Considering Tumblr is the ultimate fandom platform, we’re pretty sure it’s a big deal when a new show manages to completely overtake the internet. Yuri!!! on Ice, whose first episode aired back in October 2016, managed to entertain anime fans, both old and new. And just because we were blown away by the first season, we’ve decided to introduce you to the show, recap the season, and prepare you for the wait on season 2.
But considering the first season just ended this last Wednesday, please know that this post might contain some spoilers.
Let’s begin with the storyline and concept behind the show.
YoI (Yuri!!! on Ice) is about a figure skater named Yuri Katuski from Japan. Starting at Yuri’s 6th place at the Grand Prix Final, the show follows Yuri as he struggles to reconfigure his career and his life. When Yuri’s idol, Victor Nikiforov, decides to become his coach for the upcoming Grand Prix Final, Yuri also discovers that the people who love him are those who are around him.
For the duration of the first season, people have come to love Victor and Yuri’s relationship — one that never forces any romantic feeling for the sake of having a romantic relationship. Yuri and Victor’s relationship is normal and good — they don’t meet and automatically jump into a heavy relationship. They’re complete strangers and slowly begin to trust one another; they become friends and slowly evolve into more as the series progresses. Their relationship is a good one because they come to understand each other and realize the other’s weaknesses and strengths.
Following those same ideals, the show also manages to give several nods to the world as we know it. Breaking several tropes that are common in anime, the characters’ decision to exchange rings (episode 10) and the seasons’ closing scene — of Yuri and Victor skating together — (episode 12) are both things that anime has never really seen. We’re presented with two situations where the characters are breaking stereotypes. Both Russia and Japan, the countries where Victor and Yuri are from, respectively, have not passed marriage equality laws — the show is creating a universe where the characters are free to love as they please, and that is a strong reason for why fans adore this show.
The show is also pretty accurate about figure skating.
With a show based on a sport like figure skating, it becomes vital that the actual sequences be as accurate as possible. The show, however, manages to deliver very accurate performances and depictions of the skating world — several real-life skaters have praised the show for how brilliant everything is depicted.
One of the most notable praises comes from Johnny Weir — many fans also speculate that the show has given a nod to Johnny as well. Johnny, who has faced homophobia throughout his career, is said to be the basis for Victor’s appearance in the flashback seen in episode 7. Considering the show is trying to be as accurate as possible, it makes a lot of sense for them to give some credit to real-life skaters in order to bring attention to athletes that have left their mark.
Skater Evgenia Medvedeva has also fully supported the show — if you scroll through her twitter timeline, you will find tons of tweets about the show. Evgenia is as much a fangirl as the rest of us and all the fanart of her and the characters is definitely making us jealous. Evgenia — who once performed in a complete Sailor Moon outfit — is only 17, but she has managed to set many records and is expected to create tons of new records this upcoming year.
The show isn’t afraid to explore real-world issues.
One of the things the show has also been heavily praised for is its realistic depiction of mental health issues. Yuri, whose anxiety and self-doubt are introduced in the first couple minutes of episode one, is battling with his own mind throughout the series. Although anxiety and self-doubt don’t manifest the same way for everyone, Yuri’s struggle is one that speaks to many, many people, because he deals with it in a realistic manner.
Nothing about Yuri’s mental health is pushed or used a plot device. When Victor becomes Yuri’s coach, Yuri’s anxiety and self-doubt are not magically erased — he isn’t “cured” by Victor. This serves as an important aspect of the show because this adds to the realistic manner in which mental health is explored on the show. No one is “cured” and no one is forced to do things they don’t want to. Yuri’s mental health issues are real and are dealt with in a healthy manner.
The show also explores the idea of diversity — an issue that very few shows, from all genres, fail to take on. Skaters from different parts of the world, from different backgrounds, and different lives all come together on one platform. The characters are each their own and they’re each trying to push boundaries, for themselves, for skating, and for their countries. The characters all work well together and no one character manages to be as “boring” as they tend to be depicted.
SEASON ONE WAS A MASTERPIECE
Considering the season finale crashed several anime websites, including Crunchyroll, Yuri!!! on Ice is garnering tons of attention all across the world. And considering season one was a true masterpiece and work of art, we can’t really blame all these websites for crashing when they did.
Much of the appeal of the show is how relatable and real everything feels. From anxiety and self-doubt to being obsessed with your favorite meal, this show has managed to make people feel good about themselves — some people even feel hopeful about their own futures and their own lives. Yuri’s struggle isn’t with an arch nemesis, but against himself. Yuri is struggling to allow himself to compete and to succeed — even when he believes it’s his last season as a competitive skater.
And let’s talk about the ending.
The ending definitely summed up this season perfectly and, thankfully, didn’t succumb to any cliches. As is expected from yaoi anime, many expected season one to culminate with their declarations of love and a passionate kiss, but YoI broke that cliche. Nothing about the first season was forced or done too quickly. Yuri and Victor took things at their own pace and built their relationship naturally. Nothing felt rushed and that’s exactly why the season finale was perfect — anything but a simple scene would have felt wrong. And this also sets us up for what season two will hold. Fans are waiting for
And this also sets us up for what season two will hold. Fans are expecting their story and relationship to build — with a promise for season two, there is no rush for the relationship to culminate in a grandiose manner. But we’ve been promised a second season, so we’ll have to wait to see how the relationship evolves.
The hype is well deserved.
We wish we could say this show is overhyped or that it’s “not that great.” But that would be a complete lie on our part. YoI is a fantastic show and it definitely deserves all of the attention it’s been receiving.
And make sure to check out the Yuri!!! on Ice Wiki page for more info, photos, and clips on your favorite episodes, performances, and characters.
Also, make sure to tweet us over @CelebMix with who your favorite characters are or what episode you love the most.