Anime and Manga

[ANIME REVIEW] Yuri!! On Ice

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THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. GOOFY, ICE-SKATEY SPOILERS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Series: Yuri!! On Ice

Episodes: 12

Status: Complete, with possible 2nd season?

I did not intend to write a review on Yuri! On Ice. It’s not a genre of anime I generally watch (sports), it had a cast of characters and personalities and relationships I do not generally connect with, and it is currently exploding on most social media and forum sites as a smashing success. These are all warning signs to me.

And yet, I marathoned all twelve episodes in one sitting and in spite of myself, I haven’t been able to think of much else since. I rooted for that little dweeb pork cutlet bowl Katsuki Yuri and was not in anyway satisfied with him taking the silver in Grand Prix. He was supposed to prove his love– his Eros– with gold.

I feel you, Victor– Yuri has to keep trying, you ain’t kissing no silver medal.

Seriously, though, it is so hard not to go through this show and root for everyone, really. Yurio deserved that gold just as much as Yuri did, and there is something realistic in seeing that he couldn’t come back from with a sweeping win right away after abusing his body and failing to practice and learning to be confident in himself again. It also is good to see that in the end, Yuri made friends.

It was also so lovely to me that Yurio’s battle to win the gold turned from kicking Yuri out of the bracket (like the first episode) and instead into giving Yuri a reason not to retire. He can’t retire if he doesn’t achieve his goal of a gold. He realized himself that Yuri had become his inspiration to be better, and someone he needed on the ice to continue to grow (kind of the way Chris felt about Victor).

And yes– the romance between Victor and Yuri. It is so understated that if a viewer really wanted to, they could ignore it until episode 7’s kiss and the exchanging of rings. This, as well, is another way this series presents Yuri as such a drastically special person— because the idol that always inspired him is now inspired and motivated and changed because of Yuri himself. Victor didn’t know what it was to live or love until he met Yuri and became so invested in his success.

Considering the series ends with “See you at NEXT LEVEL” I am assuming there will be a season 2. Yuri hasn’t hit his goal of a gold yet, so he and Victor can’t marry. We do see them skating in pairs in the ending credits of the season finale, so I am harboring some hope that we may see Victor’s return to the competition and Yuri’s request for him to remain on as his coach come to a culmination as they continue to break boundaries by being a same-sex ice dancing pair. It just feels right in some way. Maybe at an Olympic-level event?

This is very new to me to say that everything in this series felt so natural; figure skaters are artists of performance, and without strong feelings and emotion their craft is lost to the viewer and I think that’s something I always missed. I enjoyed the fact that Yuri was never quite perfect in his skate but his emotion behind his skate is what pushed him as far as he went. He’s still learning and refining.

I will keep my eyes open for news on a 2nd season and will most likely watch it as well.

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