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Yurikuma Arashi: The Complete Series
FUNimation // Unrated // August 12, 2016
List Price: $82.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
The story for the anime series is a bizarre one. In the future, a wall was built which separates human beings from tiny bears. The bears were viewed as a threat because they wanted to eat human beings. A divide began between the humans and the bears. Two bears named Ginko Yurishiro and Lulu Yurigasaki (under the disguise of being human girls) enter the human world across the wall and start to cause problems by eating human girls. The series revolves around the bears bizarre journey within the human world after going past the wall.
The series animation was produced by Silver Link (Chitose Get You!!). This is a well-produced anime from an animation standpoint. The series has high-quality designs and artwork. Though it's certainly a departure from Kunihiko Ikuhara's hand-drawn/cell-based anime series such as Sailor Moon. The character designs and background art feels less distinctive and original than many other productions. In that sense, the creativity feels less impressive. However, it's still a technically proficient series.
The score by Yukari Hashimoto (Toradora, Penguin Drum) doesn't stand out much but adds a surprisingly dark sounding score. The music is offbeat and contributes to the already bizarre style of the series. While the music isn't great it effectively establishes the tone for the series.
The screenplay was written by Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena), Takayo Ikami (Penguin Drum), and Kei Takahashi. The series isn't particularly funny and yet the tone that becomes established is one of a comedic spoof. This is not an anime series that demands to be taken that seriously. It means to be a comedic horror series which blends together the surreal and bizarre.
Directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, Sailor Moon S, Sailor Moon Super S, Revolutionary Girl Utena), Yurikuma Arashi is a disappointment for a series made by a director known for directing two of the most beloved anime series that the medium has ever had. This is a departure for the director. Though some might find elements to compare to Revolutionary Girl Utena, the series is decided different in style from the anime series Ikuhara has previously worked on.
The series feels more like something produced for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim animation block with the style being that of a comedic parody. Yet the series isn't successfully humorous. The series is also not a epic whatsoever (which can reasonably be said for both Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena). Instead, it's merely an off-kilter horror-comedy (which isn't funny) and with a repetitive metaphor. Beyond that, Yurikuma Arashi is a series without much to offer. It makes the show a disappointment and it's certainly not something that will necessarily appeal to fans of Ikuhara's previous works.
Yurikuma Arashi arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded native high-definition presentation. The series is presented in the original television broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1 widescreen. The picture-quality is sharp, clean, and detailed. The colors are robust and quite impressive. The release is a quality effort from Funimation Entertainment which should please fans of the show.
Yurikuma Arashi is presented in Japanese 2.0 Dolby TrueHD and English 2.0 Dolby TrueHD. The lossless audio presentation quality is excellent and has good fidelity and depth. Dialogue clarity is superb. The score sounds impressive on this release as well. Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing).
Please Note: This is a Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack.
Extras on the release include select episode commentaries (featuring English dub voice-actors), textless opening/ending credits, promotional videos, a TV Spot, a U.S. Trailer, and trailers promoting other Funimation Entertainment releases.
Yurikuma Arashi is a disappointing anime production by director Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon). The series is an offbeat horror-comedy hybrid that's about bears, disguised as girls, eating girls. It primarily feels like a parody of some sort. It's just not very funny and it's more bizarre than it is entertaining. Funimation's Blu-ray release is well-done (with a good presentation quality) but the quality of the anime itself makes this a release worth skipping.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.