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Yuri!!! on Ice
(All episodes watched):|
This was one of the last new anime of the season which I gave a try, largely because I was expecting a different sort of 'yuri' here. To my surprise, what I got was an interesting story which wasted no time and was engaging right from the start. Figure skating in and of itself wouldn't have interested me all that much, but the primary focus was clearly on this Katsuki guy. His character and that of a number of others are smoothly developed in a pleasing manner. The basic problem is made clear: Katsuki isn't all that fantastic a skater, and something has got to change, whether he quits the sport or not. Then there's a twist: his idol, Nikiforov, shows up at his home. There's nothing like a virtually impossible thing happening to stir up interest. What sort of plan does Nikiforov have? Has he noticed some sort of unexploited potential within Katsuki? The key to a good opening episode is to leave us with questions which we want the answers to. We will have to wait for episode two find out, but this was looking like a skillfully made show which left me with high hopes and expectations for the remainder of it.
I wish Nikiforov had a little more personality, at least early on; we know that he is a free-spirited guy who likes to surprise his audiences, but other than that he seems detached (and a little obnoxious) and I feel that I already know the Russian Yuri better than I know him. Why, again, did he sense potential in Katsuki? Was Katsuki's performance on the internet really that good? Nikiforov must have a deeper reason. I wished the story would move forward more rapidly. What the basic problem that Katsuki needs to solve is hasn't been made clear. Is it to win the skating championship, or does it have something to do with his relationship with Victor (or both)? I was still wondering about this question in the final episode. Was this going to become a sort of boy's love anime? I wish I knew, because it's hard to get excited when you don't even understand the crux of the story. I hoped that one or more interesting problems would be crystalized for us, because the jokes aren't fantastic either. My overall impression of the series as of episode four was good, but not great. In episode five Katsuki takes part in his first competition since his humiliation, and as a result I could get into the story some more, which was good. In subsequent competitions I found myself watching closely to see who would slip and fall and who would perform flawlessly. It got a little repetitive and tiresome. Although teasers are repeatedly thrown to us, competition, not Katsuki and Nikiforov falling in love, is the main theme of this show.
This show got fantastic ratings in the ANN poll of the favorite anime of 2016, and was even rated the year's best show. But for most of the show it didn't seem all that outstanding to me. I was even tempted to abandon it at one point. Perhaps Katsuki hasn't developed enough of a personality for me to care all that much whether he winds up as the champion or not--or what way his relationship with Victor goes. Perhaps because it was never clear to me whether the show would wind up being about sports or about the relationship, and therefore I never knew which events were most important and which I should pay the closest attention to. And again the jokes are pretty blah. Good but not great, I would say. But it ends well; not a stereotypical "I'm the champion and the rest of you can shove it" ending, but a more realistic, believable and tantalizing one. It seems that a second season is in the works, for one thing. Katsuki has done well, but not well enough, and therefore the story will continue. Although I was not nearly as thrilled by this show as others were, I wouldn't mind watching part two to see how things wind up.
Last updated Thursday, March 02 2017. Created Saturday, November 12 2016.