《ANIME》✦Current Impressions: ユーリ!!! on ICE✦

YES WE WERE BORN TO MAKE HISTORY!!!!!!!!!!

and yes i know it’s been three weeks since it started airing please just let me live. a post full of opinions schminions

ANYWAY.

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… Yuri!!! on ICE is the current Sports Anime of the Hour™️ or something. I’ve had my fair share of misgivings (and I still have some… okok) about it, but after mulling over it for a quite a while, I gave it a shot.

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Don’t get me wrong, I was more than excited to watch the show when the previews came out. Honestly, based on the trailer alone you can tell how well-researched this series is—the Sochi Ice Palace, the Team Jackets, they even got Kenji Miyamoto to choreograph for it, and Honda Takeshi cameos while doing some commentary—which is always something worth praising. The director is Sayo Yamamoto, who—despite the fact that I wasn’t too fond of Endless Night—is close to my heart because of her work on Michiko to Hatchin! Also I’m pretty fond of the fact that they tacked “on ice” to to the title as per ice show naming conventions (Stars on Ice, Friends on ice, Carnival on Ice, Fantasy on Ice, Dreams on Ice… i’m probably missing something, but you get the picture). LOL

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I guess it’s mainly because I’m a little scared of big fandoms (lmao yikes)! I love figure skating a whole bunch and I was (… am) a little worried about how people are going to treat it because of the series! I’m glad that this can help people get into the sport. in b4 someone points out that I was lured in via Bowlcut™️ l o l ) but I really hope people don’t get into it for. Well, um, fujobait?

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… Well I guess it is (lol) but it’d be nice to have more substance than that storywise and skatingwise (because Let’s Be Real here folks, no real ~pairings are gonna come out of this)… and for people to actually appreciate that story and the skating… whatever that is lolol. And as my friend Vivy once said, despite there being similarities with the characters and some real-life athletes (they were used as the bases for some characters, after all!), I quote: “THE CHARACTERS DO NOT MIRROR REAL PEOPLE. I REPEAT THE CHARACTERS DO NOT MIRROR REAL PEOPLE.”

Likewise because I’m a skating fan and because I like watching anime (ok I know this is the last series I’ve watched since Ping Pong don’t @ me) it’s a little difficult to draw the line between the two when approaching Y!!!OI. But I decided to go in guns blazing and wibbly like the person I Truly Am. (Spoiler: I failed.)

Also I guess I’m going to throw it out here but I think it’s a little silly that people think the title is misleading! In the first place ゆり=/=ゆーり. There’s a big difference that’s lost in translation bc of romanization and people refuse to watch it because of this asdflkjfds There are legitimate reasons to not want to watch Y!!OI but I just personally find this one really. Um, it’s just. A Lot. lol

┐( ̄ヘ ̄)┌

Moving on!

It’s pretty cool how the airing of this anime coincides with skating season, tbh! It’s the third week into this show’s airing, and the Grand Prix season has just begun!

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Like I said earlier, from the preview alone you can tell how well-researched the show is! Yuri K.’s little monologues are actually really interesting, and there are a lot of small details you can only really catch if you slow down or pause while watching.

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I was genuinely surprised the Winter Universiades was mentioned considering it isn’t an annual event!

Oh, but don’t watch this series in a public area. There’s a reason why this anime airs at 2AM, and one of them is probably because in the first episode Viktor gives the audience a gratuitous booty shot, which I completely forgot about despite seeing screencaps on my feed, and ended up watching in a hallway where tons of people were passing by uuuuHHGHHHH WHYYYYYY

No, you’re not going to get a screencap of the booty shot, ya nasties.

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Can you feeeel my heart beeaaaatt…

As for the opening song, History Maker is a Jam. (Thanks, manong Dean Fujioka!) A lot of people were saying that the opening sequence for the first episode had been really bare (and it was!) but it’s rectified in the future episodes—the second episode made it seem like it evolved, adding more colors and backgrounds! (Still rotoscope-y though lol and during the third week the OP was the same as that as the second).

YOU SET MY HEART ON FIRE!!!!!

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The ending sequence is also really cute! While I don’t find You Only Live Once (same) as catchy as History Maker, it’s still a jam. The ending song’s full of characters’ instagram posts and pictures from a beach date day with Yuri K., Viktor, Yurio, and Makkachin! And fun fact! The series’ official Instagram updates with photos taken during an episode update in real time, apparently!

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The characters are also pretty cute! YURI K. IS SOOOOO CUUUUUUUUUTE with him it was love at first sight. About a good 90% of the screencaps I took while watching the first episode were of his face because he’s SO CUTE? CHUBBY CRYBABY PROTAG? SIGN ME UP. He looks like a Moomin sometimes.

(Toshiyuki Toyonaga is doing a very very very very good job as Yuri, by the way.)

Though honestly it’s a little frustrating for me when people compare him to Yuzuru Hanyu (they physically resemble each other, that’s true, but that’s where it Begins and Ends) because the sense it makes is close to nil? Ioana talks about it more in-depth here. It’s a solid read and i’d recommend going through it before making any statements about any ~similarities he has with any Japanese figure skaters you know! (PLEASE…)

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Naturally I decided to include my favourite caps of Yuri(o) Plisetsky, who is said to be modeled after Julia Lipnitskaya, who hasn’t really good seasons post-2014 Olympics because of her growth spurt </3. He’s literally called a Russian Yankee and kind of looks like a Moomin sometimes, too.

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Viktor is, um a Lot. He choreographs, coaches, and is the top skater in the history of the world all at the same time. And he has a dog. Despite his heart-mouth he has a pretty sharp tongue and doesn’t hesitate to be savage when necessary.

And lastly, there’s Shuzo Matsuoka—I mean, Morooka-san.

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As for how realistic its depiction of the sport is… SO FAR NO ONE IS INJURED, WHAT A GREAT ALTERNATE UNIVERSE FOR FIGURE SKATING I don’t want to go into the technicalities and nitty-gritty of figure skating layout difficulties (this post discusses just that without being really wordy unlike ya girl here) but Viktor’s layout in the first episode is, er, a little wild, but probable. he has four quadruple jumps in his free skate, and while that isn’t news (see: Boyang Jin, Nathan Chen, Yuzuru Hanyu, etc. etc.), what sets this apart from what happens in real life is that the quads he performs are all different. He does a 4Lz (most difficult toe jump!), 4F, 4S, and—this is ridiculous and i’m still in shock lol—his very last jump is a 4T3T. lolololololololololol where do you get that stamina viktor-senshu lolololololololololololol and while again, that’s wild, my friend MJ did the math and well, it could happen. And like. It could’ve been worse. He could have done like. A quadruple or quintuple axel or whatever. lol.

lmao but when I was in the middle of writing this post Nathan Chen decided to put 5 quads in his free program. I can’t believe his layout’s more hardcore than the 5-time GPF, Euro, and World Champ lololololololololololololololololololol

Shoma Uno once tried to throw in an emergency quad at the very end of one of his programs, but we don’t talk about that. (Oh, but congrats on winning Skate America, Shoma!)

… Despite all this, Yuri!! on Ice, I want to love you, but you’re making it so difficult.

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While the skating featured in episode one was okay, the quality in episode three just dropped… so much. It’s like, er, in the first place I found it difficult to visualize Viktor’s program from the get-go (I’m chalking it up to camera angles and backgrounds), but in episode three I found it downright impossible. Of course we can’t expect anime to be as smooth as real-life skating is, but it was just so jarring in the third episode that it took away from the episode’s climax. (On the other hand, parts of the episode such as the lip touching and Yurio getting whacked by a monk were Very Well Animated. I… look at your priorities!!) This might sound kind of cruel, but I honestly think they could have omitted the entire competition (is that what it was? TBH the entire concept is pretty confusing for me because I don’t understand how the programs were “judged” or just. How the whole Onsen on Ice thing worked… HANDS BOTH KIDS STSQ1S) scene and the episode would have had the same impact. It put the long… in short program. Eh?

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why was this even necessary. why

Personally, this is a pretty big dealbreaker because it’s a figure skating anime… without the things I like about figure skating. While I obviously can’t expect it to be a 100-episode anime spanning 5 episodes per competition or something, the figure skating aspect of the show seems so… downplayed. I can’t actually imagine what either Yuri’s short programs look like. The most I can understand are their starting and ending movements. Things like speed, ice coverage, and edges—which are Pretty Important—don’t translate very well into 2D in this case. I find this a little ridiculous considering that Yuri K.’s strong point is the way he performs his step sequences, but the lack of frames really didn’t make it seem that way. I understand animation budget isn’t great, but it feels sad that the quality for the skating scenes have deteriorated (maybe they’ll rectify this in the Blu-Ray), while the fujobait scenes, are well. I mean, you can have both, but this supposed to primarily be an anime about figure skating, right? …Right?

… So is this BL or sports? @/Director make up your mind lol. Tbh the amount of ~fanservice in this is just… so Extra that it feels borderline tasteless lmao. It kind of feels like it’s turned into a ridiculous running joke (NAGL!!) and it’s not. Funny any more. With the way things are, it feels like a gag anime, but w/e (#unpopularopinion2016). I’m a little worried about there being so many other characters that might just be relegated into, um, more fujobait, instead of characters with backstories and struggles!1!

Plus I have a problem with the fact that Yuri K.’s entire skating career seems to be fixated on another person, lol. While in the previous episode he states that he wants to become Viktor’s Katsudon™️ (bae is outdated obv) I really hope that in the future episodes he finds a sturdier (?) reason to keep skating. Likewise, I hope we find out the reason why he started in the first place! Tbf his character seems wishy washy at best with some rare occasions of confidence (episode 2 has a really good scene about that, although brief; in general his interactions with Yurio make him out to be a more well-rounded character than he initially lets on lol), so I’m hoping that he has MORE CHARACTER GROWTH THAT ISN’T CENTERED AROUND VIKTOR :^) within the next weeks.

(Please don’t gloss over character growth and plot development for fujobait, Director Yamamoto! You can have both! I believe in you!!!)

(I also highkey hope that he doesn’t have to suffer through another BSOD c/o Viktor just to incite growth because. That would make me really sad.)

The premise is great enough without having to get unnecessarily shippy. Figure skating is a pretty niche sport (though popular in Japan) not a vehicle for fetishes ok. There’s only so much I can take of this!! And knowing that there are Actual Real Live Skaters—both professional and competing—watching this is, um, wild. And generally talking to humans about this series gives me the kind of feeling when you’ve eaten too much candy and your mouth feels all gross.

While I do understand that this might be a way to get non-skating fans into watching skating… I’m gonna speak on a personal level here but this is probably. Not enough. Certainly it can be a gateway (!) into watching figure skating but, at least for me, ultimately it’s a matter of finding someone or something in the sport you click with! What Y!!OI does is not make figure skating as a sport enticing—at least, not at this point, where it really feels like fanservice more than anything else.

(Don’t get me wrong though. Fanservice is very much a thing LOL but at the end of the day, I don’t think that’s really the point nor spirit of things.)

But it’s only been three episodes. It still has a lot of time to redeem itself, and while I certainly won’t keep my hopes high (as much as I want to), there’s still a lot of room for everything to grow. Perhaps there’s a reason why this show is excessively fanservicey that’s integral and essential to the plot, but we can’t find out unless we… well, keep watching.

IN SUMMARY, so far the things about the show I dislike outweigh the things I like, but despite all my complaints I’m not giving up on it just yet. (And if the skating scenes don’t get better, I’ll just stick to watching the Grand Prix series. lol)

Anyway some silly thoughts and theories about the series I’ve had (but if you’re on Twitter, you’ve definitely heard these all before):

  • The two Yuris form a pairs team. Yurio does all the throwing and twisting.
  • The two Yuris form an ice dance team. Yurio still does all the lifting.
  • The two Yuris find more Yuris and form a synchro team. and find the true meaning of yuri on ice
  • Viktor is actually Plushenko after his full transformation into an android. (Never forget the space-grade screws that weren’t skate-proof.)

The two other series I’m following this anime season are Monster Hunter: Ride on! and Fune wo Amu! The latter features character designs by Haruko Kumota—one of my fave fave fave fave mangaka who has sensual lines and great expressions in her works—and I’m also currently in the middle of watching her Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju!

So many interesting series this season but so little time! I’ll try to see Y!!OI to the very end, and I just hope it just proves me wrong.

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One thought on “《ANIME》✦Current Impressions: ユーリ!!! on ICE✦

  1. Pingback: 《ANIME》✦Final (?) Impressions: ユーリ!!! on ICE✦ – ✦it's dangerous to go alone!✦

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