Anime / Yuri Kuma Arashi

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We bears eat humans. That's just the way we are, growl!

One day, the planet Kumaria exploded, sending fragments of rock hurtling down to earth. This meteor shower caused all of the bears on earth to suddenly rise up and start feasting on humans. As a result, the Wall of Severance was built, protecting the humans from the bears.

Safely within the confines lives Kureha, an ordinary girl who is devoted to her girlfriend, the sweet Sumika. Unbeknownst to her, two bears infiltrate her class at school as humans in order to eat more girls; one of whom, Ginko, is immediately attracted to Kureha's delicious scent. Kureha vows to protect Sumika from any trouble, but soon, Sumika is captured and eaten by bears. Kureha is enraged, so when she gets a call telling her that her love for Sumika can be proven if she meets a couple of bears on the school's roof, she races to meet them, gun in hand.

Yuri Kuma Arashi (Yuri Bear Storm, Lily Bear Storm, or Lesbian Bear Storm) is an anime directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara (in true style) that is airing as part of the Winter 2015 Anime season. A manga of the same name is also currently being published, by well-known Yuri Mangaka Akiko Morishima, which tells a very different story but with the same characters and art style.


This show provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: They participate in the Invisible Storm (Exclusion), choosing which girl not following the norm should be deemed outcasts from the group, and thus, left to die.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Many characters with prominent focus in the anime are minor characters in the manga, with a few practically non-existent outside of cameos (such as Mitsuko and Kaoru).
  • Adaptation Expansion: The manga, compared to the anime, fleshes out the main three characters a lot more, especially Lulu.
  • Adult Fear: In the manga, Milne's death, as recounted by Lulu, is basically every single young parent's worst nightmare.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Invisible Storm actively exclude people who are different from the flock, leaving them to die. Episode 7 reveals that the bear world does the same thing to bears that cannot keep up with the group.
  • Anyone Can Die: The show has a surprisingly high body count, with some characters being killed off in the very episode they are introduced in. By the end of the anime, Sumika, Yurika, Mitsuko, Katyusha, Eriko, Kaoru, Lulu, and Reia and possibly Kureha and Ginko too have all died, with Konomi dying once and then coming back — about a total count of 9 to 11. And then in episode 11, Ginko kills several unnamed Invisible Storm girls, so the actual body count would be higher than 9 if these unnamed girls were also included.
  • Arc Words
    • "We hated you from the beginning... and we loved you from the beginning, too." Said at the beginning of every episode.
    • "I will never give up on (my) love."
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: By the end, Ginko and Kureha leave beyond the wall to somewhere else to be together. By some extension, Sumika is this too becoming Lady Kumaria.
  • The Atoner: Lulu goes with Ginko over the wall to help her achieve her promise kiss, to make up for never fulfilling her little brother's wish for one. She even gives up any kisses for herself to become human.
  • Attempted Rape
    • Yurika's attempt to eat Kureha is framed as this. She gets killed before she can go through with it, however.
    • Ginko's sexual assault of Kureha in episode 2 may have become rape if it'd been allowed to escalate.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Ginko and Lulu when in their faux-bear costumes.
  • Bears are Bad News: It's right up there in the description. They can disguise themselves as human, to boot. And there are more bears hiding in human form: Mitsuko, Konomi and Yurika.
  • Bear Trap: Well, it is a story about bears. A massive one catches Ginko in mid-leap, leading to the reveal that Kaoru knew about Ginko and Lulu's true nature as bears.
  • Big Bad: The Invisible Storm, which has a very prominent role in the story and the symbolism, and the only one to last the entirety of the show. Yurika is a more minor one with more confined desires.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: For the first three episodes we have Mitsuko. Episode 5 introduces a new one, Kaoru. After episode 7 we have Yurika, and then after episode 9 we have Choko.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: A fansub of the first episode was made, translated second-hand from the Spanish Crunchyroll subtitles. The results were... interesting, to say the least. The word "gao" constantly being mistranslated as "kuma", horrible sentence structure, rampant typographical errors, and, well...
    Everything is going to be daijoubu.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the frequent death, there isn't a drop of blood explicitly present in the anime. There is a bit of blood when Ginko is grazed by a bullet in episode 11, but it's a blink-and-miss-it moment.
  • Boom, Headshot: How Konomi dies, thanks to Mitsuko.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Enforced, as Ginko and Lulu will lose their ability to turn human if they tell Kureha the truth.
  • Catch-Phrase
    • Kureha: "I'll never forgive bears. I'll ruin bears!"
    • Ginko: "Deliciousmell"
    • Lulu: "I'm so clever!"
    • Konomi: "Nasty!"
    • Life Sexy: "That's the sexy way. Shabadadoo."
    • Life Cool: "[I'm] so cool."
    • Life Beauty: "Sparkle sparkle!"
  • Cute Little Fang: Most of the bears have these, but Milne, Lulu's little brother, is especially adorable with his fang.
  • Darker and Edgier: The anime is this, compared to the manga, with its themes of homophobia, violence, abandonment, and societal oppression.
  • Daylight Horror: The murders at Arashigaoka tend to take place during the day, as one of the anime's many nods to Suspiria, which also set at an all-girls school where a lot of gruesome murders take place.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Exclude = leave for dead. This can also be reversed, with deaths symbolizing societal exclusion.
  • Declaration of Protection: Kureha to Sumika. It's part of the reason Kureha takes it so badly when Sumika dies.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The ending theme, "TERRITORY", is sung by the voice actresses of the three main characters.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The post-yuri approval sequences where Ginko and Lulu lick nectar off of a rather phallic-looking lily flower that sprouts from Kureha's chest.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Milne's constant badgering of Lulu for a kiss, much to her annoyance.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female
    • Ginko's sexual assault on Kureha in episode 2, which involves Ginko pinning Kureha down onto a couch, choking her with her tie, and giving a confused Kureha no leverage or way out whatsoever, and would've continued if it hadn't been for Mitsuko interrupting them; all while a seductive voice and music plays in the background. Ginko doesn't get called out at all for this, either by the narrative or the characters, and the incident is quickly dropped upon the arrival of the next plot development and forgotten — except for the one time the scene is brought up again, where it's used as part of a montage of Kureha remembering all the things Ginko did for her out of her love for Kureha. Essentially, the show sees Ginko's attempted rape on Kureha as a good thing.
    • The adult Yurika's attempted rape of the underage Kureha, which includes explicit focus on the victim getting sensually stripped of her clothing. While the rapist does get mortally wounded during the attempt, it's not part of a narrative/character-related call-out, merely a way to remove her from the story. The rapist's dying moments are portrayed in a sympathetic light, yet she never shows remorse for her attempted rape, and said dying moments involve her being held by the victim, who never holds any ill will towards her, as well as being spiritually forgiven by the woman she previously murdered. Like the Ginko example before, this incident is quickly forgotten by the story and never brought up again. Furthermore, the sex scene is in fact completely unnecessary, as the scene in question is a symbolic framing of the rapist, as a bear, attempting to eat her victim — which could've been portrayed as simply that, a bear attempting to eating her prey, rendering the sexuality pointless and a waste of time.
  • Dude, She's Like, in a Coma!: Mitsuko sexually assaults an unconscious Kureha in episode 2, though she stops herself before getting very far.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses
    • Lulu is actually a princess from a bear kingdom.
    • In the manga, Ginko is the princess of the forest kingdom.
  • Fanservice: Played with. Although there is copious nudity, it's sometimes for fanservice, sometimes for symbolism, sometimes for comedy, and sometimes all three.
    • Parodied with Life Sexy. Episode 4 opens with him making suggestive poses that show off his crotch... as a bear. Being a heavily stylized bear, it comes across as completely ridiculous.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Sumika dies.
  • Flashback: Happens all the time, complete with a special Eye Catch.
  • Foot Focus: Two of the shots in the OP feature Ginko and Lulu sensually biting someone's toes.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Episode 5 reveals that Kureha used to be friends with Ginko when they were younger, until an incident affected their relationship and Kureha's view on bears.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of the Yuri Genre, which tends to avoid real-world issues like homophobia, allowing their all-girl casts to just be cute. Yuri Kuma Arashi, on the other hand, takes place in a world where the majority of society is made up of hypocritical homophobic closet lesbians who harshly exclude anyone who falls outside of social norms, meaning that everyone must keep their love hidden and invisible.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Lulu. The student council president, Mitsuko, also has the half-up variety.
  • Girls with Guns: Kureha often wields one; Mitsuko also wields one in the first few episodes. By the finale, all the female students are armed.
  • Gratuitous English: A lot of the catchphrases.
  • Gratuitous French: The opening theme has two lines of this: "Viens avec moi" ("Come with me") and "J'ai besoin de toi" ("I need you").
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Deconstructed. Everyone in the human society is expected to hide any explicitly gay relationships from each other, with severe punishment awaiting those who refuse to do so.
  • Lighter and Softer: The manga, compared to the anime, is more of a light-hearted slice of life comedy that focuses on the Kureha/Ginko/Lulu triangle.
  • Little Bit Beastly: The Life Judgement Guys are this in their human forms.
  • Heir Club for Men: We learn that Lulu was once a princess and the heir to the throne of the bear kingdom. When her little brother was born, he became the heir over her. It did not end well.
  • Hypocrite: All the antagonists in the story, who suffer from the strong case of Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny syndrome. Kaoru is the most blatant example of this.
  • Infant Immortality: Played with, and ultimately averted. Milne didn't die from being thrown off a cliff, being thrown off a cliff into quicksand occupied by a dune worm, or being thrown into a volcano. Instead, he died of rather less dramatic causes: being stung by bees.
  • Karmic Death: All the deaths of the Invisible Storm leaders, given that they all exclude visible people and leave them vulnerable to bear attacks.
  • Magic Skirt: The Arashigaoka Academy girls have very short skirts in their uniform (minus Kureha with her longer skirt), and Ginko's and Lulu's bear costumes have very short skirts, but upskirt shots are non-existent. Applies only to the anime, though.
  • Male Gaze: Happens every now and then; notable examples include the nudity in the OP, the infamous court scenes in the first few episodes, and sex scenes involving Yurika; it's often done a lot more tastefully than most anime, though there are still a few unnecessary scenes here and there. Interestingly, Life Sexy creates a blatant metaphor for this in one episode, as he, one of the very few male-presenting characters in the show, spies on two girls having sex as he discusses some of the themes of the series.
  • Meganekko: Sumika. Her glasses even have little flowers on them.
  • Mind Screw: The show's symbolism is most of the time straight-forward/obvious and and easy to understand, but there are a few particular moments where it just plain doesn't make sense.
    • What the bears' eating of girls represents, as it seems to range from being a metaphor for sex, for rape, and then sometimes just flat-out murder or literal eating.
    • What the bears really represent in general. They seem to more-or-less represent lesbians who have accepted their homosexuality (in contrast to the closeted human girls), but then episodes 7 and 11 blur it by adding in elements of racism between bears and humans, and depending on how you see it, episode 12 blurs the line even more by having Kureha become a bear, especially since Reia's picture book depicted the moon girl as staying human.
    • Episode 12 makes more sense when you consider, that Kureha's transformation into a bear could be seen has her finally accepting Ginko for who she is (rather than trying to change her like before) and her own homosexuality (which is different from the S-class relationship she was in with Sumika.)
  • Nice Hat: Everyone at Arashigaoka Academy wears a white hat with a brim as part of the uniform, though this only seems to be during the beginning hours of school.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Konomi is revived from the dead by being turned into a cyborg, though she doesn't seem to be quite undead.
  • Not So Different: As shown in episode 7, the bear world excludes those who can't follow the herd and leaves them to die, much like the human world does.
  • Off-Model: The art style is usually beautifully drawn and well-animated, but sometimes the characters get very off-looking faces. Kureha in particular suffers from this on multiple occasions.
  • Once an Episode: In the first three episodes, the following sequence occurs in all of them: Kureha getting called on the phone and told through Arc Words to come climb the spiral staircase to the roof where she meets and fights bears, which leads to her spinning in a void with stairs in it, which leads to the Life Judgement Guys' trial with Lulu and Ginko, which leads to the transformation sequences and then the flower licking sequence. Even in the subsequent episodes, we visit the court in every one, even when court is not in session. Other recurring sequences include the "morgue" of pictures of students, and Lulu and Ginko attempting to eat somebody at night at the very end.
  • One-Gender School
    • The main setting of the anime is at an all-girls' school — it wouldn't be a yuri series otherwise. However, instead of a one gender school leading to lots of cute moments like in your average yuri series, a culture of internalized sexism and homophobia is built up within the school, and lesbian love is forcibly hidden and excluded.
    • Averted in the manga, where Arashigaoka Academy is instead a co-ed school.
  • Panty Shot: Though the anime's preview concept art of the main three girls infamously featured these, the actual anime itself has none. The manga, on the other hand, features many.
  • Pretty Freeloaders: In episode 5, Ginko and Lulu move into Kureha's house, much to her dismay.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: The picture of Kureha and her mother is actually a cropped version of a bigger picture that shows them holding hands with a similarly happy bear Ginko.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Mitsuko turns out to be a lot more predatory than she first appears to be.
  • Removed from the Picture
    • The picture Kureha keeps of her and her mother is a cropped version that completely removes Ginko.
    • The picture Yurika keeps of schoolgirl Reia has a similar removal, with bear Yurika being obscured by the frame.
  • Retcon: In general, the latter half of the show seems to contradict Ginko's motivations (and Lulu's to a lesser extent) for getting to Kureha as depicted in the former half; at first she's shown to want to eat Kureha because she's delicious, but then the latter half changes it to wanting to get closer to her because Kureha is her childhood friend and love. A specific example of this would be how Ginko's and Lulu's classroom introduction is depicted in episodes 1 and 11: episode 1 has Lulu commenting on how tasty the girls are and that she wants to eat them all, whereas episode 11 has Lulu smelling Kureha and pointing her out to Ginko.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Deconstructed. Anybody who tries to openly take this to the next level is excluded, such as Kureha and Sumika. Also, seemingly what caused a rift in Reia and Yurika's friendship was Reia moving out of this and forming a "real" relationship, while Yurika considered her relationship with Reia to be real.
  • Scenery Gorn: The world seems to still be in the process of building up the Wall of Severance, so there is constant construction work going on in the background of any scene.
  • Scenery Porn: There's plenty of lingering over the gorgeous school as well, however.
  • Secret Relationship
    • The show opens with Sumika being glad they've found a place to be alone, but Kureha responding that they're doing nothing wrong. It's later made clear that relationships like theirs are looked down upon by the vast majority of the school.
    • Mitsuko and Konomi, as well as Kaoru and Yurika, who keep their relationships under wraps and engage in sexual activities behind the scenes.
  • Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: The underlying reason for the whole story conflict. The Invisible Storm is entirely comprised of hypocritically homophobic closet lesbians, who are deeply and violently in denial of their own feelings, leading them to exclude everyone reminding them of that.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: By far Ikuhara's most blatant yet — the very first few minutes of the anime show Kureha and Sumika declaring their love for one another, and the OP is filled with shots of the three main girls hugging each other naked, almost-kissing and nibbling each other's feet. In the anime itself, however, this trope is looked down upon by the majority of the school where it takes place, and anyone who tries to take a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship to the next level is excluded by everyone.
  • Shout-Out
    • The design of the school is lifted almost directly from Suspiria, as noted here, and its name is a reference to the Japanese title for Wuthering Heights.
    • There are also visual shoutouts to the movies Psycho (Kureha's house looks like the Bates home) and The Shining (the honeycomb pattern seen thoughout the show is seen in the carpet of the hotel).
    • A large amount of shots are taken from the creator's previous works. In particular, the whole "climb a spiral staircase to battle Once an Episode" sequence is taken directly from Revolutionary Girl Utena.
  • Snow Means Death: When Ginko is left to die alone as a cub, it is in a battlefield being covered by a blanket of snow.
  • Snow Means Love: Ginko's first meeting with Kureha. While she was waiting to die in a snowy battlefield, a young Kureha suddenly appears and saves her, telling her that she loves and that she won't be alone anymore.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Everyone who dies in the anime never does so in the manga.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": As well as the various long vowel vs. short vowel name spellings (see the characters page for details), the show's own name has been translated as both "Yuri Kuma Arashi" and "Yurikuma Arashi" by both official and fan materials.
  • Starter Villain: Mitsuko, and arguably Konomi as well; both of whom are dispatched in the same episodes their villain status is revealed.
  • Taking the Bullet: Lulu dies taking a bullet for Ginko.
  • Threesome Subtext: The visuals at the end of the opening theme imply a threesome relationship between Kureha, Ginko and Lulu. However, this never comes to fruition; Lulu only loves Ginko and dies from Taking the Bullet for her, and Ginko and Kureha become the Official Couple at the end.
  • Through His Stomach: The motif where food represents affection and love is used often in the story.
    • We get a brief flashback via narration to Sumika asking Kureha what she enjoys in her bento, probably so as to make it for her.
    • Kureha commonly eats chikuha after the events of episode 1, because it's the food Sumika shared with her, with Ginko later remarking that it's the "taste of love" when Lulu asks why Kureha eats it so much.
    • When Lulu's brother presents his love to Lulu, it is in a form of a jar of honey, which she constantly rejects. Ginko returning the jar after she realized how much her brother meant to her is how she first fell for Ginko. Lulu shares some of this honey with Kureha when she attempts to get closer to her, but Kureha violently rejects both offers of food and friendship.
    • Ginko tries to get closer to Kureha by cooking her favorite food, but Kureha reacts angrily since Sumika was the only one who should know that intimate detail.
    • Even Ginko's desire to eat Kureha stems from her desire for Kureha to love only her.
  • Transformation Sequence: Ginko and Lulu get one when they transform from bears into a human form.
  • Tsundere: Familial version with Lulu and Milne, who she hated for taking away her privilege of being the heir, but personally loved. She spends most of their time together trying to get rid of him, and yet the honeybee, the visual representation of Lulu keeping other people away at arm's length, encircles both her and Milne when they were together. Unfortunately, she only realized this after Milne died.
  • The Unreveal
    • At the end of episode 7, Lulu begins reading a note addressed to Ginko aloud, and stops when it reveals what made Ginko a criminal-bear.
    • In episode 8, during a tense situation, Lulu tells Kureha what crime Ginko committed. The entire conversation is drowned out by a thunderstorm, but whatever it is, it causes Kureha to shoot Ginko. This sequence is repeated in the beginning of episode 9; only in the second repeating do we finally hear what the conversation was.
  • Verbal Tic
    • Both Ginko and Lulu are prone to ending their sentences with "growl". Lulu tends to make all kinds of other onomatopoeic sounds as well.
    • Mitsuko users "grawr", which highlights that she is more vicious than other bears.
    • Yurika uses "purrowr".
  • Villain Has a Point: Despite being hypocritical homophobes, the Invisible Storm is actually quite well justified in their hatred of bears, due to the fact they eat humans. Even Ginko and Lulu are guilty of consuming humans and most of the villains are revealed to be bears in disguise.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Life Beauty uses this argument to defend why Ginko and Lulu need to kill humans — if they don't, they'll die, and why should we value humans' lives over bears?
  • World of Symbolism: There's a lot of allegory for Japan's views on homosexuality and contrasting that view with the country's large quantity of "yuri" fiction. Ikuhara has, in interviews, talked about how bears tend to be seen in real life as predatory dangers but are often portrayed as cutesy innocents in pop culture, which is a clear parallel to Japan's view of lesbians versus how they're depicted in anime and manga. There's also a ton of other symbolism, as usual for Ikuhara.
  • Yandere: Mitsuko for Kureha. It drives her to eat Sumika out of jealousy, kill Konomi when she was trying to eat Kureha, and mind control Ginko (while representing Ginko's own desire to eat Kureha) to eat Kureha herself.
  • Yuri Genre: A meta deconstruction, although with a very silly habit of constantly lampshading the fact that it's yuri. "Yuri" is even in the show's title, and you'll see almost as many lilies in Yuri Kuma Arashi as you'll see roses in Revolutionary Girl Utena. A lot of the characters have "yuri" somewhere in their name (which is actually an indication that they're bears in disguise), and almost every single character is introduced with the designation of "yuri" (as opposed to "history", "location" etc.) Not to mention the number of objects which are inexplicably also yuri: yuri store, yuri milk, yuri beef...


Alternative Title(s): Lesbian Bear Storm

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