I know I am late. I am way late for an anime that rocked the anime world and basically made everyone who watched it go crazy or hate it.
This isn’t a review. This is me gushing about this gem that is Yuri!!! On Ice. There are spoilers below.
Reeling from his crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Finale, Yuuri Katsuki, once Japan’s most promising figure skater, returns to his family home to assess his options for the future. At age 23, Yuuri’s window for success in skating is closing rapidly, and his love of pork cutlets and aptitude for gaining weight are not helping either.
However, Yuuri finds himself in the spotlight when a video of him performing a routine previously executed by five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov, suddenly goes viral. In fact, Victor himself abruptly appears at Yuuri’s house and offers to be his mentor. As one of his biggest fans, Yuuri eagerly accepts, kicking off his journey to make it back onto the world stage. But the competition is fierce, as the rising star from Russia, Yuri Plisetsky, is relentlessly determined to defeat Yuuri and win back Victor’s tutelage.- Taken directly from MAL.
However, Yuuri finds himself in the spotlight when a video of him performing a routine previously executed by five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov, suddenly goes viral. In fact, Victor himself abruptly appears at Yuuri’s house and offers to be his mentor. As one of his biggest fans, Yuuri eagerly accepts, kicking off his journey to make it back onto the world stage. But the competition is fierce, as the rising star from Russia, Yuri Plisetsky, is relentlessly determined to defeat Yuuri and win back Victor’s tutelage.
When I first sat down to watch it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was listed as a sports anime but the general consensus seems to be it it gayer than any gay anime has ever been. And it was, delightfully so, but it was also as much a sport anime it promised to be.
I went to watch this anime with the mindset I would be disappointed, and ended up finishing as a huge fan. I have never watched an anime with proper LGBT representment before. I mean I remember coming across an Yaoi manga once which I thought was real cute, and then few chapters later, the main guy was stealing kisses from his love interest in his sleep. I can’t even remember what the name of the manga was, but after some quick search, it seemed most Yaoi was a big on the non consent arena.
Yuri!!! on ice on that regard alone is such a huge development. Victor and Yuuri’s relationship was super cute, and most importantly healthy. Yes, they never voiced any proper tag for their relationship but you would have to be blind not to see it.
There were so many moments my heart literally went doki doki.
Especially episode 10, where we finally get a clear idea of why Victor behaved the way he did, why he was so hell bent on flirting with Yuuri and why he couldn’t keep his hands off Yuuri.
To lose your heart to a drunk guy in the banquet who doesn’t even remember asking to be your coach.
But their cute love story aside, the huge character development Yuuri went through is a accomplishment in itself. He is still anxiety riddled(I doubt anyone with anxiety ever really stops feeling it), but he is so much more confident in himself, so much more caring and perceptive than he ever let himself be. And it’s all because of Victor.
As for Victor, you never really see him develop onscreen, but as the series progresses, you get the idea of where he came from and who he has become after he meets Yuri. Honestly, Victor is the hardest character to get a proper read on, and it felt like he was created just to complement Yuuri and yet even then, he has become a silent force on his own. I have so much I want to say about Victor, but that’s for another time.
Almost every character has their own motivations and wants for being on the ice and it’s a delight to watch most of them. What I loved was none of them really conferred to a stereotype. Even the most used siblings complex trope is subverted and saves itself from being a cliche.
I would say Yuri!!! on ice’s another success goes to its focus on social media. Anime always seems to operate on a bubble, and none of the character are usually effected by the outside world- namely always ignoring the social media aspect when it’s pretty much has become a necessity for most people in our world. And then we have Phichit-kun who can’t seems to keep his hands off Instagram. Victor and Yuri whose locations are immediately known after they can’t resist making posts and of course, there is the ending with everyone’s Instagram account. Actually, it was a viral video which led Victor to Yuuri in the first place.
Now, the animation was good though there were times when it went seriously weird, closely resembling all the mistakes you find in Attack On Titan. Nevertheless, the figure skating scenes are absolutely breathtaking.
If I had to choose my favourite moment of Yuri!!! on ice it has to be when Phichit congratulates Victor and Yuuri on their marriage and announces to everyone on the restaurant and no one so much as blinks an eye and everyone’s just so happy for them. This is so important. The best reaction I have seen so far in any medium. None of them questions it, none of them dare suggest it might be wrong and while there is a long way to go before it happens in our world, that scene right there is the ideal scene we could hope to achieve.