An anime series which started airing towards the end of the year, Yuri!!! On Ice (YOI) is now widely acclaimed in many parts of the world. Fans have taken to many of the characters in the show; the story revolves mainly around a competitive figure skating environment and its participants.
Since the premise is skating, it is considered a sports anime, like Kuroko No Basuke, Haikyuu!!, Free!, All Out!!, Ace of Diamond, just to name a few. But for a couple of reasons, it differs from the typical sports anime trope in many ways.
1. Competitors being of a wider age range
Shounen sports anime are often set in a high school premise, which often results the casting of high school competitors aged around 15-18. For YOI, we have a 15 year old Yuri Plisetsky (Yurio) and also a 27 year old Viktor Nikiforov and everyone else somewhere in between or close, and most had been participating or are participating in world skating championships at the time of the story.
Personally I love the high energy of the typical shounen sports anime, it does make me feel more motivated and wanting to do my best in my life. YOI also does motivate, but in a different way; it subtly pushes messages to the audience such as believing in oneself is the first step to bringing out an individual's potential, as most significantly seen in Yuri's growth throughout the story.
Also this gives rise to the so-called more mature premise, where the environment is ever-changing due to the competitions being held in many different countries, which then introduces more international characters as well. As a result it does make the show more relatable for a wider group of audience; even the skaters in real life are catching on to this series and loving it!
Shounen anime in general is mostly just nakama power!!!! or the likes of it; YOI does something like that as well, in the form exploring different kinds of relationships, mostly via the characters' thoughts during their routine, in which there is often a purpose or a particular audience they are skating for.
The main relationship in the series is Yuri forming a bond with Viktor as they eye gold medal of the Grand Prix Final together.
I like how their relationship is portrayed here; where their love for each other is mostly shown via simple day-to-day activities; through training together, through sightseeing together, through planning things and travelling together. Though truthfully, not many people will meet at high-profile events and fall in love, but it is how Yuri and Viktor stay by each other and treat each other that tugs at the heartstrings.
Also, Yurio's "Agape" performance, showcases another kind of relationship; of Yurio receiving and accepting unconditional love and care he has encountered, and once he realises he could skate to that thought, he was able to showcase his full ability in skating the theme.
After episode 11: So far, so good?
Last week's episode ended on a cliffhanger, with Yuri declaring to Viktor that he wanted to end all of this after the current competition.
But what does Yuri want to end exactly? My head had been swimming with all the possibilities, but my first response to what Yuri said was probably a little bit of shock and worry. Very likely something he observed, or feel all this time, caused him to say this; there were a few theories/metas thrown around the past week by a few observers, but a few words from the director, Kubo-sensei, on what we can expect!
The last episode (episode 12) airs in about half an hour and many fans are eagerly anticipating it at this point in time. 2016 may not be a good year for many people, but this anime is cheering up the hearts of many in different ways.
Have a great rest of the year, all!
Within the first week airing the first episode of YOI, a huge amount of fanarts based on the series have been created. Below are just some of the ones I like:
Yuri and Viktor as Waiters + Artist's loots from Japan's YOI-themed cafe
You are a nice coach! - from Kubo-sensei herself