YURIKUMAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! Today we’re doing something a little different at SBD. You may have noticed that despite our obvious bias towards the works of Kunihiko Ikuhara, we haven’t actually written anything on him up to this date. Well, that is changing today: we all got together and after copious note-taking and discussion scrabbled together a piece on Ikuhara’s recent offering Yurikuma Arashi (which is the name Funimation chose so that’s what we’re using from now on.) We can’t promise something on this scale for each and every episode of this series, but if things turn out well and we all have things to say we’ll do our very best to say them as eloquently as we can in the time allotted to us. Here we go!
illegenes: Okay, but I watched the first episode! [wendeego and vestenet snort] But yeah. Fair enough. Terresonance also had visual motifs in a sense that the sharp angles of the buildings exaggerated Japan’s fear of being locked in. I feel like that’s shared here, in Yurikuma Arashi, in contrast to the smooth and natural environment. Which ties into this consistent thematic sense of duality, if you ask me. Walls separating humans and bears, innocence and sexual desire, hatred and fear.
wendeego: But yeah, it’s weird – everyone else in the show is female. Even the police!
vestenet: Yeah, I agree with Natasha here.
illegenes: Hmm. I feel like you’re bringing in the Penguindrum allusions hard. Honestly I think like this is more Utena than Penguindrum, with the adolescence thing going on.
illegenes: Oh yeah, there’s definitely retracing his thematic steps, but they’re always a little different in one way or the other.
wendeego: To put things in perspective, Ikuhara’s most notable project in between Utena and Penguindrum was Nokemono to Hanayome, a manga done in collaboration with artist Asumiko Nakamura. Some of the elements it included: a man in a bear suit, terrorist children led by a kid wearing a rabbit mask, an abusive bishounen/father figure…and a prototype “child broiler” room of dead children with the aforementioned man in a bear suit *eating said children.* There are elements here Ikuhara clearly recycled in his work on Penguindrum, but I can’t help but think they might find their way into Yuri Kuma Arashi as well. Or am I off base?