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Yuri!!! on Ice – 04 »« Brave Witches – 03

Yuri!!! on Ice – 03

「Boku ga Erosu de Erosu ga Boku de!? Taiketsu! Onsen on Ice」 (僕がエロスでエロスが僕で!? 対決!温泉on ice)
“I Am Eros, and Eros is Me?! Face-Off! Hot Springs on Ice”

This show is sexy and it knows it. I knew this episode and the performances were going to embody different elements of love and sexuality, but this episode managed to go beyond my expectations. You’d have to be blind to ignore the homoerotic tensions between Yuri and Victor. Is it there purely to titillate the fujoshi demographic? Will we actually learn there’s more than meets the eye here? Will we have a homosexual (or bisexual) character in Victor without it being the defining trait of his existence? It’s certainly possible, and would be another gold star on Yuri!!! on Ice’s early list of accomplishments. I won’t be disappointed if the teases stay as they are for certain fangirls (and boys) to go into frenzies week by week, but that extra conformation would be icing on the cake.

The centrepiece of this episode has to be the performances of Yurio and Yuki, as they take on the aspects of agape and eros respectively. Overall, the art hasn’t been as breathtaking as the premiere, as is to be expected, but at the very least the ice skating sequences remain sleek and emotive. We’ve got an abundance of chibi faces now, which may be a sign of cutting corners, but it fits with the comedy of the show which I quite enjoy. I get plenty of laughs each week, so I don’t have much to complain about, especially if the ice skating remains top-notch. In saying that, though, I actually found Yurio’s performance to be the more powerful and impressive of the two. Perhaps it was the delicate pace and careful, gentle movements that Yurio tried to hard to get to grips with, but it looked more appealing to me than the aggressive and sexual energy that Yuri channeled. The origin of their inspirations tells a lot about their characters, from Yurio’s respect for his grandfather to Yuri and his sexual inexperience and love for food, before eventually embodying the woman’s point of view in the performance. The result was a show stopper to be sure, but Yuri’s best quality seems to be his potential rather than his polished approach; he even slipped up part-way through, but managed to recover. He’s a spirited skater and that part is much more believable to me.

It’s a shame that Yurio lost, as I was warming to him a lot this episode. There’s clearly a disconnect between him and his birth mother, so seeing him bond with Yuri’s childhood crush (who is now a mother) was sweet and funny, even if their time together was swift. That’s the one aspect of Yuri!!! on Ice that is done so well: the pace. Fast pace is often considered a negative, and is seen as rushing through the source material or cramming as much as they can into an episode, leaving no breathing room or time for reflection. But here, the balance is just right, and we get a content-packed episode while also getting the quieter moments between characters that don’t necessarily need to be there, but does a lot to cement their bonds. Basically, this is a just a damn good anime from tip to toe.

And there we have it: Yuri has won, he’s hugging Victor, and Victor is now his coach! The real journey starts here, and I can’t wait to see what awaits us. Yuri!!! on Ice has given showstopper performances these past three weeks, and I don’t expect that to change. We’re in safe hands here, so if you’ve enjoyed what we’ve gotten thus far then chances are you won’t be disappointed for the rest of its run. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that there isn’t a production collapse mid-way through; a series as good as this deserves to be animated to its fullest.

 

Preview

October 21, 2016 at 6:58 am
27 comments »
  • October 21, 2016 at 7:11 amOne Pinch Man

    It’s enough to make even a man pregnant! Such eros!
    Oh yes, I need more of these ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    • October 21, 2016 at 10:15 amzztop

      Hiida Kizuna must learn from the true Eros master that is Viktor.

    • October 22, 2016 at 2:35 pmSamu

      Suddenly mpreg is a viable outcome in the Yuri!!! on Ice canon.

  • October 21, 2016 at 7:37 amBlue

    I really liked Yurio and was hoping to see the dynamic between the three of them; Viktor and the two Yuris. Disappointed that he won’t be interacting with them again next episode.

    The soundtrack is on point. I love both versions of On Love, anyone know if they’re original compositions made from the anime or if they’re taken from classical music?

    • October 21, 2016 at 9:40 pmkay

      The songs in all the performances so far have been original compositions. The songs are actually officially available on the series site through itunes/other JP music sites right now or there’s the performance song album coming out in December if you’re interested. Umebayashi Tarou and Matsushiba Taku are the 2 composers for the series’ music. On Love Eros is credited as composition by both of them and arrangement by Matsushiba. Agape version has both composition/arrangement credited to Umebayashi.

      Fun fact for the Eros version is that Oki Jin is the guitar player for that track. He gained a good amount of fame a couple years ago by becoming the first Japanese to win first place in one of the largest international flamenco guitar competitions.

    • October 22, 2016 at 3:26 pmSamu

      I hope we get to see the three of them back together soon, and I expect that will be the case. It wouldn’t be a smart move to split up the dynamic we’ve gotten used to just as it starts getting interesting.

  • October 21, 2016 at 8:13 amsosbrigade1991

    It’s so jarring to have grown up on “no-homo, bro” anime and then to watch lovely creations like this. If it turns out one or both are canonically queer i’d be floored. But honestly they are doing God’s work as it is with just how heavy the ship tease is. I demand more of this in my programming.

    • October 21, 2016 at 10:27 amzztop

      How would you compare the ship-teasing of Yuri to Free?

      • October 21, 2016 at 1:37 pmsosbrigade1991

        Free! was never as sensual. Sure the guys palled around and touched each other but you can just tell by Victor’s reactions that the creators are winking MUCH harder than the creators of Free! One could easily look at Free! and say they are just guys being overly friendly, but there’s an overt sexuality to this show that Free! lacks. It’s not outright but it’s there.

    • October 21, 2016 at 4:52 pmJstyx

      There’s something unique about this show, in the way it gives off a lot of empathy. I grew up skating, and it’s a very physically intensive, yet emotive sport. It’s competitive and technical, but also expressive and like a performance art. And… it’s kind of taking itself too seriously, which is a big part of the fun.

      I guess there’s this weird trend where competitive or sports anime get this strange, subtle context of homosexuality. It could have to do with a lot of cultural cues: Greek and Roman sports competitions were historically about youth, excellence, and fraternity, but there’s also academic study that there was this kind of current of homosexuality to the entire thing, too. Sports animes with boys get a lot of fujoshi attention, since it has a lot of fit, young, male characters with a lot of diversity in personality, and feelings of fraternity are really easy to translate in to romanticism. (As for how well they actually translate… I think there’s a lot of artistic license in that.) Yes, I was a former PoTheat, and dear god did that fandom get so much larger than what the actual show was about. And now there’s this whole genre of shows coming out (aha.), that’s a parody of male-oriented fanservice that’s become fujoshi-bait, and a slew of sports anime, and it’s all very modern.

      What strikes me about this show as different than Free is how it lets the viewer draw conclusions and make assumptions about how the characters relate to each other. There’s a lot of random blushing and big eyes, and, my god, this episode’s lines about eros and androgyny and assuming the female-coded role, and it’s hard to tell if it’s throwing in this subtext to tease, or to tell the story. Having the whole ‘pork cutlet bowl lust’ was a really fun way to express feelings in words, and seeing Yuuri’s meaning change over the episode was very well handled. It’s a trick a lot of modern media use, and I’m glad to see it here.

      And, sosbrigade1991, I’m glad you’re enjoying the show. I’ve seen a lot of people getting turned off at the mere suggestion of homosexuality, but I think you’re right in that the show is pretty benign. I want to see more shows like this, too.

  • October 21, 2016 at 9:22 amMi-Chan

    I think Victor is not [sexually] interested in Yuri at all xD I mean most Japanese anime shows westerners as being far too close to each other than the Japanese with their affection, but hey, it is obvious they are messing with our fragile hearts, I know!

    To be honest, they have still not revealed Victor’s true intentions with Yuri, I keep thinking that Victor just wants to find some inspiration and he saw something within Yuri, or he is only occupying his time, or he really wants to help Yuri. The dance where he was copying Victor was far too sad (since probabily it appeared as though he was confessing his love to Yu-chan that episode (is that her name lol)/muchanime

    Nonetheless, I like how Yu-chan and Yurio have gotten close :p

    Also the clip on this: https://twitter.com/ColonelMiiM/status/789129523421933568 is one of my fave anime scenes now xD

  • October 21, 2016 at 9:31 amzztop

    Yuri’s anime website lists 6 Bluray/DVDs releases, from Dec 2016 – May 2017. It’s likely the anime will be 12 eps.
    http://yurionice.com/discography/

    If so, I’m wondering if the anime will have time to focus on all the other characters featured in the ED – Ep 4 looks to be focusing on Viktor and the 2 Yuris only.

    Also, figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva really enjoys watching Yuri too, along with other animes in general. http://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2016/10/14-1/champion-figure-skater-evgenia-medvedeva-obsessed-with-yuri-on-ice

  • October 21, 2016 at 9:58 amonceagain

    All the manservice and humor aside, what I really enjoyed in this week’s episode is Yuri’s exploration of his femininity and having it actually taken seriously (and not just for gags and laughs). And he becomes stronger and more confident of himself as a result instead of being depicted as having gone soft or weaker. I appreciate having an MC who’s comfortable exploring their sexuality without your typical blushing shenanigans.

    • October 22, 2016 at 3:29 pmSamu

      Agreed 100%. Femininity in men being portrayed as strength rather than weakness is certainly different from the norm and refreshing to watch.

  • October 21, 2016 at 10:07 amzztop

    http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2003.jpg
    http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2003%20-%2004.jpg

    Clearly Viktor’s Eros power exceeds that of Masou Gakuen’s Hiida Kizuna.

    http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2003%20-%2031.jpg
    In his monologue, Japanese Yuri goes as far as to use the feminine “atashi/アタシ” (I) pronoun when getting into character as the woman for his routine. Men using “atashi” generally indicates feminine behavior, esp. drag-like characters in other shows.

    “他のどんな女よりもアタシが良いんだって- I’m better than any other woman.”

    • October 22, 2016 at 3:28 pmSamu

      Wow, he really went the whole hog to embrace his character for the performance.

  • October 21, 2016 at 10:13 amlegwkio

    Guys have Keijo and Girls have Yuri on Ice.

    • October 21, 2016 at 11:55 amSeya-san

      Keijo isn’t even half as sexy as Yuri on Ice :з

  • October 21, 2016 at 10:30 amzztop

    A Redditor pointed out how Yuri’s avoiding the usual sports anime cliches:

    “…the plot and characters feel very grounded and realistic in a way that other sports shows don’t really manage. There isn’t any extensive monologuing about dreams or goals (ie. Haruka/Rin’s future goals in Free!), and there aren’t any archnemeses or huge, dramatic showdowns (ie. Haikyuu, Kuroko).

  • October 21, 2016 at 11:52 amyoloalchemist

    Exactly.
    I’ll be kinda of a downer and say this episode felt kinda wrong for me. It wasn’t bad by any means, it was just as good as the ones before it. But man, even though I did understand Yuri’s inspiration for his performance, it just didn’t move me as I hoped it would. But Yurio’s performance was out there and I’m really sad he lost. Maybe it’s because I got to see a glimpse of his past that I was really moved, but his performance really felt like it channeled a part of his own self that he may not have been very proud or fond of, but definitely had to confront. It was that compelling. Yuri, on the other hand, felt like he took a first step towards a better him, and while that is cool by itself, Yurio was still better for me.
    But it is what it is. It’s not like I didn’t want Yuri to win, and all I can say is best of luck to the both of them. I’m sure Yuri will develop even further and Yurio will have something up his sleeve.

  • October 21, 2016 at 12:19 pmMyst

    I saw some pretty interesting discussion about the possibility of the Eros story being foreshadowing. Given the fact that it’s quite clear that Yuuri and Viktor represent the beautiful lady and the bachelor respectively, what if Viktor’s carefree attitude is a facade and he’s helping Yuuri for selfish reasons, only to throw him away when he doesn’t need him anymore? It’s mentioned that Viktor lacks inspiration, but given how he revels in the spotlight (he actively posts on social media), he is likely desperate to cling onto the throne that he has reigned on for so long. Thus, to keep people’s attention, he assists a media sensation, and in fact gives Yuuri possibly unfair advantage in the competition during this episode. I feel like many agree that in technical points, Plisetsky scored higher, but Agape is much more difficult to interpret, especially for a 15 year old. This may have been intentional because the sheer amount of talent and potential Plisetsky has could possibly threaten Viktor’s dominance in the ice skating world.
    However, I don’t believe that this show will have a tragic end that is unresolved like the Eros story. Based on the ending images, it would be nice to see Viktor have a change of heart and rediscover the pure idealism of sharing this wonderful art form (which may be what Katsuki embodies). But anyway, these are some personal thoughts and analysis I amassed from perusing the internet and the like. Don’t take any of this speculation too literally. ^^”

  • October 21, 2016 at 4:49 pmGuile

    I actually agree; I found Yurio’s performance more compelling. But given he internal monologued that he wasn’t able to keep his grandfather (agape) in mind during such a demanding performance, its clear Yuri on Ice wanted us to understand that he failed to embody his virtue the way Yuri did.

    • October 22, 2016 at 3:27 pmSamu

      Totally. It was obvious which performance the show wanted us to believe should/was going to win, as the characters we convinced before the result was even given. I think Yurio’s performance was impressive enough that we needed that extra inner narration to get the point across to the audience.

  • October 21, 2016 at 6:00 pmichigo

    Whoever was in charge of the poster, both in the show and the animator(s), did an amazing job!
    http://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2006.jpg

    I actually found Yurio’s performance to be the more powerful and impressive of the two.

    I thought Yurio was going to win until he became down, thus leading to his eventual loss.

  • October 21, 2016 at 11:41 pmZJZJ

    Didn’t expect Yurio to be going back so soon, was really starting to like him. Wanted him to continue teaching Yuuri that quad too. Vulnerable Yurio is such a delight to watch. Also this show is so sexy I love it. Even when I’m half covering my eyes with my hands because it’s too much for me to handle I LOVE IT.
    I also pray the animation quality doesn’t drop. I don’t wish for a show as good as this to be limited by such a thing. Let’s all pray :D

  • October 22, 2016 at 6:49 pmNikki

    Personally, I think the reason why Yurio left abruptly is because Viktor did fulfill his promise. He gave Yurio a splendid debut into the senior division with this performance. All Viktor said was he would create a routine for him, and he did. His wish was fulfilled.

  • November 6, 2016 at 9:14 pmctt

    Loved the show but just my 2 cents worth the winning routine, I actually saw how Yuuri won. I watch a bit of figure skating and have some passing knowledge about the rules, so take it as a grain of salt.
    But to summarised, Yuuri had a harder layout than Yurio so his program was worth more points. He had better / more transition going into his jumps and in between, all his jumps were at the end so that nets him a 10% bonus, and his spins were centered and didn’t loose speed unlike Yurio who was travelling at a certain point (his spin was moving across the ice) & getting sluggish. Thats on top of my head. On a more technical breakdown, you can look at http://lazuliblade.tumblr.com/post/152284362588/dissecting-the-programs