We’re back with another episode of Three’s Company 2015! Will Kureha and the two bears finally start to get along? Will Ginko’s heroic gesture be enough to win over Kureha’s heart? After the explosive finale of the last episode, this one has a lot of clean up to do to make sure that what happened last time actually has some impact further down the road. Does the show continue to move forward, or will it lose itself again now that the big midseason event has passed? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with a flashback to when Kureha’s mother was still alive and she seems to be writing the ending to the book she didn’t finish. Spoiler alert: The two broke the mirror, made their promise kiss, and lived happily ever after. Kureha asks her mother what the new story is about and she tells the young child that it’s about her adventures with the friend that she made.
Apparently Kureha has no recollection of her friend despite this scene happing before her mother died (which means it can’t be that long after Kureha met Ginko) which I find a bit odd but whatever. In the present, Kureha is watching over Ginko with an inscrutable look on her face, still not sure whether to trust this new “friend” of hers. Hey, Kureha has learned her lesson about trusting people and I REALLY don’t blame her for still being cagey. Back at the school, Kaoru and the mysterious bad guy (*cough*the principal*cough*) are lazing around in their sex room when the mysterious bad guy turns on Kaoru and eats her sorry ass. Eh. I’m certainly not going to miss her.
Kaoru was an invisible girl!? Sure. Why not. There are no criteria here. It’s ALL completely random. I mean if an invisible girl can have lots of friends who follow her lead and can lead crusades against those who don’t follow the pack like she does, then who the heck CAN’T be an invisible girl? I guess if we’re going for the straight-up lesbian metaphor, then sure but doesn’t someone have to be EXCLUDED before they become invisible? Is it the fact that she’s gay, that’s enough, or does she have to be outed first? I don’t know, none of this makes any sense and frankly, the whole exclusion rule has never really been followed in the first place. Back at Kureha’s place, Kureha is still watching over Ginko and starts to fantasize about the two of them together.
Maybe it’s supposed to be a premonition because they talk about how a promise kiss between them will change everything, but then are we supposed to believe Kureha has developed psychic powers? I can buy Kureha having a fantasy about Ginko, but what I have trouble with is that they try to make it MEAN something rather than just getting deeper into Kureha’s feelings. NOT EVERY MOMENT HAS TO BE ABOUT SOME GRAND SCHEME OR BIGGER PICTURE!! It’s okay to have character moments that just reveal more about the character! Hell, you already did this with Ginko in episode five, and that episode more than any other got me invested into her character enough for the ending of the next episode to have some impact! Kureha eventually snaps out of her sexy dreams to find that Lulu has snuck into the room with a bowl of porridge for GInko, and promptly GTFOs once Lulu notices that she’s blushing. In her room, Kureha starts to chastise herself for having impure thoughts, but in doing so starts to remember that she had a friend from her childhood. I wonder how long it’s going to take Kureha to figure out these two things are connected? Probably a lot longer than it should. The next day at school, everyone is abuzz about Kaoru’s death. I still can’t understand why ANYONE would want to lead the Exclusion Ceremony at this point EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM HAS BEEN KILLED!! Hell, they’ve probably had more deaths within their own ranks than the supposed “evil” people they’re trying to purge! Kureha goes to meet with the murder, (whoops, I mean the principal) who informs Kureha that NOT ONLY is there still a bear around but that it HAS to be the bear who killed Kureha’s mother!! GEE!! I WONDER IF THIS IS SOME SORT OF MISDIRECTION TO GET KUREHA AWAY FROM FINDING THE REAL THREAT!!
Moving the topic of discussion to something less gruesome, Kureha asks Principal Yurika about her friend from childhood who she can’t remember but calls her “Her”. Wait, what? She uses a personal pronoun as a pet name?
Is this a translation error? I kind of doubt it is because I’m SURE there’s some deep meaning behind that instead of it just being a silly nickname. All I’m saying is that Fluffy would have been a better one! Fluffy the killer bear! The principal doesn’t have many answers but DOES know that the storybook Kureha’s mother wrote was about her and Her. No wait, her and Ginko. Seriously, WHY DO THEY CALL HER “HER”!? Back at Kureha’s house, Lulu is trying to take care of Ginko, and is doing a terrible job of it.
Despite Lulu’s criminally poor grasp of medicine or even home remedies, it DOES lead us into a pretty significant flashback for Lulu. Ginko was apparently an orphan bear who was raised in the bear monastery by bear nuns and was bullied by bear jerks.
Eventually, Ginko started to fight back and became a loner bear who everyone just avoided and called The Lone Wolfsbane behind her back.
She ends up dealing with this for years until the day planet Kumalia exploded or whatever. At this point, the bears began to rise up and needed a whole bunch of recruits who would be willing to die in battle. I wonder who they target first.
Yeah, they manipulate Ginko (and presumably other orphans) into becoming warriors for Lady Kumalia so they can be loved and appreciated by SOMEONE even if it is a planet, or sky god, or whatever. See, this is how you do relevant commentary without miring your story in pointless gibberish. The use of religion, state power, whatever, to manipulate the youth is an idea we can all understand and the show doesn’t try too hard to conceal it within double-speak or obtuse symbolism. The orphans believe in Kumalia, so the heads of the religion are using it to manipulate them. There’s no misuse of words or overly long animation sequence that feels completely extraneous to the situation. It’s clear and it’s effective, not only as a metaphor but in getting Ginko to join the front lines in the upcoming war. What follows is probably the best thing in the entire series so far! It’s this REALLY stylish and badass depiction of the war between bears and humans that’s fantastically executed.
This show continues to show that it has an amazing sense of visual flair with great asides like this one and the storybook from the last episode. I still don’t know if we’re supposed to take any of this literally (most likely not because the bears had freaking cathedrals even before Kumalia gave them higher reasoning skills), but the way they choose to get their story across has been excellent across the board. There’s also some suggestive imagery here where they represent dead humans as what can only be described as mud flap models.
We end the montage on a lonely battlefield where almost everyone has been killed. One of the few remaining survivors is Ginko who’s feasting on a human when another survivor shoots her in the back. Thus ends our flashback for the time being, but most likely it’ll pick up where that other flashback from episode five began which is with Kureha finding Ginko and wanting to be her friend. We go back to the present where Kureha is once again looking over her mother’s story and trying to figure out who “Her” is. Lulu comes by and they begin chatting about the book and she ends up finding out that Kureha’s mother was killed by a bear. Wait, she didn’t know that already!?
We go back to the flashback, and sure enough Ginko is left for dead by her own comrades (they begin “excluding” her) but is saved from the icy grip of an unloved death by the appearance of Kureha who offers the religious zealot warrior a hand. At that time, I THINK Ginko believes Kureha to be Lady Kumalia though I’m not sure and I’m not sure if she STILL thinks there’s some connection between her and Kumali. Ginko finally wakes up to find Kureha watching over her. They have an awkward moment, and Kureha goes back downstairs to fetch Lulu who’s currently making some food for them. The meal in question turns out to be Honey Ginger Milk, which brings back a PRETTY specific memory for Kureha. Like… REALLY specific. Specific enough to REALLY have more impact than the one it has on her. Kureha remembers a time when her mother made that for her and Her. How does she picture Her? AS A BEAR!!
So… no reaction to the fact that your best friend as a child who you’ve repressed until recently was part of a species that you have sworn a blood oath against due to the fact that one of them killed your mother? None of this is coming together yet? Not only that but why the hell is Kureha’s mother allowing a BEAR to spend time with her daughter? Unless…
I’M CALLING IT NOW!! KUREHA’S MOTHER WAS AT LEAST HALF-BEAR WHICH MAKES KUREHA PART BEAR TOO!! IT COULD HAPPEN!!
Anyway, Lulu notices that Kureha is completely spacing right now and snaps her back to reality. When Kureha reveals that the Honey Ginger Milk reminded her of her long lost friend, Lulu starts patting herself on the back so hard she almost dislocates her shoulder.
Lulu heads off to fetch her honey to put in the recipe (gloating to herself the entire time) when she comes across the book Kureha’s mother wrote. Lulu remembers that Ginko once referred to Kureha as the Moon Girl and starts reading it to see what the connection is between them and this book. While Lulu is reading, Kureha is hanging out in the kitchen and starts hearing someone singing. The song is apparently a song her mother used to sing and finds the source to be Ginko. At this moment Kureha realizes that Ginko is Her. And so, the episode ends with a MADDENING cliffhanger!
Except it doesn’t! Because it ends with ANOTHER post-credits cliffhanger!! GAHH!!!!!
This episode continues the upward swing the series has been on since around the fourth episode and it’s really getting me excited to see where it ultimately ends up. While those initial episodes are still flawed as standalone experiences, the series is really taking shape and is realizing the potential I felt was being wasted or intentionally obfuscated in the beginning. All that said, the show still has a problem with being intentionally obtuse, what with its interchangeable use of certain words, motifs that seem to be there just for reference’s sake, and entire sequences that we PROBABLY aren’t to take too literally. The show works best when it’s about Kureha and the people around her who all want something and are manipulating her to get it. A story like this should be a bit more straightforward so that we can get into the characters rather than whatever metaphor they’re supposed to represent or whatever idea their actions are supposed to push forth to the audience. The ending to this episode has set up a lot of intrigue for the next episode, and I hope they REALLY get into the weight of this revelation in on an emotional level rather than whatever tortured metaphor they’re still trying to get across.
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