By Kumanano and 029. Released in Japan by PASH! Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Jan Cash & Vincent Castaneda.
Last time I talked about how one of the most interesting aspects of the Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear series for me was the fact that it kept getting dark, despite being about cute girls doing cute things. Naturally, this new volume therefore has none of that, with no dark moments and very little real conflict at all. It is almost pure fluff. Fortunately, I am at a point right now where I need pure fluff, so this book was like a nice balm to my soul. If there’s any conflict in the volume it comes from Fina, who is still terrified whenever she has to be around nobility, and here is passed off the Ellelaura and the actual King. She’s convinced that she’ll do something to screw up and get herself executed, and spends the entire time in a froth. Yuna, of course, does not understand this at all, not even when Fina spells it out for her later in the volume. Yuna has no issues interacting with anyone, of course.
We start off with Yuna going into the mines to deal with the pesky respawning golems. She’s joined by the friendly adventurer party we’ve seen before, and also opposed by a rival adventurer party, whose leader is quite a jerk. (Yuna, amusingly, compares the rival party to the Power Rangers.) Unfortunately, most of the things Yuna does to defeat enemies would also cause a cave-in, so trying to get to the golem that’s the cause of all of this is going to need a bit more strategy. After this, Yuna manages to score mithril knives for Fina and her sister (who is seven, but it’s never too early to give a child a knife) and some mithril weapons for herself. The rest of the book is made up ,mostly of cooking, as Yuna finds one of Morin’s relatives in the capital who wants to be a baker and sends her to Cremonia to meet up, and then invents strawberry shortcake.
In general, the funniest parts of this series involve either a) Yuna getting belittled for wearing the bear onesie, or b) Yuna having no concept of social customs, mores, or ethics. We get both of those here, with the highlight being when Yuna gives Fina the mithril knife – for free – and then tries to give her another one for her sister, and Fina simply loses it, berating Yuna in the middle of the street about how much mithril costs normally, and that Yuna cannot simply live her life not giving a crap about the economy, giving away all this and expecting nothing in return. This is especially true of Fina, a very serious girl who is unfortunately saddled with Yuna for a best friend. Other highlights include Yuna visiting the royal family with her bears in cub form, and finding it very hard to get Flora and the Queen herself from letting go of them.
So yeah, nothing much happens, but it’s cute. This is what folks think every volume in the series is like. That’s not really true, but this is fine too.