Kumamiko -Girl Meets Bear – Preview
Kumamiko -Girl Meets Bear:
Original Air Dates: April 3rd, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Machi is a middle school girl who also serves as the shrine maiden at a Shinto Shrine. Machi’s guardian is Natsu, a talking bear. One day Machi goes to Natsu and tells him that she wants to go to school in the city. But Natsu, fearing that Machi is too much of a country bumpkin, forces her through a series of trials and quizzes to prove that she’d be able to survive in the city. This is the story of Machi and Natsu’s life at the shrine, which is anything but normal.
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Linny: Kumamiko starts off feeling dreamy and beckoning, thanks to its pastel painting like opening sequences and backgrounds. It does a good job of portraying its characters and story, and while it never does anything extraordinary, it’s still a beautiful show to look at. And adding to the cute look of the show is a chara and story book illustration styled ending, which only sells the show’s quirky theme further.
Tom: Machi is pretty adorable, wanting to escape the confines of her country shrine life and attend a school in the big city. She often gets flustered when Natsu gets in the way of that goal, or does something she finds completely unexpected. It’s very moe and adorable in its own right. Natsu himself, our bear, is fun. His animation style snaps between his friendly persona and his more violent side when he wants to freak people out. Outside of these minor observations, it’s actually hard to get a handle on either, particularly because the tone and style of comedy shift wildly. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Linny: Having a sentient bear is pretty interesting especially when it’s the only outlier in a story that so far is all about the nice and simple inhabitants of a remote village, and watching him interact with the adorable Machi is both heartwarming and rib tickling. However, DO NOT BE MISLED BY THE TITLE or even the first half of the show. This is NOT a family/kid-friendly show but I’ll let Tom elaborate on why that is so.
Tom: Kumamiko starts innocent, as if trying to lull you into a false sense of security. And it works. The comedy is light hearted, slow and could even be called bland. The humor doesn’t hit too hard as Machi is quizzed by Natsu on city life. But it’s during the second half when a few new characters are introduced, a village educator and three children visit the temple. From there, the humor dives crossing lines many will find uncomfortable, all to make you sit up and say “wtf!?” and it works. Hell it works. The humor isn’t for everyone as we cross into the topic of beastiality (which wordpress is trying to tell me doesn’t exist), but in all honesty, this half of the show is the far more interesting side and if this really is what Kumamiko is going forward, I’m all for it. Let’s hit some uncomfortable topics and humor just like Gugure! Kokkuri-san did.
Linny: Tom is so right about comparing it to Gugure! Kokkuri-san. While the characters in this show seem non perverted compared to that show, the jokes and insinuations are just as scandalous and wtf. The kids introduced in the second half are a great source of humour, and had us bursting out with laughter. It’s amusing to watch the kids acting like real kids, switching between childish innocence, and the curiosity about adult life. Every single character in the episode plays a part in the comedy with their dialogue and expressions. I also HAVE to give props to the voice actor for the little girl character, for managing to pull off the best English line I’ve heard in a comedy anime.
Tom: Kumamiko is based off an ongoing manga series that currently lacks a localization. It’s unclear where Kumamiko is headed: is the show truly half and half between its two types of comedy, or is it one over the other? If Kumamiko is all absurd, questionable, crossing lines humor– Then please, please give me the rest already.
Linny: If you like your jokes scandalous to the point of ridiculous the way only anime can pull off, then Kumamiko is a must watch. Based on only this episode, the series seems to be a nice mix of cute and mentally scarring humour, and is sure to please fans of the absurd.
Kumamiko -Girl Meets Bear is available for streaming via Funimation.com