this 20th anniversary buzz going around, it's possible for any Utena-related kind of animation (OVA, movie, special episode, whatevs). I certainly hope there won't be any remake - I don't know, I just don't see how SKU could work as anime nowadays; I certainly wouldn't want it to borrow from Yuri Kuma Arashi. I'm all for new stuff from Ikuhara (so YKA's failure makes me sad), but as far as Utena is concerned, I'd just live it alone, unless it's some kind of after story chapter or spin-off or anything like that. I hope I don't sound too whiny, I'm just wary of remakes, they tend to be hit or miss.

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#24 | Back to Top08-08-2017 10:58:15 AM

Arale
Ballgoer
From: collective human consciousness
Registered: 12-07-2014
Posts: 145
Website

Re: Should I watch Yuri Kuma Arashi?

I don't think that the sales are too much to worry about due to Ikuhara's "senior position". I'm not really knowledgeable enough to explain it, but being recognized as a director of classics and long-time creator will go a long way for you. YKA probably wasn't meant to succeed; it takes a rather hostile tone with its watchers, pulling a lot of bait-and-switch and making the premise very obtuse. (Almost everyone assumed that the Invisible Storm was a single entity (ala End of the World) instead of an event/group/force, and the show did nothing to contradict that until it actually showed what it was.) And I think that's why it's only 12 episodes; so his career isn't banked on it. Well, that's what I hope anyway. I posted elsewhere on the forum that Ikuhara did say he's working on "something new"; that could be a brand new show or something for the Utena anniversary, but I'm glad that he's doing something at all either way.

I do hope he works with Enokido again though. Enokido is sorely underappreciated, there's lots of mean comments about him on his page in the MAL database. He doesn't always write amazing things either, but he's still a real cool guy and obviously worked with Ikuhara beautifully.

Last edited by Arale (08-08-2017 11:00:36 AM)


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