World of “humans” - Yang.
The first thing Ikuhara-sensei does in YKA is creating a “feminist’s dream” world - Arashigaoka academy is a dystopian, closed world of women, whose relationships ought to be nothing but clean, pure, shiny, platonic friendship. Students, teachers, police - everyone’s female here. It’s a calm, “proper” world of seemingly no sins, of everything being in order and right. Girls drink lily-milk, boys in statues are replaced with bears or other animals, road signs portray female silhouettes in skirts - males in this world are literally non-existent. And young women are labelled as lily flowers: they are blooming and shimmering and must always socialize with each other - stay together on a flower bed, because being friends is considered their survival strategy. Every other behaviour, everything that makes you stand out is considered a deviation from the norm, because it makes you visible to that other world and put the lily species in danger.
World of “bears” - Yin.
BEAR SHOCK! It turns out that in reality behind the Wall of Separation there also exists another world - a scary, dirty world of lustful and sinful bears, hungry and greedy for women’s honey. Like all mammals, bears don’t limit their animal instincts with logic: when they see the prey, they attack and killeat, because their survival depends on that. And precisely because of their nature, their feelings are not bound to pure friendship - in contrast to the other side of the wall, here’s the world of free love and sex as well as free hate and other emotions...
The transparent storm - Yin in Yang.
And we learn about the world of “bears” exactly when Kureha and Sumika open up to Love - the deviation caused by a deadly stir of emotions. But loving another girl, taking care for a lily, will naturally make their hands dirty. So the very moment Kureha and Sumika swear to never back down on love, there comes a warning. It’s a warning of the incoming storm of feelings, emotions, it’s a warning of becoming visible to the outer world. The girls who fell in love are in the center of this storm, they are causing the stir around them. So the rest of the lilies will unavoidably get caught into it and… get cut. Because, you know, there are laws how this world of lilies operates. Breaking these laws will essentially break the world built upon them.
The storm strengthens.
As mentioned earlier, making your hands dirty is strictly prohibited in the pure world of women, where even Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia” is quoted with a change in a third person pronoun, “She that shoots oft at last shall hit the mark”, and thus a punishment and judgement quite literally fall upon the girls in a form of a brick. Ah, of course, I forgot to mention, that Yurizono Mitsuko apparently also fell for Sumika. She’s the one to find her talking about love to Kureha during lunch. She’s most likely the one who cuts the first lily, and thus makes Sumika an easy prey to bears. She’s the one to claim she also finds herself in the invisible storm. She’s the one to say she’s sorry to Sumika. She’s the one who also makes her hands dirty. But she’s the one who tries to back down on love and calm the storm in a group of three, together as friends. May be she’s jealous, may be she’s in love - that's anyway something that is not allowed. So she cuts ALL lilies. And this literally means that all girls will be eaten during the series. After all, there must be a reason for a label “1” next to the crime scene where Sumika’s belongings were found.
The Lily Trial - The Court of Separation.
Every new crime requires a new process in court. As said above, every sin asks for a punishment and a judgement. Ironically, the Court consists entirely of male bears (though with human outlook). But it claims to stay independent and fair as scales to each side. We’ll see about that. Anyhow, the ones being judged are literally bears, i.e. in the true bear form. The entire stage is quite reminiscent of the conflictual sides in the series.
Life is cool - Super-ego.
This is a guy who relies on rationality and logic as opposed to emotions, impulses, and feelings. It’s quite obvious that he’s the one to blame the “bears” for disrupting the calm of the “human” world. They brought the dirty sin to the pure territory.
Life is beautiful - Id.
The guy who stands for the “bears” side in contrast represents the realm of feelings, emotions, and impulsive irrational decisions. He doesn’t care much if there are victims on the “human” side, because otherwise the bears would die of hunger.
Life is sexy - Ego.
The one who tries to unite this duality, referencing the Abraxas from “Damien” by Hermann Hesse (a novel Ikuhara-sensei is known to be a sucker for), the main judge, is the one who reads out the sentence. I actually wonder if this all happens in Kureha’s head while she stays unconscious. Apparently she’s watching the process from a side, as if from beyond the end of the worlds, as a challenge to what her true feelings are, as a search for an answer to the question, what is it that she truly desires for - to stay innocent, pure, virgin, and invisible or to become a greedy animal. So, subconsciously it seems, she’s the one who learns about her sexuality and she’s the one who approves yuri, i.e. she’s the one who wants to take of both worlds - stay pure but be able to love.
TL;DR - Conclusion.
And that pretty much sums up the first episode. Ikuhara-sensei rolled out almost every symbol in one episode. He stayed true to his favourite books and metaphors. Specifically, he stayed true to the idea of learning about the world by breaking it first.
This time around Kureha is learning about her problematic sexuality. There’s a clean and pure world of light and illusion she exists in, which prohibits all kinds of sins, including love, love for a girl. This world is resemblant of Damien’s parents’ home of his childhood.
There’s a true, but dirty world of crime, sex, violence, and profanity, which is separated from the clean world by a wall of morale as well as character inexperience and blindness.
Kureha is to wake up from a phone call to find out there’s a dark side to the world she lives in, that will let her experience the true love, but will of course thus break the pure world as she knew it.
Other connotations / symbols.
I also wanted to point out a couple of interesting points that were not properly put out to our attention yet.
Lily seagulls (yurikamome).
Seagulls are a lilies’ dark side. You can see how Ikuhara-sensei visually unites them in the OP alluding to the art of Escher. This seagull character is also used on Hakonaka Yuriika-sensei’s uniform. She’s for sure a dark horse of the story and will play a role similar to Tabuki-sensei in Penguindrum. Not surprisingly, her last name is literally translated as “inside the box” or a cage. I believe, she did love Kureha’s mother but just like Yurizono-san managed to suppress her feelings. This in fact might be the actual reason for being eaten by the bear!
I would for sure missed this one if I didn’t do a per-frame scan of the Danzetsu no Court program boot screen, where the Door has a symbolic icon in addition to all other symbols of the show. The door is located right next to the flower bed. And behind the door is where Yurizono-san actually notices the two bears eating Sumika. So this is very likely the door to the real world from the pure world of “humans”.
The love rifle and the love bullet.
“He that shoots oft at last shall hit the mark.” - Sir Thomas More, “Utopia”, 1516. “She that shoots oft at last shall hit the mark.” - Ikuhara Kunihiko, “Yuri Kuma Arashi”, 2015.
The gun is given to Kureha to question her ability to shoot and kill. In other words, it questions her resolve to come to the dark side for the sake of love. Only if her feeling is true, she will be able to shoot. But in order to answer that question, she must first understand what is her feeling and what consequences will she have to bear because of it.
Will probably be explained somehow via Hakonaka-sensei. But as said earlier, this is likely a synonym to a cage. Sensei might have preferred to shut her eyes and hide her feelings for Kureha’s mom in a box or rejected the feelings because that would be against the school rules/high morale/the world of “humans”. This eventually killed Tsubaki Reia. If this is the case, then perhaps the story with Yurizono might be a little more complicated. Perhaps Sumika went out to eat lunch alone because she wanted to convey her feelings to Yurizono. The latter rejected and left the roof. This is when Kureha found her alone, so Sumika decides to “share the fruit of fate” with her instead. And that’s why Yurizono excuses later.
Or honey. Aside from the “women nectar” connotations that others have already mentioned, this could be similar to the fruit of fate from the Penguindrum. It’s a sweet reward for taking a step from the world of illusion to the real world, a reward for choosing love and not being scared by the consequences.
The forest. The moon. The star. The trap. The memory.
Can’t tell you much about it. The first two are found in every Ikuhara show, but this is still something that I need to learn and research myself. The latter two - don’t even have too many ideas - hopefully we’ll figure out more soon.
The term “transparent” or “invisible” was used by Ikuhara in Penguindrum. The children broiler processed the transparent children, children who lacked parental love got destroyed into pieces. It was a punishment bestowed upon children for the sins of their parents. These kids were garbage of the society - something that is thrown away. The society didn’t need them, didn’t want to see them, wanted to avoid them - that’s why they were called invisible. Despite they stood out with their dirtiness like an eyesore, the society chose to ignore them. In short, transparent means lacking love.
| Jan 12, 2015 10:33 AM |