We’re almost at the end of this folks! Lulu got to safety in the last episode, but Kureha was caught by the Exclusion Group! Ginko as well has seemed to have snapped and is ready to rampage all over the place, so who knows how this crazy journey is going to end!? Let’s find out!!
The episode begins with what appears to be a PRETTY ominous look into the future.
So yeah, Lulu might end up dead at some point and I don’t know if I’ll ever recover if that happens. The rest of the scene appears to be Ginko and Kureha on the school roof once again and Ginko is monologuing that she gave up Kureha’s love and wishes to tell Lulu why it is she did that. Now Ginko gave up Kureha’s love before, so this may not be foreshadowing the end of the series and is instead her wanting to explain why she did so in the first place. After that jump to the future, we jump right to the past to the day that Kureha found Ginko. This flashback (which takes up half of the episode) is all about Ginko’s journey from the day she was found in the field of battle to the day she and Lulu went to the human world. We get to see the time that Ginko and Kureha spent together in the real world and it’s full of all sorts of good vibes and feels!
Of course, this being Yuri Kuma Arashi, things can go well for too long with society finding out and taking its unholy vengeance upon them.
Kureha getting bullied here is REALLY hard to watch and you feel for her as well as Ginko who can only stand by and do nothing. The fact that Kureha got hurt because she was friends with a bear is tearing Ginko apart and she wishes for nothing more than to become a human girl. In comes our favorite non-sequitur as Ginko finds herself in the severance court! She pleads her case and they inform her that they can only turn her into a girl if she gives up Kureha’s love (because of reasons) and that she can never tell Kureha about how she became a human girl (also because of reasons). Ginko accepts the offer and… doesn’t turn into a human girl. Um… okay. Not only that, but Kureha is deathly afraid of her as well. WHAT!?
Okay, let’s get into this. First of all, I never figured that Ginko made the deal this early because we never see her as a human girl until she transfers to Kureha’s school in the first episode. Having her give up her love to become a human girl at this point DOES solve the mystery as to how Kureha forgot Ginko at a young age, but it doesn’t explain why she didn’t turn into a human girl right away. It’s not like the transformation requires some sort of gestation period. We saw that Lulu became a human girl almost immediately because she made the deal right before crossing the severance wall (episode four). Why wouldn’t Ginko turn into a human immediately? Hell, wouldn’t that be the best option for her instead of hiding in the bear world for a decade before resurfacing? The other thing I’m confused about is why Kureha is suddenly afraid of Ginko. Remember, she found Ginko in a BATTLEFIELD and didn’t even flinch. Now though? She’s totally scared and runs away from her! Did the Officials of the Severance Court do something ELSE besides just take her memory away? WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER LIFE SEXY!?!? The show skips over the time between Ginko making the deal and when she gets sent back to the bear world, but we DO get to see what she did in the interim. First, she goes back to the church, preaches about her newfound wisdom, and is summarily shunned by the rest of the flock. Good riddance I say!
Ginko then begins to camp outside the Door of Friendship for what seems to be a decade while narration from Life Sexy tells us why we shouldn’t ask any more questions.
What the hell does Ginko OR Kureha gain from having her NOT turn into a human until she’s practically out of school? Why couldn’t Ginko protect Kureha as a human girl this entire time? Why did Ginko only show up five minutes before everything went to hell!? WHY ANYTHING IN THIS ANIME!?!?!? The rules of the Severance Court confound me and I’m not sure if they SHOULD considering that SOMETIMES they’re an avatar for the audience!! Well… at least SOMETIMES they are. Anyway, the big day finally arrives and Ginko and Lulu enter the human world. We get to see them attend their first day of school where it becomes PRETTY clear that what we’ve seen is the HEAVILY edited version of the events. Go ahead and rewatch the first day from episode one, and tell me that it’s VASTLY different in tone and behavior. The music is much sweeter, and both Ginko and Lulu have noticeably softer expressions on their faces. They also completely omit the part where Principal Yuriika was telling the students about a bear sighting and to keep on their guard. It all feels slightly off because we’re seeing this from Ginko’s perspective.
It’s an interesting idea that the series has toyed with, but it’s really only been a benefit to the audience who actually gets to see the flashbacks. Just once, I’d like to hear someone else call Ginko out on her delusional view of pretty much everything and finally snap some sense into her before she up and murders Kureha when things don’t go well (which I’m guessing they won’t). We finally return to the present where the Exclusion Group is… well, take a guess.
Their mission this time around is to determine who will be the bait for the bears so they can lure them into a trap. Obviously it’s Kureha who they already hate because last time she let a bear escape. Are they ever going to get to math class or something? I’m PRETTY sure they’re behind on their trigonometry. While this kangaroo court is in session, Ginko is trying to survive in the human world where everyone seems to be aware she’s a bear. She’s fending off her current attacker while Mitsuko is whispering naughty things in her ear. I mean, I guess they’re naughty?
Ginko still seems to be in rampage mode, so we get a montage of her killing off a bunch of ladies in a way that’s oddly bloodless. Sure, this show has never indulged in gore, but there’s a real lack of impact whenever she takes someone out. Couldn’t they have least put in some ridiculous metaphor where she kisses them and then they explode into flowers or something? Tell me that wouldn’t work in this show!!
Of course, the Exclusion Group is ready for her and has their rediculous laser beam truck on the ready. They charge up their insanely powerful weapon… and completely miss. Oki (who’s on the school’s roof obviously) isn’t too happy that this renegade bear is tearing through her ranks like a box of Kleenex, but she’s still got an ace up her sleeve in the form of Kureha. Speaking of whom, Oki decides to kill some time by being absolutely despicable to her.
This psychotic nut just stands right in front of Kureha (who’s tied to a chair obviously) and starts ripping the book to shreds!! THAT’S IT!! Ginko’s gonna TEAR your ass to PIECES!! I’m calling her RIGHT NOW and telling her what you did!!! As the pieces fall to the ground far below the school’s roof, one stray observer (a bear, but it’s obviously not Ginko because she doesn’t have red eyes) finds some of the remaining pieces as they land right in front of them. Ah hell. I bet it’s Lulu. SHE JUST COULDN’T STAY SAFE, COULD SHE!? SHE HAS TO BE A BIG DARN HERO!! Ginko and Mitsuko are recuperating after the Exclusion Group’s most recent attempt on her life. Fortunately for them, the canon is temporarily out of commission because they just kept firing that thing wildly to the point that their robot bear is all tuckered out. Do they REALLY think indiscriminately blasting a death ray all over town is a sensible idea!? WHERE THE HECK IS EVERYONE ANYWAY!? This is going far beyond the scope of a school and is just getting silly. That’s right, I said it! This show about talking bears and promise kisses is getting silly! Anyway, this temporary ceasefire gives Ginko an opportunity to make to the roof where Oki is keeping Kureha, so Gino begins to ascend the stairs and informs Mitsuko that she’s done with her nonsense.
Alrighty then! I guess Ginko is no longer a murderous psychopath! Well… at least no more than before she was influenced by Mitsuko. It seems a bit odd to end a character’s redemption arc without even doing anything that would turn the audience against them or even something that would cause the character to realize the error of her ways. Hell, maybe she was NEVER under Mitsuko’s control which might be an interesting take on this, but it feels a bit underdeveloped if that’s the case. Also, her eyes went all bad guy red which indicates that SOMETHING must have changed. Regardless, Ginko makes to the rooftop where she finds Kureha bound to a chair.
But wait! Oki is hiding nearby ready to shoot Ginko in the head as soon as she approaches Kureha! Oddly enough, Oki didn’t think to gag Kureha so that she can’t reveal that this is a trap, but even odder is that Kureha doesn’t straight up tell Ginko what’s going on and instead does the whole Shoo the Dog routine once again.
Ginko, just as determined as ever, doesn’t hesitate to approach Kureha and proclaim her love for her while being completely oblivious to the nut job who’s aiming a rifle right at her skull. Oki pulls the trigger and…
IKUHARA!!! YOU’RE OFFICIALLY ON MY ENEMIES LIST!!! Lulu jumped into the line of fire at the last second and takes the bullet for Ginko. I’m not sure WHERE she was shot, but the wound appears to be fatal. Lulu’s noble(ish) sacrifice has saved Ginko from getting shot (unless of course, Oki reloads any time soon) and will hopefully mean that Ginko and Kureha can live happily ever after (maybe). And so the episode ends with the best character dying for the sins of her friend who may or may not deserve the happy ending Lulu might have given her.
EXCEPT IT DOESN’T!! We get another post-credits scene where we see… exactly what we saw last time. Okay then.
This wild tale of lesbians, bears, and societal evils is almost over! Everything is leading up to the grand finale where Ginko’s love for Kureha is either going to be her salvation or her ultimate downfall. This episode spent a lot of time tying up loose ends that the show doesn’t want hanging around for the finale, such as explaining how Ginko became a human girl, whether or not Mitsuko will get the better of Ginko, and the ultimate fate of Lulu. All the pieces are in place for whatever is going to happen next, and it’s still very much up in the air as to where this series will ultimately end. Will Ginko and Kureha actually share their promise kiss and live happily ever after? Will Ginko sacrifice herself to save Kureha or vice versa? It’s quite impressive how well they’ve been able to keep everything somewhat ambiguous right up until the end. Not only are we unsure of the ultimate fates of all the characters, but what the implications of each plausible ending would be. Should Ginko hook up with Kureha? She HAS done some terrible things that are hard to look past (there’s a mass grave behind the garden that would kinda undercut any happy ending for Ginko). Now let’s all pour one out for Lulu, who’s presence will surely be missed in the show’s finale.
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