Yaoi-.. I mean Yuri!!! on Ice has created quite the hype. The original anime following a once great Japanese figure skater, Yuuri Katsuki, has a lot of fans and very high ratings online, but are these ratings justified?
Genres: Sports, Comedy, Drama, Ice-Skating, Shounen ai
Started airing: 6th of October 2016
Number of episodes: 12
Episode duration: 23 minutes
After his crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Finale, Yuuri Katsuki returns home to Kyushu and tries to figure out what to do with his future. He was once Japan’s most promising figure skater, but now wonders whether he should retire or continue skating. He gets his answer when five-time consecutive world champion ice skater Victor Nikiforov appears before him, offering to be his mentor. A big fan of Victor, Yuuri accepts and with Victor’s help he continues to develop his skills. But will it be enough to win this time?
Score: 70 / 100
Yuri!!! on Ice has won the hearts of many fans, in particular those who love shounen ai suggestions, unfortunately it hasn’t stolen mine. The storyline, animation and drawing style weren’t always top quality. The series started off very slow and the pace didn’t kick up until the sixth episode, this made the series less enjoyable for me. Fans of the series seem to mainly focus on the shounen ai in this series, on this point I do agree; they were endearing and fun to watch. I didn’t score the show based on just the beautiful moments, which is why the score is lower than what most of the fans give it. This show didn’t bring me to the edge of my seat, I had pretty much assumed it’d end the way it did. Although the shounen ai moments were definitely worth watching this series for, I didn’t care very much for all of the details and over explanations on ice skating.
That’s the short answer, but continue reading if you’d like to find out more.
As mentioned above, the story starts off slow. The first five episodes build up to the rest very slowly, which made it a less appealing series to binge-watch. Once you get to the sixth episode the pace does finally get kicked up a notch, which makes the series more enjoyable. On top of that there are a few more off of the ice and non-training moments, which also makes the series less boring. The on the ice moments weren’t very thrilling to me, for reasons related to the animation. The storyline of this series and the ending were pretty predictable to me, although the shounen ai moments were a bit more surprising.
Yuuri faces multiple hurdles as he fights to get a gold medal at the Grand Prix Finals. As he progresses you see the relationship between him and Victor change. Victor is inexperienced as a coach and doesn’t quite act like one, but his very presence motivates Yuuri to get more skilled. You watch his confidence grow over time. He wants to blow Victor’s mind, to please Victor. Their ‘love’ is very sweet and at times innocent, but there are some more suggestive moments although they seem to be part of the humour of the series.
This series has a lot of sum ups and explanations, especially in the first few episodes. A lot of which I could’ve done without, even though I’m not very familiar with the sport of ice skating.
Yuri!!! on Ice has a lot of different personalities in it, there are quite a few ice skaters involved in the many competitions and most of them get a bit of focus in the series. You learn a little about their backgrounds and personalities, which makes them more fun to watch, in my opinion.
Yuuri Katsuki, the main character, has many sides to him. This doesn’t initially seem to be the case, but as he gains confidence he clearly develops his skills, both social and on the ice. He seems eager to please Victor and clearly loves him. At times he seems desperate to hold onto Victor’s company and it even seems like without Victor he’d never have decided to continue skating.
Victor Nikiforov is a very carefree and yet serious character. He’s very serious about how Yuuri can improve his skating skill, but aside from that he’s not very serious at all. He seems quite eager to remove his clothes and clearly doesn’t feel uncomfortable around other men while naked. This creates some funny moments.
Yuri Plisetsky, or Yurio as Yuuri and Victor call him, is a pretty rude teenager who has a lot of skill on the ice. Over time he softens slightly and seems to care a little more about some other characters. He becomes more and more motivated to win.
When it comes to the animation I’m not entirely happy with the quality of this series. Or rather the lack of consistent quality. Sometimes there seem to be frames missing and at times characters are weirdly deformed. Some examples of this are necks that are way too long, bodies that have no figure to them, when they normally do and clothes and hair that don’t quite move as they should when someone is skating.
The ice skating animations were clearly reused, quite a bit actually. The same flaws kept repeating and the way the routines were performed were nearly identical, I say nearly because sometimes a character fell and at other times they didn’t. Even the intro of the series repeated animations, although these animations were a lot more worked out and fluent.
At times characters really didn’t look as they should, it was pretty inconsistent. An example of this is Yuuri, when he was supposed to be fat. In one episode he went from fat, to skinny, to fat, to ‘normal’. Personally I wouldn’t have known he was ‘fat’ at times, if the characters didn’t constantly point it out. At times Russian Yuri looked a bit alien in both his movement and the way he was drawn.
The intro & outro
‘History Maker’ by Dean Fujioka is the intro song. It fits well with the animation that is shown. The song doesn’t stand out a lot, it doesn’t have an enormous amount of energy, but I do feel like the energy in this song fits with the anime. The intro fits with the series in general.
The outro song, ‘You only live once’ by YURI!!! on ICE featuring w.hatano, is pretty energetic. During the song pictures are shown that give even more of an impression of the characters in the series, which was a nice touch. Although there isn’t any animation, just pictures, there are some flashes of light which keep well to the rhythm of the song.