Fellow writer Harubro and I go way back. I think we discovered our shared love for the same shows back in 2012, and since then, it’s rarely happened that one of us loves something the other doesn’t. Up until this year, I could probably count the times that’s occurred with just my ten fingers. But when we started FGJ, we pushed ourselves to attempt watching more seasonal shows than usual for great justice, and we also realized with more speculative picks comes the greater opportunity for our opinions on said picks to diverge.
As early as January, diverge they did with Yurikuma Arashi. My reaction: “Kunihiko Ikuhara fans such as myself will like this.” Haru’s reaction:
And our varied reactions were justified. Ikuhara’s shows are packed with symbolism, scene dissonance, and playing with gender roles. This time he wanted to try his hand at directing lesbian bears, which is understandably not everyone’s thing. I would argue the series worked. Haru enjoyed the ride for a while but by series end could barely stand it. What we both enjoyed though was Yurikuma’s relentless knack for stupid catchphrases. They weren’t just stupid for stupidity’s sake either; the comedy in Yurikuma works in different ways depending on context, and the same catchphrases that can at first appear as pointless repetitive gags may later end up being plot points in and of themselves. For a show that constantly used mood whiplash, the control of Yurikuma’s humor is something to be admired. The voice acting it relied on was wonderfully cheesy, and with a list of go-to choices including but not limited to
- “Gao gao”
- “Is your love the real thing?”
- “We hated you from the beginning, but…”
- “That is not the sexy way…”
- “Yuri approved.”
- and everyone’s favorite, “SHABA-DA-DOO”
there isn’t really anywhere to go wrong. Yurikuma may go down as a divisive, strange, and pretentious clusterfuck, but for all its drama, symbolism, and plot twists, the one thing that really made the whole package work was its memorable sense of humor.
That is…unless you couldn’t bear it.