Yuri on ice is one of the most popular shows to air on Crunchyroll. In fact it was so popular it crashed their website. Why was it so popular you might as? Well Yuri on Ice has received quite a lot of praise from viewers around the world. Its captivating and marvelous animation even got the attention from professional ice skaters like Evengia Medvedeva and Christian Michael Martinez. While others like Masato Kimura, a Japanese figure skater that competed in 2015 championships, went as far as to emulate its opening.
This series is a landmark in animation for sports. Why? Well many people can agree, sports anime’s have many hurdles to cross. First and foremost is the animations. Many studios have to invest a lot of time and money to make scenes as realistic as in real life. The next issue lies within the atmosphere and reality of what happens in sports. Its not easy to bring the hardships or hard work of athletes to the big screen. Mostly because not everyone in an animation studio is a professional athlete. So if they can’t recreate their sport they make up in slice of life because it saves time and money. To which, Yuri on Ice did the opposite. By investing their time and money, they were able to bring figure skating to life in anime.
Here’s the PV
Simply an amazing PV
So whats Yuri on Ice about?
The story in Yuri on Ice follows a young man named Yuuri Katsuki, who was once Japan’s most promising figure skater, just faced a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Finale. After taking the season off figure skating, Yuuri returns home to take another look at his life. Now age 23, he faces a small window for success in figure skating. Sad, and tired of being depressed, Yuuri performs Victor Nikiforov’s (A five time champion) famous routine. However, someone recorded it and the video went viral. Even Victor himself see’s the video and sets off to Japan with the ambition to teach Yuuri how to win the Championships. Yuuri’ stunned, he eagerly accepts and is now officially back into skating.
Yuri on Ice has many good characters throughout the series. A lot of diversity and memorable characters. Heck even most of them are designed by real life skaters. Anyways, unlike many sport series, Yuri on Ice also explores the other side of the coin in sports, depression, anxiety and mental health. While character ambitions are made clear, their backgrounds are not. The series builds their background and shows previous experiences to flesh out their characters. Mostly in the form of their performance on the rink. Often times we see the characters face their doubts, fears and sometimes even after all the cheering from the crowd, they are still not satisfied with their performance.
Does the series do good on this remark? I would say yes, without a doubt they hit the nail on the coffin. As its a main topic Yuuri Katsuki faces at every major point in his carrier. Its the main reason why he lost at the Grand Prix Championships and its the reason he decided to retire. Therefore, its not unusual for Yuuri to gain weight because its a common way people confront depression. They eat and eat to forget their sorrows but it never works. We see a glimpse of this when he returns home to see his face plastered all over his hometown. However, remember that hes was considered the most promising skaters from Japan, so why should he be down? The issue for him is mental health/anxiety and just like our promising athlete from Japan, not everyone is immune.
Since the major driving force is Yuuri facing his depression and anxiety, the character development rather, flourishes. Here we have a 23 year old skater who was a previous contender at the championships crying his eyes out, binge eating and frankly feeling like shit. However, when Victor buts in on his sorry life, he exposes the flaws in Yuuri and he manages to bring out the best. Every decision and goal Victor sets for Yuuri is another step to help Yuuri redefine why he skates and to help him deal with his depression. He no longer skates with a fear of losing, he performes to impress Victor. You might be thinking of this, or I’m sure you might already know, is this series qeerbait? Well yes to some extent it is, however its homosexuality is not the main focus. Its just another method Yuuri uses to deal with his struggles and its the method that saves him and his carrier.
He’s the main focus but as I mentioned before, the others have details revealed through their performance. Giving you information you need right then and there. Simplistic meanwhile it draws you towards the character and his emotions. By doing so, it creates a beautiful performance that comes from the characters heart and actions.
Perhaps the best feature in this series. I mean just look at that Yuri on Ice opening, one of the best I have seen. The use of water color’s for the intro and the choreography was superb. MAPPA did an outstanding job creating the animation to make it life like. Heck its so good, you can actually recreate this in real life. I’m not quite familiar with animation like a professional is so I can’t tell you what techniques they used to create it. However, what I can tell you is the raw emotions you feel when watching Yuuri, Victor and Yurio skate. A very captivating scene is when Yuuri emulates Victor’s skating program. The differences between their style and the fluidity of their movements are great.
Just look at those movements with his body. A real dancer, performer and charmer ey? I also really enjoyed the little touch they added to the blades of his skates. Making the light bounce of his shoes just makes him look majestic.
Anyways, the animation while superb, does have some flaws. I guess that’s the price you pay for putting all your hard work on fluidity of motion and choreography. I wouldn’t say its bad, because you have to really look hard and pause at the right times. However, it something that might bother some people so ill just point it out. Keep this in mind, there are many popular shows that also feature these wonky drawings. So don’t let it take away the magic that’s in the show. Also check that ED out, really solid ed with music and images.
Music and Voice Acting
Speaking about the ed and its music. The music around Yuri on Ice plays quite often. During performances in skating, the performer selects the music and program they will play. Its also important what their selection of music is, since they will be dancing per say, to the song. They have to select the proper song and they have to create the right movements to flow with their art. So expect a variety of songs to be played. More so on the side characters and their performances as opposed to the main characters. Since in skating its not unusual for performers to reuse their programs and their music. Its not particularly bad but the main characters do and it can put some people off. Like myself, I like variety.
Lastly, the voice acting was good. You can hear the voices giving off emotion during their performances. Their inner monologues playing all throughout their performances. Creating emotional buildup all the way until they finish their performance.
So, with all this taken into account leaves a few questions. Are there some issues? Of course, every show has its flaws, but its qualities outshine the flaws. Was is it enjoyable? Yes, the art, animation, characters and voice acting are superb. Heck, I was enthralled by the PV alone. I had some high expectations of the show and although it didn’t deliver 100%. I can say that I genuinely enjoyed every episode. Lastly, I haven’t talked about the comedy in the show. Partly because, despite it being the genre, I didn’t think it was a big factor. The comedy acted more of comedy relief and came in the form of funny facial expression and shenanigans. Nothing to big really, so don’t expect much besides a little chuckle.