My holiday break could be defined simply: unproductive, probably fattening, and also consumed by this groundbreaking popular anime called Yuri!!! On Ice.
Plot summary After suffering a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and other failed showings at other skating competitions, Yuri Katsuki develops mixed feelings about ice skating and puts his career on hiatus, going to college in Detroit and later returning to his hometown of Hasetsu in Kyushu. He visits his childhood friend Yuko at an ice rink known as “Ice Castle Hasetsu” and perfectly mimics an advanced skating routine performed by famous Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov, who is Yuri’s idol. When secretly recorded footage of Yuri’s performance is uploaded to the internet, it catches the attention of Victor, who travels to Kyushu and offers to coach Yuri and restart his figure skating career. Together with Victor, Yuri aims to win the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series as he battles against his rival, Yuri Plisetsky, a 15-year-old rising star skater from Russia.
In my humble opinion, this anime has taken the figure skating world by storm. Famous figure skaters like Evgenia Medvedeva and our very own Michael Martinez have professed to being fans; and now droves of figure skating newbies like me are following the sport as it goes. And for good reason.
It’s hard to define what makes Yuri!! On Ice so special. It’s well-written, true, and the animation of the key skating routines is breathtaking. Maybe it’s in the characters and their relationships (which, to be fair, is the heart of almost any anime). Maybe it’s in the showcase of both racial and sexual diversity.
Yuri!!! On Ice is a story of how people can gain confidence and love for themselves in the face of crippling anxiety and self-doubt. It’s a story of how success can sometimes drive depression and isolation, and how relationships can bloom through adversity. It’s a story of life and love.