Or to be precise,Yuri!!! on Ice
. I don’t know why the exclamation marks are there, but they are. I’m not an anime watcher, it’s a genre that hasn’t really crossed my path since the days of French-Japanese co-productions shown dubbed on children’s television.* But I saw this mentioned as an anime about figure skating, and since though I am no skating devotee I class it under “winter sports I like” and as no-one going to make a series about cross-country skiing, I thought I’d give it a go. It didn’t hurt that the link I clicked made the skating look gorgeous. Yuri on Ice
follows Katsuki Yuuri**, a Japanese figure skater who is very talented, but lacks confidence and who has reached the nadir of his career after bombing in a major competition last season. He is miserable, out of form, and doesn’t know where to go next, but his luck changes when a bunch of infant skater fangirls post a video of him skating to a routine on the internet and it goes viral.
Because the routine is the impossibly hard and artistic one of Viktor Nikiforov***, all round Russian skate god who at 27 is ancient in skater years and wondering what to do next as it gets harder and harder to surprise the audience. Answer? Get on a plane to Japan and coach Yuuri, to the great confusion of the skating world, and the fury of Russian junior champion, now fresh-faced senior,15 year old other Yuri, who was counting on Viktor training – or at least providing choreography for - him
So yes, there is a lot of skating, and it looks absolutely wonderful, as it should since they got professional consultants to help with it, and it is also funny and charming with endearing characters. But of course that’s not the only reason that there are suddenly a lot of fics for a 4 week-old fandom and the current women's skating champion's twitter
is full of pictures.That
reason is the fact that Yuri on Ice
is like an old-fashioned UST slash fic come to life, pining and all. Because Yuuri is not just a casual fan of Victor, he appears to be in love with him. Hell, in the last episode he pretty much declared that he was. He's been a fan for 11 years. His bedroom is covered with Victor posters. He got into skating seriously out of a hope to meet and compete against him. He skated his new routine in an attempt to get his love of skating back. He even named his (deceased) dog after him. And then the skate god he fancies like mad turns up in his family’s hot spring resort naked but for a strategically placed fountain and announces he is his new coach, at which Yuuri turns into a gibbering wreck and the entire show to massive fanservice, with the subtext, as Rupert Giles once put it, rapidly becoming text.
It is funny, endearing, with engaging characters and good-looking animation (at least to me, who hasn't seen it all before) and just the ticket for weary autumn evenings. For all I know it is massively full of cliches, but they are new cliches to me. The fic is, predictably, appalling. "Silverette" and "ravenette" is the least of it.
YouTube is failing me badly on clips of the skating routines, which only goes to show that fandom has its priorities wrong, but have an official trailer
and opening credits
*All together now, 'Children of the sun, see your time has just begun'...
**There are two Yuris, both transliterated from different alphabets. Japanese!Yuri tends to end up getting spelt Yuuri.
**Or as he is known in real life, Evgeni Plushenko
. Although Plushenko, enormously charismatic skater though he is, does not as far as I am aware cause room-fulls of journalists to faint when he smiles.