“Friends are important above all else, right? We, in this classroom right now, are all friends. Don’t you think that those who deny our feelings are the scum of the earth? Those who stray from us are irredeemable. People who don’t stain themselves our color are nothing but trouble, right? We have a word for people who can’t read the mood: evil. Izumino Sumika was killed by a bear because of that. But that was entirely her fault, for she was evil. We must proceed to select the next evil to exclude. Let’s . . . search . . . evil!”
-Eriko Oniyama, Yuri Kuma Arashi, Episode 3
Those evil people aren’t going to exclude themselves, you know?
This particular manifesto of friendship and evil comes courtesy of Yuri Kuma Arashi, and played a major role in the series’ slow and attentive unraveling of existing societal structures with particular attention to lesbian relationships.
Gatchaman Crowds insight also dealt with the concept of a particularly noxious social atmosphere. However, where insight‘s Tsubasa Misudachi and Gel Sadra had arguably good intentions, Yuri Kuma Arashi shows a cutthroat environment where girls continuously look for the next of their peers to be excluded from society, as shown in the speech quoted above. Titled The Invisible Storm, girls of Arashigaoka Academy are prompted to vote for the “next evil to exclude” via a class-wide cell phone voting process called the exclusion ceremony.
No specific reason is given by the girls themselves – other than the aforementioned manifesto – and the series points directly to the fact that this is what these girls were taught. Unlike the colorful Judgmens of The Severance Court who dictate and uphold social rules, these girls are simply following them. They were taught to build figurative walls and shun those who are different, including those separated by the Wall of Severance (bears) and those who don’t fit into the current atmosphere.
Seeing such a straightforward “us” and “them” mentality – all while most of the girls are sneaking around behind one another’s backs or are bears themselves – is both hilarious and incredibly effective for Yuri Kuma Arashi‘s overarching narrative. The series ends on a semi-positive note with the main characters having found their respective loves, but the existing societal structure relatively intact – the Invisible Storm’s exclusion ceremony continues, always under new management. Circumventing it takes a strong will and a loving heart.
Also, it’s difficult not to laugh aloud at a girl holding up a cell phone shouting, “Let’s search evil!”