Anime Opinions: Kuma Miko – Girl Meets Abuse

This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.


Zutto happy days, my ass.


Setting the Stage

Machi is a shrine maiden in a remote, rural village who aspires to one day experience the city life she’s always dreamed of. She’s also friends with a bear or something.

[HorribleSubs] Kuma Miko - 10 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.24_[2016.06.26_15.27.33]
The motivation behind pretty much everything Machi does in the show.
Yet what starts out as a cute look at an earnest girl’s ignorant attempts to become more like them thar city folk turns into a tone-deaf, saccharine chronicling of child abuse.

By the end of the show, every other scene looks like this.



Hit Me Harder

At first, all the Machi Abuse comes across as standard slapstick. Whenever Machi encounters a setback, she resolutely rebounds, curating empathy with the viewer as she demonstrates a strong sense of character. Simple, cheap, effective.

Character growth.
Character growth. (Also dick growth because holy shit dat face.)

But the show takes this basic character building and makes each setback crueler and crueler. Until eventually, Machi stops rebounding.

It's cute until you realize she's being serious.
It’s cute until you realize she’s legitimately mentally destroyed.



Give and Take and Take and Take

After watching the show a bit, you’ll find it settles into a clear pattern: Whenever anything good happens to Machi,

Machi finds a friend
Machi finds a friend!

the injustice of decency is immediately corrected.

[HorribleSubs] Kuma Miko - 05 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.22_[2016.06.25_11.04.35]
oh wait, nm Hiiko’s a bitch
Over time, the pattern frays until the show finally dispenses with formalities and just throws Machi into situations where she pointlessly suffers.

Social anxiety played for laffs!
Good thing nobody watching the show can relate to social anxiety or this scene would be quite uncomfortable.

Machi gets unfairly shit on by the few people she knows in the world, we get a reaction face, time passes, and then the cycle repeats until the end of the episode. Repeat 12 times or until otherwise finished.

Manipulated and bullied into submission in every episode, Machi is utterly robbed of her agency.
Manipulated and bullied into submission in every episode, Machi is pathetically and utterly robbed of her agency.

Now if Kuma Miko was at least somewhat cognizant of what it was presenting, that’d be one thing. But its complete lack of self-awareness frustratingly drags the show into depths normally reserved for hacks the like of Gen Urobuchi or Mari Okada.



It’s Just Bad Writing

And this show is straight bad manners.
And this show is straight bad manners.

Not everything needs to make a point or have a moral or result in some pathetic “everyone wins” fairy tale bullshit. But at the same time, I expect there to be reasoning behind prominent character interactions. As far as I can tell here, there isn’t any. I won’t say it’s problematic, but it sure as fuck is a problem.

Machi’s suffering has a non-effect on her development — she neither grows nor regresses. She doesn’t learn, or react in any fashion that shows her as a character comprised of more than just lines on a screen. Her pain doesn’t forward the plot in an appreciable way, nor does it provide the comedic lining one would normally expect.

There is no sensible literary excuse for this — it is pointless, ineffective writing. And Kuma Miko suffers for it almost as much as Machi does.

MFW every time Machi gets bullied.
MRW every time Machi gets bullied.



An Ending as Satisfying as a Handjob from Captain Hook

All she ever wanted, and all she'll never get.
All she ever wanted, and all she’ll never get.

At its finality, Machi decides to stay in her village for the rest of her life because she believes (and is led to believe) she will never be accepted in the city.

Ironic, considering the only people to refuse to accept her for who she is are her fellow villagers.
Ironic, considering the only people to refuse to accept her as even so much a human being are her fellow villagers.

Everyone cries, as hugs are had and Machi’s entire character arc is erased in 20 seconds. Cue credits, please remember to buy the blu-rays?





Machi’s a good girl, and that keeps the show worth watching even through its etch-a-sketch finale. But when the entire supporting cast is trash, the resulting odor becomes hard to ignore.

Damn shame, because Kuma Miko would have been perfect had it simply protected Machi’s smile.

Spoiler for

Rating: 9/10 anyway


I honestly meant everything I said above, but Machi is super cute, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

15 thoughts on “Anime Opinions: Kuma Miko – Girl Meets Abuse”

  1. At the end of the show she’s completely retarded so it’s cute again, most anime girls are retarded and they are cute, point proven.

    She’s also a love letter to mindbreak and rape doujins’ artists.

  2. Finally, some goddamned sense. I’ve seen people all over the place shitting all over themselves and this show. Did the ending suck balls? Yes. Did the support characters suck? Yes. Was Yoshio a gigantic dick the whole series? Yes. Does that mean the whole show was shit? Absolutely not.

    I just want next season’s trainwreck to happen already so I can stop hearing about how “Kuma Miko was a mindbreak” and “At least they didn’t mentally scar this MC like on Machi!”

    Fucking anime fans are the worst.

    • To be fair the series’ premise was rather shoddy to begin with. There are only so many laughs you can get out of “she’s a country bumpkin lolol” before it starts being repetitive and/or offensive (in this case, both). There was no well-written overarching plot, no likable side-characters, the humor was very sparse and not at all clever. *None* of the major characters have grown throughout the series—even when there was an attempt at a proper arc, they pretty much all still returned to the status quo by the end of the final episode. Except Machi, who started with a bumpkin complex and ended up with an emotional trauma! Fucking classy, isn’t it.

      I mean, you can hate on the critics and it’s fine, but a cute girl doing cute things with a talking bear is not yet an indicator of a show quality. Yet if there are no other redeeming points to it, and if a feel-good show repeatedly—and non-accidentally—makes you feel bad about the way it treats its main character, consider that the critics may have a point, and that the writer got the feedback they actually deserved.

      • What the hell are you going on about? When the hell did I say this was a “10/10 – IGN” masterpiece? In what world does slice of life need an overarching plot and character growth? Ika Musume lives in an eternal summer with a premise that only serves as a punchline, yet nobody shits on it like they do Kuma Miko. The series finale is just another fine example of the cancer that is the anime original ending, yet you’re using it as though it’s the core of the whole series.

        • Oh my.

          > When the hell did I say this was a “10/10 – IGN” masterpiece?

          …But I never said you did?

          > In what world does slice of life need an overarching plot and character growth?

          It does need something—be it well-written overarching plot, unique/memorable characters, interesting/unconventional character dynamics, decent humor, or at least something that makes you feel really pleasant and satisfied upon watching it. Which of that does Kuma Miko have? And who is to blame for the lack of any of it—anime fans? The original ending?

          Let’s make it simple for you. Tell me what is good about Kuma Miko. Tell me what makes it as good or better than the slice of life series usually considered good.

          > The series finale is just another fine example of the cancer that is the anime original ending, yet you’re using it as though it’s the core of the whole series.

          Wtf. At this point I’m not even sure you’ve watched the series at all, because the kind of problems seen in the finale aren’t remotely unique to the finale itself. Machi is being manipulated or outright forced into situations she doesn’t want to be in; is discouraged, used, and abused. *In almost every single fucking episode.* Do you find that cute, fun, or otherwise entertaining? Do you think this is the kind of story that should find itself outside of strictly adult literature—definitely not in a teen-rated deceptively cute-looking slice-of-life?

          What you don’t seem to realize is that its finale wasn’t something that did a 180° on Kuma Miko’s story development. It followed from it *logically and naturally* as almost nothing in the entire series could be considered a success story (at least past the first couple episodes). It was mostly a document of Machi’s failures and abuse she had to endure because no-one around her cared to treat her as a human being, i.e. with respect to her own feelings and desires. And it’s kinda funny to see how you shift the blame for the (well-deserved) backlash from anime fans to anime-original ending, even though both are completely misattributed. As far as I’m concerned, the manga isn’t a success story either, and none of the characters there actually repent for what they’ve been doing to Machi.

  3. The last 2 episodes pissed me off, I almost didn’t make it through the cringe in the last one in the hope that the ending in my head was better than the one on screen.

    Everything bad that was happening to her was in her head, the people around her were nice but she could only see people throwing rocks; nice generic metaphor there…


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