How to participate in the liveblog chat: Option 1: Whenever you watch the episode, comment on this post as you watch with whatever responses you feel like posting! Option 2: Go to http://webchat.freenode.net/. Enter a nickname, then for the Channels field enter ##rabbitcube, and finally fill in the Captcha and hit Connect! We’ll be watching Yurikuma and commenting there starting at 1:00 p.m. EST. We will then be watching Penguindrum at 1:30. Those are one hour earlier than normal!
I will update with the chatlog after the chat.
ETA: Chatlog below the cut!
[13:37] <Sylocat> Ah yes… Mean Girl had just torn up the storybook and killed Lulu, right
[13:38] <Sylocat> Awww
01[13:38] <Froborr> I second that ‘awww’
[13:38] <Sylocat> Ad
01[13:38] <Froborr> Ad
[13:38] <Arrlaari> ad
[13:38] <Sylocat> No opening credits?
[13:38] <Sylocat> I guess, it’s the finale after all
01[13:38] <Froborr> Yeah, I was going to say, that’s pretty common for finales.
[13:39] <Sylocat> Paused after ad
01[13:39] <Froborr> They’ll probably play the opening credit theme later in the episode.
[13:39] <Arrlaari> paused after ad
01[13:39] <Froborr> paused after ad
[13:39] <Sylocat> Click
01[13:39] <Froborr> Daytime already?
[13:39] <Sylocat> They’re building more Walls of Severance?
[13:40] <Sylocat> Whoa, a public execution?
[13:40] <Sylocat> Making her walk the plank like a pirate
[13:40] <Sylocat> She put ‘friends’ in quotation marks
[13:41] <Arrlaari> The translators put the word in quotation marks
[13:41] <Sylocat> Well, yes… I assumed it was code for something else though
01[13:41] <Froborr> They’re going to shoot her with the anti-bear cannon while she’s on the edge of a plank over a massive drop.
[13:41] <Sylocat> “Nasty.” Wow
01[13:42] <Froborr> THat seems like overkill.
[13:42] <Sylocat> Huh?
[13:43] <Sylocat> Aww…
[13:43] <Sylocat> It’s not going to work, but it was sweet of her to try
[13:44] <Sylocat> How will they get out of this one?
01[13:44] <Froborr> Oh god, they’re chanting “exclude” like gym students chanting “fight!” while jogging.
[13:45] <Sylocat> Of all the times for a phone call
[13:45] <Sylocat> Oh wait, it’s the judges?
[13:45] <Sylocat> Yep
[13:46] <Sylocat> Who’s talking?
[13:46] <Sylocat> Wait, what?
[13:46] <Sylocat> HUH?
[13:46] <Sylocat> What the…
[13:47] <Sylocat> Mind = blown
[13:47] <Sylocat> Ah… I thought it was weird that the judges had the power to erase the memory of someone who wasn’t even making the deal with them
01[13:48] <Froborr> Yeah, this does make more sense.
01[13:49] <Froborr> Ad
[13:49] <Arrlaari> ad
[13:49] <Sylocat> Ad
[13:49] <Sylocat> That was quick. Paused after ad
[13:49] <Arrlaari> paused after ad
01[13:50] <Froborr> paused after ad
[13:50] <Sylocat> Click
[13:51] <Sylocat> The chains broke
[13:52] <Sylocat> Aww, yet again
01[13:53] <Froborr> Ave Maria?
01[13:53] <Froborr> That’s an interesting choice.
[13:53] <Sylocat> Is that what’s playing?
[13:53] <Sylocat> Wait, Kumaria actually exists?
[13:53] <Sylocat> I assumed it was a myth
01[13:54] <Froborr> So the judges… aren’t evil, they’re aspects of Lady Kumaria?
[13:54] <Sylocat> WHAT
01[13:54] <Froborr> …Who is Sumika, of course.
[13:54] <Sylocat> I did not see that coming
[13:54] <Sylocat> HUH?
[13:55] <Sylocat> Well, that’s one way of solving the problem…
[13:56] <Sylocat> Wow
[13:57] <Sylocat> Is the Wall of Severance fracturing out of existence or something?
01[13:57] <Froborr> I think it’s waiting to see what happens.
01[13:58] <Froborr> Ad.
[13:58] <Sylocat> Ad
[13:58] <Arrlaari> ad
01[13:58] <Froborr> I’m assuming someone shot Mean Girl.
[13:59] <Arrlaari> paused after ad
[13:59] <Sylocat> Paused after ad
01[13:59] <Froborr> paused after ad
[13:59] <Sylocat> Click
01[14:00] <Froborr> Or not.
[14:00] <Sylocat> So is one lone nameless girl going to speak out now, or what?
[14:02] <Sylocat> So the process is repeating now or something?
[14:02] <Sylocat> Ooooooooookay…
01[14:02] <Froborr> Yeah, I think they killed Kureha and Ginko, but they went to Lady Kumaria’s heaven.
[14:03] <Sylocat> His name is Milne? Is that a Winnie-The-Pooh reference?
01[14:03] <Froborr> Pretty sure it is, yeah.
[14:03] <Sylocat> So, they began a journey beyond severance?
01[14:03] <Froborr> Yes. And yes, I think the other girl and bear are repeating the process.
[14:03] <Sylocat> Walking on water, of course
[14:04] <Sylocat> Wow.
01[14:04] <Froborr> Indeed.
[14:05] <Arrlaari> Kudos to tumblr for pointing out that this was a retelling of Shrek
01[14:05] <Froborr> …wat
[14:05] <Sylocat> …?
[14:05] <Sylocat> I can sort of see that, if Shrek had been half as self-aware as it thought it was
01[14:05] <Froborr> Haha, yeah.
[14:06] <Arrlaari> Shrek was a story book before it was adapted as a movie
[14:06] <Sylocat> Oh… right, the original book
[14:06] <Arrlaari> I had it in our house as a kid, which means it’s probably still here but buried in dad’s stuff
01[14:06] <Froborr> I did not know there was a Shrek book.
[14:06] <Sylocat> Yeah, it was a William Steig book
[14:07] <Sylocat> The movie had, like, pretty much nothing to do with it
[14:07] <Arrlaari> It’s a children’s book, relatively short even though there aren’t that many words per page and every other page is an illustration
01[14:08] <Froborr> *nods*
[14:09] <Sylocat> I read some analysis somewhere that said Yurikuma Arashi was a commentary on how lesbians are usually portrayed in pop culture… a binary either-or choice between pure chaste moé or predatory nastiness
01[14:09] <Froborr> Yeah, I can definitely see that.
01[14:09] <Froborr> And I think that’s where our error in thinking that the judges would be the “final boss” was: we were assuming this would end with the overthrow of an unjust society like Utena did. But no… it’s more bitter than that.
[14:09] <Arrlaari> Yurikuma Arashi is also the most straightforwardly Buddhist Ikuhara work. The protagonists’ victory is escaping an irredeemable world through enlightenment.
01[14:10] <Froborr> I dunno, that’s basically how Utena ended too.
[14:12] <Arrlaari> Utena broke the premise of the irredeemable world – the whole thing revolved around the dueling game which in turn revolved around the Rose Bride. It’s hard to imagine Otori continuing at all after Himemiya leaves. In Yurikuma the world continues as if everything went according to plan.
01[14:15] <Froborr> True, though there are interpretations of Utena in which that distinction doesn’t hold. But in most readings, yes, that’s true.
[14:15] <Arrlaari> Also, the Sumika reveal in this episode contextualizes Yurizono
[14:15] <Sylocat> Well, in Utena, that pointed out that the unjust society depeds on its victims to continue functioning
01[14:15] <Froborr> Who’s Yurizono again?
[14:15] <Sylocat> Yurizono was the bear who ate Sumika and possessed Ginko
[14:15] <Sylocat> The one with the hairstyle exactly like that girl at the very end with confused me for a moment
01[14:15] <Froborr> Ah, yes.
[14:15] <Arrlaari> Yurizono was a metaphor for Ginko’s “desire”
[14:16] <Sylocat> I realize asking this sort of question about an Ikuhara work is pointless, but… was Sumika always Kumaria?
01[14:16] <Froborr> A better question would be whether Kumaria was always Sumika.
[14:17] <Arrlaari> Yurizono was always a metaphor for Ginko’s desire, which is why Ginko allowing her to eat Sumika, who was always Kumaria, is framed as Ginko’s crime.
[14:19] <Sylocat> Which feeds into the symbolism of how bears represent the common stereotypical portrayal of “desire = evil.”
01[14:21] <Froborr> But in Buddhism it is?
01[14:21] <Froborr> So I think the only way to make sense of it is to say that bears = desire is a misreading the characters themselves are making, and that they’re actually love. As Lulu and Milne show in the ending, love doesn’t necessarily include desire.
01[14:22] <Froborr> And to judge one kind of love as better or worse than another is to introduce exactly the kinds of distinctions that Buddhism rejects, I think is where it’s going.
[14:24] <Arrlaari> From the description in the Cartoon History of the Universe (Larry Gonick), I understand that Buddhism contrasts itself from aescetic self-denial
[14:25] <Sylocat> Yeah… I think “desire = evil” is a major oversimplification of the actual Buddhist tenet… just one of many instances of people applying a Christian reading to other cultures
[14:26] <Arrlaari> There was – and I believe still is – a tradition of meditation through extraordinary fasting. The account of the first Buddha’s life says that he went from a life of excessive consumption to a spirtual life of self-denial, but after he achieved enlightenment he asked for a small plate of food.
01[14:26] <Froborr> I mean, “desire is the cause of suffering” is the Second Noble Truth.
01[14:27] <Froborr> It’s just that you can’t free yourself from desire through ascetism, but only through mindfulness and moderation.
[14:27] <Arrlaari> The lesson, I infer, is that one cannot defeat a desire by refusing to fulfill it.
01[14:28] <Froborr> So yeah, okay, “desire = evil” is a bit of an oversimplification, but it still means that if the bears represent desire, I don’t see how they can therefore be read as good within a Buddhist context.
[14:29] <Sylocat> Well, IMO that’s just a conflict about how to define the word “desire.”
[14:29] <Sylocat> I meant lust specifically
[14:30] <Arrlaari> Society judges anyone who does not completely conceal their desire – anything other than ascetic self-denial is a bear.
01[14:30] <Froborr> Hmm, maybe.
[14:30] <Sylocat> Also, I don’t get quite as much of an overt Buddhist feeling from Ikuhara’s work that I get from, say, Urobuchi’s
01[14:31] <Froborr> It’s definitely there, but as one of many readings, because Ikuhara.
[14:31] <Arrlaari> How many Urobuchi scripted things have you experienced? I’ve only seen Madoka and (not all of) Black Lagoon
[14:31] <Sylocat> Black Lagoon was Urobuchi? *Googles*
01[14:32] <Froborr> Also, I’m just going to put this out there: I’m not sure citing the Cartoon History of the Universe is a very solid starting point. The things you’re referencing happen to be more or less correct AFAIK, but in general I wouldn’t rely on that as a source.
[14:33] <Sylocat> I was thinking of Madoka specifically, but I’ve also watched LPs of Saya no Uta, and seen Fate/Zero
[14:34] <Arrlaari> I expressly cited it because it’s the only source I’ve read on the subject and I’m aware that requires caveat
01[14:34] <Froborr> Ah, okay.
[14:36] <Sylocat> I don’t even remember that part of the Cartoon History of the Universe, but that was close to my understanding as well (I could be wrong too though)
[14:39] <Sylocat> So… Penguindrum?
01[14:40] <Froborr> But anyway, I definitely see some possible bitterness here about debates over the character of Anthy, the general refusal of fans to see her as anything other than a princess or a witch, when the whole point of the show is that she’s both and neither.
01[14:40] <Froborr> So here we don’t get the overthrow of the whole corrupt society; we get a couple people attaining enlightenment and pointing the way for others, but the majority don’t understand what they just saw.
01[14:40] <Froborr> Sure.
01[14:41] <Froborr> I’m queued up after the initial ads.
[14:41] <Sylocat> Do we actually know the name of the girl who finds the cyborg bear at the very end, or is it just supposed to be some nameless could-be-anyone who’s going to follow the trail blazed by our heroines?
01[14:42] <Froborr> I have no idea–I can’t keep anyone straight in this show.
[14:42] <Arrlaari> She might have got a name card like each of the girls who lead the Invisible Storm, but I think not
[14:42] <Sylocat> Her hairstyle is exactly like Yurizono’s, which threw me at first
[14:43] <Sylocat> (though the eyes are a different color obviously)
[14:43] <Arrlaari> That was the thing that was most striking to me about Yurikuma when I first watched it – there’s no identifiable main antagonist
01[14:44] <Froborr> Yeah. It really seemed like it’d be the judges, but nope–they’re Lady Kumaria!
01[14:44] <Froborr> If anything, the villain is society itself, which I think is why we’re nonplussed that that’s intact at the end.
[14:44] <Arrlaari> Yurishiro, the principle, is almost certainly intended to resemble Akio, but she dies and the Invisible Storm goes on. A succession of members of the Storm take the lead position, die, and the Storm goes on.
[14:45] <Sylocat> Well, the OTHER reason I thought the Judges were going to be the final antagonist was because I thought they’d erased Kureha’s memory just to grant Ginko’s wish
[14:47] <Sylocat> You and me both, narrator
01[14:47] <Froborr> Whoa, someone else talking about fate!
01[14:47] <Froborr> Just like th efirst two episodes!
01[14:47] <Froborr> A doctor who just lost a patient?
[14:48] <Sylocat> That’s the pink-haired librarian by the hospital bed?
[14:48] <Sylocat> Are we suddenly watching a completely different show?
01[14:48] <Froborr> Is that the father?
01[14:48] <Froborr> Well, it’s the middle of the series, a good time for sudden twists.
[14:48] <Sylocat> Indeed
01[14:49] <Froborr> And I’m pretty sure the guy in the antarctic expedition photo was the father of the main characters.
[14:49] <Sylocat> Ad
01[14:49] <Froborr> Ad.
[14:50] <Arrlaari> paused, I didn’t get an ad after credits
[14:50] <Arrlaari> I can’t tell if the ads are a bit late, I see a dot fo rit
[14:50] <Sylocat> Lucky
01[14:50] <Froborr> Ad over.
[14:50] <Sylocat> Did you get the one-ad-at-the-beginning option?
[14:50] <Arrlaari> Not that I noticed
[14:51] <Sylocat> 30 seconds left on mine
[14:51] <Sylocat> Paused after ads
[14:51] <Sylocat> Click
[14:52] <Sylocat> Wait, they showed us the note and read it to us? Usually it’s one or othe other
[14:52] <Sylocat> Who the heck?
01[14:52] <Froborr> What IS this librarian?
01[14:52] <Froborr> What is his deal?
[14:53] <Sylocat> Ah yes, we were going to find out how this happened
01[14:53] <Froborr> Wait, she gave birth to a boy, singular?
[14:53] <Sylocat> Yeah, I thought they were twins
[14:54] <Sylocat> So how did this cause an accident?
[14:54] <Sylocat> Huh?
[14:54] <Sylocat> “Survival tactic?” Their dad was involved somehow?
01[14:54] <Froborr> Their dad was a twin?
01[14:55] <Froborr> Oh, no, that was just shots of him nodding from two different perspectives.
[14:55] <Sylocat> I understand very little of this
[14:55] <Sylocat> Awww, little TAbuki
[14:55] <Sylocat> So how did their dad cause the accident?
[14:56] <Sylocat> Or their birth, or whatever
[14:57] <Sylocat> Don’t tell me they’re going to drag this out for even more episodes
[14:57] <Sylocat> Uh oh, they didn’t find the body
[14:57] <Sylocat> And you know what THAT means
01[14:57] <Froborr> Calling it now, the actress Tabuki married is an amnesiac Momoka.
01[14:58] <Froborr> What’s up with his hand?
[14:58] <Sylocat> Oh, now THAT would be a twist
[14:58] <Sylocat> WHAT
01[14:58] <Froborr> Oh wow.
[14:58] <Sylocat> Their parents were… HUH?!
01[14:58] <Froborr> Their parents were TERRORISTS!?
[14:58] <Sylocat> That was out of left field
[14:59] <Sylocat> But if Momoka’s still alive, who’s the hat? I’d assumed the hat was Momoka
[15:00] <Arrlaari> ad
01[15:00] <Froborr> Can’t be, Momoka was human, the hat pretty clearly isn’t.
[15:00] <Sylocat> Ad
01[15:00] <Froborr> ad
[15:00] <Arrlaari> paused after ad
[15:00] <Sylocat> Good point, but still… I thought she’d, like, ascended or something
[15:01] <Sylocat> Paused after ad
01[15:01] <Froborr> paused after ad
[15:01] <Sylocat> Click
[15:02] <Sylocat> So, if their parents were criminal overlords, that explains white a few things
[15:02] <Sylocat> quite a few thigns
[15:02] <Sylocat> things
[15:02] <Sylocat> (I can’t words today)
01[15:03] <Froborr> This is a very sweet little scene.
[15:03] <Sylocat> Which one is Sho?
01[15:03] <Froborr> Sho is Bluebro, I believe.
[15:04] <Sylocat> Ah right, Shoma
[15:04] <Arrlaari> Shoma and Kanba?
[15:04] <Sylocat> Yeah
[15:04] <Sylocat> Trippy
[15:06] <Sylocat> GAH
[15:07] <Sylocat> Oh, does the doctor know more than he lets on?
[15:07] <Sylocat> That is the same doctor from the other flashback, right?
01[15:07] <Froborr> That, or it’s “let the boy be weird, he’s just lost his sister”
01[15:07] <Froborr> ad
[15:07] <Arrlaari> ad
[15:07] <Sylocat> Ad
[15:07] <Arrlaari> I think it’s the same doctor from when the hat first activated
[15:08] <Arrlaari> ad over
01[15:08] <Froborr> Yeah, I’m pretty sure it is.
[15:08] <Arrlaari> I was typing so I went a few seconds on
[15:08] <Sylocat> Ad over
01[15:08] <Froborr> Ad over
[15:08] <Sylocat> So, even if the doctor isn’t “involved,” per se, he’s probably figured out by now there’s something going on
[15:08] <Sylocat> Click
[15:09] <Sylocat> Dang
[15:10] <Sylocat> Uh…
01[15:11] <Froborr> When did he give her his life before?
[15:11] <Sylocat> So I’m not the only one who doesn’t remember that happening before
[15:11] <Arrlaari> The first time the hat activated, I take it
[15:11] <Sylocat> Jeez
01[15:12] <Froborr> Blarg, more incest because Ikuhara. I was hoping that thread had been dropped.
[15:12] <Sylocat> Don’t you mean, “more incest because anime?”
01[15:13] <Froborr> Nah, there’s definitely more of it in Ikuhara than the norm.
[15:14] <Sylocat> So, those two little henchmen dudes the librarian has, are they the penguins?
01[15:14] <Froborr> I think they’re the rabbits.
[15:14] <Arrlaari> They have the same hair things the rabbits in the story had
01[15:14] <Froborr> So what horrifying Faustian bargain is the librarian going to offer Redbro for Himari’s life?
[15:14] <Arrlaari> Did the Librarian give a name?
01[15:15] <Froborr> Probably, but I don’t remember.
[15:15] <Sylocat> I’m honestly not sure
[15:15] <Sylocat> Does Marshmallow Sniper have a name, either?
01[15:15] <Froborr> I’m virtually certain she does, but I don’t know what it is.
[15:15] <Arrlaari> She definitely has been named
[15:15] <Sylocat> Oooookay, so… that happened
01[15:16] <Froborr> Yeah, that was… not what I expected, to be sure.
[15:16] <Arrlaari> Hm, the librarian’s name is in the credits
[15:16] <Sylocat> It is? What is it?
[15:16] <Arrlaari> It could be a spoiler?
01[15:17] <Froborr> I say go for it.
[15:17] <Sylocat> Yeah, finding out that their parents were the leaders of a criminal ring that blew up a subway was… weird
01[15:17] <Froborr> But I’ll leave it up to Sylo.
[15:17] <Sylocat> Does he share a surname with anyone we’ve already met?
[15:17] <Sylocat> If not, go for it
[15:17] <Arrlaari> Sanetoshi, so no
[15:17] <Sylocat> Ah right, now I remember
[15:18] <Sylocat> We did get his name in his debut episode
[15:18] <Sylocat> So it’s not a spoiler
[15:19] <Arrlaari> Mashmallow Sniper is Natsume, one can read it out of the episode 10 description by mousing over it
[15:20] <Sylocat> Ah right, I remember commenting that she had the same last name as Nuku Nuku