We call everything on the ice “love”.
Warning: There will be spoilers in this review. You have been warned.
This has been the most emotional anime that I have watched for the longest time. The last time I have been this emotional invested is when I was watching Sailor Moon, and it’s the 90s anime, not the latest one called Sailor Moon Crystal (but it did pull some heart strings while watching the 3rd season).
Yuri on Ice has been an epitome of story-telling taken from the realistic point of view with no clear antagonist and everyone clamoring to be the protagonist. We have been given a glimpse of what happens in ice skating tournaments and the everyday struggles of all athletes, not just ice skaters, who fight to win the most glorious awards.
In this anime, we see that everyone, even the best of their craft suffers with bouts of anxiety; but even more so to our main protagonist — Katsuki Yuri. He is then coached by his idol and five-time Grand Prix Gold Medalist, Victor Nikoforov in which he did not believe the first time the Russian arrived in their hot springs.
As the story progresses, you see how Yuri perceived himself and his interactions with his other fellow skaters in and out of the competitions. We can also see that Victor with all his medals is human, who is prone in making mistakes as everyone.
The theme of the anime seems to be “LOVE” and “LIFE” of both Yuri and Victor as their destiny intertwines with their passion for their craft.
This has been a emotional roller coaster, full of ups and downs of all characters and there’s always a surprise in store for all fans by the writer. Despite not explicitly stated what Yuri and Victor is to each other, it has been shouted using actions and words that hold several meanings.
The most impressive part of this fandom is that even the real-life ice skaters like Michael Martinez, Evgenia Medvedeva and even the famous Johnny Weir watch the show. Ice skating fans even have pointed out references of real life skaters such as Evgeni Plushenko, Yuliya Lipnitskaya and also the award-winning skater Yuzuru Hanyu.
Not only the anime endeared to all fans and skaters alike, it also made non-ice skating fans learn more about the sport. The world of ice skating is opened to a new breed of fans that eventually understand what it takes to be in this kind of passion. It doesn’t escape the fact that some fans are too extreme to the point that long-time fans are offended by their references — but are there any fandom who doesn’t have extreme fans?
There are also side characters from other parts of the world, that have competed to be included in the (6) slots for the Grand Prix. These side characters have their own quirks and back story that made viewers excited about them, despite being shown in an episode (or two).
With beautiful writing with equally beautiful story-telling with complex characters has enticed fans and non-fans alike of the sport. The animation on some of the performances are not the best quality in the industry but the performances and music has made it clear that a lot of research and love has been poured in this series.
As season 1 comes to a close, we can see glimpse of what would be setting for the next season. Despite Yuri being indecisive on what would happen after the Grand Prix, we are treated on on his resolve on competing again and asking Victor to be his coach.
Based on the ending, Yuri is now living in Russia with Victor and Yuri(o); and they seemed to be training together. It is unclear if they are all coached by Yakov or Victor only coaches Yuri while he and Yuri(o) are coached by the former. They are still wearing their rings, which means that to everyone, they are still together and maybe, just maybe, next season will finally make Yuri’s dreams come true: to stand as an equal to Victor.