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Yuri!!! on Ice – 10

「超超兆がんばらんば!!グランプリファイナル直前スペシャル」 (Cho cho cho Ganbaranba!! Guranpurifainaru Chokuzen Supesharu)
“Gotta Supercharge it! Pre-Grand Prix Final Special!”

If you had told me that Yuri!!! on Ice would give us one of the best depictions of a gay relationship in anime when the premiere aired, I would have told you to stop dreaming. But the dream is real, and nine weeks later we’ve reached a point I never thought possible. Let me just say I am so glad this show exists. So so glad. For all those who thought it was going to be nothing more than baiting (which I believed in the beginning), look where we are now! Victor and Yuri essentially got engaged. Now, I know that some people are going pick it apart and say Yuri didn’t ‘technically’ propose, but you’d have to be blind and screaming with your fingers in your ears if you can’t see that these two as a couple.

This isn’t wishful thinking any longer; these two are in love and it’s amazing to watch. I didn’t expect an anime like this to come out for at least another 5 years. I’m just not used to a decent depictions of gay men, whether you include yaoi/shounen ai or not. The fact that Yuri!!! on Ice isn’t (and shouldn’t) be classed as such is why it excels where others tumble: It treats these characters like people; their sexuality isn’t the point of their existence, but feels natural and fits with the story rather than the story being about it (though a story about gay romance isn’t a bad thing, if it’s done well).

The way I see it, Yuri!!! on Ice has the potential to start new trends in anime. Not only with a fair depiction of gay men and relationships, but in the way that it feels so modern and of this era. No anime channels 2016 like Yuri!!! on Ice, and that’s because nothing else is really trying. Unless something else of this ilk comes along, I think this show will encapsulate anime’s take on the 2010′s – not necessarily in terms of quality, but in authenticity and approach. This feels like a truly globalised show that appeals to a worldwide audience, and anime need to tap into that if it wants to expand. I hope the impressive sales and immense popularity of the show gives the industry something to pay attention to. I’m not asking for an array of Yuri!!! on Ice replicas in the next four years, but I’d like to see anime shift in the direction we’re seeing here. As I tweeted out earlier today: “I can’t believe Yamamoto Sayo saved anime.” – I meant that as a joke, but perhaps there’s some truth to it. She’s one of the leading visionaries of this generation, proving that young female directors are paving the way (along with the likes of Matsumoto Rie and Yamada Naoko) for the future, and while imitations of her works shouldn’t be attempted, I think this progressive, well-researched, and exuberant style of storytelling should be something to aspire to.

As for the episode itself, it’s much less filler than some seem to think. Sure, there may not be the ice skating adrenaline like we’ve gotten these past three weeks, but this is the breather we needed, and we got everything we wanted, and then some! I appreciate Victor’s POV, as we finally get to see what he thinks of all of this; his scenes with Chris are fun, and his analysis of the situations with Yurio, Yuri, and everyone else were a nice change from Yuri’s narration. There were early parts of the episode that almost felt like a recap, but even if that’s how t continued it’d still be one of the better recap episodes I’ve watched.

The truly great stuff comes when it’s all about Victor and Yuri. As I said, they’ve essentially got engaged (the papers at the shop even said Yuri bought wedding rings!). He placed the gift on Victor’s right hand (which is Russian tradition), and my heart exploded. It’s hard to me to articulate just how amazing this is to watch – almost as amazing as Phichit’s celebration. As writer, Mitsuro Kubo, said on Twitter, this is a story that accepts and celebrates the love these characters feel for one another. The real world may be darker and less accepting, but that doesn’t affect Yuri!!! on Ice. If you’re hoping for realism, that’s not what you’re getting, but what we are getting is moments that feel true to the spirit of the series, and depictions of a romance that anime often scoffs it, ignores, or treats as a running okama gag. It’s refreshing, it’s honest, and it’s a big fucking deal.

And then there’s the updated ED sequence which explains… so much! Who would have thought it was Victor who fell in love with Yuri first? That Yuri was the bad boy from the Eros story all along? Victor thought his husband-to-be remembered their first proper encounter, but the drunken Yuri recalls nothing. It’s an amazing and totally believable twist that puts everything into context. While this may seem like fanfiction from time to time, now we know there was foundation for this relationship to blossom in the way it did. It’s just that Yuri, and by extension the audience, was unaware of the beginning of it all. Not only is it hilarious to watch, but knowing where it’s brought these characters now, it’s so damn satisfying. Yuri!!! on Ice has excelled at everything it’s attempted so far, and I cannot see that changing in these last two episodes.


ED1.2 Sequence

ED: 「You Only Live Once」by YURI!!! on ICE feat. w.hatano


December 8, 2016 at 7:11 pm
  • December 8, 2016 at 7:35 pmSkins Thhunderbomb

    I squealed like an idiot when I saw they got engaged! Also if I’m interpreting correctly, I believe Yuri only brought one ring, if the recipt is to be believed. Which means.

    Victor had the other ring.

    But even if not it’s still an amazing development I didn’t expect at all – and it’s also completely hilarious that Yuri completely seduced Victor and HE DOESNT EVEN REMEMBER.

    Poor Victor. Him sleeping with a tear in his eye in ep 2 makes so much sense now XD;

    • December 10, 2016 at 7:31 amSamu

      Indeed, it all makes sense now!

  • December 8, 2016 at 7:41 pmichigo

    Everything makes sense now. Victor came to Japan because of Yuri’s request. Yurio was already upset from Yuri crying after the Grand Prix Finals, but the party incident made him even more furious. Chris’ first appearance when he was being all touchy-feely with Yuri was justified because of the pole dancing.

  • December 8, 2016 at 7:45 pmLizu

    You took the words right out of my mouth Samu. This episode is everything!!!! I love how fucking in love these two are and how it was Victor that fell for Yuuri first and of course Yuuri doesn’t remember their first encounter which had a lot of meaning for him. It totally changes everything we knew about this show. I love Kubo-sensei so much. Because as Queer folks we know how dark and depressing the world is for us and there is plenty of material out there addressing those important issues, BUT there is also room for narratives like Yuri On Ice that makes us feel good and validated. I’m just so happy that Kubo and Saya are essentially telling us they are happy we exist and that we deserve to be happy too. For those interested in the translation of Kubo-Sensei tweet here it is:

    twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/kubo_3260/status/806843079244201985

    “No matter what everyone in the real world thinks of this work, the world within it will remain a place where there will be no discrimination for what you love. I will protect that world, no matter what it takes, even if it’s the last thing I do.”

    I love her and this show.

    Also Yuuri has some serious dance moves. My only legitimate question is where did that dancing pole come from?

    Also to folks who are still being delusional as hell about their love, LOL good luck living ignoring what is clearly in your face.

    • December 8, 2016 at 7:58 pmichigo

      Someone theorized on Tumblr that Chris may have a retractable pole in case of these situations.

      • December 8, 2016 at 8:12 pmLizu

        LEGIT ANSWER, also if anyone is curious Yuuri doesnt really ask Victor to give him words of encouragement it was a mistranslation. He just essentially says its for good luck and Victor responses by not pushing for a deeper discussion because when Yuuri thinks too much on the ice he tends to screw up so he just tells him ” good-luck charm so you don’t have to think about anything” and proceeds to say stuff about skating in a way he can be proud of tomorrow. But its clear the entire conversation isn’t fooling either of them deep down they know what the exchange of the rings is all about and of course Victor makes that quite clear at the dinner event with their friends. The man is in deep and fully expects to be married to his husband-to be in the future.

        Did i mention that I love this show already? I’m still on a high for this episode since yesterday.

    • December 10, 2016 at 7:32 amSamu

      Thank you! I think there’s a universal appeal to Yuri!!! on Ice when it comes to embracing these characters for who they are that has resonated with a worldwide audience. I’m over the moon that it’s so popular, it totally deserves it.

  • December 8, 2016 at 8:10 pmOne Pinch Man

    Drunk Yuri is everything.
    I’m calling it now, Yuri and Victor will get married in the last episode.

  • December 8, 2016 at 8:17 pmkyaeos

    I think I spent the majority of the episode in total shock saying out loud ‘I can’t believe this.’ over and over again. I can’t believe it. I feel like YOI is queerbait-bait… it baits queerbait (Victor being naked and flirtatious episode 1, ‘gold and round…’) and then OVER-DELIVERS on those things ACTUALLY BEING AMAZINGLY ROMANTIC (Victor being TOTALLY IN LOVE and actually flirting, an ACTUAL ENGAGEMENT RING. AT A CHURCH. WITH A CHOIR.) Victor’s ‘oh we’re not married … we’re engaged!’. Just incredible.

    I’m still in shock. I can’t believe we are blessed with such a well written (that structure! that twist! the thematic elements tying back to love! the music!) and heart warming story about the romance between two men in 2016, let alone in a sports anime! I hope every single person involved with this show knows what an amazing thing that it is they’ve created, that has made so many people so happy.

    That ending was SO CATCHY. Can’t wait for the music to be out! And all of the social media integration continues to be so well done and impressive.

    Also! I’m so glad Yuri P. has his first friend. What a legendary hero indeed, Otabek! Japanese twitter was trending his name and ‘Otayuri’ for a while – I believe the other top trends included ‘wedding ring’ and ‘pole dance’ hahaha.

  • December 8, 2016 at 8:35 pminnerchihiro

    Man I knew this episode would be good from that preview last week, and it somehow exceeded expectations. The tender moments were adorable and the comedic moments had me on the floor. Personal favorite moment (besides Yuri humping Victor lol) was when JJ showed up and everyone just straight up left. JJ is the worst lol.

    But yeah, Yuri and Victor are really cute and its seems like their romance is getting censored instead of just being bait. That’s a huge shift for this industry and I wholeheartedly agree with praise of how modern and global this series feels. I especially appreciated all the detail shots of Barcelona in this episode (I happened to vacation there last year, so it really stood out to me). It seems like this show could be a model of how the anime industry can appeal to international audiences, because if Tumblr is anything to go by, it most certainly is appealing to them.

    Beyond everything, it’s this show’s confidence that’s it’s most alluring quality. It’s not my anime of the year (that will most certainly go to Hibike! Euphonium) but I do really enjoy this show.

  • December 8, 2016 at 10:49 pmHoTaRu

    I truly never thought I would ever get to see something like this in an anime, especially in a show that is not classified as BL or yaoi. Even in those kinds of shows we don’t really get something like this. It’s part of what makes Yuri on Ice so freaking unique and captivating. The ending sequence was just pure brilliance and casts a whole new light on the events preceding it. Finding out that Viktor has had genuine feelings for Yuri before becoming his coach was really the icing on the cake for me. I can hardly believe an anime like this exists. And just when I thought that the show couldn’t get any more perfect, we get an episode like this! I loved every single second. Not only did we get one of the most romantic things I’ve seen in ANY anime, but we got even more character building and hilarious comedy. I laughed so hard when everyone ignored JJ and was fangirling over Yurio’s bitchiness. I have such a huge fondness for that kid. The grumpier the better, especially when defending his fans!

  • December 8, 2016 at 11:02 pmTimaeus

    This episode blew my mind AND my heart.

    I rate it 10 out of 10 supportive Phichits.

  • December 8, 2016 at 11:07 pmBlue

    This episode was hilarious. I love how it puts a new spin to everything that came before. Anyone know the music that was played for the ED sequence?

  • December 8, 2016 at 11:09 pmRinnnnm

    Phichit is such a blessing!! He is basically the realest representation of YOI fandom hahaha.

    • December 10, 2016 at 7:34 amSamu

      His celebration was a highlight for me. It also shows how good a friend he is to Yuri where he doesn’t judge/think anything differently of him even when he assumes he’s gotten married to another man. That’s awesome and refreshing to watch.

      • December 11, 2016 at 3:13 amRinnnnm

        Oh yes, it’s so heart-warming, isn’t it? I feel the same way. Not only is it refreshing enough to see such a healthy relationship development between Victor and Yuuri, representing a queer, interracial couple, but also for me, the truly ground-breaking part of YOI is the genuine acceptance of such relationship from other characters. Not a hint of prejudice from anyone! Even Yurio’s reaction was more of a ‘omg, I’m going to barf because these two are too lovey-dovey for my taste!’

  • December 9, 2016 at 12:39 amUsagi

    This anime seems too perfect to be real … I’m more scared of the final episode than my next Xmas family reunion, hahaha …

    We should prepare for Victor and Yuuri not being together forever … I’m fearing the fandom, hehe …

    I’m from Barcelona so this ep. was too much to handle, ahaha …

    • December 9, 2016 at 12:57 amRinnnnm

      That is cool! This ep was so gorgeous that it made me want to visit Barcelona in December to retrace after Victor’s and Yuuri’s footsteps!

      • December 9, 2016 at 4:40 amUsagi

        Victor and Yuuri were in very centric places. It’s easy to move around there (too much people, but it’s easy). I even had my baptism as a child in that cathedral ^^, he …

        If you go to Barcelona don’t ask for paella to eat. It’s no that typical of the city and they serve the worst and most expensive paella to tourists ;p .

  • December 9, 2016 at 10:19 amSherrisLok

    Poor Victor, after coming to Japan he must have felt rejected and confused being subjected to the cold treatment Yuri gave him… But he didn’t give up on his love! XD It’s like a fairy tale!

  • December 9, 2016 at 6:57 pmhowdoyoulikeyoureggs

    This is how a recap episode should be done, – not 20 so minutes of 3 min cut and paste from prior episodes- but skillful blend of reveals. We know why Victor sprayed his beer in the pub – “I never spoke to him” – Chris’ ass grab, the teary ep2 slumber; pretty well revealed the catalyst to all what’s happening now. BRAVO. So well done!!

    Phichit just manifested what we wanted to do all along

    I’m ready to see some great skating next week. Can’t wait!

  • December 9, 2016 at 11:41 pmTsumi

    I love it! Good on ya, Phichit for being supportive of Yuri and Viktor’s marriage and Yuri can sure dance when he’s drunk! XD They are such loveable characters. <3