Yuri Kuma Arashi and the Effects of Symbolism, Part 11
If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you head back to Part 10 and peruse the symbolism from the final episode, episode twelve. There we received symbolism that solidified the show’s themes, while simultaneously leaving us with an everlasting message of hope.
Now that we’ve analyzed nearly everything within the episodes of Yuri Kuma Arashi, you might be asking yourself: what could possibly be left? There are essentially three more sections to cover: the sound used throughout the show, the characters that populate it and what they symbolism, and lastly my final thoughts formed by looking at the entire anime as one, complete entity.
Today, we’ll start focusing on the sound that the anime has to offer. More specifically, the OP. There will be a brief look at the song itself, followed by a deeper peering into the lyrics that overlap it. There are actually quite a few intriguing pieces of information that can be gleaned from this one track alone (the same applies to the ED), besides it just being a stunning piece to listen to.
Day eleven, let’s go.
Yuri Kuma Arashi’s Thematic Presence
As a reminder, here are Yuri Kuma Arashi’s own themes, or what the symbols are being used for:
-Sociopolitical commentary on the perceptions of prejudice, specifically sexual discrimination and racism
-Telling a complex yet richly unique love story
-Challenging religious connotations associated with preconceived beliefs
Sound It Out: Opening Theme
~“I Have Been Waiting In That Forest”~
Performance by: Bonjour Suzuki
The opening theme is a beautiful track to hear. Part of what makes it interesting is how the “singing” is done. Rather than belting out huge vocals or holding long notes, Suzuki performs it in a rather sultry tone. The sensual way she sings is soft; she’s almost “whispering sweet nothings” into your ear for the entirety of the track. This choice follows the show’s ideas of love and loving; one aspect to love is not only the emotional connection that is established but also the physical connection that is generated, too. Meaning, the song both sounds and feels sexy in its presentation.
Most of it is also filled heavily with a background choir. Alongside the constant bells and chimes, that and the aforementioned choir make it seem rather church-like. As if the song itself would be performed within some religious establishment. Given the myriad of religious undertones found throughout the anime – which speaks nothing of Lady Kumalia, the Life Bears, and their godlike status – the choice to incorporate such “heavenly” tones is rather logical.
Finally, it’s quite slow and methodic, helping to calm the senses. The piece is gentle, inviting whoever is listening to it to simply relax and engross themselves in the lullaby that it intends to be. Even with all of the comedy, drama, and profound themes at play, love is, at the end of the day, this serene feeling. And I Have Been Waiting In That Forest captures this wonderfully.
~Lyrical Investigation of: “I Have Been Waiting In That Forest”~
“Viens avec moi” (“Come with me…”)
The song begins and ends with two phrases: “Viens avec moi” and “J’ai besoin de toi”, which mean “Come with me…” and “I need you…”, respectively. What’s immediately apparent is that their chosen language is not in Japanese nor is it in English; rather, it’s in French. The reason for this is somewhat obvious: French is often referred to as “the language of love” . Meaning, due to the placement of the phrases, the entire song is wrapped by love itself. This initial phrase, like the song has been described as being, is inviting thrice. It wants you to listen to the song itself, watch the anime it precludes, and is directed between the characters.
“Church chimes echo in the distance”
“Offer up a prayer and betray today”
Here, the OP puts its foot down pretty firmly in regards to religion’s stance on those it normally looks down on. As has been discussed, and specifically in relation to Christianity, homosexuality is often seen as “wrong” in the eyes of the church. Thus, this line acts as a “slap to the face” of such thinking; it asks us to pray and betray what it has to say, today (rhyming intended). In other words, don’t listen to their words.
“Wander in a dark forest, then become the morning moon at the Wall of Severance”
“I won’t join the Invisible Storm”
The song lays out exactly what the characters do and are doing. The first line is a reference to Ginko, the “Forest Girl,” looking to become the “moon” at the “Wall of Severance.” That is, Ginko will become one with Kureha “in the middle,” or after both have decided to leave their old selves behind. The second is simply fighting against the force, the storm, that threatens to ruin them all – or contextually, destroy their love.
“Once I’ve made you stickier with sweet, thin honey”
“Please, approve me, I’ll be a good girl”
This is actually a depiction of what happens “during” Kureha’s first set of summons. The animation that accompanies this section shows two women – namely, Yuriika and Mitsuko, the overall “bad guys” – honeying up Kureha. After which Ginko and Lulu sexually bite Kureha who seems to have just finished her bath. But as we see within the actual show, the only “bath” she receives is the thorough licking and subsequently cleansing of the “sticky honey” after Ginko and Lulu receive Yuri Approval. The honey, in this context, is metaphorical for the “cloudiness” of her subconscious which is ultimately cured by Ginko and Lulu’s efforts.
“Picture-book pages dancing on the breeze shake up shadowy memories”
This is a fantastic line, and the best that the OP has to offer. Besides rhyming, many of the words are pulling a lot of weight. “Picture-book pages” is an obvious reference to “The Moon Girl and The Forest Girl,” Reia’s own little story that foreshadows the events of the anime. “Dancing” isn’t walking, jogging, or running; it implies a sense of fun, ofpurpose, to the actions taking place. “Breeze” contrasts amazingly with the storms that the anime always alludes at. Meaning that the “picture-book pages” that are “dancing” on it are what are calm, peaceful, and good. “Shake up” is what is done when trying to remember something; we “jostle our brain” to try to think back to something that we had forgotten. This is extremely relevant, given the whole show’s focus on flashbacks and memories. Speaking of memories, “shadowy” is an apt way to describe what they are. They’re not only dark in the content they contain but are usually “in hiding.”
“I’ll be waiting you-know-where, in an empty world”
The second line here seems to imply that it is Kureha who is singing this song. She’s the one located in the “empty world,” the invisible world. “You-know-where” is wholly ambiguous, which reinforces the notion of the kind ofinvisibility she is in danger of experiencing. What’s also curious is the use of “I’ll be waiting.” Not only is it in the first-person but it comes off as being intentional, that Kureha knows that she’ll be in this kind of situation. In a way, she did; her kid-self chose the path that she did willingly.
“Even if everything falls apart”
“Even if you have to gracefully writhe, even if you have to bend space-time”
A simple declaration of what needs to be done, and one of YKA’s most prominent ideas. In other words, no matter what gets thrown your way, be it rifles, girls, storms, or sin, fight for and never give up on love.
“Flower petals will slowly enfold us on a starry night”
“Come on… Come on… Come on…”
“J’ai besoin de toi” (“I need you…”)
The lily flower – the yuri flower – is an ever-present symbol throughout the anime, from beginning to end, so talk of them within the song makes sense. But it also predetermines what occurs with Kureha and Ginko after they complete their Promise Kiss; while not really happening, their entwinement is enfolded by the petals of a lily, demonstrating the power of the act and the love they have for one another. What’s interesting is that the “starry night” isn’t technically when it takes place; their Promise Kiss occurs during midday. However, it becomes a starry night following Lady Kumalia’s Yuri Approved verdict. Such a development there, and the use of the words here, also serves another purpose: it’s simply more romantic to “sit beneath the stars” with your lover.
The repeated “Come on…” is used as a playful tug to “get the show on the road,” both in the literal and figurative sense, while the ending French phrase hearkens back to the beginning of the investigation. In short, the track ends with love in mind.
List of References for Part 11