Anime Review: Yuri Kuma Arashi

Year: 2015
Length: 12 episodes
Genre: Yuri, Drama, Psychological, Fantasy

Story 8.5/10 and Characters 9/10

Long ago, a far off planet known as Kumaria exploded, turning into a meteor shower that fell upon earth. This lead to the bears becoming violent and attacking the humans, who created the Wall of Severance between them and the bears. Several years later, two bears, Ginko Yurishiro and Lulu Yurigasaki, disguise themselves as humans and enroll in Arashigaoka Academy, where Ginko takes interest in a human girl named Kureha Tsubaki.

With a description like this, you already know that this isn’t going to be a show just like any other. In fact, we’ve never seen a yuri anime like this one, and it’s quite hard to put into words what we experienced through the whole thing.

But let’s start from the beginning. Yuri Kuma Arashi is directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara, a name many of you are probably familiar with. If you don’t already know him, let’s just say that he’s famous for his very distinctive style of getting a story across to the viewers.

Just like in some of his previous works, like Revolutionary Girl Utena or Mawaru Penguindrum, he uses symbolism a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean that his stories sometimes come off as riddles that you need to invest a lot of time into in order to understand what it is all about.

Yuri Kuma Arashi is no exception.

Many people, even yuri fans, were put off by what was shown in the first episode alone. To be completely honest, I had to get myself some help from the internet to understand what was going on as well. And that is already one of the main problems of the show, yet also one of the major factors that makes Yuri Kuma Arashi so interesting. You have to really want to understand it, which is something that is usually not even required for most other shows.

For some, or I would even say many people, this was the main reason to drop this show. For me however, this was one of the main reasons to love it so much.

But enough about this already, let’s move on the the actual story.

Without giving out any spoilers, let’s describe my enjoyment of the story as follows:

From episode one to episode five, I was very invested in the story. After each and every episode, I found myself going through different forums and blogs in order to read about other people’s theories.

It was a lot of fun, and even though I still think Yuri Kuma Arashi was a little too obscure at first, I also think that it was a great start into the show.

Next we have episode 5 up to probably 9. During this time, many things were made a little clearer, making it unnecessary for me to read what other people thought about it. It started to lose its special touch you could say, and this simply means that the story was beginning to make more sense. Which as stupid as it sounds, was probably the reason why I often forgot that new episodes were already available.

In the last stage, everything changed again. I still can’t say that I understand everything, and I also think that there are still quite a few different theories for some parts of the story out there, but all in all, the ending was so satisfying that I completely forgot about my former lack of interest.

It was simply a very fitting, crazy, but also heartwarming and lovely ending for a story like this.

I loved it.

Since I already said way too much about the story, let’s keep what I have to say about the characters a little shorter. Best girl was Lulu, for obvious reasons~

yuri kuma arashi lulu
I use this picture way too much, I know. 😛

In case of Ginko and Kureha, I’m still amazed how they changed and even grew throughout the whole thing. Ginko’s transformation was especially pleasant to watch, since she didn’t simply grow as a character, she also managed to get my approval to be Kureha’s partner. And I gotta tell you, that’s quite something if we take into account just how much I wanted to see Kureha x Sumika.

All in all, I agree with what many other people said about this anime:
It is a step into the right direction for the whole genre. It might be hard to understand at first, but this kind of yuri has never been shown before, and I think we should actually see this as a yuri milestone. Something that will be remembered.

yuri kuma arashi characters
(from left to right) Lulu, Ginko, Kureha

Animation 7/10 and Sound 8.5/10
As always, let’s keep it simple. Both the opening and ending theme blew me away. Those were simply awesome.

As for the animation… well, I’m just not a big fan of Morishima Akiko’s art style. I know people will hate me for saying this, but it’s just my opinion, so don’t be too harsh on me.

yuri kuma arashi
Well, I was only talking about the character design. Seeing screenshots like this however, show that the animation style itself looks pretty nice.

Yuri 10/10
As much as people debated just how yuri this show would turn out to be, what we got in the end proved to be the most yuri we could possibly imagine.

This is a story about two girls being in love, proving this love, and fighting to get this love to work out. It couldn’t be any more yuri, and that’s simply the greatest thing ever.

Also, despite the fact that we already have Ginko, Lulu, Sumika, and Kureha as yuri characters, we should also not forget about these yuri ladies~

I’m already sorry for the bad joke that is going to follow, but I just have to get it off my chest: This anime is Yuri Approved!

Total Enjoyment 9/10
This anime felt really refreshing compared to the yuri anime that we usually get. It’s like I already said, it feels like this is a yuri milestone, something that people won’t easily forget about. Whether that is in a good or a bad way is another question, though.

For me, this has been a fun ride. Something that I will come back to many times in the future.


38 thoughts on “Anime Review: Yuri Kuma Arashi

  1. It;s ok, there;s no need to be harsh on you for critisizing Morishima-sensei's art style…..cause the anime art was done by n: Etsuko Sumimoto, Morishima-sensei just provided the original character designs. The animation ver. uses Etsuko Sumimoto's designs.
    Wasn't the analytic supersized post I was expecting, but it's k. ユリ承認~!!!!!!


  2. I knew that I wouldn't be able to do a super analytic post about this show, so I didn't even try to do so.
    Though, I would have preferred to do it, let's say a more profound way.
    It is somehow more fitting for this kind of show, but I still wanted to do it “a good way”, so I hope I did well with this review as well.

    Also, you just have to google “Yuri Kuma Arashi Theory” and boom, you got everything you need 😛
    Another good way to find good posts is by going through the MAL forum posts.
    There are far too many good posts to list and these are also a little harder to find again, so yeah 😛


  3. shabadadoo. i absolutely hated Sumika and in every Kureha x Sumika scene a part of me died. i was team Ginko all the way growl growl. I really enjoyed this anime and it seems like there isn't any clear yuri anime coming out these few seasons. On a side note volume 2 of citrus was released a few days ago and like the first volume earned best seller in romance manga. I'm pretty happy because maybe seven seas will start localizing more yuri manga.


  4. I would argue that Lulu is not really Yuri, even without considering her past and all, but rather a “Yuri-relation Supporter” for Ginko in supporting Ginko with her relation with Kureha, trying to help them to get their yuri approved….but I guess that already counts as “Yuri-something”…..and there was that jealousy bit with the murders and all ;P


  5. and now it's back to number 1. When i first viewed it was at number 1, but i didn't know the list gets updated hourly. Also the yuri kuma op was so good.


  6. I was actually wondering about that as well.
    We can't be sure she really is, though I think she made it pretty obvious by both supporing Ginko's feelings, as well as loving her one way or another.


  7. I think we can call it a milestone, because it's a yuri anime..with an actually good plot! And it's not the boobies and panty shots kind of plot either! YAAAS times three! It saddened me to see all the negative feedback and drops from YKA after a few episodes, though. People even started to rate it with 6/10 on MyAnimeList weeks before the anime finished! I do find bear Ginko, especially ending theme Ginko, so endearing, and bear Lulu is freaking hilarious! This anime is just so good! x3 I think any description of it, apart from Kunihiko Ikuhara, won't do it any justice. YKA truly deserves better.


  8. Something I forgot to add in my own review of the show that you brought up sums up why this anime (whether the nation feels it lived up to the guy's claim of it revolutionizing yuri), like it or not, will be remembered for years to come. Never in the years of yuridom has there ever been a lesbian love story, despite how familiar this one's was, narrated the way it was done in this anime. Seriously, lesbian media and bears are two of my favorite things in life. Never in my life could I have imagined a love story combining both.


  9. We should still not forget about the fact that this show had a lot of fan service. Well, it was not about big boobs and butts, but we saw a lot of naked girls, so yeah…

    But I of course agree, YKA really deserves better, but I guess some people are simply not willing to understand what's going on.


  10. I try to watch or at least start as many new shows as possible, but right now I don't even have enough time to start watching the few I'm actually really interested in.
    Well, I will check it out.


  11. Really amazing review !!
    I enjoyed Yuri Kuma Arashi pretty much
    After watching the first episode, however, I thought about dropping it since I just couldn't understand what was going on
    But after giving it some thoughts and coming up with own theories, I decided to go on watching and this show really turned out to become my favourite yuri anime ever
    I was so happy, the ending was so satisfying.. I just love it
    However, I think I didn't really get everything in detail so I'll definitely look for theories and interpretations online, haha
    I hope there are going to be more yuri anime in the future, that take same sex girl love as seriously as yuri kuma arashi


  12. great review lena k. at first i found yuri kuma to be really weird and confusing but also interesting because of its weirdness and confusion with all the conflict and such between the humans and bears and the many weird things, and as i continued i started getting more hooked on since it slowly started to be more interesting as more eps came out. but now with this over the wait for more yuri animes is pretty long and agonizing but i can wait because for now ill have nanoha vivid to fill my empty void inside me


  13. Thank you 🙂
    I think there are a lot of different theories out there, and even though we can now be sure what the anime was actually all about, it's still hard to get the little things I would say.


  14. Thank you 🙂
    I think the new season might have some more yuri-ish shows in store for us 😉
    Well, I will also take a closer look whenever I'm free, so please look forward to what I'll have to say about this season in one of my next posts~


  15. I think I've seen this one somewhere already, but I must have forgotten about it, since it doesn't look that interesting.
    Well for now that is.

    It might turn out yuri-ish, but as always, we'll have to wait.


  16. Heyyy~~ Just wanna know, there's a few different groups subbing YKA, if I'm not wrong… which in your opinion is the best sub? Knowing that this is already an anime that's quite complex, I'd really rather not get troll-subbed on top of that … lol! HorribleSubs is the one most easily found, so far, but I've heard their subbing does fluctuate quite badly in quality from series to series, so thought I'd ask you!!


  17. To be honest, I usually watched what came in first, so I mostly used HorribleSubs.
    I had no problem understanding what was going on, but I think it's a wise thing to search for a better one.
    If I remember correctly, DeaFish always did a good job, so you might consider using their subs~


    • Except for what you said about the art style like I said in my comment on your octave review, as much as I love complex art styles its still really nice to see a nice
      and simple art style. Also I love Yuri with a great story to go with it.
      ( sorry for putting this in two separate posts)


      • Something different is always welcome I guess~

        And more yuri with a more complex story is something we’re missing anyway. Well, okay we have Utena to count in as well, but that’s a total different story 😛


  18. This is the second time that you all will have the pleasure of see me swallow my words… (the first time was with Candy Boy)
    Here i go…The first time i saw this anime, i couldn’t even finish the first half of the first episode. I remember that i thought: Wtf with all this moe??, and moe bears eating people?? c´mon!!. (i know: “never judge a book by its cover” rite?)
    Many months later, i had nothing to watch and my girlfriend asked me: ¨”Have u seen this YKA?”, i said: “Just a couple minutes…but you won’t like it, i doubt that u would like it…is about little tuny bears that eat people and a weird stuff…”. And she said: “whatever, we have nothing to watch”… And god bless that woman for forcing me to watch it.

    This is a beautiful love story. Yes a little tragic, but we love the intense things (liar whoever dares to deny it!).
    The plot is full of symbolisms, allegories and a lot of rhetorical figures. You can’t miss a minute, not even mention a chapter, because then you will miss all the secuences and the most important thing, the details.
    Regarding characters, Lulu she stole my heart, i don’t even noticed about the girl with glasses (what was her name?). She was beautiful, had a great personality, charismatic, strong, loyal, with a complicated background story, just perfect.
    Mitsuko, goshhhh, after girl with glasses, my second crush are the villians and she was a perfect one…well not so villian, more like anti-heroine. What ever, she turned me on!.
    And the Life Judgement Guys, hahahahahahah fucking hilarious!, my favorite was Life Sexy: “That is sexy. Shabadadoo.” i won’t forget him that´s for sure.
    The art was a little overwhelmed to my taste, i don’t really liked. But was okay.
    Finally the couple Ginko x Kureha (sighs)…as i said before, a beautiful love story…they were born to be together.

    In conclusion was a pleasure to watch this original jewel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know how you usually end up finding the best shows to watch? When you’re bored and have nothing better to do anyway 😛
      It’s seriously true! I found so many shows this exact way, and I’m glad to see that you liked it so much~

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: Love Bullet: Yurikuma Arashi | Anime Gauge

  20. Um, some people might think this is an annoying questions, so sorry. But how explicit is this anime? Does it have full on nudity? I’m sorry if I’m bothering you. Just wondering.


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