Yuri on Ice is a sports anime television series centered around a top male figure skater named Yuri Katsuki, and his relationship with his coach Victor Nikiforov, as he attempts to win gold at the World Grand Prix. It shows of Yuri’s struggle with confidence, and anxiety as he attempts to win a competition he was previously unable to qualify for. As well as the mentality of Victor, who is coaching his first season. He took to season off to coach Yuri after being inspired by watching Yuri skate. This television program was created with the idea of focusing on and exposing the relationship between a skater and his coach.
This program has some very authentic source material. The writers interviewed competitive figure skaters and asked them what they would want a coach to do. To which they replied that they would prefer a coach that pushed the limits and demanded unreasonable thing to one that was more relaxed and compassionate. And so we got Victor’s style and personality of harsh criticism, and high expectations. The skating was choreographed by Kenji Miyamoto (a Japanese retired ice dancer who currently works as a coach and a choreographer) and he performed the routines himself, which were recorded and used as skating sound effects. In addition to this, many of the characters in the anime are based on real people, such as Guang Hong Ji (a seventeen-year-old Chinese figure skater making his senior debut this season), who is based on Boyang Jin(his senior debut during the 2015-2016 Grand Prix season and received a silver medal at the 2015 Cup of China) All of these aspects add authenticity to the T.V show, and it has received great reviews from figure skaters about the portrayal of the sport in the anime.
The main focus in this anime is the relationship between Yuri and his coach Victor. This relationship eventually evolves into something more as the two develop romantic feelings for each other. The anime has been praised for it’s depiction of same sex relationships, it is presented in a way that is not stereotypical or queerbaiting. This is a big deal, because there is a problem with homophobia in competitive figure skating. There have been many cases of male figure skaters only commenting on anything to do with homosexuality when they have secured themselves an Olympic berth, so that their views or sexuallity could not jeprodize their career. The show takes a different approach to this topic,placing the anime in a world where things are not recognised as gay and straight, it’s just love. Which is very beautiful and something the world sorely needs, when I look to the future i like to imagine a world with similar views.
The relationship between Yuri and Victor is very elusive, their feelings for each other being revealed in subtle ways. Their love for each other never being explicitly stated, but rather is an unspoken truth. In this way their relationship is quite like a fairytale. Without the need for discussion of where you stand in the relationship, or to justify your feelings to each other. The love between you is simply a given fact. It is a simplified and beautiful version of reality, that instills a sense of wonder and hope in you. It is not even known if they have romantic feelings for each other until late in the season when Victor and Yuri are shopping together, and Yuri decides to buy Victor a ring to thank him for helping Yuri with his skating. He purchases a gold wedding ring, and takes Victor by the hand, leads him outside and slides the ring onto Victor’s ring finger, and thanked him for everything he has done. Victor in turn surprises Yuri by sliding a matching gold ring onto Yuri’s ring finger. As this takes place church bells can be heard ringing in the distance. This is to symbolize an engagement, and the expression of their love for each other. It is done in a symbolic and beautiful way. Much like the love story in a fairytale.
In conclusion, this is a very different take on a well known sport, and an almost cliche love story. It is very accurate, with authentic content, and has received recognition for its representation of same sex relationships, and the affects of anxiety. I recommend it to people who enjoy, or participate in figure skating. Or simply those who are a fan of anime. Although it has serious themes, over all it is quite light hearted and funny, and I think everyone can find entertainment, in this television show.