「グランプリシリーズ開幕!やっチャイナ中国大会!」 (Guranpurishirizu Kaimaku! Yatchaina Chugoku Taikai!)
“China’s On! The Grand Prix Series Opening Event!! The Cup of China Short Program”

Thank god for the shows that air on Wednesday, cause we needed them after what happened on Tuesday. Anime isn’t going to save the world, but it sure eases the pain knowing we can always count on the over-the-top Yuri!!! on Ice to deliver what we’ve come to expect: Sex on ice. Not literally, but things just keep getting sexier and sexier, and gayer and gayer, as the weeks go on. That’s not a complaint (believe me), just an observation; and as it looks to be the second best-selling show this season based of pre orders (with my other Wednesday title sure to take the top spot), it’s nice to know the effort put into this project is paying off, and we may get more out-there and challenging shows like Yuri!!! on Ice in the future.

The difficulty of this production should be highlighted, especially with the feats managed in this episode. I’m sure we’ve all accepted that the premiere quality cannot be maintained, but this was the most impressive episode from a visual perspective since then. The challenge of animating six unique ice skating routines, and all done in 2D, is impressive, even if the result isn’t quite beautiful. In an industry as bloated as the anime industry, it’s a miracle that this episode looked as good as it did, and I’m grateful for all the staff involved here. The sense of individualism injected into every performance is worth heaps of praise, and watching Yuri finally succeed is just what he deserves and what makes for rewarding viewing. Just like last week, I thought Yuri really was the best of the bunch, and so his top spot is well-earned. I enjoyed every other performance, whether they included ridiculous face paint, massive man ass, or just plain adorableness. This competition is giving us variety and characterising these skaters through their routines, proving that Yuri!!! on Ice is close to reaching its full potential.

The only part that didn’t gel well with me was Chris’s character, as he’s essentially the typical flamboyant okama archetype which I don’t appreciate, especially after the steps Victor and Yuri seem to be making, even if their relationship isn’t technically canon. Chris can be easily read as a gay man, and his lecherous behaviour with Yuri left a bad taste in my mouth. But I’m willing to give it a yellow card for the time being as our two leads continue to grow closer in a way that feels genuine. It’s interesting that no one else really seems to acknowledge their intimacy as being something more than coach and student, but this isn’t happening by accident. Each week it keeps getting gayer, and I’m a-okay with that.

So while not a perfect episode, it was nice to see six well-animated routines back-to-back, and learning more about these characters, as they’re sure to play a part in the rest of the competitions. Yuri’s developments is going in an interesting direction as he takes pride knowing that he’s taken Victor from the world – everyone else wants him to return to his own skating, but Yuri relishes the thought that he may be blamed for that. It’s not the inner monologuing I’d expect from a main character, but I suppose Yuri and Victor’s relationship is different from the norm, and anything that manages to surprise is much appreciated.

 

Preview

16 Comments

  1. I’ve been following blog reviews on RC for such a long time and never commented – just wanted to say thanks for all your hard work! I look forward to reading the reviews every week.

    First of all, I’m glad someone else said that Chris’ character made them uncomfortable – I thought it was the only characterisation I was a little bit annoyed about because the other characters are all so endearing. Particular mention to the fact the Canadian briefly shown and in particular American wasn’t brash and blonde and stereotypical at all – in fact, the American was a person of colour! Also, his music and performance was inspiring. Chris and the Russian didn’t really engage me with their performances but maybe they weren’t supposed to. I thought Phichit’s performance also wasn’t that impressive but the animators needed to focus on other things I suppose.

    Ice skating aside, I’m worried my neighbours heard me scream mid-episode when Yuri decide to get extremely close and personal with Victor and tell him to ‘watch only me’…. Chris’ uncomfortable characterisation aside, there are moments of YOI that could be passed off as queerbaiting (stripping Victor included), and then there are moments where hands touch, or gestures or made, or Yuri casually declares that he’s the only one Victor loves.

    I’m just interested to see where this is all heading. Looking at the ED and overarching themes of the series (‘time passes so quickly…’), I’m very concerned we won’t get a conclusion where Yuri and Victor stay together… or if they do, what their relationship is going to look like. There’s no doubt there’s romantic undertones at this point, but whether the series openly acknowledges it openly* is another question. There’s also a theory going around that they’re ALREADY in a relationship, as proven by the fact many months have passed in-series without us noticing (another great way of showing the theme in a 12 episode show) and Yuri’s changed attitudes and behaviour towards Victor.

    Also, some great comedy this episode as always. ‘The ice is soaking wet’, oh my. Yuri(o) seems a little sidelined at the moment for someone featured in the OP and ED, I expect we’ll be seeing more of him from episode 8…

    *Then again, even when characters kiss sometimes that’s apparently not enough confirmation of a romantic relationship for some people … No. 6, anyone?

    kyaeos
  2. https://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2006%20-%2010.jpg
    Celestino’s first and last mistake was thinking he could outdrink a Russian.
    Plus we now know what type of underwear Viktor wears!

    https://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2006%20-%20Large%2023.jpg
    Throwing plush items into the skating rink’s been a kind of longstanding tradition in ice skating preformances, like this one:
    http://c8.alamy.com/comp/FWFEDD/children-pick-up-stuffed-animals-and-fake-flowers-thrown-on-the-ice-FWFEDD.jpg

    zztop
  3. I keep thinking the gay will hit a wall and I’ll wake up and realize I’ve been fever dreaming this entire thing. But we get the hugs and the head butts of love and I just absolutely melt. I don’t deserve this series. It’s too good to me. *Begins openly weeping*

    sosbrigade1991
  4. I think what I found most touching about this episode was, it aired after a gruesome day, after a day where people could use a spark of hope and in comes the American representation of the anime, but it is not just a white blonde dude; no it was Leo, a Mexican-American, skating to an oustanding track called “Still Alive”.

    I thought that was so fitting after Tuesday and you have no idea how many fans I’ve seen being so grateful for that character, some even touched to tears.
    So while the anime may not save the world, it brought joy to tons of people in the darkest hour and that alone is so amazing.

    Mony
  5. This show is shaping up to be a contender! Wonder if it’ll get a second cour!

    Also people need to get over the Trump win. Seriously, this is site never veered into the political landscape. I vote we don’t start now.

    Fearless
  6. I feel like this was perhaps the best episode since the pilot. For me it was the first time I felt like Yuri was fully embracing the eros theme; the whole pork cutlet thing was a bit ridiculous. You’d have to be blind not to understand what is actually happening here. I just don’t understand why they don’t actually make it a show about gay men – it’s ice skating for christ’s sake! It’s not exactly hard to imagine some of these guys being gay even without the fan service. Unlike a certain other show on Wednesdays, this one doesn’t seem obligated to force an unwanted straight relationship down our throats. Just seems like they have this perfect in, so why not just go for it?

    innerchihiro

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