Opinion: Yuri!! On Ice
Last year, like many other anime fans, I was told by dozen of fans that I should check out this new popular anime called Yuri!! On Ice. I was told that it was funny, charming, but also very well done.
I was told it was about ice skating and that it was a new kind of yaoi/BL. My interest was small, but not enough to get me to watch it after I initially heard about it. That all changed, however, when I found myself spending most of my winter break in college alone.
My school was a ghost town and the only way I could combat the loneliness was to spend a lot of the day watching shows. I caught up on different anime and then saw two advertisements for Yuri!! I gave it a try and I was hooked within two episodes.
I’m not a fan of ice skating but the story and the characters were engaging enough to get me to care. I wasn’t just cheering for the main characters but also had a soft spot for some of the secondary characters like JJ and his infectious theme song.
The story does a good job of balancing comedy with drama. You’ll cry at some points, but you’ll never feel like you’re being dragged around by the melancholy. The comedy is there but it never feels forced. These two elements created a story that’s got a good pace.
The biggest surprise, however, what how the anime treated its star couple Yuri and Viktor. Instead of going to the typical route of a BL/yaoi anime, the relationship is actually healthy.
Yaoi/BL are usually known for one thing – getting a couple of guys into bed. Usually it’s done by force. There is a seme and the uke, or the top and the bottom.
The top is ideally the dominant one, the one “wears the pants” and the uke is more submissive. The scenes with chemistry between these two unfold under a stereotypical moment in which the seme forces himself onto the uke, who eventually gives in.
This trope seen in many popular BL/yaoi like one of my favorites Gravitation. Many of these encounters push the envelope so much that they’re more of rape fantasy then a romance scene.
This, in turn, makes many of these relationships, though intriguing, very unhealthy.
Yuri!! Avoids this trope at all costs. As the first season develops their relationship, it is punctuated with quite a few adorable moments. I’d rather not go too far into them, for the sake of spoilers, but suffice to say there was much squeeing happening when the show got to a certain scene in the snow involving rings.
Fans will know what I mean! And those of you who haven’t watched it, you’ll have to do so to find out. Trust me, it’s worth it.
For fans of the genre who do like a little bit of aggression, you’re still treated to some stolen kisses and intense confessions … without the rape.
So how could this help shape future BL/yaoi anime? Yuri!! Has paved the way for healthier relationships. I personally think that the industry will look at this as something profitable as well because Yuri!!
Proved to be one of the biggest breakout anime hits last year. And we all know that once one type of anime becomes popular, we’re bound to get a dozen clones in the coming years. *cough* I’m looking at you Sword Art Online. *cough*