Yurikuma Arashi is an interesting title for me; I dropped it back when it was originally airing, but SILVER LINK have become my favourite studio since then, so I jumped at the chance to review it and give it a second chance when All The Anime announced they’d be releasing it on behalf of Funimation UK. SILVER LINK are responsible for series such as Kokoro Connect, Non Non Biyori, Chivalry of a Failed Knight,and the currently airing Mahou no Stella. Kunihiko Ikuhara is both the director and responsible for series composition; he performed the same roles for Mawaru Penguindrum, and also directed Sailor Moon S, alongside some episodes of Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, and Sailor Moon SuperS.
“After an asteroid explosion and meteor shower lit up the sky over planet earth, strange adorable bears began to attack and devour humans. The earthlings responded with violence of their own, and in the end, a massive barrier the Wall of Severance was erected to separate man from bear. This fragile peace lasted until two high school girls encounter a yuri flower blooming only to be shaken by the piercing warning of the Bear lAarm! Once again, bear and man- or bear and girl -will be pitted against each other in a deadly and mysterious showdown brought to you buy Kunihiko Ikuhara, the director of Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena.” – All The Anime
At a glance, Yurikuma Arashi sounds incredible interesting – a yuri anime with murderous bears. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to that promise of awesomeness. Yurikuma Arashi is simply an anime about one bear crossing over to the human’s side of the wall with her friend in order to find the human girl she loved as a young bear and receive her promised kiss. In execution, it is actually a mess, with plot strands being all over the place, and flashbacks just being thrown in to elaborate on a story you can barely follow due to its randomness.
I’m really not sure what I watched here. Yurikuma Arashi is explores friendship and lesbianism in an interesting, yet weird way. This anime is about, primarily, love, as it constantly reminds us, though kisses are also somewhat important, or at least mentioned all the time, anyway. Personally, I feel Soul Eater NOT presented a lesbian relationship in a much more accessible way, without leaving you confused by the end. Where Yurikuma does excel is how it shows prejudice between multiple parties. It’s hard not to feel for Kureha when she loses her beloved, is excluded by classmates for reasons I don’t understand; you’ll be rooting for love despite the differences between bears and humans.
The best part of Yurikuma Arashi lies in its artwork, thanks to the brilliant SILVER LINK. All of the characters are suitably adorable as is common in their productions; this encompasses the chibi bears as well, naturally. If anything, the only thing wrong with the art is that there isn’t enough of it, with backgrounds frequently being reused; if more background would’ve meant less attention to detail, I can accept the limited number of sets.
Yurikuma Arashi has both a Japanese language track with English subtitles and an English dub from Funimation. For the most part, the dub was a good effort, with casting being appropriate for the majority of characters; both Lulu and Ginko were voiced perfectly, possibly even better than in the already impressive Japanese language track. However, some of the adorably animated young girls sounded like middle-aged women, unfortunately. It’s also worth mentioning that you will come to hate the word “Growl” by the end of watching this; the bears constantly include it in their sentences for no reason, and the human girls never seem to notice because they’re idiots anime.
This is your typical Funimation-authored release when it comes to on-disc extras. There are dub commentaries for episodes 1 and 12, promotional videos, and the standard textless opening and four textless closing songs. There’s also the usual trailers for Funimation titles; disc 2 opens with a Mitchiko and Hatchin trailer though, a title distributed by MVM in the UK.
Yuri Kuma Arashi is a decent anime and is pretty much stereotypical SILVER LINK. Unfortunately, its story lets it down, despite being incredibly adorable to watch. If you like yuri, you might get a kick out of this, if you like yuri and psychological anime, you're probably better off waiting for All The Anime's Akuma no Riddle release next year.