Some time ago, the asteroid Kumaria exploded in the depths of space.
The resulting fragments became a meteor shower that rained down on Earth, and for some reason, bears all over the world rose up and attacked humanity! In "Man vs. Bear," the bears ate the humans and the humans shot the bears, resulting in a seemingly unending battle and a cycle of hatred. In the end, a giant "Wall of Extinction" was erected between the humans and bears and a state of mutual nonaggression came to pass...
The human world.
One morning, Arashigaoka Academy students Kureha Tsubaki and Sumika Izumino were by themselves and saw the "Yuri Flower" that bloomed in a flower bed. The two are friends as well as lovers. The flower bed is an important place to the two. At that moment, the Bear Alarms ring out! The bears are invading the human world, and humans are being attacked! Are they really those bears? One mystery invokes yet another mystery, one after another...
NOTE: May contain spoilers. I'm discussing how the story develops thematically (which will likely give away some plot elements).
Wow, a 7, huh? Way to take a stand, me.
First off, I haven't seen the anime yet. I gather (from reading its reviews, and from author commentary in the manga) that they go in a rather different direction. This work does not seem to be using the whole "bears" thing as a metaphor for systemic social differences (i.e. being gay).
Instead what you get in this series is a meditation on the nature of reality, and how a combination of upbringing and experiences can turn one's perception of
reality completely on its head. And a study of how love sometimes can--and sometimes can't--bridge the gaps between one person's reality and another's; and what it means to inherit expectations, to deal with childhood trauma, and to live with soul-crushing guilt.
This is potentially really good stuff; and the fact that it's set against a backdrop of magical space bears makes it even better. Yay weird! Unfortunately, it reads like one too many head-fakes. Are the bears real? Does one person have a special insight into a hidden world, or is that person just delusional? Are metaphors intergenerational? (What about yuri ships?)
Part of this is an intentional effort to make the narrative ground constantly shift under the reader's feet. There's many layers of symbolism happening, and this is an interesting thing; unfortunately it jumps around just a little too much, enabling the uncharitable reading of a creator being indecisive or intentionally obtuse rather than making a carefully thought out thematic point. Don't get me wrong, it's not like you need to read it three times to understand what's happening; it just straddles the line between revelations that make you go "ahhhhh!" and ones that make you feel like you're suffering narrative whiplash.
I also--despite, c'mon, it's in the title--felt like the yuri angle was kind of forced. The love triangle is resolved way too easily; there's not any real motivation or story-evidence for the blossoming of romantic feelings among most of the characters; and anyway soon enough we're going to be more interested in sorting out what's going on in the world and in her mind than what's in her heart. Still, given the central thematic role that "true love" and "fated persons" play in this story, I could stand to see a little more evidence of actual love. (And don't start with me by saying that the manga is intentionally embracing yuri-romance cliches; that might be true and it might not, but that's not an explanation, just an excuse.)
Finally, I felt that the complicated backstory and character history just got out of control. There's drama, there's fate, there's karmic connections or whatever; then there's just too much.
So, ultimately, a seven: when a manga is trying (just that bit too hard) to do interesting things, and is carrying too much baggage from thinking about just how clever and deep it is.
I started reading this manga because of the simple reason that I was in the mood to read a dorky story about about bears and high school students. I probably should have known from the scantily clad girls on the cover that I was getting myself into something else.
Yuri or shoujo ai stories can be compelling when they are done well and done respectfully, and when they have the proper development of a relationship and emotional investment between the characters. This story doesn't do that. It is yuri in a mostly fanservice sense, with lots of panty shots and girls hanging out
in lingerie for no reason. The romance aspect of the story is littered with toxic behavior and obsession and there's not any kind of build-up for the characters falling for each other. A creepy subplot with the lecherous student council president only makes things worse. The story doesn't make any sense; the characters don't make any sense, and they aren't consistent. The MC has a sort of power related to perceiving people, but after a few early mentions it doesn't play a part in the story again. Part of the story has to do with figuring out the difference between fantasy and reality, but it isn't plotted well enough to be meaningful.
There are moments of wacky humor but they aren't enough on their own to turn the manga around. I should also note that, as of the date of this review, the synopsis appears to be copied from the anime version, which is different from the manga.