Yuri Kuma Arashi‘s fourth episode reintroduces us to Lulu Yurigasaki as a princess trapped by her inability to accept the love of her brother. When unoccupied with nefarious activities like boxing up her younger brother and kicking him into volcanoes, Lulu spends the majority of her leisure time isolated in a tower befitting a story book princess. Similar to the use of Himari Takakura’s bedroom decor in Mawaru Penguindrum, Lulu’s surroundings, and how they change throughout the episode, reveal quite a bit about her situation and desires.
While our narrator speaks of how Princess Lulu was “special from the day that she was born” a haphazard collection of treasures is shown, presumably belonging to Lulu. There are toys, clothes that are obviously too large for her, and pieces of art strewn about carelessly. Unlike Himari’s room in Penguindrum – where Himari hoarded things precious to her and was indulged by the smothering love of her two brothers – Lulu’s room is not a reflection of her genuine desire, but instead acts as a framework for what she believes herself to desire. The nagging selfish hornet that pushes everyone away, and attempts to fill Lulu’s emptiness with meaningless flattery from her attendants, who don’t care enough to look at Lulu as they expound on her beauty.
Upon the birth of her baby brother, Prince Mirun, we see Lulu isolate herself in her tower. Her space is now devoid of possessions, with a simple rug, a few books, one small chest of drawers, and a modest bed. In this room she stares out of the window at her former attendants while they dote on her brother.
While Lulu is obviously preoccupied with jealousy – she spurns her brother’s affection three notable times – this absence of clutter in her bedroom coincides with the only time that another person, Prince Mirun, loved her unconditionally.
To Lulu’s outward glee, Prince Mirun disappears, leaving her as the sole recipient of the kingdom’s affection. However, it is still an empty love, and Lulu’s room begins to fill up with clutter once more. Most notably is a bear-ified version of Picasso’s “The Weeping Woman,” which was painted following one of his most influential pieces, “Guernica.” Of the two, the latter is more focused on the event of the Spanish Civil War, while the former focused on a wider depiction of suffering.
Lulu is still seated in front of her window, but even her chair is transformed with the embellishment of a small bear acting as the chair legs. Her bed is now ornately adorned with gold, a lamp similar to Himari Takakura’s now sits askew in the corner, and her wallpaper is polka-dotted. Random objects litter the floor and walls, including a basketball hoop mounted above the aforementioned painting.
When Prince Mirun returns to Lulu in a dream, her room is made to look as empty as it possibly can be, while maintaining its current cluttered state. This choice framing allows for Lulu and Mirun to be the focus, as Lulu admits that she will only reject Mirun’s love again, while he affirms that he will always return regardless.
Equally cluttered in it’s current state is the bedroom of Kureha Tsubaki. Others have noted the references to the Sankebetsu Brown Bear Incident, as well as Norman Bates’ mother’s room from the film, Psycho. It’s not difficult to believe that Kureha is equally stifled by her surroundings as Lulu previously was. In this same episode, she is shown rejecting Lulu’s offer of friendship while bedridden.
While the closing sequence of Yuri Kuma Arashi’s fourth episode serves to tie Ginko Yurishiro to Kureha’s mother by depicting an identical necklace, it also shows Kureha alone in her bedroom, surrounded by clutter, unhappy and alone.