The Bear Necessities: Yurikuma Arashi Episode 1 Roundtable

[Watashi]_Yurikuma_Arashi_-_01_[720p][D8B3717A]_Jan 11, 2015, 11.29.12 PM [Three Bears enter the room, with no Goldilocks in sight]‏

Bear 1: Er, testing, testing.‏ [taps mic.]
Bear 2: We’re here to talk about Yurikuma, guys. No eating allowed!‏
Bear 3: ……GAO.

[Bear 2 takes off her costume to reveal ILLEGENES, Bear of Sexy]
[Bear 3 takes off his costume to reveal WENDEEGO, Bear of Cool]

5 responses to “The Bear Necessities: Yurikuma Arashi Episode 1 Roundtable

  1. I think the male court is a critique of the male gaze, or male-dominated structures of authority that try to regulate sex and relationships. I think the concept is deliberately ridiculous (“ad ursam”!) to send up how ridiculous it is to have a bunch of old fogeys debating whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, for instance. (Or in other times/countries, how people should be punished for “perversion”.)
    But the critique is not just of governmental structure but also society’s attitude in general towards overtly sexual women, and lesbian relationships. The men think it’s their duty to approve the yuri, but only if it’s sexy, cool and beautiful. In other words, the yuri is treated like a performance for men, instead of being about the girls like it should be.

    • Ah, also, I am pretty sure that tessellation = conformity (Invisible Storm), and circles = defiance of conformity.
      This shot at least would seem to suggest it. It’s very interesting to me that the birds and lilies are tiled together.
      I think that’s why everything’s made of triangles and hexagons. The lily garden is partly round, though, and the bears are very round too haha.
      In the episode, the characters are always moving in the opposite direction to the birds. There are birds on the railings of the stairs, and on the rooftop.

  2. Re: bears and walls and humans and stuff–one of the basic dualities you see in a lot of world mythologies is chaos (nature, the unknown, the uncivilized) versus kosmos (order, civilization, know). Attack on Titan is a pretty clear-cut example of such a dyad.

    But I don’t think the dynamic in YuriKuma is quite so simple. Traditionally, kosmos (inside the walls) is safe. It’s “good.” But here, as we see with the Invisible Storm, other things are threatened by order. Especially when we see Tsubaki and Sumika’s lesbian relationship alongside the two bears’ lesbian relationship, we get interesting parallels. Both pairs are “outside the walls,” but one pair brings danger with it from outside and one pair is endangered by being inside the walls. The contrasts both resonate with each other and oppose each other in fascinating ways. It’s an extrmemly complex dynamic; and this all in a single episode.

    (Typed this from my phone, so sorry for any errors!)

    • Since I appear to be the only one awake at 4 am, I’ll answer first, but you can expect wendeego and vestenet to follow!

      I actually somewhat brought this point up in the chat, but I do agree with you in that rather than splitting it into dualities, it’s more of…alternate realities. Both sides share dualities within their own context, and as a result, both sides share things in common and contrast. For example, the yuri displayed between the human couple is pure, innocent, and naive. There are sexual connotations, but never explicitly said, and we’re forced to rely on visual imagery to convey something implicit. On the other hand, the yuri between the bears is much more primal and straightforward. They literally speak of wanting to eat the other up and go for a sexual relationship. It’s interesting that despite talking about such dualities however, the OP for the show ends on a threesome pairing rather than two pairings – further implications that this relationship between bear and human is much more than meets the eye.

      I think Ikuhara seeks to twist such dualities and make them more complex, as you say, to prove that human (and bear!) relationships are more multifaceted. But we as a society, tend to “box” those relationships by certain presumptions and meanings. Penguindrum and Utena also looked at this, especially the latter in terms of what a lesbian relationship could entail (betrayal, friendship, ‘love’ in a metaphysical sense), so I would not be surprised if the same was done here!

      • Yeah, I really liked this part you wrote:

        Walls separating humans and bears, innocence and sexual desire, hatred and fear.

        I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say alternate realities (that seems to split the unity of the point YuriKuma seems to be trying to make, I think), but your point is well taken. We like to box up our realities in easily digestible, compartmentalized realms, when, in truth, life is much more complicated than that.

        In bringing up the chaos-kosmos thing, I think it find it fascinating because what YuriKuma has done is undermine traditional conceptions of what is “safe” and what is “dangerous” (perhaps you could even go so far as to say “good” and “bad,” respectively). It’s not necessarily all that much better to be within the walls than it is to be outside.


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