Yuri Kuma Arashi Episode 1: Who’s in Control?

The idea of “control” is a funny thing – we strive for it, we arrange our lives to own it, but when we feel we have it, that’s often when it falls out of our grasp.  In episode one of Yuri Kuma Arashi, the latest series from Kunihiko Ikuhara, we’re introduced to the actors, many of whom are struggling with or struggling for control.

The setting for Yuri Kuma Arashi is unique – a self-contained community surrounded by a wall to keep man-eating bears outside and humans safe within.  Right from the beginning, then, we see this idea of control as the humans erect the wall in an attempt to keep the bears out.  Two of these “bears,” Ginko and Lulu, also attempt to wrestle control of their fates by sneaking into the city to satiate their appetites.  Finally, a student, Kureha, decides she will be able to keep her love, Sumika, safe by her determination and skill with a rifle.

yuri kuma arashi episode 1

Of course, all this control quickly breaks down – the bears penetrate the walls, Ginko and Lulu must leave their fates to the hands of the Judgemens, and Kureha is unable to protect Sumika (or even herself).

This theme is nothing new for Ikuhara – it was emphasized in Mawaru Penguindrum as well.  Several characters from that series sought to change fate, but found themselves ultimately unable to.  Each was humbled and by being brought low, were taken to an unexpected (and better) place than they had anticipated.

We, too, try to wrestle control over our lives – after all, they are our lives, and we should be masters of our destinies, right?  Of course, even in the most optimal conditions, we never fully have control.  As with the humans and their wall, unforeseen events take place.  As with the bears, unknowable forces,  players, and beings affect our plans.  And as with Kureha, our own imperfect selves cannot be fully counted upon.

In the Christian life, we’re called to do the opposite of these characters – we’re told that we must surrender.  It goes against our instinct, but it also breaks that illusion that we are our own gods, an idea almost all of us follow either consciously, like some mad anime character, or practically as we live for ourselves.

And when see that a life we “control” is rather a life in chains, we discover one of Christianity’s most peculiar truths – that in giving up our freedom, in surrendering our lives, that is when we become free.  That is when we truly begin to live.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

10 thoughts on “Yuri Kuma Arashi Episode 1: Who’s in Control?

  1. The two last paragraphs of the article are very interesting. Good points.

    Is the actual series as vulgar and with yuri as some promotional images suggest?

    1. Oh, this series is going to be straight-on yuri. It opens with emphasis on a yuri relationship – no attempt to walk a line between friendship and romantic relationship. And the OP especially doesn’t hide it.

      1. Really sad that writers like him do prouctions like that, directing their abilities towards the making of objectionable series.

  2. I don’t have much to contri8ute to this conversation; just wanted to show more support than 8y clicking the “like” 8utton. Keep up the good work =D

  3. “We, too, try to wrestle control over our lives – after all, they are our lives, and we should be masters of our destinies, right?”

    This isn’t exactly true of every human there is. We, as a species, have a wide variety of attitudes when it comes to psychological freedom. Many people I have met (Myself included, although I’ve also met many people who are the exact opposite) seem to wish that they did not have it, and that someone else was “responsible” for their actions. This is usually a mentality, ironically, that develops in response to a perceived lack of power or control over one’s own actions. Submission to someone very opinionated and powerful ends up being a more pleasurable alternative than making your own decisions.

    Since humans are imperfect, it’s logical to conclude that this person has to be a God instead.

    “And when see that a life we “control” is rather a life in chains, we discover one of Christianity’s most peculiar truths – that in giving up our freedom, in surrendering our lives, that is when we become free. That is when we truly begin to live.”

    Placing a God’s demands over one’s own desires leads to varying results, but there is one thing it always alleviates: fear that one will make the wrong choice. Moral responsibility and judgment is ceded to another. That drive is instinctual enough to the species that every culture has a religion. Is it moral? Perhaps…..

  4. Every time I saw those stairs, I just kept waiting for “Zettai Unmei Mokushiroku” to start playing, especially when the bears challenged Kureha to a duel. I’m 70% watching this for the lulz and 30% expecting it to blow my mind later. We’ll see.

    1. Haha, trolling, or playing? Or is there a difference? I think he’s definitely having fun with us (and maybe having a laugh at us, too). I’m hoping for something deeper in the course of this series, though – and his former shows tell us that yes, there will be something worthwhile here.

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