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Thursday, January 5, 2017
MARIAH's THOUGHTS on Yuri!!! On Ice Season 1 (2016)
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
23 min. per ep.
Oct 6, 2016 to Dec 22, 2016
Dentsu, TV Asahi, Movic, Avex Pictures, CIC, Cygames
Reeling from his crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Finale, Yuuri Katsuki, once Japan's most promising figure skater, returns to his family home to assess his options for the future. At age 23, Yuuri's window for success in skating is closing rapidly, and his love of pork cutlets and aptitude for gaining weight are not helping either.
However, Yuuri finds himself in the spotlight when a video of him performing a routine previously executed by five-time world champion, Victor Nikiforov, suddenly goes viral. In fact, Victor himself abruptly appears at Yuuri's house and offers to be his mentor. As one of his biggest fans, Yuuri eagerly accepts, kicking off his journey to make it back onto the world stage. But the competition is fierce, as the rising star from Russia, Yuri Plisetsky, is relentlessly determined to defeat Yuuri and win back Victor's tutelage.
Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Junichi Suwabe, Kouki Uchiyama, Shiho Kokido, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Mari Doi
This is my first sports anime and it might be because of my inexperience but Yuri!!! on Ice leaves much to be desired. It had a lot of hype online and among my anime friends. I got through the entire 12 episodes but was mildly entertained and only felt enthralled once or twice throughout the anime. It wasn’t as inspirational as it could have been and I don’t feel like it had a definitive end.
The story was sweet as Yuri is coached by his figure skating idol and brings in “man service,” light yaoi, messages of perseverance and determination, or sexuality. Each of these, however, were underwhelming. The plot follows Yuri and Victor as they begin their skating careers together as coach and athlete; their relationship heats up but dies down immediately. At first, Yuri feels very awkward with Victor and begins to warm up to him after displaying his determination to redeem himself as a figure skater. There are a few moments of intimacy but that’s about it. By episode ten, Yuri!!! on Ice shows the epitome of their relationship with gold rings but brushes it of as “good luck charms” and they seem to re-begin their relationship in a tepid mood. Are they engaged? Are they friends? Are they just trying to be professional at an event? I guess, that’s up for interpretation.
What caught my attention the most was the choreography and animation. The characters display their emotions through their skating but the lines in their faces get lost with the movements of the arms or legs. The skaters were graceful and the soundtrack was executed with elegance, as figure skating and music combine into a powerful performance. Yuri as a main character is very human; he shows insecurity, some development and confidence, and (sometimes) is honest with his feelings. His coach, Victor, is friendly almost day-dreamy and can do no wrong. Yuri puts him so high on a pedestal that’s it’s hard to focus on Yuri as the main character. A few in the supporting cast is probably more memorable with their different and outgoing personalities. It was interesting to have the various ethnicities displayed as figure skaters like Canada, Thailand, Russia, and Italy.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend Yuri!!! on Ice to the next person I meet to get them excited about anime. It seemed like a one season type of anime. If it did end up with a second season, the studio could try to focus on more dynamic characters.