「勇利VSユーリ！おそロシア！！ロシア大会 ショートプログラム」 (Yiri VS Yiri! Oso Roshia!! Roshia Taikai Shoto Puroguramu)
“Yuri vs Yuri! The Horror!! Rostelecom Cup, Short Program”
Yuri!!! on Ice charges on with its pretty boys and diverse skating routines at its relentless pace, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, I would have liked some acknowledgement of that kiss, but even if this episode didn’t mention it, it definitely happened, and Victor and Yuri are just as close and lustful as ever. It’s refreshing to see, even if we’re unlikely to get a concrete confirmation of their relationship. Then again, I was convinced things wouldn’t progress as far as they have already, so I’m not going to make any predictions from now on. I’ll just see where the story of Yuri and Victor’s relationship goes from here and enjoy the ride.
However, that particular pairing took a backseat here after last week’s emotional tournament as we instantly jump forward to the Russian cup where we have a familiar face returning and many more memorable ones to be introduced to. Much like episode 6, this focuses on the new skaters – giving each of them their own distinctive routines and fleshing out their personalities through their relationship to skating. With such limited time and many faces to get through, Yuri!!! on Ice manages to make everyone stick in out in some way or another (did anyone get an incest vibe from the Italian siblings?). That comes down to the full throttle pace that keeps everything exciting no matter what’s happening onscreen. It’s part and parcel of Yuri!!! on Ice’s appeal, and helps prove that Yamamoto Sayo is one of the best directors in the business right now. I just hope it doesn’t take her 4 years to direct her next show – must she wait until each American election year to give us something of this caliber?
Of all the new characters this week, the star of the show has to be Jean-Jacques Leroy aka JJ (Miyano Mamoru), the Canadian King. It’s official: JJ is the hottest of all the boys we’ve seen so far. There’s something about his confidence/arrogance that shines when he takes centre stage – and that’s where he was for the last portion of this episode. His routine was perhaps the best animated after Victor’s skating in the premiere, and his musical background and cockiness was well portrayed in his performance. He’s one hell of a character, but it’s easy to see why he gets on Yurio’s nerves so easily. Partly because he’s a brilliant skater for such a young age, but because he’s so damn sure of himself that it’s hard not to get a little bit annoyed by him. Yet watching him in his element and hearing Miyano Mamoru chant out those ridiculous lines is enough to make me love him. He’s no Victor or Yuri, but as far as the supporting cast goes, I kind of what him to do well just so we can see more of him in future episodes.
Speaking of Yurio, he gave a pretty performance as well, even with that ugly fall. He recovered and proved himself as the newcomer, though Yuri seemed to have the edge over him. Their interactions are fun to watch – a mix between one-sided rivalry and genuine encouragement, depending on whose point of view you consider. But this Russian youngster has proven himself to be much less of a brat that he initially appeared, especially in those scenes with his grandpa when he turns into the kid he is, chibi faces and all. And now that Victor is rushing back to Japan to aid his dog, I’m interested to see where this coach sharing with the two Yuris goes. I’m sad that we won’t get many Victor/Yuri moments because of it, but I suppose they can’t be adorable and sexy together in every episode. We’re spoiled enough as it is.