First Impression – Yuri!!! on Ice

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An elegant anime about figure skating? Where?!

It’s a great season to enjoy hot people playing sports. You’ve got Yuri!!! on Ice, All Out!! and Haikyuu!! for those who like guys, and Keijo!!!!!!!! for those who like girls. It’s a bit of something for everyone! Especially if you like exclamation points!

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The two sides of Russia

I was a little tentative going into Yuri!!! on Ice at first. It looked like it would be a rather serious venture into the world of figure skating, especially with the routines lovingly animated down to the finest detail by MAPPA (Rage of Bahamut, Garo). It appeared to be so focused on technical precision that I feared it wouldn’t have enough substance to hold me. Figure skating is also such an incredibly boring sport, so I had prepared for the worst. Thankfully, I was completely wrong.

Yuri!!! on Ice doesn’t have a stick up its butt. It’s willing to have fun, be silly, and show a trio of snotty kids uploading a viral video to the internet. It’s not the uptight view of figure skating I expected at all, and I find that really relieving. I’m glad the main character, Yuri, is an anxious goof. It’s a great counterbalance to how graceful and poised the skaters look during their performances. I feel like that contrast makes those performances all the more exciting. It’s especially neat to see Yuri, fattened up on god knows what he started to binge eat from stress, perform such a difficult routine with perfection…moments after he blushed while mumbling to his crush, Yuko.

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3 lil piggies

It’s like there’s a divide where everyone on the ice is supposed to be this perfect figure of stoicism and aloof beauty, and anyone who can’t mimic that is cast out. That’s why it’s great to see the difference of characters on and off the ice. Victor may be breathtakingly handsome on the ice, but he seems like a big ‘ol dork off the ice. The ending scene with Victor suddenly telling Yuri he would be his coach in the most cheesy fashion sealed the deal for me – they’re all a bunch of weirdos just pretending to be cool. I really can’t wait to see more of them bonding together!


I liked Yuri!!! on Ice quite a lot. It has some stunning animation that I can only imagine took a whole lot of studying to get just right. The dedication to this really pays off. Thankfully, below that shiny veneer is a good show about how human these seemingly flawless figure skaters are. I expect some great things, although I imagine those who don’t like sports anime may be turned off. The whole coaching thing mixed with Yuri being down-on-his-luck right now means we’re basically going to get a bunch of training arcs and competitions. At least, from what I can tell, it is. However, this first episode had a lot of sweet character interactions as Yuri slunk back home to greet his old friends and family again, so maybe there really is a little something for everyone.

No panty shots though. Not yet, at least.

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“let me coach you!” “is that…a euphemism for something in Russia??”


A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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6 Responses to “First Impression – Yuri!!! on Ice”

  1. zztop says:

    No panty shots though. Not yet, at least.

    Does the shot of Viktor’s butt in the onsen count? 😀

    Director Yamamoto Sayo’s put a lot of love into this project – the skating choreography’s handled by ex-Olympian turned choreographer Miyamoto Kenji.

    Japanese Yuri’s hometown of Hasetsu is fictional, but it’s based on the real-life town of Karatsu in Kyushu.

    The local castle was demolished in the Meiji era, but was rebuilt in the 1960s as a tourist attraction.

  2. skylion says:

    I’m on the fence about this one. Now, it’s enjoyable enough to keep watching, but it’s also uneven enough in spots to frustrate.

    While I don’t think it’s tone is all over the place, it does have some issues keeping the tone in the scene. It feels “slippery”. Add this to the “tell the audience stuff you’ve already show” narration, or “tell us stuff you’ve already implied” narration and it feels a bit stretched.

    Other than that, I’m on board. I enjoy the animation and characterizations enough, and the story looks to be a nice challenge…

    • Overcooled says:

      It does seem to flit about here and there…I don’t mind the slipperyness so far since it went against my expectations, but we’ll see if it can still hold interest in the longrun now that I’m back on guard.

      Let’s see how it goes!

  3. zztop says:

    There’s a lot of effort being put into this series – director Yamamoto Sayo’s got an ex-Olympic skater turned choreographer Miyamoto Kenji to do the skating choreography for the characters. Plus, the head writer and Viktor’s VA have joked about how the fanservice and hotness would put moe animes to shame and barely passed censorship.

    Japanese Yuri’s hometown of Hasetsu is fictional, but it’s based on the real-life town of Karatsu in Kyushu.
    Karatsu Castle used to be an actual castle, but was demolished in the Meiji era. The current one was rebuilt in the 1960s as a tourist attraction.

    • Overcooled says:

      Thank you, zz-senpai~ I figured they must have had some pro skater to either consult or use for motion capture

      Well, the tourism thing is working because I want to go there.

  4. skylion says:

    …found here…credit goes to…

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