Yuri Talk: Kunihiko Ikuhara (By Rantasmo)

Yuri Kuma Arashi anime cover

While I enjoyed Yuri Kuma Arashi and somehow managed to review it I did need help from more knowledgeable Nation members and more avid fans who speak “Ikuharan”. I still don’t like Mawaru Pengundrum even though I kinda gave it a passing review the first time I saw it. Didn’t like it as much the second time I saw it. While I enjoyed Revolutionary Girl Utena’s movie yet still haven’t checked out the main show I don’t plan on reviewing it afterward because I don’t consider myself qualified to do so. Instead here’s a video of someone briefly discussing the “David Lynch of Anime”, Kunihiko Ikuhara and his few but very prolific works. Oh and there will be spoilers so tread carefully.

Feel free to discuss his thoughts here or on his Youtube channel down below.

Rantasmo is the host of the “Needs More Gay” series where he discusses subtext and canon homosexual content, mainly in Western media though he has tackled the yaoi genre at one point. He even covered KorraSami. Viewers who found this video interesting and want to check out more can visit his Youtube Channel HERE.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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4 Responses to Yuri Talk: Kunihiko Ikuhara (By Rantasmo)

  1. frankaiohtenoh says:

    The genius of Kunihiro Ikuhara goes beyond the fact of being one of the ones that actually addresses female homosexuality in Japan, he also opened the Pandora’s box of Yuri to the world, specially to the ones, like myself, that grew up watching anime.

    Sailor Moon [in this case S] is a revelation. If you haven’t seen the 90s version, oh come on do yourself a favor and enjoy how great Haruka and Michiru were developed as characters in the anime way beyond their manga versions. Naoko Takeuchi was very subtle about that, even if those two Outer Senshi were a couple and it was hinted everywhere [I feel sorry for all of you that watched that hideous dubbed version that made them cousins, sad, too sad] the mangaka didn’t recognized that they were actually a couple until the animated series was long done.

    A lot of people started seeing the light and felt identified with Haruka’s independent attitude or Michiru’s elegance. The image of having a possible lesbian relationship was first represented by these two and for me, was one of the means of my own sexuality recognition, so if you talk about Yuri forget about Ogasawara Sachiko [well the subtext is evident] and Satou Sei because the original ojou-sama and sexy flirt were those two. Just look at how big their fanfic community is.

    I can write more about Sailor Moon because I know that series in depth [I honestly don’t want to address Sailor Moon SuperS, I saw it but I hate that arc] but that’s another topic so I’ll continue with Shoujo Kakumei Utena.

    Ikuhara-sensei saw how restricted his liberty was with Sailor Moon because TOEI wasn’t stupid and well, in the end anime industry is about money so the director abandoned SM project and started working on Utena with some concepts that, if you saw Haruka and Michiru in Sailor Moon S, were familiar.

    The female prince is not something new but the way it was represented in Utena was amazing. The symbolisms were everywhere, from the duels to the versatility of the roses, every little thing in Utena has a deep meaning. I watched that series several times and there’s always new to add to the list.

    The struggle of the characters to know their place on a decadent world is something that you can study in any psychology class at college, there was an interesting parallelism with Neon Genesis Evangelion [Hideaki Anno and Ikuhara-sensei were close, so] but the latter just turned into a more depressing side while Utena kept us hopeful in the end.

    Yuri was there but on the little things, Anthy was an infuriating character that only wanted to exist but her concept of living started to drastically change when she met Utena and she found a reason to question all the craziness she was exposed to, and that gave her hope. That hope made her fight against her own fears and free herself. It is a very powerful story with some ups and downs along the road.

    And of course, Juri. The actual open lesbian in the show. She’s a round and real character that faced a taste of how bitter real life is. She’s fascinating in so many levels that describing her only as a plain lesbian won’t be enough, her story is interesting and dark.

    Mawaru Pengudrum is in my ‘watch soon’ list so I have no comments on that one.

    But Yuri Kuma Arashi, that one is Utena on crack. The symbolisms on this one were way more to the point.

    Who could forget all that lily licking?.

    The interesting thing about this series was the direct criticism to Japan’s society. Because all that concept of homogeneity that Japanese society preach is toxic if you are different in any way.

    Ostracism is common in Japan if you don’t ‘blend in’. Being different is bad and being everything society expects you to be is good. So if you’re a lesbian and live in Japan, life is not going to be easy.

    That’s why Yuki Kuma breaks the stereotype in a reality that shoves down your throat that everybody should be treated as equals and that’s the genius of the show. Besides all the “kuma shock and gau gau” which are quite catchy if I may add.

    Ikuhara-sensei and his work is a true reflection on what art really is: to break concepts and see life from a different angle. Not forgetting that Yuri is an interesting and badly exploited genre that can be represented in greater ways than just plain fanservice or severe doom [Onii-sama e is a big example of that]. It can actually transmit something.

    I have followed the nation for a long time but I finally wanted to give my opinion on one of the topics I’m knowledgeable enough.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Beautifully stated. Could not have done it better myself. Especially since I can only appreciate but not be emotionally and nostalgically attached to Haruka and Michiru since I didn’t grow up with them and only watched S 3-4 years ago. But oh boy do I love them anyway. Especially Haruka.

      Can’t agree with you about SuperS, but that’s me and most Moonies so I’ve made my peace with that.

      I’ll be interested in your thoughts on Penguindrum, if you ever get around to it. 🙂

      Like

  2. Reblogged this on haveyouexperiencedshitsurakuen and commented:

    I definitely need to check this video out already, thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  3. I definitely need to check this video out already, thanks for the reminder.

    Like

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