I write this as a gay adult man who's actually interested in proper M/M romantic representation and as someone who's jaded of queerbaiting and stereotypical heteronormative gay relationships in the shounen-ai genre. So when I was drawn into the hype that YOI offers a compelling storyline which extends beyond cheap queerbaiting and homo-fanservice, I was intrigued to say the least.
I am going to do my best to be entirely unbiased. There are certain redeeming qualities to the show that I think deserves mention.
a) Ethnic representation: It isn't often to see America being represented by a Latino, to see prominent cast members from Russia,
Thailand, China, Switzerland etc.
b) Proper treatment of women: Women are not objectified with melon boobs without any form of agency at all. Common anime tropes of the possessive brother veering into romantic desire of his sister are effectively established and subverted accordingly.
c) Accurate representation of anxiety and its debilitating effects onto one's psyche, projecting insecurity, doubt and unworthiness onto everything around you.
d) the soundtrack is well composed and suitably appropriate.
e) effective narrative turn of events in the later episodes that cast light on why certain earlier events transpired the way that they did.
Now, moving on to the problems (SPOILERS INVOLVED):
Horrible ambiguity involved in the main M X M relationship. Frankly, it's disgusting. The relationship between the two characters was never firmly established as fully canon; but there were so many moments between them that comes across as queerbaiting; but never realised as a full-fledged canonical couple that is settled beyond a doubt. The kiss is censored, the rings are dismissed as "Onajimai you" (for good luck), and even if we were to believe that they are "engaged" at some point, the conversation between Victor and Yuuri at episode 11 and 12 was so formal, as though between a coach and his student, that it just isn't the way a fiance would speak to one another! It vacilliates between intense homo fanservice ("So Yuuri, what are you going to do to make me excited?" and outright denial of their relationship, where Yuuri insists that OURRELATIONSHIPISNOTLIKETHAT. It's pretty sad; the show's entire premise is centered on Yuuri finding his sexual maturity and confidence in himself, as well as displaying his "love" of Victor to the world, however, there has NEVER been an explicit declaration of love, only outright denials and public displays of affection are either censored such that there is room of ambiguity for what it is, or veering on intense bromance.
To those people who claim that the ambiguity is what drives the homoerotic tension of the show, I ask you as a gay person. Would you have said the same thing if the couple was a heterosexual couple? You wouldn't, precisely because ALL shojo anime, even if it operates on some level of ambivalence or ambiguity, is always resolved with an outright declaration of romantic intention - it's what makes the scene magical, or romantic. Love is something that should not be hidden, and if this was a shojo show, we would be accusing the creators of playing us for fools. So why are we applying a different standard for YOI? Why is it possible for JJ in episode 11 to declare that he's going to marry his girlfriend, whereas Yuuri and Victor have to hide their relationship, their supposed engagement as "onajimai", good luck charms?
Secondly, as a sports anime, it fails on the exact reason that I've mentioned above. Every single sports anime ranging from Free to KnB is all about being CLEAR, CONCISED and DETERMINED on the desire or the goal that you aim to achieve; ie this is what I want, and this is what I plan to do in order to get there. Rather, in YOI it's all about Victor Victor, it's not like that it's not like that. Well then, Yuuri, what exactly is the nature of your relationship? The true nature of their relationship is never fleshed in full, and as a sports anime, the skating scenes were repetitive and unnecessary - is it really needed to cramp 6 skating performances in one episode, of which it pretty much looks the same with bad animation anyways? Plot is almost non existent as well; and seems to exist solely to push for fanservicey elements between the two protagonists.
Lastly, the anxiety that Yuuri experiences is becoming a tired, recurring plot device that is losing its effectiveness. in EVERY single relationship conflict, it's always Yuuri who causes the conflict, due to his anxiety such that you can almost distill it down to a formula: Yuuri's anxiety causes some form of misunderstanding or misinterpretation of the situation -> They fight -> Cold War -> They get back together after Yuuri skates. It's never Viktor who begins the fight, speaking of which, we still do not know anything much about who Viktor is as a person; he exists as some cheap 2 dimensional perfect character that is there to lift Yuuri from his anxiety like some Godsend. Asides from the fact that he seems a little clueless on handling Yuuri's anxiety, he doesn't seem to have any flaws as a human being.
Lastly, please please please do not every compare this to No.6 where the relationship is explicit, sensitively drawn out, and the characterisation and relationships are honest and sincere, without any cheap queerbaiting at all. Due to its cheap exploitative queerbaiting, which feels deceptive - despite getting "engagement rings" in 10, their relationship at 11 and 12 was so horrifying formal, without any of the characteristic warmth of newly engaged - it deserves nothing more than a 5.
And for goodness sake, please do not mention that the kiss HAD to be censored due to Japanese media laws. I studied media in Japan at one of Tokyo's top universities. There is no such law involved; Shinsekai Yori and No.6 had explicit M/M kisses and they were aired on TV you know.
Once upon a time, there was a young man with a big dream. He idolized a famous Russian skater named “Victor Nikiforov” and hopes to skate on the very same ice as him. Initially, that dream sunk until Yuri was able to impress Victor by imitating his routine at perfection. You can guess what happens next. Victor is so impressed that he decides to be Yuri’s coach at the upcoming Grand Prix Finals.
As an original TV anime, Yuri on Ice doesn’t suffer from adaptation issues. It’s also directed by Sayo Yamamoto, known for her work Michiko to Hatchin, Lupin the Third: The Woman Called Fujiko
Mine, and Space Dandy. Expectations are considered high with her talent. In fact, this was one of my most hyped show of the season. We don’t get a show about ice skating often so it’s also a breath of fresh air. The fact is, Yuri on Ice initially had a deceptive title for the Western audience. Don’t let that fool you though because Yuri on Ice is a show that goes beyond expectations on the ice rink.
Starting off, the first few episodes introduces our main protagonists. Yuri Katsuki is the 23-year old main male protagonist who has been skating at a young age. Although not hailed as a prodigy, Yuri’s determination and personality earn him praise and friends. His weakness lies with pressure as he is known to mess up at crucial moments. Early on, we can see this easily as Yuri even has self-doubt about his own body. In essence, Yuri is a good natured guy that most of us can relate to and has a lot of potential that is just waiting to be unlocked. That brings in Victor, the key to making Yuri into the next big thing. The 27-year old figure skater has gained international recognition for his talent and won numerous championships. (In fact, 5 consecutive Grand Prix Finals!) As such, you can expect that Victor has countless fans around the world. He’s also Yuri’s idol and him becoming his coach is a dream come true. Victor’s philosophy and key to success is to surprise the audience and the skaters themselves. As he puts it, “Do the opposite of what people expect, that is the only way you will surpass them!” Indeed, Victor can seem like a tough coach but genuinely hopes Yuri will be a success. The duo has some of the best chemistry in the entire series that begins as a professional relationship, to friends, and to even intimacy.
In the world of figure skating, you can expect a lot of competition. It’s not just from Japan or Russia but also countries from all over the world. The most prominent rival that Yuri faces is a young man from Russia named Yuri Plisetsky (known more as Yurio when he’s in Japan). Unlike Yuri, Yurio is already a hailed as a prodigy with his achievements such as three consecutive wins at the Junior World Championships. His personality is also more of an antithesis compared to Yuri as he is more arrogant and takes pride in his abilities. During his time in the show, we can also draw a parallel similarity between him and Yuri. Both seeks to make big names of themselves in the figure skating world. Both hopes to surpass their own limits and crafting their skating style to perfection. However, what really separates them both is how they seeks to accomplish this. The show chronicles both of their roles as rivals although there are also times when they act more as casual friends. In the meantime, Victor is portrayed as a playboy coach. The way he trains Yuri expresses passion. In fact, Yuri’s skating style and theme revolves around love (or dubbed more as “ero”) There’s obvious sexual chemistry between the two that can be interpreted beyond a professional relationship. Anyone can interpret it differently but it’s undeniable that there’s more than them just being student and teacher. As the story unfolds, we can see how their relationship progress both in and out of the ice rink. There’s even physical examples that shows how close they really become later in the story.
While the show highlights Yuri, Yurio, and Victor and the main characters, others in the show also should deserve some recognition. Most easily recognized are characters such as Otabek Altin, China famed skater Guang-Hong Ji, Switzerland’s Christopher Giacometti, Canada’s Jean-Jacques Leroy (“JJ”), Thailand’s Phichit Chulanot, Korea’s Seung Gil Lee, United States’ Leo de la Igelsia, among others. Each of these competitors has their own unique talent, skating style, and personality that really brings the show larger than life. I also have to emphasize on some of the unique background storytelling about them in particular with Christopher. JJ’s narcissism is also hard to ignore both in and out of the skating rink. What’s most impressive about these characters is how each of them tries their best to impress the audience and viewers. They all have reasons to win and be the best that they can be.
So why should you really watch Yuri on Ice? The show has the sports competitive atmosphere but every now and then, the audience will definitely notice the character relationships. It’s very human and can be fierce at times. At its core, Yuri and Victor will draw the most attention. Even at times, the show pushes the BL tones to overdrive. However, that really shouldn’t hold anyone back from watching the show because Yuri on Ice is so much more than about male butts and fan service. As a straight male, I had no problem enjoying this show for what it has to offer. The way it capitalizes on the competition, characters, visual dynamics, themes, and directing is worth every minute. Even the pacing works out quite well as it doesn’t waste much time getting to the point. Comedy is also straightforward and although can get rather awkward at times, it still effectively delivers with character chemistry and reaction faces. (how can anyone not laugh at Yurio’s priceless expressions?!) In retrospect, it’s a show that is here to entertain.
Adapted by studio MAPPA, Yuri on Ice is built on creativity and realism. There’s many sides you can see this but the most prominent elements that makes this show visually stunning is the directing. If you look closely at the show, the human body movements is directed at a very intense level. Every time a skater enters the rink and performs, we can see how the camera angles capture their every movement. Each skater has their own unique style as well and it also spells out their personality with their performances. Quality wise, the show also has strong production from the setting, character designs, to the choreography. Of course, Yuri on Ice isn’t without fan service. Most of it is expressed by playboy coach Victor and the bath scenes. But like I said before, this really shouldn’t hold you back from giving the show a chance.
If this show wasn’t impressive enough, Yuri on Ice also excels with its soundtrack. The OP song “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka is creatively directed with a catchy male tone. In addition, the theme song captures another theme of the show about making memories on the skating rink. The soundtrack and OST during each performance also knows how to impress the audience with by the character movements that supplements with their style. Character voice mannerisms throughout the show is also memorable. Who can forget about Victor’s seductive voice or Yurio’s silly arguments with his Yuri? However, what’s most important is that the soundtrack, voice, and theme songs brings out the best of this show to a realistic level. Even though they are professional skaters, we can see how human they are like any ordinary person as well.
Ah Yuri on Ice, a title that isn’t what it seems. The promotional poster is what it is and what you’ll expect. Coming into this show, I had high expectations with the talented staff involved and didn’t have an ounce of disappointment. Perhaps the show isn’t suitable for everyone’s tastes or style but I would recommend it to anyone. I’m not an expert on ice skating myself but watching this show got me genuinely interested in learning more about the sport. This TV anime takes ice skating and character relationships to a new level that is phenomenal. With a hint of “see you next level” for second season, I just hope it gets a continuation to make more history.
While 2013's Free is considered many things but perfect, its role in broadening an avenue in mainstream media for other fanbase-dubbed "manservice" works is undeniable, rekindling a bygone genre only previously seen by those who sought it. Yaoi isn't exactly new to the medium, the ever-ceaseless late 2000s cultural shift contributing towards LGBT acceptance's decay from a taboo to mundane facet in media. Just in 2002, t.A.T.u.'s "All The Things She Said" music video was banned by several broadcasters and countries for its "controversial" content where two women kissed. And today, Miley Cyrus dry humping everything barely merits a shrug from most people. If being
desensitized has done anything positive to our current society, it's allowing others to express themselves openly without it being harshly shut down by a majority rule, which also carts over to anime... well, kind of.
Anime has always been pushing the boundaries of what's considered acceptable content for decades, striving in its brazen depiction of whatever it chooses to highlight. And no, I'm not just speaking on the mid 2000s boom of lolicon fetishism, I'm talking about all the way back to its humble beginnings, with titles like Belladonna of Sadness making waves in 1973 with its phallic imagery and sexually charged content that could still be seen as provocative, even by today's "no boundaries" standards. Content that ultimately went on to inspire the works of many creators, with one notable example being acclaimed director, Kunihiko Ikuhara; a man who's also credited for bringing an artistic touch to themes of sexual liberation through his various hyper-stylized works. Sexual decadence and open expression have always been a part of anime's arsenal, the only real change is how frequently they're being used.
Which brings us all the way to Fall season 2016, which alone has 4 to 5 anime titles that either overtly or hinted at homoerotic relations in some way or another, while just a decade ago, receiving 4 to 5 titles with these undercurrents in it within a year's time was considered a milestone. As the 2010s pass, our increasing rate of connectivity, information sharing and understanding of others has diminished miscommunication and heightened acceptance of alternative preferences, sexual or otherwise, resulting in a largely overlooked trivialization of sexual content in anime.
In some ways, Yuri On Ice could be seen as another byproduct of this trend, if only to a much more abrasive degree, positioning men in suggestive poses while participating in a sport used as a vehicle to portray who they are as people. And where something like Free boasts eye-grabbing swimming sequences, Yuri On Ice capitalizes on ice skating scenes that dwarf the efforts of most animated TV productions. Too bad it isn't enough to distract from the fatal flaws that plague the entire production. You see, Yuri on Ice tries its damnedest to shed light on its cast; a cast that is constantly reduced to doujinshi deviant art-bait clippings despite its honest efforts to mold them into believable personalities.
But the question is, does Yuri on Ice justify it? Is there a base purpose for its shounen-ai fluff to be there? I may not be Ikuhara's fan, but there's no denying each of his works deliver provocative, purposeful messages. There's always a constant need to stress freedom of expression with homosexuality itself just being another extension to further emphasize that idea. Self-indulgent at times but justifiable if you care for what he's trying to say. But what about Yuri on Ice? Does it actually justify these men's intimate devotion for each other or is it just trying to fetishize everything to draw out a marketable audience that usually takes in this content at their own leisure? Is there a purpose here outside of being titillating manservice? What I'm trying to ask in the most ignorant and offensive way possible; is Yuri on Ice just being gay for the sake of being gay?
— Views episode 6, guy figure skating grabs his ass "I think I'm gonna come"—
Well... I guess that answers my question.
Yuri on Ice is a harmless fanservice pastime dressed up as a coming-of-age story and cut from the same cloth as any other sports tournament anime, let's stop pretending otherwise. The sooner we kill the pretension that it's something more profound than that, the faster we could sit back and enjoy it for what it is; a fun, easygoing yaoi-bait show with pretty boys trying to balance characterization and fetishism on the same pedestal.
And as yaoi-bait entertainment goes, Yuri on Ice is definitely a show stopper when it comes time to take the games to the ice. Brought to life by Mappa, a young studio renowned for their presentation and audiovisual prowess, Yuri on Ice is yet another notch under their belt, boasting ice skating scenes so free-flowing that at times it's easy to believe that they might have been rotoscoped. It's this selling point that got most to give Yuri on Ice the stamp of approval, and understandably so. You don't really get this much effort from an animated TV production on a regular basis. But do I think that's reason enough to warrant all the appraisal it has gathered? Of course not. Those 5 minutes per episode aren't a saving grace for the other 15 minutes, especially when those 15 minutes often spend its time being a mishmash of basic fanfare for literally every sports story ever conceived or a roulette spin of yaoi/comedy for those who care for it.
Half of the ice skating involves numerous elements, like panning around the competitors in a news camera fashion with occasional audience reaction shots to round it out. When you realize that the actual dances are being overlaid onto different backgrounds with minor, sparse tweaks to delude, you find the show's highlights disappointingly operate on a limited dispensary. They retain their integrity as the show's highlights, but they're not all they're cracked up to be. And honestly, that aspect of it doesn't even bother me since the changes make every encounter fresh. What does, however, is its half commitment towards its characters in one direction or the next.
Trying to build legitimacy for its characters while simultaneously reducing them to objectified pretty boy specimen for the sake of manservice has left Yuri on Ice in a gimmicky realm where all of its achievements could only muster up to being "that show with the really nice ice skating scene," a sentence worse than death for anything looking to stand the test of time. From nobody's fault but its own, this anime has effectively built itself a glass ceiling that it could never surpass.
But enough of me taking the piss out of this show, let's go over the basics that it chooses to cover and what good it was able to do.
In the world of competitive figure ice skating, Victor Nikiforov stands as the person to beat, being a beloved and envied figure throughout the sport's industry, as well as a person of inspiration for newcomers trying to break into the field. With an elegant physique that exudes self-confidence and a natural knack for the sport, Victor is the complete package. One of the countless people that adore him is our main character, Yuuri Katsuki, a novice ice skater who idolizes everything about him, to the point where his sole dedication to the sport of figure ice skating derives from the infatuation that he has for the otherworldly reigning champion that's always occupying his TV screen. Through dumb luck and perfect timing, Yuuri is presented with the once in a lifetime opportunity to study under his mentor, the story subsequently dedicating itself to their blossoming relationship as it coincides with the world tournament that wraps everything up within it.
Yuri on Ice's flamboyant characters are given simple reasons for their ambitions, the show's format complementing its cast; ice skating being both the engine of characterization, every character's idiosyncrasies expanding on their personalities, and a divider granting those characters undisturbed time in the limelight, the story's short, 12-episode tournament format spurring frequent ice skating characterization and an inexorable sense of movement toward a definite finality. Ice skating characterization examples include Chris Giacometti's lowbrow episode 6 exhibition relaying his sexual and methodical confidence in appeasing the audience versus the protagonist's quick flashes that redeem his low sex appeal, Victor's unworried nonchalance regarding his envied, exceptional technical skills, Yuri's eccentric, soft style despite his fiery personality and even minor characters like Jean-Jacques, the show's JoJo stand-in, whose cockiness translates to a showboating spectacle. The theatrics, choice of techniques, tight turns, and loose gesture all coalesce into a final form that define who that person is on and off the ice rink—this characterization the show's biggest strength.
And perhaps this very thoughtful decision to characterize the characters' personalities is also the reason I find the whole thing to be a waste. Because despite itself, Yuri on Ice was a show that was never meant to appeal to me. So where I would usually outright dismiss something like this, it just so happens that there were nuggets of detail within it that I found appealing. An appeal that required me to drudge through content that I couldn't psych myself into caring for no matter how hard I tried.
And really, it didn't have to do much to make me like it, just either muffle the shounen-ai content down to a realistic degree or stop dancing around the idea and just fully embrace it. The show is suggestive of the possibility of there being an actual sexual interest between the main leads but at the same time, it only cock-teases this idea to maintain the illusion of the fiction it wants to sell. And once again, excuse my politically incorrect wording but if you're going to be gay, be all the way gay goddammit. Stop pussyfooting around. I don't need some full blown orgy like Sausage Party's celebratory ending, all I want is a clear yes or no for where they stand, none of this "just gay enough" gray area. Is it so hard for a male homosexual relationship to be taken seriously for once?
Now with all that being said, is Yuri on Ice worth the watch? Yes, but only if you have nothing else in your catalog. As it stands, it's not something I see any need to jump into. Yuri on Ice is that intermediary show that you pick up to pass the time on your way on to better ones. What it has that works is its wonderful ice skating scenes and the usage of it to inform the audience of who the characters are, as for everything else, it's either standard for its genre or serviceable to a very niche market.
Yuri!!! on Ice is a sports anime. That’s what it’s listed as, that’s what it was first promoted as, and it’s how I would believe the series creators wish it to be seen. But Yuri!!! on Ice is so much more than just a sports anime. If you’ve been anywhere around the anime crowd online (or even out of it, sometimes) in the past twelve weeks, then you’ve probably heard about the “gay figure skating anime” of the season.
The biggest question I’ve seen around is, “what’s so good about it?” It’s just gay. It’s just pandering to fans. It’s just this, just that. So it’s
a lot of things. Here are some of them.
(NOTE: no massive spoilers but the nature of the relationship between Viktor and Yuuri does get touched on briefly.)
(for a summary of points skip to TL;DR)
Yuri on Ice features a plot that is, to me, fresh and unique for a series about sports.
From the get-go what sets it apart from your typical sports anime is clear. To start with, our main cast is not in high school. Although one character in the trio is a teenager (he’s 15, to be precise), the main focus is on our protagonist and his coach, who are 23 and 27 respectively. Having mature, full-grown adults lead the narrative means that there are a lot of stereotypical conflicts that can be avoided, and it gives the show a different flavor. There’s no “what to do after graduation” or “my favorite senior is leaving” subplot, no “we’re young and stupid and we’ll do anything to win” motivating factor- the tone of the series is a lot more realistic and the story itself is grounded by it.
The other distinguishing factor is, our main character isn’t inexperienced or “bad” at his sport. Despite what his personal narration might have us believe, he’s essentially Japan’s ace in figure skating, and talented enough to make it to the world Grand Prix final by himself. He’s not learning figure skating over from scratch - he’s learning what he loves about it, and why he skates.
Moving on to the matter of the plot, we’re given a scenario where someone has fallen out of the spotlight, hit a road bump in the journey of life. Katsuki Yuuri is 23 and good at what he does but he’s missing something. He’s not confident. Yuri on Ice is about how he finds that something, finds the will and wish to keep fighting. In that way, it’s the best kind of “motivational story”, the sort that says you don’t just have one shot at life when you’re a teenager and ready to Take On The World, that says you can turn things around at any time.
Yuri on Ice encompasses various themes, such as love (in all its shapes and forms) and life (how to live it, how to love it). It also embodies key messages which I think are highly relevant to our modern world, such as how life doesn’t end after you pass your teen years and hit your twenties, or that you are more than your fears and anxieties. There’s always a second chance. In that way this series carries a message that is sure to instill in its viewers some hope for themselves. It’s riveting, optimistic, and endearing, while maintaining a mature, fairly objective perspective.
In terms of actual plot there’s not much I can say for fear of ruining the story, but one thing I have to commend is how a certain reveal in the later half of the series becomes a massive plot point that changes our perception of one very special main character. This isn’t a story that’s predictable by any means. Just like Viktor Nikiforov, who lives to surprise his audience, it seems Kubo (the series’ original creator), too, loves taking her viewers by surprise. Yuri on Ice is unpredictable up until the very last moment, and that makes it an exciting experience for first-time viewers. And while unpredictable, it also makes heavy use of foreshadowing to drop plot points and details that might confuse you at first, but all make sense when given context in later episodes. Rewatching the series is another experience in itself because you do it in an almost entirely different light.
But I haven’t addressed the elephant in the room yet, have I?
Yuri on Ice is gay. Yes. It’s gay as hell but it’s also subtly gay, quietly gay, it’s gay without it being the main point of the story, it’s gay but not once does it allow the queerness of its characters to define itself. You’re given a romance between two males that isn’t fetishized, exploited, mistreated. It’s a romance that’s written with respect, and I have to commend Kubo for that. There is a turning point near the middle of the series that really spells things out for you, and after that every interaction between the two characters involved is painted with love, care, and adoration. The nature of their relationship is never outright stated in-series, yet it’s clear as day how they feel for each other.
(Bonus: Kubo herself stated indirectly through a tweet on her official twitter account that Yuri on Ice is, basically, a world without homophobia. The love portrayed here is organic, normalized, and treated with respect. It’s a beautiful thing.)
Which brings me to another point about the storytelling in Yuri on Jce. If you grew up used to western media and their habit of favoring straightforwardness over subtlety, then Yuri on Ice might strike you as funny. They never say they’re in love! So who’s to say they really are? That argument could be valid in a show produced in the west, but Yuri on Ice is a piece of eastern media. Subtlety is the name of the game here. But fear not, it still delivers when we need it to, and the little quirks and affectionate interactions it divulges are priceless and wonderful.
On the whole, the pacing for the series may seem a bit fast at times, but given that it’s a one-cour series with such high ambitions I think it’s to be expected. Perhaps with more episodes we could’ve had more time to develop our side characters. Perhaps with more episodes we could have more scenes off the ice. But MAPPA wasn’t given that liberty, and I think they made the best of what they had. Apart from slight pacing issues I think Yuri on Ice’s story is brilliantly constructed, unique, and heartfelt. It’s imbued with positivity without being cheesy or overbearing, and remains mostly grounded in reality. While the story is mostly serious, it gives us moments of pure comedic gold at times and manages to jump from one atmospheric moment to another without much of a problem. Watching every episode is an emotional rollercoaster - the best kind where you don’t fall off and the loops don’t make you feel sick but give you a nice, heady rush.
Yuri on Ice is a narrative that manages to be completely sound, utilize foreshadowing effectively, and draw parallels between moments in older episodes and newer ones. The ending, without spoiling anything, manages to be completely satisfying while thoroughly offensive at the same time because of how good it is. Everything comes full circle. It does everything in the book of Good Narratives right. It’s an alarming feat for a one-cour original anime series.
Yuri on Ice is a sports anime that transcends the boundaries of sports anime with a unique new narrative and organic, character-driven conflict. It balances out comedy and serious moments with careful maneuvering of scenes and plot points, and features a gay romance that doesn’t override the main narrative but rather becomes part of it. The themes of the series are uplifting, meaningful, and carefully woven into its plot. Overall, it’s very well-written and definitely worthy of a 10 in my eyes.
Yuri on Ice’s animation in episode 1 is probably one of the most gorgeous things I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Of course, that’s because it’s the first episode, but we can, for the most part, apply that notion to every frame after that for the next 11 episodes.
I’m going to address the art and animation in Yuri on Ice in two separate categories: general art and animation, and skating art and animation.
First, as Yuri on Ice is an ice skating anime, naturally a lot of screentime is devoted to elaborate skating choreography and routines. Stay Close To Me is easily the best-animated, and if you’re looking for something that properly represents what Yuri on Ice as an aesthetic piece of art is, then that performance in episode 1 is definitely the way to go. However, the quality of skating segments does falter sometimes as the series continues.
But wait! Yuri on Ice isn’t a Dreamworks Animation production with a USD 160,000,000 production budget. In fact, it’s got a budget of perhaps USD 1,500,000, which is straight up 1% of what western blockbuster animation movies get. Now, add on the fact that figure skating is a sport where you’re constantly moving, where you’re basically dancing on ice - there’s a lot more nuance the animators had to capture in their animation than, say, a jump for a smash-hit in badminton or a dash across the court in basketball. So the characters may have been off-model at times, so the camera pans might have come off as flat after a while- trust me when I tell you that Yuri on Ice delivers where it really, really needs to. It delivers.
Moving on, let’s talk about general animation. Off the ice, the characters are generally well-animated and detail is given where it’s needed. The series also plays with a lot of different lightings, using contrasting cool and warm color palettes generously to dictate the feel of a particular scene. Due attention is given to close-ups; you can always tell when a scene is important because of the sheer amount of effort that goes into animating every minute detail.
And it’s not just generic detailing, you can tell they’ve really thought things through and settled on what they want to emphasize in certain scenes. It’s the little things, like the tremble of a hand, the glint of metal, the soft shine and faint pink tinge of lips in motion, that tell you that these animators care about what they’re creating. Yuri on Ice is a series animated with love.
I’m giving it a 9 in this category.
The soundtrack of Yuri on ice is great. It features a wild array of instruments, music genres, and styles. I'm not an expert in music, but considering they had to have upwards of twenty, thirty individual songs made for the routines alone, each one is pretty well produced. If you include the simple, lilting piano OSTs that play during emotional scenes, then you're good to go on a trip that will bring you to tears. Either way, you're bound to end up with a favorite or two at the end of it all.
That aside, for the sound effects that came from skating they recorded the sound of the choreographer they worked with’s skating, so each scrape of the blade on ice, each sharp thud with a land, all of these are almost frightfully real.
The tight sound effects and wonderful OSTs, combined with tasteful timing and appropriate music choices, add to the immersive experience of watching Yuri on ice. Sound gets a 10 from me.
See: Katsuki Yuuri.
—is what I’d like to say, but I’m obligated to go in-depth into things, so I'll do that.
The characters in Yuri on Ice may seem like cookie-cutter models at first, but as the story unfolds you learn more and more about their personalities and motivations, and (cliche though it sounds) they really will surprise you. Particularly Katsuki Yuuri, who is, I would venture to say, the most well-developed, realistic, and sympathetic character I’ve seen in recent years. Don’t let his weak narration in episode 1 fool you - you’re in for a wild ride with him as the protagonist of the series.
While its characters have their fair share of strengths and flaws, Kubo takes it a step beyond so as to hint at what exactly led them to be the way they are today. Everything is deceptively simple on the surface and deep as Mariana’s Trench when you look closer. I think what really makes these characters work is that they’re genuine. They’re real. Katsuki Yuuri may have anxiety, but he hates losing. He’s headstrong. He’s bad at dealing with fans. Viktor Nikiforov may have lost his way in life but he’s still fighting, he’ll still do things on a whim and try his hand at everything and anything. He has a dog. The dog is his best friend. He took the dog with him when he leaves on that whim.
Our main cast is lovable, but the side characters, too, get far more development than you would expect from a one-cour anime. Yuri on Ice treats every character with respect, with love, as though each one deserves all the time on screen in the world (though they don’t get it).
Being an anime about the international figure skating scene, we’re introduced to a lot of characters from different countries. None of them fall into the pitfalls of stereotyping by nationality, thankfully, and they’re all lovable and have their own quirks and personalities. When the series hits its peak, we also learn that they have their own motivations for winning. You can tell that Kubo hasn’t slacked on anything, not even with writing so-called minor characters.
Of course, when we put this all together, the dynamic between everyone is sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartwarming. Yuri on Ice succeeds here by making the rivalries between everyone friendly rather than toxic. There’s no murderous subplot or decade-long grudge hiding under some amicable smile. They’re just a bunch of teens, young adults, adults, that want to win, but want to stay friends through it all. The consistently supportive atmosphere means things almost never turn sour between anyone (though for story’s sake we do get to see some conflict break out between our main cast), and we can enjoy the series the way it is without unnecessary drama or conflict.
To put it one way, Yuri on Ice has no antagonist, but it still manages itself so well because Katsuki Yuuri is his own antagonist. He is his biggest hurdle. He is what’s holding him back. And a lot of conflict stems from how he views himself and those around him, which is not only a very organic way to create character-based conflict, but also painful to watch, because Yuuri is painfully relatable to almost everyone. He’s an incredible character, and the growth he sustains throughout these twelve episodes is awe-inspiring.
Of course, not forgetting our world champion Viktor Nikiforov! He’s the hot foreigner who is s whimsical and smooth and, well, hot. But he’s a lot more than just hot, as the story eventually reveals. Viktor’s growth is shown in a more quiet, subtle way than Yuuri’s, but it still happens, and the landmarks for it are Big. He’s also another breaker of anime character molds, though because his growth is tied into the narrative I can’t say much on the specifics.
In short, Yuri on Ice’s characters are genuine, relatable, and crafted with love and care. While being a diverse group of people, they avoid both racial and general anime stereotypes, and for the main cast great care is put into the development of their multi-faceted persons. These are not flat characters, they are the sum of their experiences and memories and imperfections. Also, Katsuki Yuuri should win an award. Some kind of award. Anything’s good.
So, a 10 here, too.
I have not followed an anime week-by-week through its airing season since Kekkai Sensen happened, and even then sometimes I forgot that the subs were out and would watch it two or three days later. Every night for ten weeks now I have stayed up until 4 a.m. to catch the live broadcast of Yuri!!! On ICE. It’s ridiculous how much this show has affected me. It’s made my life 300 times better and ruined me. To see a world where homophobia doesn’t exist, where mental illness is treated as something normal, and not a weakness, is something I never thought I’d see in an anime in my life. Kubo Mitsurou is a blessing to the world.
How could I give this anything but a full 10/10? I’d be lying if I cut the score any lower than that.
(BONUS- messages Yuri on Ice carries with it because I’m a sap:
-you are more than your mental illness
-your failures do not define you
-it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and turn things around, whether you’re 15, 25, or 50
-love does not complete you. It makes you a better whole
-true love exists
-there is a place you can’t reach unless you have a dream too large to bear alone)
Yuri on Ice’s opening theme, History Maker, is a more accurate summary of the series than I could ever come up with myself. It’s really made history, in so many ways that I couldn’t possibly list them all at once. It’s taken what might be considered a niche sport and turned it into something wonderful and beautiful and, importantly enough, possible to appreciate for a bunch of anime-watching folks that probably were just looking for a good time.
This is a review, but it’s also a request. If you’re here, on this page, reading this right now, and you’re sitting on the fence with the spikes digging into your butt, wondering, “should I watch Yuri on Ice?” then I implore you with all my heart to give it a chance. It’s so much more than what the horrible people who call it shameless pandering and fanservice will ever be able to understand. The reviews here are not an accurate reflection of how the fans of Yuri on Ice feel about the series as a whole, and I am willing to bet majority of those who laughed at it for being “yaoi” have seen exactly three and a half seconds of the first episode.
This series is a work of art. It saved 2016.
See, Yuri on Ice is that best friend you never knew you had. You’ve been looking for them all along, you just never knew it.
People who do not like Yuuri!!! on Ice have obviously missed the point of the series.
YOI is phenomenal. It shows, doesn't tell. The characters are complex and deep, realistic, and the narrative touches on issues such as anxiety and depression, but only if you are paying attention.
You see, this is not a series for those who are expecting a casual watch. This is a series for those who tend to analyze, and think deeper. I REPEAT: THIS IS A STORY FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO ANALYZE AND THINK DEEPLY. If you want a series where the answers are handed to you, THIS IS NOT IT.
It is a narrative where a lot of things are supposed to be connected by the viewer. They will not tell you Yuuri has an anxiety disorder. The will not tell you that Viktor was battling major depression. They will not tell you why Yurio wants to beat Yuuri so bad. They give you clues and lead you there, but connecting the dots and knowing what is happening is YOUR responsibility, and much like a lot of Eastern media it is not meant to be viewed through a Western lens.
Of course, people will argue that a series SHOULD tell you things. And it does. Yuuri on Ice tells us Viktor Nikiforov is a well accomplished figure skater, yet he was willing to give it all up in an instant, in any way, to get out of it. We know that Yuuri Katsuki panics on the ice and the things he says don't quite add up to the things we see. We know that Yuri Plisetsky is a hot headed, young, talented skater who can't seem to grasp the notion of unconditional love. Why? Sometimes you get straightforward answers (i.e. the amazing plot twist in episode 10) yet sometimes bits and pieces are sprinkled within different episodes. Sometimes you will learn something, which makes information from multiple episodes ago make a lot more sense. This series is MEANT to be looked at from every angle to understand characters ambitions, thoughts, actions. Just like real life. And it's GOOD that way. That is WHY it's so amazing. Rarely is there a series where I am excited for the next, next, next episode because I want to understand the characters more. Because I want to know what the motivation for this decision was. Just like in real life, you do not know everything right off the bat. You have to be patient and attentive, and you are rewarded for it.
You'll see I rated this series a 10, and that's because it truly is a masterpiece. There will never be any series that surpasses YOI. I will never be satisfied with another piece of media as much as I was with this one. I will never be as excited weekly for another show to come out. I will be hard pressed to find better, more fleshed out and complex and realistic characters than I did here. There is nothing about Yuuri on Ice that I do not adore. The music, the animation, the characters, the kinds of love shown throughout the series, everything.
If you don't want to take the time to have a deeper understanding of the series, then this is not a show for you. But if you're willing to pay attention, then you will be rewarded with likely the best series of this decade. And this isn't an over exaggeration; I truly believe nothing will be better than Yuuri on Ice for a very, very long time.
WARNING: This review contains (some) spoiler elements — without which the problematic aspects of the show could not possibly be discussed — and makes use of language that is not entirely PG-13.
Proceed at your own risk.
Ahh, Yuri!!! on ICE. Possibly the highest-praised, most-watched anime of this season.
So popular it is, I’ve had to blacklist like eight different tags on tumblr to spare my eyes of it. This thing is fucking everywhere. And don’t get me wrong, its popularity is not the problem here; hell, I was expecting to be right aboard the bandwagon, right at the front, driving the goddamn train.
When I made my list for
stuff I’ll chew this season, it was right at the top in terms of anticipation; from the synopsis alone, it sounded exactly like my kind of thing — figure skating is an old love of mine, and the promise of beautiful animation drew me right in. (Though IRL I prefer watching female figure-skaters, it’s still a novel thing in anime, and, well. You take what you can. Discounting Onna’s brief figure skating scene in Death Parade, and maybe some romantic “let’s go skating” type of dates in shoujo, I legitimately cannot remember seeing it elsewhere off the top of my head.)
And I tried to stay optimistic about it. An optimism that lasted about two episodes, until the crass, bleak humor (weight jokes, really? frig right off, mate) and the wildly fluctuating quality of animation began to make it jet-pack right outta this mess.
Little did I know, those two things would end up being the more minor of my issues with the show.
STORY & CHARACTERS 「 1 / 10 」
Don’t let the synopsis fool you; this is not an enjoyable tale of sportsmanship and high-voltage rivalries that make sparks fly on the rink. Russian Yuri gives up on winning back Victor’s tutelage before the season is even half through (and he never had it to begin with, turns out).
Even if that doesn’t particularly bother you (and you’re here just for the hot guys and the homoerotic subtext that “isn’t subtext at all”), the whole thing is extremely ill-paced: important plot (ha, plot. what plot?) elements are only mentioned as an “Oh, yeah, by the way---” kind of afterthought, while moments which are supposed to be either tense / suspenseful or dramatic fall flat. It’s very shoddy work, and while I was still willing to forgive it, the show did two things: fucked up in the animation department, and then the...”romance” happened.
Let’s be very clear on one thing here: if you’re straight, you write gay relationships — especially those involving characters of the sex opposite yours — at your own risk.
Because 99% of the time you will fail, and you will fail hard.
People like to praise the show for being “progressive” (and about a bajillion other terms that mean the same thing and are mindlessly thrown around) in including (and centering its focus on) a canonically gay, canonically engaged / soon to be married couple, they fail to recognize (or willfully ignore, and I’m not sure which is worse) the problems with Victor and Yūri’s relationship. In plain English: this is a gay couple written by a straight woman. A gay MALE couple which has your stereotypical heterosexual dynamics.
I feel the need to stress this.
Stereotypical. Heterosexual. Dynamics.
You see, despite what you’d think, relationships between people of the same sex don’t work the way stereotypical straight ones do. Hell, most healthy relationships of any kind don’t and shouldn’t work like that. It’s a common misconception that gay people mimic straight ones and it bugs the shit out of me. Most depictions in media (which are not written by actual gay people, that is) give in to this misconception, and from thereon it becomes clear at who the product is aimed at. A little like lesbian porn, if you will.
(Hint: it ain’t for the lesbians!)
Let me put it another way: this is little more than veiled yaoi, and it’s not particularly tasteful yaoi at that.
Not only does Yūri refer to himself as the “woman” who seduces the playboy, they even fit your standard seme/uke stereotypes, with Victor being a hetare/wanko seme (a devoted loser, basically) dressed as a “cool” type at first glance, and Yūri being the sasoi (seductive) uke dressed in an “everyman” type’s clothes. Hell, these combinations of character types, as well as the dynamic between them, literally form one of the two most basic, stereotypical types of relationship found in the genre.
And, you know, this would’ve been less of a problem if at least the characters were interesting beyond this. It wouldn’t have made it forgivable — I hold the opinion that you should be honest about what you do and especially about what you write, and trying to sell me yaoi labeled as a “good romance” is a filthy, filthy lie — but it would’ve made it bearable. Perhaps even slightly enjoyable.
Unfortunately, the characters weren’t interesting.
It’s like the author opened up tvtropes, cracked her knuckles, and set about finding and writing the most basic characters she could, structuring each of them around a particular trope or “type”. Everyone in this show is flat, and I don’t mean in terms of breast size. There’s no character development, either, despite what some fans of it will try to tell you (though this doesn’t particularly bother me in a show, to be honest, so this at least is a neutral point in my book); it’s all one big onion, making me more frustrated with every layer I peel and put aside.
It’s a parade of stereotypes, flattened to absolute thinness.
The comedy, what little of it is there, is...lackluster. Downright terrible at times, really. And not in a good, shitty pun kind of way. Likewise for the dramatic moments, which manage to be boring rather than induce an “oh no my babies!” reaction.
ART & ANIMATION 「 2 / 10 」
Oh, god, where do I even begin.
Look, I know I cannot expect ridiculously HQ animation in every episode of an anime, not every studio is ufotable — who at this point can probably open their own damn bank — but if you know your budget is not that large, you generally do two things: conserve it so it’s steady throughout and bring out the big guns on moments that truly matter. You’d think those moments would be the skating montages and maybe the Big Damn Kiss moment, but...they aren’t. I mean the kiss itself was decently animated, if cowardly camouflaged, but the skating montages? No. Instead we got HQ animations of Victor’s (admittedly shapely) butt.
And it’s not even that big of a loss, in retrospect, which is where another big problem arises: whoever choreographed and thought up these routines did a very shitty job. Sorry not sorry about the language but, honestly, subtlety can’t convey how bummed I am about this. Part of me was glad to not see this much bad choreography in HQ, even though that would probably have helped it be at least somewhat better.
Considering they got an actual former figure skater in on the job, this is a huge let-down.
The moves are repetitive, and the fact that frequently the animation wasn’t at least half as good as it could’ve been, made pretty much every skating montage — except perhaps the one Yūri does when copying Victor’s old routine, which I begrudgingly admit was nice — extremely disappointing.
Similarly, the character designs are poorly done (beyond every character fitting a certain Character Type™, so that the myriad of fangirls can Pick A Favorite — which is unimaginative, but not bad by itself). I expect a certain flamboyance and creativity when it comes to figure skating, but here the costumes just ended up looking either badly sewn-together or silly, the kind of thing a kid would wear for Halloween, or both. Kitschy, for all its oddities, is not a word I generally associate with the sport. And it’s one that I frankly wish I don’t have to associate with it ever again.
The lack of consistency in animation, the bad choreography, the designs that alternate between ridiculous and boring, make for an absolute cringe-fest. Surprising, considering the director, but I guess all of us have bad days.
SOUND 「 5 / 10 」
The voice cast was...nice, I suppose (I don’t remember anyone’s VA but Victor’s, and that’s because I’m a fan of Junichi Suwabe). The soundtrack on the other hand is extremely forgettable — I genuinely only remember the opening, and even that very vaguely; I didn’t particularly like it and thus tended to skip past — so I cannot pronounce myself there. Generally sound doesn’t matter much to me past the VAs’ performances, as this makes for a huge part of the characters, but in a show that is (supposedly) about figure skating, this did come off as something of a disappointment. Music should complement a routine, even add to it, but here it did a big whoop of nothing.
ENJOYMENT 「 1 / 10 」
If it wasn’t clear enough — I did not enjoy this. With every new episode I felt my horror increase as the show kept getting worse while at the same time somehow amassing an even bigger fanbase and even more praise it was, in my opinion, deeply undeserving of.
Yuri!!! on ICE is not a good anime. It’s not even a mediocre one. It’s terrible, even if only because it tries to pretend it’s something it’s not: an effort to be inclusive. I’d call SJW bullshit on this, had it really been aimed at actual gay people and not at the hordes of gullible fangirls who want to feel good about their fetishization of homosexuality, who have found in this series a virtual gold mine that they can point at and present as proof they “support the gays” when confronted or otherwise called out.
Actually, you know what, I’m gonna call SJW bullshit on it anyway. Many of its fans, from what I’ve seen, tend to fall into the category of straw, third-wave feminists. The author (Kubo) strikes me as one, too.
OVERALL 「 2 / 10 」
I’d sooner shoot myself in the foot than go near this again. I’m probably going to eat my pride and beat my completion OCD into submission when the second season will air. And it will air, don’t doubt it — this has birthed a franchise that has the potential to become more milkable than SAO.
I guess there’s some sort of sweet, vicious sense of retribution in the capitalization off of its thirsty fans (anything can become popular if there’s a plain enough self-insertable MC or the chance of two guys touching dicks — and YOI manages to deliver both, as switching Yūri’s gender does fuck-all to change the story, so really, in a sense it’s a show for everyone), but it’s a small comfort that cannot wash out the bad taste I’ve been left with.
Pardon any typos below. If you're one that appreciates character development, you'll find yourself relating to many characters in the show.
Yuri!! on Ice is a beautiful and moving story with a main character that's capable of relating to anybody and everybody in the slightest.
He's unique in that he he showcases vulnerability and holds doubts about his abilities to achieve gold medal. He's not perfect and he knows it. He holds doubts, but still keeps his determination (although not at first).
With the help of establishing an intimate relationship with Victor, it was refreshing to see Yuuri develop more interpersonal relationships with his opponents alongside strengthening
himself on the intrapersonal level.
I appreciate how fleshed out the characters were (main and minors), it was consistent in foiling/juxtaposing against the healthy relationship between Yuuri and Victor. Each opponent had a unique character to them as well as their own strengths and weaknesses which kind of shines light on what Yuuri himself needs to hone in.
As for the art, it's good and the animations are your standard animation. They emphasizes more detail in more significant scenes but the level of detail is inconsistent when it comes to performances. It can be choppy and awkward but it's not horrific.
There are a few iconic sounds in here (other than the OP and ED) and most of the soundtracks for the main characters are accompanied by their own personal taste and compliments their personalities. Perhaps the most beautiful track is Yuuri's free-skate (also titled "Yuri on Ice")
In regards to the storyline, the anime is highly enjoyable and I appreciate the production's take on portraying intimate and mutual love. The love portrayed in the anime is multi-dimensional (friendship, mentorship, romance, companionship, and more). Yes, one can say that his anime is very gay, but it does so without attaching that "shounen-ai" tag to normalize gay/bi characters/relationships or at least mutual relationships.
Overall, I liked this anime because the characters and relationship dynamics are fun. The story is inspiring and holds sentiment that makes you connect with the emotions of the characters. The characters are hard to dislike as each have their individual strengths and weaknesses (all of them are highly commendable). There is a variety of music that goes from fun-loving to intense and gorgeous. I highly recommend anyone to watch this anime.
TL;DR :A story full of passionate and inspiration,a simple but tightened story
"Have you ever lost your passion before?"
-Start your journey from scratch
Yuri on ice is neither a simply ice-skating show,nor a yaoi show.It's all about passion and inspiration.A show that you'd amazed when you're watching it.
I usually don't watch sports or yaoi shows,since they are generally shallow and disgusting,but Yuri on ice is totally a different story.Yuri on ice is a show that you couldn't judge by its cover.A show that is out of the ordinary.
What's so special about Yuri on ice is that the story doesn't start from scratch.It starts from the middle
of a life story,which was the time when protagonist Yuuri started to turn from failure to success,while so much things happened that let him to find back passion on ice-skating.Could Yuuri become a champion as well?
While the story is propagating,in order to keep you entertained,it includes so much comedy inside to keep you entertained,while keeping the level of seriousness.This anime is also somehow the first anime that uses social media as a tool to push the story forward.Yuuri is impressed by Victor because of the YouTube video posted by his friends and many hilarious jokes are mainly from social media too.How interesting!
Not only that,the story of this show is not about a bunch of retarded training.It also includes about the flashbacks of the characters and their inner feelings.As we all know,passionate won't come out automatically,it must have some sort of inspiration in order to trigger it.Yuri On Ice is one of the shows that focus on inspiration and passionate.From all the characters practice and shows,it connects the inner world of the character together with their past,which triggers their passionate on ice-skating and splendid performances during the competitions.You could see that not only the story is tightened,but also the characters descriptions and the details as well,which is the reason why makes Yuri on ice never ceases to impress me!
-Beauty of ice-skating is perfectly shown
Elements that keeps you immersed into the beauty of ice-skating is the usage of sound effects,the background music.Like the friction between the shoe and the ice,the skating sound are really realistic and descriptive.The use of term words,like 3A and 3T are used in the show.The audience reaction and their inner feelings and predictions of Victor and Yuri when viewing ice-skating,truly shows the characters reaction and you'll deep in the mood of the competition.
Animation is great too,really descriptive animation are there,the ice-skating,the actions.Its hard not to immerse into ice-skating,even if you're not a ice-skating fan.
I think this anime is really well-balanced and well-rounded.Even though you're not fascinated about sports,you could still enjoy the beauty of this show.This show is nearly flawless and impeccable,just if they could manage the time of each episodes more thoroughly and add some more female characters,I surely think this would more appeal to everyone.
I hope that everyone could have a chance to watch this anime,this show is indeed very inspirational and unique.Hope that not only you could enjoy the story of Yuri on ice,you could also find back your own passion of stuff that you're doing.
Note to viewers:From my point of view,I believe anime or manga no matter what genre,should have story depths.My rating standard is based on story depth and character development mainly,no matter what genre it is and it's completely individual to each anime.Anime-related Manga or other animes will not affect my ratings,they'll just be used as an example in reviews.
The most difficult challenge a reviewer faces when writing about this show is choosing if it should be initially referred to as "Disappointment!!! on Ice" or "Queerbait!!! on Ice". Both names are equally hard-earned and both unfortunately represent it well.
But how such a promising show ended up being so underwhelming? It has an interesting premise, very appealing character designs, previews suggested strong visual direction and great sports scenes combined with a quality soundtrack. The first two episodes were perfectly watchable. What went wrong? Well, honestly, quite much.
Firstly - Yuri on Ice is surprisingly cartoonish - it heavily relies on exaggerated goofiness and chibi faces. It
definitely isn't a serious sports drama - its general tone is rather light-hearted and inconsequential. In itself it isn't anything wrong (although I admit it isn't what I expected), but it heavily damages its ability to create tension. And tension is something which this show sorely lacks - during ice skating performances there wasn't a single moment I felt on the edge of my seat, feeling pressure of important things being at stake. So I felt exactly the opposite one should feel watching well-executed sports anime.
The show also significantly struggles in the writing department - the script seems devoid of ideas of how to outline key events and where to go with them. It's also very repetitive - the typical episode goes as following: someone does a skating program (with all important points of it explicitly explained to us in an off-screen commentary), he is scored and then the show proceeds to the next skating program. Repeat several times. Most of events, characters backstories and development are narrated to the audience by internal monologues of skaters during those programs. It comes off jarringly unskillful. All the more the show has a penchant for introducing number of new skaters per episode, telling their stories only during their skating programs, and forgetting about them the moment they get the score. As a result the show is extremely unfocused. It jumps between skater to skater, with little connection to the main narrative, as if it wanted to fill up the time the writer had no idea how to spend better. If we combine that with questionable quality of individual lines, the fact most of side-skaters are boring and with the annoying tendency of the show to reiterate the same points over and over again we have to come to a sad conclusion: the writing is bad.
After the second episode the anime doesn't excel in animation either. Quality takes a big hit, ice skating programs lack frames and key animator's polish. It makes one wonder even more strongly why this show decided to include so many of them. The soundtrack helps to save the situation a little - some of those skating programs are still quite pleasing too watch - but it's by no means enough.
THE NEXT PARAGRAPHS CONTAIN VAGUE SPOILERS
And finally we've come to the show's main selling point - M x M romance(?). What this show plays with its main pairing is probably the most self-aware, obnoxious and dishonest baiting game I've ever seen in the medium - the anime is constantly devising the scenes building up a serious, honest, for my taste even tad too conventional, romantic relationship between two guys. But all of that in either a tongue-in-cheek or very fuzzy way. It does it so intensely at the end of the show the main pairing is almost undeniable, but at the same time as a relationship it remains totally ambiguous.
Usually I don't mind ambiguous relationships in anime that much, I even frequently find them offering interesting storyline perspectives. Not in the case of Yuri on Ice though - this show suggests non-straight relationship in so utterly unsubtle ways they make sense narratively only if they lead to a conventional and clear romantic pairing. They don't. As a result the show ends up being extremely disingenuous and deserves only to be booed off for that.
Even ignoring the above dishonesty the show still isn't a particularly good romance - it spends too much of its energy on setting up those little moments suggesting (never confirming!) the characters are in love to accurately capture the magic and emotion between too people drawn to each other. Since it also isn't a good sports show nor a character drama it ultimately isn't worth even a tenth of the hype it currently gets. The show might not be atrociously bad, there were clearly refreshing and interesting ideas behind it. But they were not enough.
All the more it doesn't really end conclusively - it only offers more promises and tells us we should wait for them to be delivered in the second season. I am not forcing anybody to do the same, but personally I'm not falling into that trap again.
I almost feel bad putting up all 10's like I'm just fanboying on this, but I truly loved this anime, a few small issues and things that I wish they had gone into more, but nothing ruined the anime for me.
It's a great anime for those that just want to see a good sports series, the characters are interesting, and as the series goes on you get to know the chars more, and it works for me. The relationships between them I felt was believable, and everyone gets their moment to shine, not just the main three chars.
The story I like, the art was
beautiful, the sound and music was perfect, they really put alot of effort and time into it.
I can't praise this anime enough, for those concerned about Yaoi I wouldn't be it's never really there enough other then a few moments, and really look forward to the second season.
There's probably a big diff between "quality" and "thirst quencher" and I'm gonna have to say YOI - definitive - belongs to the latter. I don't see how this should be rated so high otherwise.
Viktor indeed threw/temporarily stopped his career for Yuuri but that doesn't point to how big-hearted/grand act/in love he is with the guy (if in the first place they ever showed Viktor suffering from having withdrawn temporarily from his career). Viktor along with Phichit are simple creatures who take delight in life -- and this if anything really illustrated the fact for me.
Please don't be quick to throw story artistry away? Spoilers
- if Yuuri's and Viktor's narration in ep 1 and ep 10 respectively didn't show you how dirt poor the production team treats storytelling as an art I don't know what might. They are very literally telling you word for word what is happening in their story. It's so blatant you can even miss the fact you're being spoonfed. They don't care about storytelling. YOI just wants to show you how enjoyable and recreational life can be. Viktor can probably just narrate "And that's how I met the Japanese beauty, Katsuki Yuuri, and came to be engaged with him. Love, life and peace." and fandom will still be screaming their lungs out w/o prior context. What...
As some of the reviewers have put it, Yuuri's character is a joke. A complete mess. Know why? He was only born to fulfill the role of guy lover. Have we ever heard of what he thinks about ice skating w/o bringing Viktor not even seconds into his monologue? You can be influenced, sure, but if *every* monologue winds up being about Viktor I think we've got another problem coming...
The only thing worthy of praise is how we're missing Yuuri's actual position in the story - which we automatically assume we aren't, bc he's the protag and anything he sees is by default true. We're misled into thinking he's a rather lousy and cowardly skater but each and every ep reveals otherwise. He's got decent to great skills and if ep 10 revealed anything he's not the persona that's been presented to us on screen. Though that still doesn't make his characterization any less confusing (or maybe he just isn't thinking about anything at all) except accepting love and life as it comes? Really, YOI is ultra bland. If you walk the streets today or sit in a cafe you can see the same thing (and that's everything) that's happening in YOI. People, connections, fun, laughter.
It can appear to be great on the surface for portraying rl well but you guys are losing a lot of focus. Character development, plot, anguish with the sports -- there's absolutely nothing going on in YOI other than a bunch of ppl getting to enjoy their lives. It's no different from Tamako Market, Flying Witch etc in genre and you have to ask me, YOI can't even pass for a love story, not bc it doesn't have love but it's not a /story/. You don't just slap two people together and then skim right to the end saying they're in love before we have the chance to watch it happen.
For an ice skating show the routines are gorgeous eh? (lmao) How many times has Yuuri repeated his Eros routine now? Are they, idk, skating or flapping their arms? The frames, oh man. Do these athletes even care about ice skating beyond a recreation and a naive, selfish pursuit of getting to enjoy life?
YOI's good enough as a slightly above mediocre, slice of life about inherently nothing (maybe lofty starlit adventures?). No it's not even about ice skating, it's about how the athletes as people /make use/ of ice skating. I think Ginban Kaleidoscope had a better focus on ice skating and it's main theme is a /love story/.
So... guys, please stop. Sword Art Online, Kimi no Na wa, now this. You guys are really... (coddles forehead with hand)
Yes watch it, watch YOI if you want bc it can bring you up in a bad mood (humans are so easy to get entertained) but for the love of, don't go around throwing it like some monumental trophy bc facts:
- No. 6 did the first gay anime trope
- Samurai Flamenco had fun fucking with itself but had a better proposal that wasn't even intentionally gay (perspective of the guy proposing)
- Just go watch Ginban if you're thirsty for ice skating
- Watch any yaoi if you want actually, they can be unexpectedly deep (tho dramatic) for all they're worth
You know ppl applaud that Viktor and Yuuri are met with no resistance but I'd rather say that's the problem. Are they not gonna be met with resistance in the real world? The problem with YOI is that it pulls all these moves, have Viktor stop his career or be met with relative non-prejudice and these acts invoke a phenomenal reaction from fandom bc of the implied meaning.
A meaning which shld only come to fruition after you've worked hard for the outcome. YOI has done nothing but skim over /any and everything/ and you get happy just from a single line narrated by a character. Next episode they're gonna goof around again and if Viktor just says "And we got married!" I think fandom is gonna spontaneously combust.
YOI is almost like a fanfiction at this point -- not because it's so fantastic and unreal but wish fulfillment. Fandom is so thirsty they'll probably eat anything up. I can see what YOI's good for, but fandom has to realize they're pushing their expectations onto this show and making it sound 100x better than it really is.
Bafflingggg. I won't ever agree, letting Kiseijuu or the likes sit in the same rank at this.
While I would like to get my thoughts straight before writing anything about what makes Yuri On Ice, I just can't help myself and dive into it after just finishing it.
You could name Yuri On Ice whatever you want, but for me, the only word that could describe it would be: beautiful. Everything about it was beautiful, from the OST to the characters, everything was detailed, not even a single character was left out, and while some parts of it might have disappointed me, it didn't bring the rest down.
I would like to say a lot about this, a lot; from how it moved me
to tears, and from how it made my heart beat fast just because I was simply watching it. Everything went beyond my expectations.
I don't want to spoil this, I don't want to go into detail about characters and story and whatnot since I bet most of you already know what you will find while watching this, all I can say is: Watch it.
Go and watch this, and find out for yourself if this was a masterpiece or not.
For starters, I'd like to say that I'm not really a fan of sports anime, but I feel like this one can be appreciated even by the ones who aren't in the genre at all.
So, before I start talking about the anime itself, I would like to point out that Yuri on Ice is suuuuuper gay... To the point that is easy to understand why many nickname it "Yaoi on Ice". I however decided to ignore this factor of the show ( which I'm positive Yaoi fangirls will love ) and focus on pretty much anything else that it is about. Being a
man that loves Yuri ( I'm talking about girl-on-girl romance/action, not the main character of this anime ), I can't show bias and let it influence my judgment.
So, as for the plot not really being the most original ever, Yuri on Ice has a very good narrative and overall pace, without too many interruptions or filler-like moments, although I can detect a couple of ones that lean towards fanservice. However, the development and deliver of such plot is very well done and doesn't make the viewer questioning it at all.
The animation, despite not being always as detailed as I wish it would be, remains fluid and clean, with enough frames and speed that it will make it look almost on movie level of quality. About the animation, it's noticable how it switches from a very cured style to an extremely chibi and Slice of Life-like one, very often in comedy moments, but also in more serious ones. It feels put in place well, and despite it may appear lazy, I like its use.
The strongest point that this anime has, is in my opinion, the music. From the opening to the ending, to the themes and songs accompanying the fabulous executions of the skaters, I found the music absolutely amazing, which is also a key factor in some performances.
I also like how a realistic approach is used in this anime, without any special powers or eternal slow-motion moments with thousands of words of thought, it's simple and straightforward, yet it doesn't make it any less impactful.
There is a nice variety of characters, which have their own ways and motives to push them in what they do. We often hear their thoughts and experience their personalities that sometimes feel even deeper than the main character himself.
Overall, I think that Yuri on Ice nailed perfectly its objective as a sport anime, and I honestly found it enjoyable thus far. It's admirable, since this year and for the next, there are a certain number of anime that are also very good, with this one sharing some space in the spotlight.
Review, cause I'm mad, and not even at the show but this fandom for being so thirsty that they scream groundbreaking even for a pointless mess. That's what yoi is, a pointless mess, a terribly failed attempt at best, that is on the level of "I dont even think you tried at all".
You call it groundbreaking, I can't even call it sport anime, so I kind of wish they would erase it from the genres here, because new people might think this is what sport anime is.
But to what to put there instead? I DO NOT KNOW. Because this show is just a
mess. The comedy probably stands if you like this kind, it just made me hate everything even more. Sport anime? Shounen ai? NONE OF THESE HAPPENS. There is some figure skating with awful art and repetitive themes that will bore you to hell after half of the show, and then there is a flamboyant probably bisexual - as I dont really believe he was ever with a man before - who forces himself on one of his admirers.
I can't tell you how creeped out I was with Victor after like three episodes when it became clear, the show runners suck at writing, and they won't ever tell you about their(especially HIS) real feelings. Because without discussing their real feelings for each other, Victor was a bored millionaire who came to play with this poor japanese boy OUT OF BOREDOM OF HIS OWN LIFE. He took a break from figure skating to go and fool around, pretending to be cheerful - he was so fake ohmygod - and outgoing. Like wow, ok man, there is so much to love about you.
And then there is Yuuri. I wish I could have a 2hours long video of that five seconds when he shouts ITS NOT LIKE THAT for the people around the table after they got their NOT-engagement rings. That is his character. I am only here to repeat It's not like I'm gay. His whole struggle to be a better skaters from episode one is gone with Victor showing up and starting to fool around with him. Everything is just Victor Victor Victor/It's not like that It's not like that. And that is not what sport anime stands for! But also not what a supposed groundbreaker anime with gay line should be. It shouldn't be VAGUE if it's groundbreaker. There shouldn't be room for doubt for anyone, but that can't be right? Because Japan is too conservative. Oh please, then what's the point of doing an anime with EXAGGERATED AND WITH THAT ANNOYING gay in it, if you will just back out at every last second? This is not how you change people's opinion about gay people. Not with making them flamboyant and fake without actually talking about their feelings so people could see love between two men can be just as sweet as any other.
This story was a mess. You can't take it seriously for the sport or the love, but not even for the comedy which sucked. And no, I won't talk about the other characters as they did not matter for the show. Poor Yuri was supposed to be a main, and he was just mostly ignored because they added unnecessary showing off scenes for Victor instead of cutting some extra minutes to make his character deeper. But still, he was the only sport anime like character.
And there is also no point of talking about a story, as there is hardly one. The show and with that you all who liked it, only care for the gay so what's the point? People'll watch it for the gay that everybody shouts about, then if they know not much about anime/sport anime they'll scream it's great, the others who saw way too many queerbaiting already will probably be creeped out like me - because just how could the makers go so overboard and still be freaking chickens, I do not understand.
Plus, listen to people who say the art sucks. It is like the whole show. At first glance you see it's something shiny and good, but then you go deeper and it's ugly and undetailed. Also the repetitiveness will bore you to death. There was more creativity to SWIMMING in Free than to the skating here. And I was so hyped for the skating, so I just want to shout into the makers face for not even satisfying me with that.
And just please. PLEASE. Stop comparing it to No6, you are utterly disrespectful to everything that story stands for everytime you say they are on the same level.
Yuri on Ice is, in my opinion, a mediocre anime that was held back more by its topic of choice and the 12 episode limit than the overall directing. It does, however, bring issues from both.
When animating other sports such as ping pong, tennis, and even football, you can often make short-cuts and get away with occasional stiff movements. However, ice skating is a much more visual sport, requiring the animator to be skillful in translating every body movement in order to capture the same sort of magic. As a result, the technical mistakes made in Yuri on Ice leave more of an impression than
they would otherwise have in any other show. This was especially apparent in many of Yuri’s earlier skates where many scenes were often choppy and Yuri himself was barely even recognizable at certain points. Is this the studio’s fault? Overall, I would (mostly) say no. MAPPA did an overall excellent job, particularly in the performances in the last two episodes, even including details like Victor spinning around in tandem with Yuri during his skates. The fault here lies more with how demanding ice skating is to animate rather than the incompetence of MAPPA’s well-known animating team. Nevertheless, the oscillating quality of animation still undermines the impact of some of the individual performances, and I can't help but imagine that if MadHouse embarked on this same project that the animation quality and the number of sakuga-worthy scenes would increase.
Furthermore, as someone who is not familiar with ice skating myself, Yuri on Ice left much to be desired. Many skating techniques such as the triple salchow and quads were shown throughout the course of the show, but the show never fully explained why the moves were so difficult and demanding other than showing skater errors (which helps convey an image, but can only go so far). While the skaters practice as demonstrated by their montages, they never practice individual techniques and only serve to create a general picture, so the viewer can only vaguely assume how hard the jumps are and what sacrifices the athlete had to make in order to compensate for it during the actual performances. It removes much of the emotion and thrill that would be there otherwise. Additionally, the development of Yuri’s skating ability was primarily done through a combination of self-monologue and superficial errors. While the latter element was conveyed well, as a viewer I was more interested in seeing more improvement in the overall choreography rather than just in the jumps; I often had to rely on the commentary rather than the visuals in this regard, which is counter-intuitive for a sport like ice skating. Admittedly, Yuri demonstrating his first skate and free skate eventually felt repetitive, and the differences between each skate became less noticeable. This is indicative of real competitions, but it can eventually get droning to watch given how often we see Yuri skate. The monologues is a directing choice that I’m more split on personally. It distracts from the actual performance taking place, but it is in many cases unavoidable given the 12 episode limit and ergo the small pockets of time the characters are given to develop outside of the competitions. I personally felt that certain monologues often interfered with the show, but I can’t think of many ways to address the issue.
This ties into my next point, which is that I found most of the characters to be boring. I didn’t find them visually unappealing since many of them (for the most part) had distinguishable and vibrant designs (and as a Korean, I am grateful that they didn’t design the Korean representative horribly as some anime/manga occasionally tend to do). What I found boring were their personalities, or rather the lack of development and background given to each of them. Whether it’s Otabek, Leo, or Christophe, we’re often granted only momentary backgrounds into each of these characters, during the performances themselves no less when we’re supposed to be focusing on the visuals. I would’ve much preferred that Yuri on Ice follow the footsteps of other great sports manga/anime like Ping Pong and Eyeshield 21 and focus more development outside of the competitions rather than only during them. Yurio’s development was especially affected by this as well despite being the secondary protagonist. Much of the screen time was given to Yuri, so a good chunk of Yurio’s development came from during the skates than outside of it. Even in the last two episodes, both Christophe and Phichit were barely given more than three minutes of screen time for their routines, which is barely acceptable. I can’t wholly blame the director for this though as the 12 episode limit cripples the potential for a variety of possible character development. Regardless, I found it hard to care about many of the supporting cast and what the medals meant to them with only brief, momentary expositions.
To highlight a character, I had trouble figuring out whether or not I liked the inclusion of Victor. It’s certainly an interesting twist to have a role model and former competitor suddenly impose himself on to the main character as his coach, and it is what originally hooked me into the show in the first place. However, Victor is an extremely unrelatable character. The majority of his development is conveyed by his coaching ability juxtaposed by his perceived skating ability. However, the element is already lost since many people have very little experience being placed on a pedestal like that, much less in an area unfamiliar to many such as figure skating. In fact, the setting itself only takes place because Victor was not entertained as his status as a competitor since his ability was so far ahead of the rest. That is a feeling and emotion that already cannot be properly conveyed to the viewers. As a result, while I enjoyed the companionship between Yuri and Victor, I did not find his personal development nor the one shared with Yuri as viscerally evoking as I thought it would be.
To highlight another character, I greatly enjoyed the inclusion of JJ, despite having as much exposition as the rest of the minor characters. Initially portrayed as an unbeatable figure with unshakable pride nailing every jump skillfully without fail, he is the first one to be crippled by the pressure of competing on the grand stage. The difference in the two is so massive that I couldn’t help but be taken slightly aback by the character’s emotions. JJ initially served as a great antagonist through his sheer ability as a skater and his endless confidence, but the director chose to show an interesting development by exploring one of the many elements of being a skater, and what better way to do it than by tearing down the most powerful opponent? This was one of the few developments I greatly enjoyed (though I was miffed that his performance still allowed him to receive a 3rd place), and I would have liked that the show tried to explore more personality diversity this way than through the aforementioned expositions.
I’d like to highlight the third and final character, who in my opinion is one of the better characters in the anime. This character does not exist. What I mean to say is that Yuri on Ice does not have a forced antagonist that is meaninglessly vitriolic. While it may occasionally work in other genres, it often does not work in the sports genre as such characters are usually overdramatized and don’t push the narrative forward in any other way other than to be unnecessarily obnoxious. I realize I am harping on this trope a bit too much when I think it can be done well with proper care (Agon from Eyeshield 21 is a good example of this). That being said, I’m glad that such a character did not exist as he would have run counter to the overall atmosphere of the show and surely would’ve had dragged it down further.
There are a few things I want to mention before I close out this review. This anime had a fantastic soundtrack, and for the international aspect that this anime tried to capture, it was done wonderfully, extracting all types of music ranging from classical to rock. Many of these were not sung by Japanese (or at least I couldn’t tell the difference) which is a great attention to detail that helped make the setting feel more genuine. If there is one minor thing I really disliked, it was how Yuri’s Love Eros skate was designed to model after a katsu-don than actual love. Even for Yuri on Ice’s standards that’s just a bit too silly, and never in any of my times witnessing that skate did I ever receive an image that even vaguely reminded me of a katsu-don. The material for stolen love was even right there in the form of Yuuko. That’s just one example, but the point is that I really didn’t find the Katsu-don imagery that appropriate, an impression that I only grew more confident in each time I saw Yuri skate Love Eros.
Would I recommend Yuri on Ice? Sadly, no I wouldn’t; despite being clearly well-thought and superficially well-made, there are too many core issues ranging from character development to pacing for me to confidently call this a solid anime. The average animation is subpar, almost all the characters are not worthy of any note, and the overall momentum of the plot leaves much to be desired. It is however original, both in the sense of its concept as a whole and the fact that it does not derive from any manga, light novel, or etcetera. It is impressive in that regard, and Yuri on Ice is not anything MAPPA should be ashamed of for such an ambitious project.
Final Note: There's a lot of complaints about how "gay" this anime seemed. While it's certainly suggestive and appeals to the female audience, it's not that bad, and I didn't think it impeded with my assessment of the show.
They removed my review for some bullshit reason so here it is again.
One thing I can't understand for the life of me is why so many people enjoy Yuri on Ice. I understand. Art is subjective. But so many of the comments talk about how "great the animation is!" or "how great the characters are!" Bullshit. I feel like Digibro with Re:zero. I feel like everyone else just fast-forwarded through time and is on a completely new level of meta. Shit.
First off, the story and the writing. Garbage. Experiencing the comedy in this show is like having a warm bucket of expired milk thrust unto
my face. The three kids are so out of place in every scene they're in and do nothing that any other character could have done in a less cringeworthy way. What's even worse is how the anime fails to build up tension. It's like, they don't even attempt. The show, instead of at least attempting one of its quadruple salchow axel toe shitters and landing flat on its ass, just cruises on the smooth ice as if that's satisfactory. There's no slow motion or increasing music intensity to hype us up. On episode 6, there's so many skating matches in one fucking episode I just get desensitized to them. And on top of that, there's some skating routines that actually look so repetitive and mundane and forgettable, they could fall into a background of a white wall and I still wouldn't notice them. Also, the gay moments are so high key and try-hard that it's more cringey than sexual or funny. Most sports anime with good-looking guys have very low key gay moments that don't get in the way of whatever is actually happening. Look at Haikyuu or Free Iwatobi Swim Club. Haikyuu had some overly bromance moments, and Free capitalized on shirtless guys. This anime could have capitalized on beautiful looking men, and it did with Christoph, but it looks like their only desire with the gay moments is to punch you in the face.
Next, the animation. Supposedly the best part of this show, but it's not nearly as good as a show that depends around good animation should be. The vast majority of the good animation is during the skating matches, and even then it's not good. You'd expect a lot of fucking sakuga moments from these scenes but the only thing moving is the skater. There's not enough colours or background movement to keep me entertained. The background just zooms in and out as if that's a substitute for actual dynamics. This makes what would otherwise be an amazingly animated scene into an awkward looking movement of character designs. It's like watching a gif move on top of an image that someone is vehemently zooming in and out of. And also, a point to note here between the animation and the dialogue. The show tries to make most of its points with dialogue and internal monologue as opposed to showing us with visuals. This is fine for the educational parts of the show where they explain the technicalities of skating, but when they want to tell us that Akatsuki is struggling or that he's tired, they make Victor have an internal monologue, as opposed to showing us visuals of him wearing out and getting tired. This makes the dialogue kind of heavy-handed (for lack of a better word).
Now on to the characters. I'm sorry, but good character designs do not make up for a lack of consistency in the characters. The cheap comedy they try to use with the characters gets in the way of their development and, personally, my connection with them. Victor looks like the kind of character I would connect with on a personal level, but the way they write comedy in random spurts gets in the way of me taking him seriously when I'm supposed to. It makes him seem less sincere. You can't just alternate between comedy and sincerity like that. Akatsuki is probably the only well written character. I feel his pain and I like the way he develops and I'm going to continue watching the show for the sole purpose of watching him develop. The Russian Yuri, however, is like Shadow the Hedgehog but far less interesting and with no superpowers whatsoever. It's like they felt the need to make one of the other main characters an edgy shitlord, and based his whole personality around that. This makes him an incredibly shallow character. You'd think we'd have more background on one of our MAIN FUCKING CHARACTERS, but nah we're good. His angst and rebellious nature are used primarily for comedic nature, so when they try to pass it off in a serious moment, it is cringe at its finest. Oh, did I mention, Akatsuki and Victor are the only real "main characters." Even the Russian Yuri, at this point, is a side character who was only main for the first few episodes. I hope he never comes back.
Now, finally, the music. Obviously shit. The OP is an EDM track that sounds like an aspiring teenage DJ tried to be Calvin Harris. The ED is another EDM track with garbage autotune, and this is coming from a Future and Chief Keef fan who also adored 808's and Heartbreak by Kanye West. The music they play during the skating scenes is so underproduced it sounds like I could have made them from Garageband loops alone. Some are alright, I guess, like Minami's, but I could have made a better soundtrack throwing filters on masturbation noises.
If I could sum up this show in one word, it would probably be "cringe." Maybe "lackluster," would also come up.
Yuri on Ice! is a series I never would’ve given the time of day to if it weren’t for other surprisingly good sports anime like Haikyuu! Or Ping Pong The Animation. However, I’ve come to realize that sports anime can be some of the most relatable, since they place the viewer into a more realistic setting rather than transporting them to a mystical fantasy world where one could only dream of existing. This causes the hardships the protagonists are going through to be moreso empathized with, and their overall growth throughout the series to be better understood. The same could be said about Yuri, but
the show does have some yaoi elements that could make it less relatable to the majority of anime viewers.
Produced by TV Asahi (Shinsekai Yori) and Avex Pictures (Noragami Arogoto), Yuri on Ice pretty much had a precedent set for it from the beginning. The pilot episode contains some expert levels of animation and a likable cast of characters. The humor was well timed, and the skating segments were entrancing to watch. Yuri Katsuki, a once famous Japanese figure skater, has fallen from grace and decides to retire in seclusion following an abysmal performance at the World Grand Prix event. It’s not that his love for skating died, it’s more or less what he thought he had to do after being so embarrassed at the competition. Instead of sucking it up, Yuri does what all of us would… eat pork cutlet bowls and watch the wheels fall off on his pride.
His once idol and Russian skating champion, Victor Nikiforov finds out about Yuri’s retirement after a video is posted of the him skating Victor’s winning program. Naturally he takes it upon himself to become Yuri’s coach and help him get back to form by winning the World Grand Prix the next year. Yuri on Ice is a great tale of redemption, told mostly lightheartedly, and connects the viewer to the minds of the skaters through inner monologues and flashbacks. Unlike a team sport like Haikyuu or Kuroko no Basket, this series draws heavily on the strength and focus of the individual to tell its story. Each character’s ice time can almost be seen as a vignette; a glimpse into the individual’s internal strife or what gives them the motivation to skate at all. It’s short and sweet, allowing viewers just a taste of the sport without having much time to get boring.
Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give the anime as a whole is that it doesn’t really pander to its viewers. The fujoshi themes are there, but never really seem to go overboard. Having the peculiar relationship between Victor and Yuri can be offputting to some (including myself who dropped it at episode 4 initially), but it’s meant to be. Yuri doesn’t even realize he’s gay when he first sees Victor, causing the blossoming of their relationship to be awkward at times. Yuri as a character is obviously flawed, but through Victor he develops some “real” motivation and ends up reaping the benefits and takes risks to impress him. I can't say that I cared for the copious amounts of man service showing up in the anime. Chiseled, half naked men loafing about in hot springs are not high up on my enjoyment list.
Victor, on the other hand is a character who I didn’t necessarily enjoy. Serious and sensual one moment, while silly and flamboyant the next. He seemed to be a necessary evil for the thematic relevance of a yaoi relationship, but didn’t strike me as “relatable” on any level. He certainly didn’t emulate the impression I had of a world figure skating champion. The writers made up for it with Yuri Plisetsky, the Russian teenager who embodied every cutthroat high school jock whose parents pushed them to the limits. He was immature and often showed it externally, and was too young to realize how unimportant what he did really was in the grand scheme of things. His jealousy and envy of protagonist Yuri was humorous based on how unnecessary it was. The rest of the characters didn’t make much of an impression to me. Many had their own backstory, but existed as little other than placeholders in Yuri’s story.
PS- I’m not really sure how old those triplets were, but they sure were mature for their age… using smart phones to post videos online and explaining the rules of figure skating? Yep, seems legit.
As previously mentioned the animation is on point in this anime. My knowledge of ice-skating is solely from watching the Winter Olympics but the intricate detail involved with the skaters movements during their individual segments are breathtaking. i've also been told that it is technically correct as well, adding to the realism of the show. normally a focus as intense as this show has would detract from the animation in other normally a focus as intense as this show has would detract from the animation in other scenes, but Yuri on Ice does not falter here. The character models and emotions are emblazoned on their faces quite accurately, which is nice to see.
The sound effects in this anime are well timed and realistic for the subject matter. However, the music was very hit and miss for me. Some songs (especially the English ones) were hard on the ears, though most of the orchestrated tracks were well developed and presented. The OP, although catchy, was not a track I could get onboard with for some reason. The ending was much better in connecting with the anime in general, and showed the lighthearted flair Yuri on Ice is known for. Voice Acting was superb all around, and the various nationalities of the skaters in the show were illustrated effectively here.
Should you watch Yuri on Ice? I'd say at least give it an episode or two of a preview. The series doesn't shy away and it'll be apparent whether or not it is a series for you. I enjoyed it for what it was, and tried not to get too wrapped up in the yaoi business, as I feel like it detracted from the overall presentation through no fault of its own. It certainly wasn't a series I thought I'd even get through, so that should speak for itself. If I could break it into a sentence it would be: “A beautiful story of redemption, though not without blemishes, that takes you on a lighthearted and fun journey back to the top.” An anime best viewed with less than serious intent. I'd recommend it to any fans of the sports genre looking for something new, and who aren't put off by a little more than bromance. As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out my other Fall ‘16 reviews!
There isn't really a plus side to Yuri on Ice beside being an ice skating show with guys. Although there are a few good moments and the ingredients for a sport anime are here, the love story overwhelms everything. As it unfolds, you quickly notice nothing else than romance matters: rivalry, friendship, family, other skaters and even competitions lose most of their appeal fast, sometimes to the point of becoming trivial. It doesn't help that the protagonists are a bit shallow and rely too much on surface caricature to build a personality; the story rapidly becomes a weak excuse and a routine for romance, joining
the routines on the rink. Sadly, the performances on ice are also repetitive and bear no thrilling, giving you the feeling you've seen one, you've seen 'em all!
Without the support of inventive and stylish art and animation in its execution, Yuri on Ice ends up as a failed soufflé. Lacking in every aspect of its writing, breathless in the artistic ambitions that could have redeemed the show, it falls short of everything. Not bad enough to fall below the appreciation of "average", but there's nothing more to expect from it.
My very first review for a very special anime. Yuri!!! on Ice is a show about Yuuri Katsuki, a 23 years old top figure skater from Japan. He trained in Detroit and qualified for the Grand Prix Final for the very first time in his life, but he became last place with a very low score due mental and physical problems. His idol, Russian champion Victor Nikiforov takes the gold once again. Yuuri doesn't know whether to retire or to continue, he feels like his career is over but he also wants to skate on the same ice as his idol again. He visits
his home town to think things over, and suddenly Victor Nikiforov himself appears at his home and tells Yuuri he'll become his coach and will take him to the Grand Prix Final. And that's how the heartwarming story about figure skating begins.
Please do not compare this show to anything BL/yaoi/shounen-ai related because it's not what this show is about. Sure, Victor and Yuuri share an emotional and romantic bond but it's very subtle handled. The romance is there to make Yuuri stronger as a competitive skater and to accomplish his goal to win a gold medal at the Grand Prix Final. Yuri on Ice is enjoyable for both male and female audience. The main theme of the show will always be sports, so you won't hear any love confessions from either of them but you'll definitely notice there's something going on between them.
Yuri on Ice is very realistic to the real figure skating world. The creators of this show are big fans of figure skating, and they definitely know a thing or two about how the skating world works. That's why this anime has been praised by many real life figure skaters. Figure skating is a very beautiful and passionate sport, where people can express themselves in routines, music and glittery outfits.
The story is very simple and the pacing seems a little off here and there. There is a time skip of five months or something between episode 4 and 5 while the last three episodes happen in three or four days. The story is very rushed near the ending, and the dynamic between Yuuri and Victor changes drastically (read: they give you the feeling theyre dating) but no one in this show talks about it, neither the main characters or the side characters. They all just kinda let it happen. This felt a little frustrating to me because I wanted to have a deeper look into their relationship, but the show is all about the sports and their relationship will be up for interpretation until the very end.
The comedy in this show is actually funny and very solid, but that's just my opinion. I think the comedy doesn't work for everyone, for example manservice is used for comedic purposes in the first 4 episodes. Yuuri's family runs a hot spring and there will be a few scenes where Victor appears butt naked.
Yuri on Ice has a few sudden twists and turns during the story, and all of them are positive and mostly heartwarming. There will be moments you'll feel shocked, extremely happy, sad and you'll feel for the characters, even if they're not that important to the story.
The ending left lots of people unsatisfied, but personally I didn't feel that way at all. Many things happen in the finale and I had to rewatch a few times to fully understand what's going on because it's a little bit rushed and fast paced. The ending hints at a season two and that's why I liked the ending: everything you wanted to happen in the finale can still happen in season two!
I can assure you the ending of season 1 is a happy ending, even though things won't go as you expect.
Yuri on Ice has a huge cast of lots of international figure skaters. They all have their own reasons to win, different outfits, routines, music and lots of personality. The characters aren't stereotyped and are unique in their own way. Some of them skate for love, some for their country and some of them just to beat Victor off his throne.
- Yuri "Yurio" Plisetsky, Yuuri's main rival from Russia is a 15 year old, very talented but rude character. I didn't like his character at all in the beginning, but I came to like him because his skating is absolutely wonderful. It's a treat for your eyes, the music he uses for his program is phenomenal and his outfits are the best. Yuri fricking Plisetsky, a cold hearted lil tsundere crawled his way into my heart.
- Phichit Chulanont from Thailand, Yuuri's rinkmate in Detroit, is an extremely likable character who skates to make history for his country,
- Flamboyant Chris from Swiss who wants to beat Victor no matter what and doesn't feel motivated because Victor isn't skating this season,
- JJ "the King" who wants to take over the whole skating world but he realizes the pressure of being number one can be overwhelming,
- Michele "Mickey" Crispino who skates for his twin sister and breaks his personal record by a mile when he realizes his love for her is unhealthy and let's go of her. Mickey isn't a very important character but his free skate performance made me cry like a baby
- Yuuri's family, childhood friends, ballet instructor Minako-sensei and his fellow Japanese ice skater and fan Minami-kun who supports Yuuri no matter what. They don't appear a lot, but they are likeable and they add a good amount of comedy to the story
- The two characters who nestled their way in my heart are Yuuri and Victor. Yuuri gets an immense amount of character development, he has major anxiety problems, (sometimes so bad it's unpleasant to watch). Luckily he has Victor by his side who'll support him as much as he can and together they'll work things out. He grabs on to Victors love and rises himself to the top. Victor may seem like a mysterious character with unknown reasons to coach Yuuri, but near the end of the series it turns out he's nothing but a big sweetheart who had no inspiration left to surprise people and felt imprisoned by skating. He took a break to coach a failing Japanese figure skater and found his love and life in the boy and his home country Japan.
There are even more characters, but these are the ones who left the biggest impression on me
The art itself is amazing. The realistic scenery which includes different countries (Japan, Russia, Spain) and real life ice skating venues is amazing to see. The outfits were designed by real life figure skating designers and Yuuri's free skate outfit was even made in real life. The routines are choreographed by Kenji Miyamoto who is a figure skater himself.
The characters all look great on the ice, but the animation was rushed and felt incomplete. The expressions of the skaters looked awkward and unfinished. The body movement is amazing to see though and the jumps are awesome. Overall, most skating routines didn't really grab my attention, but it didn't affect enjoyment one bit.
You know why lazy drawn routines didn't affect my enjoyment? Because the music is absolutely outstanding! The show uses both real life music and new created music for the show. On Love: Agape and Allegro Appassionato in B Minor (Yurio's music) and Stay Close to Me (Victors Free program) are the ones who just left me speechless. Another favorite is "Theme of King JJ" which is an incredible catchy song, you can see the public singing along while he skates to this music and even I had to sing along because it's just too good! Yuuri's free skate "Yuri on Ice" is the most memorable, it's a song which expresses his entire career in a beautiful way.
The mix between classical and pop music is great, and it's one of the best aspects of this anime.
The OP is catchy, and don't even get me started on the ED: it's perfect. One of the best and unique ending songs I've ever heard!
When I first started this anime I had very low expectations but it turned out to be my absolute favorite. I love the OST, the characters, the story, the comedy, the art style, the realistic and professional view of a very beautiful and interesting sport. Everything just works for me. The gay romance was such a treat since I like yaoi slightly more than yuri or straight relationships, but I would've rate 10/10 anyway. You shouldn't shy away from this anime just because it has a few gay moments!
Everything about Yuri on Ice is just so satisfying. The creators put so much effort in this show and their hard work has payed off. I really think this show deserves its hype.
Probably the most overhyped/overrated anime since Sword Art Online.
Not only are the characters pretty flat, not only is the story really really bad, not only does the animation of this series become so bad that Studio Deen would have to start blushing, not only is the world building some of the worst in any anime but people also have the nerv to call this anime a good represantion of a gay relationship.
Is this what straight women think what gay men would behave like if they'd be in love?
The relationship of Yuri and Victor is some of the battiest Yaoi shit I've seen in any anime.
They don't kiss - They just hug in a way to make it look like they're kissing. They don't get in a relationship between lovers - They are just master & student who really like each other. They don't get engaged - They just buy lucky charms for each other, that look like engagement rings.
And don't come to me claiming that the kiss had to be cencored for the japanese audience. There were plenty of anime where gay characters had kissed each other in a clear way (Sakura Trick, No.6) so please just cut the bullshit.
Every character is flat and cringy and every potential that they might have had is wasted, because every episode had to have at least 3 ice skating scenes instead of actual character building through some relationships. The cringiest and worst character is Christophe and his presence probably describes the best why Yuri on Ice has such garbage writing. Yuri, the main character, is every sports protagonist of every shitty sports anime. He's such a blank slate that new story tools like a second dog dying have to be created to give him some new reactions. Victor is the stereotypical gay character. Every line he says has to be ambivalent and no real strong motivation is given as to how and why he quit his career.
Now on to the story. Most of it is spend in the ice rink and instead of giving the viewer some eye candy through some cool shots of Russia or Japan we mainly get some of the worst sakuga animation you will see in any anime. 90% of the characters could be cut out completely and nothing would change. Motivations are explained through inner dialogue in the ice skating scenes which just is lazy. There is no subtlety to anything in this piece of garbage story. One thing I can give credit to this anime though is, that the humor most of the times works and the first 2 episodes were pretty okay.
Animation like I've said is pretty bad. The first episode had some really beautiful scenes but then the director decided to use this exact animation again...and again...and again...and again but only worse.
We never get an explanation as to how who is better than who. The only visual indication we ever got as to how someone was doing good or bad during their skating scenes is when they tripped. A talented director would have cut out some of the skating scenes to save some of the budget for a few important story scenes.
Yuri on Ice fails in every way. It fails as a sports anime. It fails as a love story. It's fails a character study.
The only enjoyment I got from this anime was how this whole mess of a story crumbled apart near the end.