I haven’t been able to watch a lot of anime during the Fall of 2016. Mainly because I’ve been super busy with all the university-related stuffs that I need to do. I actually have no idea how I first got into Yuri!!! on Ice, but wow, it was such a great anime. It’s so popular that people are cosplaying the characters, buying merchandises, or even trying to replicate the choreography. TLDR: A short, but amazing ride and I highly recommend this anime.
Story & Characters
A young man named Yuri Katsuki had a big dream. He idolised a famous Russian skater named Victor Nikiforov and hopes to skate on the same ice as him. Initially, that dream sunk until Yuri was able to impress Victor by imitating his free skate routine perfectly. Victor was so impressed that he decided to take a year off to coach Yuri in the upcoming Grand Prix Finals.
If you haven’t guessed yet, this is an ice-skating anime and the structure of the Grand Prix skating competition is pretty much real. I won’t go too much detail in to how the competition works because the anime explains it really well.
While the story is important, I have a feeling that most people will pay more close attention to the characters, which is by far the anime’s biggest strength. Sure it has some bromance going on, but believe me, these characters are lovable and seeing the development throughout the series is amazing. Yuri is a guy who has the determination, but struggles in dealing with pressure during critical moments. The key to making Yuri’s development is Victor, who gained international popularity through his talent and won numerous championships. Victor’s philosophy in skating and key to success is to surprise the audience and the skaters themselves. As he simply puts it, “Do the opposite of what people expect, that is the only way you will surpass them!” Sure, Victor seems like a tough coach, but he hopes that Yuri will be a success. The duo between Yuri and Victor has some of the best chemistry I’ve ever seen, which began as a professional relationship, to friend, to even intimacy.
On top of this duo, other characters, such as Yuri Plisetsky, JJ, Phichit and Christopher, are likeable and have very interesting personalities. Seriously, this is a very character driven anime, despite being under the assumption that is a sports anime.
Animation & Design
What I really like about Yuri!!! on Ice is how all the characters are animated, particularly when they are on the ice rink. The various camera angles capture the skaters movement, and each skater has their own style, which also spells out their personality during the performance. Comedy is well integrated through hilarious facial expressions. It’s an anime that blends comedy, competition and emotions very well and that is very surprising.
If the anime is not impressive enough, Yuri!!! on Ice nails the soundtrack. The OP song “History Maker” by Dean Fujioka is very catchy and captures the theme of the anime about making memories on the ice rink. The soundtrack during each performance knows how to impress the audience with the characters movement that supplements their style very well. I had the song “Yuri on Ice” on repeat because it was a beautiful piano piece and fits Yuri’s character.
The anime may not be suitable for everybody’s taste/style, but I still recommend this to anybody. I don’t know much about ice skating, but after watching this anime, it got me genuinely interested about the sports. Yuri!!! on Ice take ice skating and character relationships to a new level that is so phenomenal to see it completely exceeded my initial impressions. As the OP song goes, “We were born to make history”, and the anime actually did!