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Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri on Ice focuses on the interactions that world-acclaimed Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov has with motivating the struggling Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki, as his figure skating instructor. Alongside the two, a young Russian figure skating prodigy named Yuri Plisetsky striving to make a name for himself on the world championship level and becomes a rival to Yuri K. Note that to differentiate between the two Yuris for the remainder of this review, I will refer to the older Yuri as Yuri K and the younger Yuri as Yuri P.|
Before I get into this review, I suppose I should cover the major element that has gotten this series both acclaim and notoriety in the form of Victor and Yuri K's relationship. There are fans that assume that the two eventually start up a homosexual relationship later in Yuri on Ice's run and enough implications are dropped where I could see where this assumption could come into play. While this reviewer has no personal gripes with homosexual relationships and I think the handling of the chemistry between the two is far better than what I would typically see out of many yaoi anime pairings, I think what the series shown with their relationship is more ambiguous than anything since it could be argued both ways that the two are either romantically involved or develop a close friendship by later in the series.
Yuri on Ice's main attraction is the developments that face the main trio of the series with the two Yuris and Victor. All three have their own different motivations with their involvement with one another as Victor was suffering from lack of motivation due to his flawless figure skating career before seeing Yuri K's skating performance, Yuri K coping with anxiety from the downward spiral of his figure skating career as Victor coaches him back into competitive condition, and Yuri P transitioning into the world championship scene for figure skating. Victor and Yuri K develop a fun and great chemistry with one another throughout the series as they develop a close relationship with one another due to both finding aspirations to gain from one another. Yuri P finds his youth getting to his head at points with his figure skating performances as for all his talents, he lacks the emotion to put into his work, usually lets his reputation get to his head, and hates making himself vulnerable to those outside his family. While much of the focus on Yuri on Ice involves the chemistry between Yuri K and Victor, it still devotes some time in featuring some gradual development with Yuri P's character as he becomes motivated to better himself after seeing Yuri K's work. The only issues I really had with the series are its rather underwhelming efforts to implement exaggerated comedic elements into its storytelling and the rather open ending it left, implying there may be more to come for Yuri on Ice down the road potentially.
On the visual end, Yuri on Ice easily makes for one of the better animated TV anime titles for 2016. Character designs are given a lifelike look compared to the traditional anime design with realistic bodily proportions and there are a good number of attractive male character designs to hook in female audiences for this series. The animated highlight of the series obviously comes from the show's figure skating routines as they are fluid in movement and an engaging spectacle to watch, especially considering this is only the second anime I've seen focused on figure skating since I seen Ginban Kaleidoscope years ago.
While many sports anime typically attract a niche audience at best, Yuri on Ice offers enough engaging elements with its storytelling, visuals, and characters that allow it to appeal to a more wider audience in spite of its focus on figure skating and its ambiguous relationship between Victor and Yuri K. Even if you aren't interested in sports anime, I'd at least recommend checking out the series in its entirety once to see what all the hype for the series is about.
Last updated Friday, September 01 2017. Created Friday, September 01 2017.
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.