Where Yuru Yuri was lighthearted fun, let me now give you so many feels.
Kurau is a tomboy in the cold hard future of Earth whose father is seeking zero-point energy. Also, Kurau is an alien. Or, more accurately, Kurau is possessed by an alien. See, Kurau’s dad gets her soul consumed and replaced by an energy being called a Rynax. Rynax exist in pairs, like being a couple but a lot more intense. Like, without their other half, a Rynax is basically constantly depressed. Kurau’s other half shows up and just kinda makes a body, which apparently Kurau was too injured to do. And Kurau’s pair gets named Christmas. And Kurau and Christmas start being cute together.
Kurau and Christmas are beings of pure energy in human shells, which gives them all sorts of cool abilities. Walls are just sort of suggestions to them, and gravity just doesn’t apply at all. Which would all be terribly convenient if it weren’t for the fact that creatures like them could solve Earth’s energy crisis. After all, almost no one knows Rynax are alive, and it isn’t like anyone seems to particularly care if they are. So, Kurau and Christmas take a note from the publisher Bee Train and hit the road. Familiar story, Girls with Guns on the Run, except instead of guns they’re made of energy.
So we’re off on a high-tension adventure to find the other Rynax, save them, and try not to get killed and used to keep someone’s lights on in the process.
The strength of science fiction is its ability to make a point in a different context, to help things not seem so controversial while saying something that probably is remarkably controversial. In this case you have two women who are literally born to love one another being chased, persicuted and opperssed for a fact of their biology. They are by their nature “the others”, literally alien in a world of humans. Maybe someone’s making a point about gay people? When the series came out in 2004 the message might’ve resonated a bit stronger with the lesbian experience than it does today, but honestly not by as much as you might think. Except my soul can’t keep your air conditioner running.
Profound statement or not, Kurau is at it’s heart a story that’s packed with tension, tragedy, action, a really massively cool tomboy and the kind of sadness that you can only feel hand in hand with hope.
Kurau’s not going to make you feel good about life. But it’s a thrill ride. And it’s an anime you can sound like a hipster about because odds are no one you’ve talked to has ever heard of it. At the end of the day, isn’t that all we really want?