Yuri on Ice Episodes 1-7 // Japanese Anime Review

Welcome to Queer Fudanshi. Let’s Talk. Today, we’re going to talk about Yuri On Ice Episodes 1-7 (because Yuri on Ice Episode 7 is a thing!).

If you don’t know what Yuri On Ice is, it’s a anime from Japan. The show is a sports/underdog story about Yuri, a Japanese figure skater who’s been down on his luck. One day, he’s recorded while mimicking the skating routine of his idol Viktor. Viktor sees this and then suddenly shows up at Yuri’s home saying that he’ll be his coach.

My Thoughts Before Watching

Ok guys, it’s happened. It’s real. YURI ON ICE IS NOT QUEER BAIT! I’ve been watching Yuri on Ice since it started in October, and have been worried that the show’s gay fanservice was just a throwaway tool to excite female fans. Joyously, that’s not the case.

If you guys follow me on twitter, facebook, or tumblr (and if you don’t, why not?), then you’ll know I was pretty hyped yesterday about the big scene in Yuri on Ice Episode 7. I even made an impromptu video expressing my love of Yuri on Ice Episode 7. It’s to that point that besides a few hours, I got no sleep because as soon as I woke up in the middle of the night all my thoughts were about Yuri on Ice Episode 7. (Look at me, I can’t even stop saying Yuri on Ice Episode 7!) I’ve decided to channel that love and attention to having a Yuri on Ice week! Besides reviewing the first 7 episodes in this blog post, I have plans for other Yuri On Ice themed content that’ll be distributed throughout the week. Look forward to it.

All this is to say, that I’m going into this blog post with complete and disgustingly unbalanced bias. You have been warned.

This is Yuri on Ice Episodes 1-7.

Where to Watch (Legal English Subs):

Crunchyroll

The Talk (Spoilers Ahead):

Episode 1

yuri-on-ice-episode-1

Right off the bat, the series starts with a Vikturi focus. I’m sure the rest of this show will now be full of moments where I go, “How did I deny it so much?” At the very start of the show young Yuri is seen awing at Viktor. Older Yuri says, “he’s always surprising me.” Whereas before I thought this moment was completely forgettable, I could claim now that this scene is clearly showing that Yuri on Ice is about Vikturi (whether that’s in a romantic sense or not).

The show is also pretty fast paced. Once the intro was over, the one that I’m very much not a fan of, the story jumped right into Yuri and Viktor’s world. The show sets up Yuri as the poor underdog down on his luck. It also introduces the other Yuri as his rival, Viktor as his idol, and a little knowledge about the world of figure skating. And all that in 7 minutes!

In this second viewing I’m also realizing how large the group of characters are. From Yuri’s family, to his friends at the ice rink, to all the skaters that come later. It’s amazing that this show handles all of these characters. It’s a shame that some didn’t get more attention, but at the same time the show can’t do everything for everyone.

And then there was that scene. That was the beginning of what became this show. This particular scene though wasn’t a hint towards a gay relationship between the characters, but more a Free styled fanservice scene. Granted, Free never got to that level.

Episode 2

yuri-on-ice-episode-2

This episode showed some fun character moments. From “the little otaku trio” to the first real Vikturi scenes. All of it was fun.

First, Viktor is just a fun character to watch. His active personality, his cute dog, his seductive scenes, his happy faced anger, the fact that he’s all about surprises, and the fact that he’s forgetful. All if it is great characterization for a lively and animated character. I have to ask though, why is Viktor so concerned with Yuri’s past dating life? Is it really for coaching information or does Viktor have some more romantic reasons?

This episode also showed a bit of Russian Yuri (or Yurio) as well. He’s not just the jerk that he was shown to be in the first episode. He’s quirky just like all the other characters. He loves cats, gets lost easily, believes in promises, and just happens also be easily angry. While that last bit is a tired cliché, I don’t mind it.

All of this is to say is that this world is very fleshed out. This helps to make the main characters even more dynamic and multi-faced. While the background characters such as the otaku trio are one-sided/flat characters, they’re fun to have anyway. In addition, though they themselves are flat, the addition characters help to make the world and scope of the show dynamic and whole. That ends up making their one-sided personalities worth it. Plus and again, the show can’t take the time to develop everyone.

Side note, can I say that sometimes I wish anime logic applied in real life. I only wish you could lose a lot of weight in one or two weeks. I bet a lot of people would agree with me on that.

Episode 3

yuri-on-ice-episode-3

I have to say that the animators were pretty clever and impressive in how they tackled the skating in this show. They focused on the motion of the skaters and then just had the background scroll and pan here and there. The mixture of complicated motion with swift and simple movement is honestly inspired to my humble non-artistic mind and eyes.

In addition, I believe that this episode was a turning point of sorts. First, it was the episode that got me to relax and just watch. The exposition is over and the show starts to fly on its own. Also, this episode saw the rise of Yuriand a shift in the relationship between the two Yuris.

Lastly, this episode saw the third instance of fanservice. At this point, the situation reached a middle ground for the Vikturi couple. After three instances of hinting towards a romance between the two this episode makes an “is it or isn’t it” situation. Is there real romance blossoming? Is this just a show of intsense fanservice? We’ll find out in Yuri on Ice Episode 7. I will say though that a lot of this episode was dedicated to Yuri’s feelings toward love, lust (eros), and Viktor. With so much focus on the two, there is definite proof that backs the idea that there’s more going on that simple fan squeal moments.

My only concern with this episode was that at the very end of the episode Yuri said that this would be his, “very last season.” That’s sad, but I hope it ends with a gold medal or at very least a happy ending.

Episode 4

yuri-on-ice-episode-4-boyfriend

 

Like I said earlier, everyone else in this show, while fun, are mainly just used to support and fleshed out the world. Even Viktor to some effect is like that. This is of course is because the main character of this series is Yuri. And at that, he’s a very good one.

Yuri is the textbook example of a leading man and as an underdog. He’s sad, but he has talent and can get better. His personality is more subdued, so that makes it easier for viewers to not only emphasize with him but also place themselves in the story with him.

Quick thought to go with my talk of Yuri. Yuri has said that he’s never had a girlfriend. Could he have had a boyfriend before? Possibly not, but its a fun thought.

That said, the line that got my attention the most in this episode was Viktor’s at the end of the beach scene. “Ok, I won’t let you off easy then. That’s my way of showing my love.” How come I never thought about that line before? It seems pretty evident of the romance between the two forming. There doesn’t really seem to be any double meaning behind the words that could go toward the idea of queer bait.

Episode 5

yuri-on-ice-episode-5-part-2

I have to say, I love the Minami character. He was great fun to have around, and I wish he could come back in a following episode. Not only was he a fun character, but his character also helped Yuri to grow more as a seasoned professional.

As for the rest of this episode, honestly, I don’t have anything to say. It was solid from start to finish, but there wasn’t anything too fantastic about it. It’s the same problem as I’m having the Part Time the Series.

I will say though that there are more Vikturi moments in this episode that are evident to the romance that’ll reveal itself in Yuri on Ice Episode 7. One specific scene that got my attention (out of the many), was Vikturi acting upset when he thought Yuri wasn’t happy to have him as his coach. That scene seemed telling. (Also, the rushing to hug scene could be seen as foreshadowing to Yuri on Ice Episode 7).

I do wanna note that Yuri specifically says that his love isn’t romantic love, but then he said that Viktor is the person he cherishes the most. Sadly, I can’t say that adds into the Vikturi romance.

Episode 6

yuri-on-ice-episode-6

I have to admit, I had a moment of doubt again. The video I was watching translated one of Viktor’s lines as, “seduce me by thinking of pork cutlet and women.” I then wondered if Viktor was saying “think of being like the woman in the story,” or “think of sexy women?” Someone in the comments has since pointed out that this is a mistranslation. Sadly, it seems that mistranslated videos/lines have led to a lot of the of “complications” noted in this review. Thank god for Crunchyroll and you commenters!

That aside, this was another fun episode. The show is good at making figure skating appealing and exciting even for people who have no prior experience with the sport. This is mostly because to get over that wall of inexperience the show focuses on characterization and giving the characters stories. This then builds a bond between the characters and the audience. The character Georgi for instance is a great character in this aspect.

Episode 7

yuri-on-ice-episode-7

Ladies and gentlemen, we are here. We are finally at Yuri on Ice Episode 7.

Yuri on Ice Episode 7 is certainly a height in the Vikturi relationship. This intensity raised the stakes between the two. That started first with the conversation between the two in the parking lot.

That scene then lead to Yuri’s routine. The skating wasn’t important, which is why the scene didn’t focus on the actual routine. What was important was the thoughts and emotions between the two characters. That was the real focus. This then climaxed in the kiss. I have to say, the entire thing was handled very well. The buildup throughout the episode led to a wonderful payoff in the kiss.

I applaud the show on handling the sequence between the two characters in Yuri on Ice Episode 7 so well. The writing was superb in growing the intensity between the two before popping it into a joyously gay assortment of bubbles. (Or maybe that was just me).

In Conclusion

I am so pleased with how this show is going. Sadly, some feel there is still room for this show to end up as just queer bait. That’s because the burden of proof for gay relationships in media is very high, whereas if this was a girl and guy we wouldn’t ever be doubting the relationship. That said, there is alot more evidence that it’s an actual gay romance. In fact, I’m not gonna fear the show ending as queer bait anymore. I have full confidence in the creators of this show.

I believe in many fans’ hearts, mine included, that this kiss in Yuri on Ice Episode 7 is confirmation for this show not being queer bait. This show is gay representation within a medium that often pushes it to the side. Yuri on Ice is a wonderful take on gay romance and one that didn’t have to be marketed as such. This show is about love in its many forms. And love wins.

My rating for Yuri on Ice Episodes 1-7 is 5 stars out of 5.  And a QF Star. What’s Yours?

  • jarta

    “Quick thought to go with my talk of Yuri. Yuri has said that he’s never had a girlfriend. Could he have had a boyfriend before? Possibly not, but its a fun thought.”

    while i do believe victor did ask once if yuuri has a girl he likes he also always uses the more gender neutral term of “koibito” which means lover/partner instead of girlfriend which is “kanojo” in japanese. you can go back to these scenes to hear the word and he always uses koibito. its just lazy/heteronormative translation. i do believe the english dub too uses lover instead of girlfriend. Which means the answer is that Yuuri is late bloomer and a virgin. 😛

    SPOILERS AHEAD…………

    “I have to admit, I had a moment of doubt again. Before Yuri went to skate Viktor said, “seduce me by thinking of pork cutlet and women.” Was Viktor saying “think of being like the woman in the story,” or “think of sexy women?” ”

    Yuuri has a hard time grasping eros/sexual love that’s why he brought up katsudon/pork cutlet bowls as his definition(here we get more idea how much of a late bloomer he is and why I think he’s probably a demi). on episode 1 we get the idea that he had a crush on his childhood friend though they killed that ship fast(i like to call it hetbaiting for fun) and he basically admitted that he focused so much on figure skating that he ignored a lot of things, which implied among those things are romance/love/sex.
    he imagined the story of eros program as a story of a playboy who comes to town and seduces the most beautiful woman and once he got tired left. yuuri pointed out while the playboy role suits victor he can’t imagine himself playing that role so he came up with the idea of playing the woman who seduced the playboy to stay. which is basically what he’s competing for in episode 3. basically he never imagines seducing a woman but always playing the role of the woman seducing the playboy(coughvictorcough). he also tends to use the feminine pronouns while skating the first two times to eros http://mochhio.tumblr.com/post/152086845098/i-noticed-something-about-yuuris-pronouns )

    i know some people brought up that this is heteronormative but it goes beyond that:
    http://suiyoubis.tumblr.com/post/152105186926/femininity-mens-skating-and-yuri-on-ice

    also we already know that yuuri has great character development so we see the program evolve according to yuuri’s mental state at the time he skates that by episode 6, victor felt confident enough to tell yuuri that he doesn’t have to think of pork cutlet bowls or play as the woman, and that he believes yuuri can perform eros AS HIMSELF at that time….and he did, when he skated to eros, yuuri was using male pronouns referring to himself.

    “I do wanna note that Yuri specifically says that his love isn’t romantic love, but then he said that Viktor is the person he cherishes the most. Sadly, I can’t say that adds into the Vikturi romance.”

    idk much about japanese tbh but i keep seeing people trying to correct mistranslation or explain the deeper meanings behind the original dialogue that gets lost when translated
    http://mercymm.tumblr.com/post/152687060316/i-think-we-can-all-agree-that-yuuris-speech-was-a

    you can tell i read too much meta so i ramble a lot :p

    • DJR

      No problem! Honestly, this is a lot of information, so it might take me a moment to go through it all, but thank you for sharing it none the less!

      Based off of what I have read already (meaning your text and not the links yet), a lot of the confusion/queer bait fear it seems is based on the very thought out wording and then the mistranslation of said wording.

      • jarta

        every anime has translation problems because subbers are always trying to be the fastest to put out the sub for the newly released episode so they tend to overlook some stuff when translating. also some meanings get lost in the translation. but this fandom has been wary of queerbaiting and yet hopeful at the same time so the part of the fandom who knows japanese has been paying extra attention to the translations and actual japanese dialoguesXD

        i think you’ll find this interesting a meta about Victuri and the song Stay Close to Me :
        http://sachiro.tumblr.com/post/153143091293/stay-close-to-me-and-victuuri-relationship

        that meta was written BEFORE episode 7 but then Yuuri referenced the title when he was talking to victor in the parking lot.
        https://65.media.tumblr.com/1b49a3f66ded512ea24482ffd857faf6/tumblr_ogrcpzRpD71un77yno1_540.png

        its “HANAREZUNI SOBA NI ITE yo” which subbers translated to “Just stand by me” and the japanese title for the song Stay Close to Me which we saw on episode 1 that Victor & Yuuri performed was “HANAREZUNI SOBA NI ITE”

        im just getting really excited and close to sobbing right now. ;___;

  • Songster01

    “I have to admit, I had a moment of doubt again. Before Yuri went to skate Viktor said, “seduce me by thinking of pork cutlet and women.” Was Viktor saying “think of being like the woman in the story,” or “think of sexy women?” ”

    I’m 99% certain that Victor tells Yuuri he DOESN’T need to rely on these crutches any longer, that he can seduce Viktor using “his own charms”. I can’t get at the episode rn, but if you re-listen to it before I can, I suspect you will see what I did. So that moment actually is another solid Yuuri/Viktor build, again making the romantic kiss the intended destination. BTW, there’s a quote from an interview going around by the show’s writer stating that they had planned to do an exploration of the deep platonic bonds that can form in sports and then goes on to say that the characters took control and pushed it in a certain unplanned direction. So she talked about it and decided to go ahead with the changes. Whether that means the characters insisted on the romance I’m not sure but it is one likely interpretation. Personally I adore the idea of Yuuri and Viktor fighting the writer and telling her they needed to be together!

    • DJR

      I just checked. The video I watched when I was writing this post had that line translated wrong. The Crunchyroll video had the translation you’re referring to. I will update the post to point this out.

      And I’ll look up that interview. As a writer, I totally understand what you and she are saying. When you’re writing there are times where pieces come together that you didn’t plan, and characters evolve in ways you never imagined.