WARNING: This post involves spoilers from both Yuri Kuma Arashi and Shrek (2001)
Hey all, back again with a… less than serious post this time. On Twitter there seemed to be some joke posts about how Yuri Kuma Arashi was similar to the Dreamworks movie from 2001 by the name of Shrek, a movie about a scary green ogre and… onions. At first I thought it was a joke but when I thought about it I started to realize that there were some stretches that I could make but there were indeed some… similarities? Between the two of them. Now this post is meant to be mostly entertainment with only the tiniest hint of legitimacy as I look over the deep and intricately woven plot of Shrek.
I’ll try to be going from the beginning of each story to the end for consistency but I’ll probably mess up once or twice since the stories obviously don’t follow the same narrative 100% of the way. Feel free to yell at me in the comments for spending my time writing up such an article.
So what do we have from the beginning of Shrek? It involves the Lord Farquad exiling a bunch of Fairy Tale creatures to a swamp where a Smash Mouth loving ogre lives. The ogre finds his solitude interrupted by these events and determines to find out what is going on. Meanwhile, in the counterpart, we have the student council who excludes students and subjects them to the “invisible storm”. The way to escape the invisible storm appears to be to turn into a bear or to just run to the other side of the wall.
In this instance it would seem to me that the other side of the wall would be the swamp, thus making Shrek the equivalent of either Ginko or Lulu. Who is Kureha? We’ll get to that in a second. But for ease of this comparison I would say that Shrek is Ginko; he chooses to leave the safety/solitude of his swamp/the wall in order to cross over into the unknown world where he will face oppression due to who his truly is. They are both “ugly” creatures that find no room in normal society (sometimes not even their own society).
Shrek and Ginko have further similarities when we go deeper into the storyline; at some point they reject their love interest out of hurt pride or stubbornness or betrayal or believing that their SO would never be interested in a creature like them but eventually accept that they are in love and move on to their happy ending.
Also, Lulu is Donkey. The main support from the hero(ine), the one who tries to keep the party together, the one who unconditionally loves without expecting the love back. Without Donkey, Shrek would have never been able to rescue Fiona or understand that it had all been a misunderstanding. Without Lulu, Ginko would have likely been killed by the bullet aimed at her (without even telling how far she would have made it alone).
So where do we go from there? Well, the parallel would be Shrek’s quest to rescue Fiona from the Dragon’s castle while Ginko’s quest is to give Kureha the promise kiss. Which I suppose would bring me to the last major character I didn’t cover in each medium yet. Fiona would be Kureha. The princess who kicks ass and is secretly an ogre vs. the marksman who swears that she’ll destroy bears. This may involve a little bit more explanation so here we go.
As their love interests, Fiona and Kureha were both being oppressed by the powers that be during their quest. Fiona was held captive by a dragon and couldn’t escape as she was under constant surveillance and Kureha was under constant watch from the invisible storm, waiting for her to slip up so they could exclude her. Now this isn’t to say that the dragon = the invisible storm because that parallel has already been made. For Dragon any parallels are extremely weak; there is no character that is antagonistic at first but then falls in love with the sidekick (Lulu in this case).
To get back to Kureha = Fiona, they both at first hated their saviors. Kureha’s whole purpose was to kill bears and Ginko was a bear. Fiona found Shrek to be nothing short of an asshole. But throughout the course of the story as more information was revealed it turns out that they ended up falling in love with each other either due to their past or due to the true nature of their characters despite their outward appearance. Which seems to be a strong parallel; both are trying to tell us to not judge a book by their cover and that true beauty lies underneath (at least, both are trying to say this to some degree).
Which brings me to a few of my strongest parallels. We have the promise kiss in Yuri Kuma and we have true love’s first kiss in Shrek. Both end up being the end game for the characters although they reach that conclusion in different ways. But both Shrek and Ginko have to overcome their own personal challenges in order to end up receiving their fated kiss which has more power than originally thought. It also saves Ginko from execution, a fate which Shrek was supposed to go through as well at the hand of Lord Farquaad. Kureha and Fiona were supposed to live and see their loved one perish.
When Shrek receives his promised kiss, Fiona turns into… an ogre. By the movie’s own definition, an ugly creature. But it’s the form that will bring her the most happiness so she accepts it and moves on to her new life with Shrek in the swamp. And when Kureha receives her promised kiss, she turns into a bear. The creature she hated from the beginning and the one that is oppressed the most. We have here a situation where the characters I’ve connected both receive the same fate; they become the creature that society despises and decide to accept it and move onto their lives of solitude (Kureha beyond the wall, Fiona into the swamp). “Love’s true form”, as it were, is not what Kureha or Fiona originally imagined it to be. They all succeed in the face of an oppressive and stubborn society and end up with their true love.
Also, for a somewhat far reaching parallel, both of these stories involve fairy tales; the source and importance of the respective fairy tales varies both stories end up playing out that fairy tale even though Shrek wipes his ass with a page from the book he’s reading in the beginning. But he does rescue the princess and fall in love with her happily ever after. And Kureha and Ginko were friends separated by the wall who eventually reunited thanks to divine intervention.
As for another far reach, Shrek has a specific line about building a wall around his swamp to keep people out so that he can live in solitude. What separates the humans and the bears? A WALL. Coincidence? …Probably. Nonetheless, it’s still a similarity between the two!
…Well, that happened. I don’t regret it. Sometimes it’s fun drawing parallels between two outrageously different works of media even though you may think they would never have anything in common. If Ikuhara eventually came out and said YKA was inspired by Shrek I personally wouldn’t be surprised. Okay I’m lying, I would totally be surprised if that turned out to be the case.
Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed Yuri Shrek Arashi!