Feature Play: Yuri!!! On Ice

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Yuri!! On Ice was the breakthrough shoujo anime of 2016, that’s for sure. It felt like out of nowhere, the anime world was introduced to Yuri, Viktor, and others. Yuri, the main protagonist, suffers a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and had other failed showings at other skating competitions.

He’s down and his feelings about continuing with figuring skating is in limbo. He puts his career on hiatus, goes to college in Detroit and later returns to his hometown of Hasetsu in Kyushu. While there, he visits his childhood friend Yuko’s ice rink known as “Ice Castle Hasetsu.” He nails the routine of the famous Russian figure skater Viktor Nikiforov, who is also Yuri’s idol.

Yuri’s performance is secretly recorded and put on online and it causes a major buzz. The buzz is so big that it reaches Viktor. He travels to Kyushu and offers to be Yuri’s coach and help him reboot his career.

The two of them together aim to win the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series. To make things ever more interesting, he’s got a rival named Yuri as well! Antics galore happen after this.

Yuri!! On Ice feels like one of those once in a blue moon anime, the ones that take something unexplored, like ice skating, and turns it into something accessible and special to those who have little to no knowledge or interest in it.

The series does this by creating characters that you’ll fall in love with. Yuri is a nervous, nerdy, and funny type of guy while Viktor is more of cheerful, not-so-reserved type.

There are moments like when Yuri stumbles onto Viktor in the bathhouse, who unabashedly stands up naked, giving the audience a view of his perfect gluts and tone pelvis and making us laugh while Yuri freaks out.

The story also has a lot of heart. The characters, beyond that of Yuri and Viktor, are a treat to meet, including the other Yuri, who’s the rival. You learn to love them and their stories as they become fleshed out characters in their own right.

They are from different parts of the world and have different reasons for wanting to reach number one. This is perhaps one of the most endearing parts of Yuri!! On Ice – the story isn’t just about the two characters and trying to put them together – you have supporting characters who are just as interesting, if anything you may even come to love them even more.