「超超超がんばらんば!!! グランプリファイナルFS」 (Cho cho cho Ganbaranba!!! Guranpurifainaru FS)
“Gotta Super-Super-Supercharge it! Grand Prix Final Free Skate”

I would describe this finale as thoroughly satisfying. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to end, but I think this has to be the best possible outcome. If rumours are to be believed (and it would be a fair assumption in the first place), this was intended to be a single-cour anime that would have wrapped up its story here. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case given the teaser at the end of the episode and the fact that Yuri!!! on Ice is an anime phenomenon at this point, becoming mainstream with anime fans and non-anime viewers alike, attracting the attention of world-famous ice skaters who watch it weekly just like us and post photos with the creators and cameo in the episodes whenever the opportunities arise. Yuri!!! on Ice is a pretty big deal, and it’s projected to sell at least 20k in its first week sales, which would make it one of the best-selling titles of the year.

Before diving into my overall impressions and my hopes going forward, I should talk about this excellent finale. Like I said, I didn’t know who was going to win in the end, which made this oh so thrilling to watch, even with Yuri performing mid-way through in a position that should normally break the dramatic tension. But I didn’t feel that way at all, because finally, finally, he gave a perfect performance. He’s tripped or missed some important spins or tricks in every other routine, but here we have him delivering his absolute best, like this is the last time he’s ever going to skate. Although we’ve seen this routine plenty of times already, it managed to feel fresh and exciting with his next level execution. We didn’t need to be told he did great, it was obvious just by watching it, and totally believable. He pushed his boundaries and did it for Victor… and broke his record in doing so.

And then there’s Yurio, who went on and won the whole thing by the skin of his teeth. Up until the big reveal I had no idea who was going to get the gold – because either Yuri would have made sense – but I think the better man (or boy) won. Yurio is a true prodigy, and his routines have always been beautiful to behold. Seeing him take Victor’s record with his short routine and then become the youngest to take this gold makes for great viewing, and make total sense. Even when our main character doesn’t reach his goal, the fact that Yurio’s victory comes off as well-earned and rewarding is testamont to his character growth throughout this season. I didn’t care for him when he was introduced, but he’s a sweet kid now whose passion shine bright and I’m glad he won.

There’s also the fact that with Yuri taking silver, now he has motivation to not retire. After him essentially “dumping” Victor and telling him not to be his coach after today, him not reaching that final goal is sure to push him to continue as a skater, especially after Victor’s inspiring words. Until the very last moment their interactions were a joy to watch, and I’m glad their emotional bump in the road was a brief one. Whether they remain coach and pupil or not, they’ve made an incredible bond that’s sure to go down in the anime hall of victory. Gay couples really exist outside of tired tropes and niche titles, so seeing this sort of love and celebration in one of the most popular anime of the last few years is enough to put a big, stupid smile on my face.

Final Impressions

I love this show. I had high hopes for it going in. In the Fall Preview I pointed out that Yamamoto Sayo is one of the best directors in the industry today, and that I believed she could deliver something truly great. And she did. Compare that to the expectations yuri fans had when this show was first announced and later revealed to have no yuri at all (quite the contrary), and it’s easy to see how Yuri!!! on Ice got off on bad footing with some fans. Thankfully, that exceptional premiere blew all expectations away and got everyone talking. The buzz only grew with each passing week, to the point where non-anime fans and famous people have been tuning into this show week to week. Crunchyroll even crashed the minute this finale was released, which I don’t believe is a common occurrence. I had reason to believe this show would be great, but I never expected it to be popular – to be the most mainstream title currently airing, and have a gay couple front and centre and their bond being celebrated every minute they were together on-screen.

I don’t want to harp on about the fact forever, because in an ideal world (like the characters inhabit here), I shouldn’t have to. But it’s such a rarity in anime that I just have talk about how big of a deal that is. As a gay man and a hardcore anime fan, I’d always just accepted that anime wasn’t going to deliver a truly fair and supportive same-sex relationship between two men like we saw here. I thought maybe in 5 or 10 years it’ll happen, but this came out of the blue and I couldn’t be more thrilled. But will it change the trends of anime? It’s hard to say so soon, but if something this popular was unafraid to embrace that love story between Yuri and Victor, then surely the producers and studios and creators out there will realise that there’s no guarantee that including those elements is going to make their products commercial failures. 2016 has been a shitty year for the world, but Yuri!!! on Ice pretended the world wasn’t a hateful, horrible place, and it benefited greatly from it.

Overall, Yuri!!! on Ice is one of my top shows of the year. It managed to surpass my already high expectations, and knowing it’s also got an army of dedicated fans across the globe makes me even more happy. At its best, the art and animation was breathtaking, but there were noticable dips that are both amusing and unfortunate, since you can tell the staff were trying their best to match the Yamamoto Sayo’s ambition that frankly exceeds the general limitations of TV animation. It may not have been perfect in that regard, but I’ll take ambition over perfection any day of the week. It was a joy to watch and I expect there to be more before too long given that teaser at the end. If it does come back and Yuri and Victor get married, maybe then we can call it anime of the decade. But for now let’s settle for what we’ve got and count ourselves blessed.


  1. I am so glad that we’re pretty much guarenteed a second season at this point. I think there were two endings written – one where there is a second season, and one where there wasn’t.


    Skins Thhunderbomb
  2. The anime for me ended up being a mix bag of enjoyable things and the not so enjoyable things. It was quite fun. The most fun part was in finding bits of real figure skating incorporated to the episodes <3

  3. This episode left me an emotional wreck (omg that duet), but at the same time I am low key disappointed because I had strong ideas how it was going to end (I thought these two dorks were going to retire together and get married based on the narrative) BUT a second season tells me that my preferred ending can still be possible so YES!!!!! There is going to be an all night marathon on February 11, 2017 plus a talk with Kubo-sensei and the three main seiyuus for the show. So chances are they will announce the 2nd season there. The makes me so giddy because this means maybe more money and more episodes can happen for Yuri on Ice (shit can you imagine 26 episodes and better skating sequences?!?!?!?!)

    Honestly sometimes the fandom can be so annoying everyone has been saying “Victor won’t marry Yuuri unless he wins gold” and I’m like “you don’t see JJ’s fiancée dumping his ass for not winning the gold metal” obviously Victor and Yuuri are going to wait awhile before they get married (shit they have literally been fiancées for less than 48 hours in the narrative and have only gotten to know each other in 8 months) plus winning gold will only motivate Yuuri more to get better and of course Victor being both the competitive and supportive lover that he is will always be there for his babe.

    I think Victor and Yuuri’s time as couch and student is over (even though Victor says he can both compete and couch I think in the long run that is hard to do, but we shall see), but their loving relationship is only getting started and I so look forward to seeing how these dorks will fair out in the future. Honestly, Yuuri needs to learn to take it easy with Victor’s emotions (the boy literally does not know how much Victor has fallen for him and literally everything Yuuri does makes his heart skip a beat).

    I love how Yurio’s real thoughts on Yuuri was revealed in this episode because I was confused as hell as to why he was so hostile towards Yuuri in episode 1 and again it proves to me how much of an unreliable narrator Yuuri is because clearly everyone around him thinks he is so great, but anxiety does that you and in prevents you from seeing the good qualities in you. (As someone living with high functioning anxiety I can say it never really goes away, but you develop coping mechanisms to get through your shit).

    Overall everyone did fucking great in this series and Phichit my love I support your idea for Phichit on Ice!!! (you are a treasure we desperately need, but literally don’t deserve).

    Lastly, special shout out to the animators for this series. It could have not been easy animating the constant movement of figure skating, but I think they did phenomenally well.

    Of course I want to thank my queens Kubo Mitsurou and Sayo Yamamoto for creating a world that is truly possible to exist in our reality and shit I hope we get there someday because damn it I want to live in that world where I don’t have to be scared for the color of my skin and loving the people I love with all my heart.

    I will literally be buying the Blu-rays DVDs because this is a series that 100% deserves the praise and the crossover mainstream success it has received. I’m over the moon that its so popular and it gives me so much hope in a year that was ultimately really shitty in the real world.

    I look forward to a potential season 2!!! See you all next time~~~

  4. I really couldn’t have hoped for a better conclusion. Like everyone else out there I’m chomping at the bit for another season, but if this is all we get I am not dissatisfied with how it wrapped up. Yuri and Viktor skating as a pair was one of the highlights of the series IMO and such a beautiful final moment. I am still in awe that a relationship like theirs was finally portrayed in an anime, and a mainstream one at that. This has been one of my favorite shows in years because of how much it exceeded my expectations and fulfilled my hopes with developments I never thought I’d get to see. I feel like this show came out just when it needed to in order to garner the audience it has. With so many bad things going on in the world we needed to have a story set in an idolized version of it where all of the problems people face every day weren’t really an issue. I would be so happy if this is the beginning of more stories with relationships like this having their time in the sun. Only time will tell. As far as the title of the show goes, I feel like I’m one of the only people out there who didn’t immediately think “girl’s love” when I saw it, mainly because the promos featured bishis much to my delight (Yuri is my number one!). One part of this episode that really caught my attention was that Yurio actually admires Yuri and that his behavior towards him was due to his disappointment in seeing that he is just a normal guy with doubts and worries that affect his performance, keeping him from skating to his full potential. Yurio is still very much a child and his immaturity makes it difficult for him to process his disappointments like someone with more emotional stability would be able to. I’ve always enjoyed his general bitchiness since it’s such a dominant aspect of his personality and part of what makes him such a delightful and fun character, but I was heartened that his animosity and meanness is just a front to hide what he really thinks. His abrasiveness was merely a means of pushing Yuri forward into being the skater he is meant to be and genuine competition for him. It was a fantastic revelation of his character that came at the perfect time of the story. It’s not like we were in the dark about what his real feelings must be, it was just nice to have him actually give voice to it, even if it was only inside his own head :). There is still room for his character to develop and I hope so much that this show will continue so we can get a chance to see that. It’s hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful cast of characters (there isn’t anyone I can’t stand in this show which is really strange for me) and there seems like there is still so much more story left to tell. I want to see Yuri work towards winning his own gold medal, and to see Yurio try to beat the record Yuri set with his amazingly perfect performance that we all knew he had in him, and also to see some of those other great characters have their time to shine (like Yuri’s cheerleader). And, most of all, to see the progression of Yuri and Viktor’s relationship. A wedding would be the absolute best! I simply cannot sing this show’s praises enough. If this is the result of unleashed ambition then bring it on!

  5. I think that if they add an episode more we would see the dance of the duo but that is well. I can wait for the wedding .. BUT I GIVE A KISS AND NEVER ASK FOR ANYTHING! (I do not care how much selfish i can sound…I need that kiss)

  6. My experience with Yuri on Ice was similar to one I had with Prison School:
    – I saw it on the season preview list and was like: “I’m really not the target audience for this. Skip!”
    – Several weeks later, I noticed it was high on the popularity list, which got me thinking: “Wait. This is actually good???”
    – Then I saw the first episode and thought it was pretty solid, with great potential, so I continued watching.
    – Halfway through the series, I was in ‘I needed this in my life’ mode.

    There are so many good things about this show I can mention, and some bad, but above all else, this show was FUN. From outrageous quotes and fanservice at its finest, to all the small details, references, and…everything Chris did that is, sadly, now forever burned into my mind.

    And all the emotional engagement aside, the one thing I loved the most was how the show treated secondary characters. I can almost picture Kubo-sensei shouting “You get character development! And YOU get character development! EVERYONE gets character development!”
    And no-one got left behind; we were constantly shown everyone – from Yuuri’s friends and family to all the other skaters, their coaches and significant others. It immensely helped flesh out the world of Yuri on ice.

    I thoroughly enjoyed fanboying over this show, and it might just be my pick for the anime of the year. Thank you, Samu, for covering it every week, and everyone else who commented and shared their opinions and tidbits they noticed here. See you all in season 2. ^_^

  7. Amidst the romantic tension between Yuri and Victor, It was refreshing to see Yurio’s performance (both visually and through his own monologues). He called bullshit over Yuri’s decision. “So you’re going to get a gold and conveniently retire? Is that it? How selfish can you be? I’ll make you regret it, moron!” Yurio being yurio was fun to see, and he definitely deserved the gold.

    All in all, this show was a pleasant surprise. It would normally be completely out of my target zone, but I became invested into the characters and their performances. The character dynamics were great, they treated a homosexual relationship realistically and never played it off as a joke. It was just a very fun show to watch, and a season 2 would be very welcome.

  8. Interview with YoI’s writer, Kubo Mitsurou:

    Facts include:
    – Viktor’s character was modeled after Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko, but his looks were based on US actor John Cameron Mitchell; Kubo watched a Broadway musical he starred in.
    – Yurio was the 1st character she came up with; she was inspired by her love of 1980s anime with cheeky, blonde, blue-eyed characters.
    – Some scenes, like Viktor swimming in the Spanish winter, was based on Kubo actually seeing foreigners swimming in the Barcelona chill (Kubo and staff went to watch the actual Grand Prix Final as research).


    Considering there’s about 1 year and 2 mnths left until the Feb 2018 Winter Olympics, it would be a missed opportunity for S2 to not have some kind of Olympics focus (not that the IOC would mind much, I think). If it airs in Autumn 2017/Winter 2018 that would be even better.

    1. Facts include:
      – Viktor’s character was modeled after Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko,

      No he wasn’t.

      “So in the end, you might think that they are similar in some ways…but that wouldn’t be because we created Victor to be like him.”

      They’re similar only because they’re both Russian greats. That’s it. Kubo and Yamamoto actually went out of their way to make Victor as different from Plushenko as they could outside of that fact.

      (And I should know, since I translated that interview.)

  9. https://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2012%20-%2007.jpg

    Notice how JJ’s colours resemble those of South Park’s Cartman. This is likely a reaction to a recent South Park episode revealing that Ike, Kyle’s little brother, Google searched Yuri on Ice.


    Voice cameo by RL Swiss figure skater Stephane Lambiel.

  10. Overall liked the ending. That paired skating scene was so beautifully animated. I did hope for more drama but I think episode number restrained them from doing so, I appreciate that they tried to flesh out such a large cast as much as possible with what little time they had and ultimately I ended up liking everyone even if I didn’t at first so that’s an achievement.

  11. https://randomc.net/image/Yuri%20on%20Ice/Yuri%20on%20Ice%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    I’m happy with these results! Yurio earned the gold, Yuri had a long journey from dead last the previous year’s Grand Frix Final to silver, and JJ hung on for bronze.

    There was an exhibition skate with Yuri and Victor!

    …this teaser leaves a satisfying end yet keeps an open future.

  12. this show will forever hold a special place in my heart ✨

    the characters were perfect, the story was gripping, and the whole show opened my eyes to the incredible world of competitive figure skating.

    i am forever grateful for this anime, so stoked for season 2!

  13. I must admit that I shy away from Yaoi or Yuri anime series, but this…. wow… I have only two words for this episode “simply beautiful.”

    Looking forward to the Next Level!

  14. First of all, Samu, thank you so much for reviewing the episodes – coming here to read your reviews was one of the highlights of my post-episode week. Secondly, I’ve just come off watching the latest Sense8 episode – and so I’m a bit emotional and in love with humanity. You said it best – ‘I’ll take ambition over perfection any day of the week’. And more than that, the pure kind of love that is so evident in every aspect of YOI, from the intricacies of production details (music, skating, language, cultures) to the characters. Kubo and team made a world of characters to love, a happy world that sees the best in people and humanity, and it’s really beautiful, and so important.

    When I first watched the episode, I was actually a little disappointed – I thought all the plot threads were pointing to a gold win for Yuri and Victor and Yuri retiring (‘now we are ready / let’s leave together’). I still firmly believe this show was meant to be tidier and have that ending – I feel like there’s a lot of evidence that was where we were headed for a one-cour with a different climax, and I think the show was re-written to leave room for a second season. If there is a second season, then I am more than alright with the fact I was a little let down by the finale. More YOI is all I could ever want.

    So, I did have a lot of criticisms of the pacing (Cutting down the FS! Not resolving Victor/Yuri’s mismatched understanding of what they are to each other in a real way…) and way the finale was left, but overall it doesn’t matter because we can hope for a season 2 to this incredible anime. And, most importantly. We got that pair skate which brings tears to my eyes even now. Hope to see you next level!

  15. I disagree in regards their understanding what their relationship is to each other. They are still wearing the rings (the show never let’s us forget it) plus these two dorks were only referring to their professional relationship possibility ending not their personal relationship. At this point there is no doubt these two dorks are in a relationship and are going to wait awhile before they get married since they have competiton on the mind. Plus these two have done everything humanly possible to show the world they are together that I don’t need the literal “I love you” moment. They have showed that already in more ways than I can ever have hoped for.

    Plus I low key find it cute how victor wants Yuuri to take more initiative to engage in more physical contact *when is asking what can Yuuri do to make him excited*

  16. I would like to say “Thank you so much!”, Samu, for your brilliant and heartfelt write-up each week! It is a joy for me to come here after every episode since Day 1 and reading your reviews with beautiful, supportive comments from everyone has truly been a highlight throughout these past three months. Thanks, guys!

    Yuri!!! on Ice, as an anime, is so much more than a just an entertaining show for me. The world of YOI is full of positiveness, diversity, respect, empathy, and love; it shines through every turn in the narrative, every character, every note in the music. This production was made of love, is all about love, and I can just burst with gratitude that it exists.

    In a year that has become so abrasive to my faith in humanity, the intimacy and dedication shown in YOI, especially through Victor and Yuuri’s journey together, was so moving, so refreshing to see that I got hopeful. What is even more beautiful and impressive, for me who is also a gay anime fan, is the amount of support and appreciation that pour into the show from all over the world! I don’t comment on here often, but I have found RC to be a wonderful, safe place to share my love for the show. I have found new friends, thanks to YOI. Seriously, the acceptance from the fandom is so awesome and it blows my mind how YOI has managed to inspire this cohesiveness!

    YOI is anime of the year for me. I have learnt so much about love from this anime. And, even if the real world can be harsh right now, there are important things worth fighting for, like

    “Life” and “Love”, always, right? =)

    1. Thanks, I really appreciate that! I’m sure Yuri on Ice is the anime of the year for many people, and it’s certainly up there for me as well!

      I’m glad you’ve found comfort in RC, hope you stick around for future shows coming out and discover more welcoming fanbases.

  17. Yuri and Viktor’s relationship had me emotional till the very end ughhhh.

    I’m a bit confused with the conclusion though. So is Viktor planning to skate as a competitor while also coaching Yuri? Do both for 5 years or only coaching?

  18. I loved how Yuri “braced for impact” when Victor hovered over him asking for compensation. Yuri is totally down for kissing and is expecting it at this point, although being shy about it 😉 If that isn’t addmiting a relationship, I don’t know what is. Wait! I DO know what is: dancing a feaking DUET infront of the entire WORLD to a LOVE SONG while CARRESING EACH OTHER. Yah that sounds about right. I get why the show had to be “cencored” to be aired on TV, and I’m really glad it did it. This way it got out to a much larger audiance. Maybe this will be a game changer in some way for japanese TV (?).

    YOI is anime of the year for me. I have been dissappointed by the story and quality of anime in the last years, and YOI totally brough me back on board. Thank you Samu for covering! I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

    Even though the ending was rushed and we didn’t even get to see Yurio after his big win (Was he emotional? Was he evil? we might never know), we got some great moments that went down in anime history.

    To tell the truth I’m a bit scared of season 2. I don’t know if it will be able to surpass the audiance’s expectations from the first season. You have to admit it was preaty great story-wise. I don’t want to cram Victor into compeeting AND being coach, It sounds like something that can either go terribly wrong, or come off as totally unbelievable in terms of time management. To be a champion you have to dedicate all your time and effort to winning, there is no other way. I wonder how they’ll wiggle the story out of that corner.

    Can someone shed light as to where our main charecters are in the final scene? Some say Japan and some say Russia. It’ll be fun seeing Yurio and Victor helping Yuri out in a foreign country, and maybe even Yuri moving in with Victor…?

    See you Next Level!!!

    1. There are several women with varying degress of importance and screen time. The funny thing is, even when there are women like Anya(who only has about one line of dialogue) the show still manages to make them really intruiging. More so than any harem anime I’ve watched.

      However, this is about men’s figure skating so while we do see some female figure skaters (Sara, Millia) and female coaches (Lillia, JJ’s mother, Minako and Yuuko both help out to some extent) the focus is on the guys, namely Yuuri and Viktor.

  19. Overall it was a rushed ending. Didn’t really feel like the ending of the series, more like the last episode of the first cour. I’m totally not buying tsundere Yurio. In episode 11 he was a total jerk to Yuri and suddenly we learn he’s always admired him? Sorry, it’s a bit too late for me. I really did not want to see Victor’s return to skating – he’s 27 and give it a year or two and his body will be breaking down and he’ll be needing spine operations, as what happened with Plushenko. The duet to Stammi Viccino was the greatest thing about episode 12, but I guess my enjoyment was lessened by the official soundtrack spoiling it several weeks ago with the duet version of that song…

  20. I’m so happy this ended up blowing away my expectations. I’ve never been a huge fan of sports anime, but this is finally the anime that got me into it (figure skating has always been one of my favorite sports). YOI is definitely a top contender for anime of the year for me, but I only really loved two shows that made it in that category this year. Cheers to a second season!


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