Yuri on Ice (YOI) is a show that focuses on a professional figure skater. It normalizes same-sex love as it is not labeled as BL or Shounen Ai (and ofc not Yaoi, bc yaoi is literally porn). This is HUGE. While airing, it wasn't categorized because of it's content of same sex love. Heterosexual romance is just labeled as romance while anything gay, is categorized into sections.
It is directed by Sayo Yamamoto (a win for female directors: she has directed Michiko to Hatchin, Lupin III: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and ofc YOI) and written by Mitsurō Kubo.
This show means a lot to us within the LGBT+ community and its supporters. It displays a healthy relationship. Mitsuro Kubo stated she only wanted to display a healthy relationship and that heterosexual relationships are a dime of a dozen (imo, a critique on the heteronormativity within media). She actually only had intended to just write about a sports anime but somehow, love made its way in.
It also touches upon of mental illness and shows how characters come over it. We see many breakdowns by characters, especially the main protagonist, Yuri. We see how he gradually controls it and how Victor helps him.
YOI pays homage to many figure skaters and is openly gay. Take this tribute to Johnny Weir:
The flower crown to the attire, Victor pays homage to him. Johnny Weir was subjected to homophobic and degrading slurs for being openly gay within the figure skating community. This was YOI's homage to him. But he isn't the only one that were referenced to. Many professional figure skaters caught wind of YOI because of figure skaters sharing likeness to specific skaters. In fact, Yurio (Russian Yuri), was based off of the Russian prodigy skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya. That and many speculate that Victor was based off of Evgeni Plushenko.
Many professional figure skaters watched and became fans of YOI all over twitter. I think this is one of the few times that anime caught wind of people around the world and actual famous people. An active fan of YOI was Evgenia Medvedeva (she is known for her love of Sailor Moon as she performed a program dressed as Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon) in a Japanese showcase. It was VERY nice to see a ton of professional Figure Skaters join into the action on twitter, talking and supporting YOI.
YOI did a crazy amount of RESEARCH for this technical sport and it really shows. Also, the show reflects everything from the real world (places & media). Many skaters have commented on how difficult some programs are and how scoring works. We also, see that in YOI, SOCIAL MEDIA is widely used which is quite realistic. Take the ending credits (the first ending credits):
And ofc, within the series, IG is a popular social media site.
Professional figure skaters also choreographed all the programs which is awesome! They also explain the technical difficulty..it's really something that you learn to appreciate.
But let's not forget the GREAT music YOI has! All original music for the programs...but the opening theme song might be the fan's favourite! It's called History Maker and it's sung all in English:
Just listen to the lyrics. YOI did in fact make history. I also want to add how beautiful the ending theme song is as well as the visuals:
But what's more interesting is the music they choice for the Mexican-American skater, Leo de la Iglesia (HELL YEAH FOR MORE DIVERSITY). This really reflects our (in North America) music! I thought it was quite on point.
I've noted that most of the songs are in English.
They have diverse characters within YOI, all from different countries. What's interesting is that when Victor and Yuri are talking to each other, they're actually talking in English (as stated by the creators of YOI), and when you hear Victor talking, he actually has a Russian Accent. I think that's honestly super cool and a smart thing to do.
Something I really love is that we have a Canadian character and he is no way near stereotypical. WHICH IM HELLA HAPPY FOR. He's literally called "the king" and is legit one of the best skaters and always performs with high technical skill. He is arrogant and funny. I love him and YOI just made me more patriotic...seriously.
Also, YOI reinvented Canada's national anthem:
I really hope people will learn to appreciate figure skating more and how incredibly HARD and DIFFICULT it is, just like ballet (speaking of which, we see our main characters training in it). YOI has taken these sports that are deemed "girly, weak and too feminine" and showed the reality of it. Harsh, hard and heartbreaking.
It is VERY SADDEN
when people dismiss this show because of the canon gay couple. They push away it because it's "yaoi" or deem gay as a bad thing. Which is very disgusting.
By all means, you can dislike the show but to dislike/hate it for being openly gay and progressive, that's disgusting.
It's a sports show and it's gay. Get over it. Love yourselves. Love, love.
We are expecting another season!
What team are you? Is your nationality/ethnicity represented in YOI?
YOI had also made me want to pick up ice skating again..I did it when I was younger. YOI isn't the first sports anime that got me motivated, I watched Big Windup! and I literally joined the Softball team back in HS (they had no female baseball teams). YOI made me feel good and motivated, that I could do anything. I hope you felt the same.