Super Kuma-san

TV Special (1 ep x 25 min)
2003
3.006 out of 5 from 170 votes
Rank #12,896

Kuma is a typical friendly sentient stuffed bear -- that is, until he gets angry and transforms into Super Kuma-san, protector of all that is good and pure! With a homicidal doll on the loose, Kuma-san is up to his paws in trouble. Can he stop the carved beauty before it's too late?

my anime:

User Stats

1,064 users are tracking this. Log in to see stats.

If you like this anime, you might like...

Reviews

cassiesheepgirl
6.9

StoryBefore I start, I’d just like to say that this OVA is WEIRD! Now, I don’t mean in an ‘Oh I say old chap, this is jolly odd’ way, I’m talking of a sheep wearing roller blades skating around the top of the Eiffel Tower kind of weird. Super Kuma-san is set in a plaza where children gather to play, draw pictures and watch a large blue stuffed bear named Kuma-san and his clown friend perform their act. Unfortunately, this also happens to be the crime hotspot of the city, complete with armed bank robberies and gangs of joy riders – seriously, would you still let your kids play there? Luckily, help is at hand as when our fuzzy protagonist gets mad, he transforms into ‘Super Kuma-san’ to fight off the enemy. However, it’s not quite so simple, as soon a rival appears in the form of a revenge-seeking sadistic doll that’s like something out of a more twisted version of Rozen Maiden. Impressively for such a short OVA, Super Kuma-san has a pretty solid narrative – it’s just bloody barmy. There’s crime, action, rivalry, tragic pasts and a decent resolution at the climax – you couldn’t ask for much more. It would be easy to dismiss the plot as silly nonsense at first glance, but (worryingly) each aspect of the show makes perfect sense within the grand scheme of things. In reality, this anime’s biggest selling point is its inherently wacky nature. Depending on how you take it, the bizarre brand of comedy will either invoke maniacal laughing every few minutes, or fall into a dingy barrel marked ‘what the hell is this crap’. Indeed, seeing Kuma-san toss his ear at a terrified armed robber is oddly hysterical, and his habit of wearing his headscarf as a neckerchief after he transforms is the most ingenious superhero reveal I’ve seen since Clark Kent took off his glasses. This is definitely one of those series, which is so utterly rubbish that it quickly becomes brilliant. I mean come on, a slightly retarded stuffed bear fighting crime, that’s good nonsense if ever I heard it!AnimationSuper Kuma-san’s animation is quite clean with a reasonable smoothness of movement. Though not the best specimen by any stretch, it far outranks a lot of the other OVAs out there in terms of visuals. This anime boasts some admirable character designs that are wholly befitting of the plot’s tone. Kuma-san is suitably cute, but at the same time, somewhat creepy with his blank appearance. Meanwhile Super Doll has a simultaneously beautiful yet harsh visage, and her mix of delicate features with piercing azure eyes and often-emotionless expressions give her an ominous presence.SoundPretend for a moment that you’re truly terrified of both clowns and the circus. Then envisage that you’re having the most horrifying nightmare of your life about them dancing around threatening to attack with large knives and chainsaws… Now imagine this represented in musical form and you have the ending theme to Super Kuma-san. The convivial and upbeat melodies receive a menacing edge as the percussion section goes nuts all at once and creepy choral overtones reverberate in the background. Then, just to ensure that no one will sleep easy, Super Doll’s sinister theme makes a return to leave the sound of a lone, eerie music box echoing around your head all night long. Super Kuma-san’s incidental music helps to re-affirm the series’ nature, often encompassing light carnivalesque themes to re-iterate the circus-like nature of Kuma and his clown friend. To continue the theme of the utterly bizarre, some of the score has an oft-distorted sound to it, at times appearing much like the instruments performing it are winding down or running out of power; likewise, on occasion, it simply sounds like tuneless racket. ‘Super Kuma-san’s’ personal song in particular incorporates a melody hidden under a mish-mash of musical noise, and while not something I would choose to listen to, it ideally fits the temperament of the character.CharactersKuma-san as a superhero is pretty useless. His attacks consist of lunging at criminals and standing around banging his drum – that is if he isn’t distracted by ice cream – however, as a character he has a surprising amount of personality. Even though he’s a bit dim, the bear has a kind heart and loves kids, so much so that when he catches a glimpse of his own ‘scary face’ he becomes traumatised and sinks into a mild, puddle-flailing depression. Through a single, short flashback the viewer learns a little of his past and gains insight into why he acts as he does, which for a rather batty, half-hour OVA is satisfying to see. The other characters vary in their amount of personality and development. Kuma-san’s rival, Super Doll, exudes a truly eerie vibe from the outset and, much like the title character, we learn of her motivation for both her actions and bloodlust through flashback, which even encourages a slight sense of empathy. Meanwhile, the clown character is woefully unexplored; we learn next to nothing of his life, and he serves little purpose other than as a companion to Kuma-san.OverallThere’s a lot of bizarre anime out there; Cat Soup is messed up, Nekojiru Gekijou is a comically violent mindfuck, but Super Kuma-san is just plain weird. It certainly is not the kind of anime for everyone; those who get it will probably love it, those who don’t will most likely hate it and want it to end as soon as possible. If you like odd anime then give this a go, because it really doesn’t get much more obscure than this, but regardless of how you feel about it, I defy anyone to watch this OVA without yelling ‘what the hell?!’ at the screen at least once.

vivafruit
6

I was joking with someone the other day that I’d rather watch weird anime than good anime, and then almost immediately afterwards I found myself watching this little number. Before I begin, I think it’s necessary to say that the sole redeeming quality of this show is that it’s bizarre. For some, this might be enough. Others… not so much.  When I say this is strange, I mean that, as someone who actively searches out this kind of stuff, this is the strangest thing I’ve seen since Cat Soup, three years ago. It’s simply mind-boggling that something like this would ever be made. Like Alien 9, the cutesy, saccharine-sweet style of animation belies some decidedly sinister undertones. The colors are bright, the ideas are not. For what it’s worth, however, the OVA looks nice enough, with clean animation and, um, creative character designs. The music is similarly simplistic and childish, and fits with the animation well. You have the title character, Kuma-san, who most definitely WILL weird you out with his inexplicable dialogue and borderline absurd body contortions. And then, you have the “villain” of the show, a marionette in a tutu with murderous intentions. Are they loveable? Deep? Amusing? No, but they’re certainly interesting. Unlike some of the other totally strange anime out there, Kuma-san actually has a storyline, albeit a fairly simplistic one. However, the sheer presence of a coherent plot only serves to further increase the confusion about why this was ever made. With Cat Soup, the focus was clear: awesome, mindbending visuals. There’s no such luck with Kuma-san, which as mentioned earlier has a pretty simplistic and childish look. Is the show supposed to be funny? Touching? Scary? Whatever the case, the OVA isn’t really any of these. Also, if you haven't seen Cat Soup, I'd heavily recommend seeing that first, as it does all that this does better. However, as another notch on the belt for people that are looking for the mindfucking obscure stuff, this makes a fine addition. Just don’t watch this for, you know, actual entertainment.

SadisticTendencies
6.5

Story: 6/10 Ah anime; sacred provider not only of perversion in heavy dozes and occasional masterpieces, but you're also a medium that excels at creating material so bizarre that it rumbles the very foundation of human comprehension. Is there such a thing as a mandatory reaction to an OVA such a bizarre as this one? More importantly, are there any vacant indicators that could provide the viewer with information regarding which specific age-group Super Kuma-san yearns to attract? The answer, as expected, is a “no” emphasized by two huge letters displayed on a neon sign. There may be numerous examples of shows that play confidently on our concepts of innocence to create exceedingly disturbing tales where adorable creatures lead their mundane lives in realms occupied with excessive violence and flowing blood, but Kuma-san inhabits a peculiar world where the usually highlighted line between child friendly and inappropriate is insanely subjective. The narrative carefully navigates itself away from bloodshed and mature content, but I doubt any parents would allow their children to watch something as fundamentally screwed up; a fact that becomes the primary source of appeal in this eccentric piece of animation. The storyline is determined to take a closer look at the life of Super Kuma-san: an animate stuffed bear whose daily agenda includes counteracting injustice and providing his adolescent worshipers with happiness and joy. Though initiating its eccentric course with a childish approach, the narrative quickly escalates into the anime equivalent of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas; you have no idea whether your children should be watching it or not. To its undivided benefit it does seem to encourage virtues like kindness and bravery, but the endearing undertones are muddled by the bizarre ramblings of a confused and potentially frightening Kuma-san. As obscure and short as it may be, the mere thought of such a surreal symbiosis of stuffed animals and border-line gruesome depictions of cruelty is seductive in itself; the material won’t appeal to everyone, but I have confidence that you know whether you can handle messed up stuff such as this or not. Animation: 6.5/10 Moments of passivity exude a beautiful atmosphere comprised mainly of the endearing Kuma-san parading throughout sceneries complimented with children overwhelmed with excitement and joy. The fairly poor production values aren’t noteworthy until actual movement is introduced to replace the still images with action sequences, but the otherwise charming qualities of the visual section is enough to compensate for temporary flaws. The character designs, for example, may hover dangerously close over the “too simplistic” category, but are nonetheless inviting and beautiful; the mysterious doll with vivid eyes and gorgeous clothing is a grand example. Sound: 8/10 The genuinely harrowing combination between jolly tunes and the sinister melodies of a music box is more than enough to establish an enchanting symphony of diversity. As if the creators somehow foresaw and decided to exploit my ambivalence towards the target audience of the OVA, the musical score by the end is creepily effective at reminding me how terrifying circuses truly can be, especially when enhanced by the presence of a threatening and bloodthirsty clown. The voice actors feature some fairly standardized performances, not only in terms of their actual competence but also since the lines they’re supposed to utter are invaded by cheesiness. We have, among several entries, the somewhat favorable and occasionally obnoxious little boy who preaches on about the significance of justice and friendship, all while sounding painfully cliché. The acting from Kuma-san’s side on the other hand is delivered with confidence; constantly confused and with a tone that derives even the tiniest shred of personality from his verbal communication, he stands out both as a mysterious and memorable character. Characters: 7/10 Having carefully sneaked up on the subject in previous paragraphs like a phantom in the night, there are but a few things left to say within the "characters" section. A common denominator among OVA’s tend to be futile attempts at compelling characterization; there’s hardly even enough time at hand to feature character development in any form when you’re dealing with just one episode or two. This is where Super Kuma-san contradicts its stereotypical peers with exhilarating glee through the introduction, development and polishing of several fine and memorable characters. Although you only get to witness their routines for about twenty minutes, you somehow feel like their struggles to escape feelings of remorse are attempts you’ve followed and experienced for quite some time; as the golden and universal rule of OVA’s clearly states: if you lack the time to make your characters grow, introduce flashbacks and plot devices that mesmerize the viewers into believing they’ve followed the characters loyally throughout many earlier adventures. Overall: 6.5/10 Beautiful yet ugly, vivid yet muted; almost every imaginable adjective used to describe Super Kuma-san would be just as appropriate as its complete opposite. Designed with unknown intentions but with an obvious affinity for disturbance, this often overlooked gem among obscurities is unlikely to charm you off your feet, but is almost guaranteed to distort your facial features into an expression of perplexity. Mediocrity has never been this memorable.  

See all reviews

Characters

See all characters

Staff

See all staff

Discussions

Custom lists

See all custom lists