Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear, Vol. 9

By Kumanano and 029. Released in Japan by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jan Cash & Vincent Castaneda. Adapted by M.B. Hare.

Well, I did wonder in my last review if Yuna could solve problems by hitting things again soon. More to the point, we’re back at the dark end of this series again. Japanese media in general does not shy away from putting dark things into a show that’s ostensibly for children, as anyone who’s seen the end of the first season of Sailor Moon can tell you. That said, Kuma Bear is clearly written more for light novel adults than it is for kids the same age as the girls in it. As such, it can be very surprising to see things like “please come with me to investigate my master’s torture and murder chamber”. I mean, Non Non Boyori rarely deals with the death of everyone’s entire family, nor does K-On! have a string of child kidnappings. But something about “isekai”, putting something in a fantasy world that is not “modern”, makes the authors want to show us just how dark things can get. We’ve seen it here before. It’s still dissonant.

We wrap up the plot from the previous volume here. The party went well, so our evil noble’s evil grandson decides to solve the problem by having Misa kidnapped, and the kidnapper also punches Fina and Noa in the face while he’s at it. To be fair, evil kid’s dad is also kidnapping children of merchants as blackmail. That said, we really haven’t seen Yuna as mad as she is at the start of this book. She’s so furious that the entire city is terrified of her and her two bears tearing through going after the nobles, and its only Ellelaura that manages to stop her enough that she does not commit murder… something that Yuna, as per usual, only really recognizes and dwells on after the fact. The noble house here is pretty much what Yuna feared after playing so many cliches games and reading all these light novels like … well, like this one. The side stories are 100% serious, dealing with a maid who was blackmailed into working for the noble and her current mental state, which is not great.

After this, we have scenes of Yuna finally getting her ingredients from Wa and making mochi. Because of course we do, it wouldn’t be Kuma Bear without switching from serious to happy on a dime. We get warnings about the dangers of eating too much sugar, and we get piles and piles of stuffed bears given out. (Yuna seems to finally have come to terms with the bear onesie and her bear lifestyle in general.) The second half of the book has the guildmaster’s little sister Luimin come to get them because there’s a crisis at the elf village… a crisis which will presumably wait for Book 10, as the rest of this book is the journey there, which involves a group of adventurers and merchants who appear to be crooked, as well as Yuna showing off that crossing a raging river at high tide is nothing to a girl and her bears.

If you enjoyed the light novels, this will please you just fine. If you enjoyed the anime… be aware they cut the darker bits. And if the mood swings bother you… please just bear with it.

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