For those that enjoy their yuri with a hearty helping of bears (the animal variety mind you), guns, and some surreal symbolism, Yurikuma Arashi, which roughly translates into English as “Lesbian Bear Storm”, is a uniquely bizarre entry into the genre.
After a mysterious meteor shower, Earth's bears rise up and wage war against humanity in a bloody conflict only resolved with the construction of the Wall of Severance that separates the two groups. It appears an imperfect solution, however, as two bears, Ginko and Lulu, not only get past it but go on to pose as new students at Arashigaoka Academy. Their targets: lovers Kureha Tsubaki and Sumika Izumino. What follows is a story full of secrets, deception, death, the titular yuri and quite a lot of cute “gao gao”s.
Yurikuma Arashi comments on societal prejudice (namely sexual discrimination and racism) and relationships through heavy use of symbolism accompanied with a decidedly non-standard art direction and narrative style. While there may never be anything quite the same as Yurikuma Arashi, here are 6 anime that fans of the show should seriously consider checking out!
Similar Anime to Yurikuma Arashi
1. Mawaru Penguindrum (Penguindrum)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Jul. 2011 – Dec. 2011
After being discharged from the hospital, the ill-fated Himari Takakura suddenly dies while on a celebratory trip to the aquarium with her brothers Kanba and Shouma. By some miracle, she is resurrected by a spirit residing within a penguin-shaped hat bought from the gift shop. However, this isn't without consequence as the spirit takes over Himari and demands the twin brothers obtain the Penguindrum without further guidance or explanation as to what it even is.
Thus, an often confusing, yet always provocative psychological drama unfolds in the highly symbolic style of storytelling that fans of Kunihiko Ikuhara (who also wrote and directed Yurikuma Arashi) can expect. Full of philosophical musings, over-the-top repeated sequences, fairy-tale homages, a unique sense of style and some adorable penguins, Mawaru Penguindrum tackles many of the same themes and ideas explored in Yurikuma Arashi and tasks the viewer with unraveling the meaning behind each episode. If you really liked Yurikuma Arashi, Penguindrum simply can't be missed, especially if you prefer penguins to bears.
2. Flip Flappers
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct. 2016 – Dec. 2016
High-achieving yet unclear as to her future, Cocona Cocomine was living a normal life as a middle school student until she met the exuberant Papika, who quickly gets her roped into an organization called FlipFlap, which is searching for wish-granting magical shards in alternate dimensions known as Pure Illusion. In true magical girl fashion, they soon learn they can use the shards to transform into Pure Blade and Pure Barrier. Only by combining their feelings together can they fully utilize their new abilities to survive as they travel from one Pure Illusion to the next, fighting magical monsters and rival organizations along the way.
While the plot of Flip Flappers isn't terribly unique in and of itself, the way it is told is incredibly imaginative and colorful with a strong emphasis on visual storytelling and symbolism that fans of Yuri Kuma Arashi will doubtlessly appreciate. Yuri fans are also unlikely to be disappointed, as Cocona and Papika's relationship is deeply explored throughout the series. Bonus points if you like rabbits since they're heavily featured in Flip Flappers with Cocona's pet Uexküll (and more) continuing our ongoing list of animal associations.
Flip Flappers Trailer
3. Shinsekai yori (From The New World)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Sep. 2012 - Mar. 2013
Shinsekai yori takes place in an alternate future where a small percentage of humans developed psychic powers which greatly upset the world order, ultimately leading to a complete restructuring of society. Living in the utopian village of Kamisu 66 a millennium into the future, 12-year-old Saki Watanabe's powers have started to manifest and she soon joins Satoru Asahina, Mamoru Itou, Maria Akizuki and Shun Aonuma at Sage Academy where they learn how to control their new powers and become part of adult society.
However, not everything is as idyllic as it might seem, as Saki and company soon start discovering many dark secrets hidden away in Kamisu 66. Inexplicable disappearances, naked mole rat-like humanoids, mysterious curses, and more cause them to question their roles and complicity as we see them grow up throughout the series. With themes exploring societal organization, a variety of sexual (and non-sexual) relationships and morality, Shensekai yori is another deep psychological drama with strong characters and a unique art style and setting that Yurikuma Arashi fans will likely be fascinated by.
This series' animal is the queerat!
Shinsekai yori Trailer
Any Anime Like Yurikuma Arashi ?
4. Kyousou Giga (Kyousougiga)
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Dec. 2013
Originally released as an ONA in 2011 and 2012 and then expanded into a full TV series in 2013, Kyousougiga tells the story of Buddhist monk Myoue, who has the ability make own drawings come to life. Outcast by society because they fear his power, he retreats to his mountain home and creates a myriad of drawings including an entire “looking-glass city” called Kyoto (not that Kyoto) and a rabbit named Koto whom he falls in love with after she accepts a deal with a Bodhisattva to use her body. When her end of the deal is complete, Koto is taken away with Myoue following shortly.
The main story follows their children Kurama, Yase, and Yakushimaru, who now rule over Kyoto as they await their parents' return, and a mysterious schoolgirl (also curiously named Koto) who arrives in the city from another world and is trying to find her way home. Strikingly colorful, idiosyncratic, and full of symbolic imagery of a distinctive Buddhist, Shinto, and Alice and Wonderland-like flair, Kyousougiga explores family, multiverses, and life and death in a way that Yurikuma Arashi watchers will surely enjoy. Like Flip Flappers, the animal of this show is the rabbit!
5. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Fiends Madoka Kaname and Sayaka Miki are average middle-schoolers until they encounter a cat-like creature called Kyuubey who offers to grant them each a wish in exchange for them becoming magical girls to fight against creatures called witches. Transfer student Homura Akemi moves in to try and stop them from making the contract, warning that it is not as simple an agreement as it may seem. The girls soon meet more magical girls, Mami Tomoe and Kyoko Sakura, and begin to learn more about the true nature of Kyuubey and magical girls.
For many, Madoka Magica needs no introduction as the massively popular dark take on magical girl anime captivated audiences with its unorthodox and varied visual presentation, dramatic storyline and deviation from the norm within the genre. Fans of Yurikuma Arashi would be remiss to miss Madoka Magica's stylish, psychological romp through the world of magical girls with bonus literary allusions (largely to Faust) and a bevy of yuri subtext. Madoka Magica's animal is whatever Kyuubey is.
Puella Magi Madoka Magica Trailer
6. Shoujo Kakumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
- Episodes: 39
- Aired: Apr. 1997 – Dec. 1997
Utena Tenjou's parents die when she is only 8 years old. Heartbroken and believing there is no reason to continue living as death is inevitable, she lies down in a coffin and awaits her end until she is saved by Prince Dios. The prince gives her a Rose Signet ring and encourages her to embrace a life of nobility for the rest of her days. Taking his advice to heart, Utena strives to become a chivalrous prince despite being a girl and dresses and acts as such.
Set in the massive Ootori Academy, Revolutionary Girl Utena chronicles the titular character's accidental entrance into a series of duels with members of the student council who also bear Rose Signet rings. The winner of these duels claims the prize of the Rose Bride, Anthy Himemiya, a princess with mysterious magical powers. Utena herself does not agree with the concept of the duels but persists in order to try to protect Anthy and eventually revolutionize the entire system to save her.
A seminal (revolutionary?) yuri classic, Kunihiko Ikuhara's Revolutionary Girl Utena plants many of the creative seeds that would flower again in his later works of Mawaru Penguindrum and Yurikuma Arashi with mind-bending (often sexual), surreal thought-provoking symbolism and creative use of repeated sequences for artistic flair.
Anthy's monkey companion Chu-Chu serves as the final entry of the animal associations in this list!
Revolutionary Girl Utena Trailer
Do you like aesthetically distinct, highly symbolic anime that makes you think? Do you like anime that explores relationships between people (perhaps with a serious slant towards female-focused love and friendship) and the philosophy of societal organization? Do you like literary references, fairy-tale feelings and... animals? If yes, then we think these shows are worth your time if you're yearning for something else along the lines of a lesbian bear storm.
Let us know in the comments section below what you think of this list and/or what animal you'd have associated with you if you were an anime! Gao gao!