Hey everybody! Well, better late than never with this review right. So I’m sure that everyone pretty much knows about Yuri on Ice!! by now, but I’ll still try to add my own spin to it. Please keep in my that this is all my own opinion, and you are free to disagree or agree with what I say. If you do have a different perspective, I highly encourage you to write in the comments, as I always enjoy seeing how different everyone reacts to a certain subject matter. I’m going to be judging story, characters, animation, enjoyment and a quick review of the dub. And, as this is a review, there will more than likely be some spoilers, so just warning you guys. Anyway, let’s get this review started with a quick summary.
Yuri Katsuki, a famous Japanese ice skater, is at a low point in his career, having completely failed at his first Grand Prix in front of his idol, Victor Nikiforov. This leaves him considering to quit being a skater. But when a video of him skating to a routine of Victor’s goes viral, he is soon confronted by Victor, who tells him that he will be Yuri’s coach and will help Yuri when a gold medal at the Grand Prix Finals. With the addition of Russian skater, Yuri Plisetsky, as his new rival, will Yuri be able to rise to the challenge, or fall further into despair.
Ok. So let’s all admit to one thing: We all expected this to just be fujoshi bait, especially when it was revealed the show was going to be focused on male skaters rather than females (“Yuri on Ice, more like Yaoi on Ice” *crickets chirping* “I apologize”). Now I am a self-declared Fujoshi and would have been just fine had this been bait, but this show was much more than what anyone had expected. The amount of success this show received was beyond anything I could have imagined. I honestly enjoyed every episode, as it allowed me to see a sport that I was not very familiar with, had some really funny comedy, and had extremely likeable characters. Even some of the minors characters had enough personality for me to remember them and that’s saying something. So that brings up the question: What is this show’s strengths and weaknesses?
I feel that this show was truly strong with its story and characters. While the story is nothing new in concept, its execution allowed it to feel refreshing and made me excited to see the next episode. Many people were able to predict the ending, but it was still satisfying in my own opinion. As well, it was a really good slice of life and sports anime. While not going into every single technique of ice skating, they did explain how ice skating competitions work and I found it very interesting. It was also nice to just be able to sit back and relax with this show. Its hard to describe really, but I did enjoy the story, so I would probably give it a 4.2/5, for being able to make a simple, overused story concept into something refreshing.
As for characters, while I did say that it was a strength, it is also a weakness. While probably obvious, the main characters definitely carried this show, but they were also helped by other supporting characters, such as Phichit (Selfie King), JJ (Love to Hate), and Otabek (Yurio’s bae). Most of the characters were so interesting that their interactions with each other allowed for many people to become attached not only to them, but also to the show. However, because of the show’s 12 episode limit some characters did not get the development that they should have got. I honestly wished we had more episodes like episode 10, where the characters are all just relaxing and interacting with each other as it was really nice to hear each of their conversations when they weren’t training or competing. Even more episodes with Victor and Yuri back in Japan would have been nice as we could have seen more of their relationship progress. I feel this lack of side character development can best be seen with Minami, as I feel that he could have played a bigger role, may be even challenge Yuri more and become a true rival, but the episode limit prevented this. So overall, I give characters a 3.5/5.
Another thing I want to look at is the animation. While most of it was pretty standard, I loved the backgrounds and the skating animations. As the blu-rays and “welcome to the madness” have shown us, when the Yuri on Ice staff is given time to draw, they are able to draw the skating animation so beautifully it looks so real and flawless. Every jump, every spin, every single move that the character makes on the ice looks so human its like I’m watching them on the Olympics. As for the backgrounds, I really enjoyed seeing how beautiful the oceans, cities and ice could be drawn. It just looked so nice and cool, and it really felt like I was there with the characters. So overall, I give animation a 4.1/5.
My Feelings on the Episodes:
For this review, I don’t really feel like talking about every single episode (that would take way to long), so I’m just going to talk about the episode I thought was the best and the one that was more disappointing then the others, because honestly I don’t think there was a bad episode of this series. This will lead count towards overall enjoyment of the show.
Episode 10, also known as “Gotta Supercharge it! Pre-Grand Prix Final Special!”, had really good comedy and allowed us to see a new side to these characters we have watched for sometime. We see them interacting with each other and just being very relaxed around each other. The episode does a great job at showing how the characters separate their competition selves from their personal lives. An example of this is when Victor says Yuri and him will only get married when he wins a gold medal, everyone then stops what they are doing and shift somewhat into their competition selves. It was also nice to see things from Victor’s perspective as we don’t normally get this and it helped with the overall difference with this episode compared to previous episodes. And of course, both the ring scene and the drunk Yuri dancing ending song were amazing! I honestly want a full version of that ending song, because it was so much fun and fit with the pictures so well. This episode was beyond fantastic!
Episode 7, also known as “China’s On! The Grand Prix Series Opening Event!! The Cup of China Free Skate”. Yeah, this is kind of biased as I love the kiss scene in this episode, but I love how well it shows that Victor and Yuri’s relationship has developed more than before. It also shows how much Yuri has grown since the beginning of the season as he attempts to do Victor’s signature move. While he does fail at doing it, it is still very inspiring and is shown more as Victor is also moved by Yuri’s decision to incorporate his move into this routine.
Worst (Most Disappointing) Episode:
This was a little difficult to decide, but I would probably go with episode 4, also known as “Like Yourself… And Complete The Free Program!!”. I feel that this episode was mainly to show that Yuri had fans in the ice skating rink and that’s it. Besides some cute moments between Yuri and Victor and Yuri gaining some confidence, this episode just doesn’t compare to what we have seen before or what we will see after this episode. I feel this episode could have been better if we had more training episodes between Victor and Yuri or maybe the Yuri on Ice staff could have done the beach episode that they wanted to do here. But yeah, definitely not a horrible episode, but it does not reach the standards that the other episodes were able to reach.
So overall, I give enjoyment 4.5/5, since most episodes were enjoyable and kept you wanting to see what would happen next.
My Thoughts on the Dub:
This is going to be more of a quick review since I plan to go more in depth with a full review for the dub. Now I know this dub kind of split people: You either liked it or you hated it. I was in the “like” group, as I still enjoyed the dub, even if there were some questionable choices. The script was written by Bonny Clinkenbeard and I really enjoyed it and thought it was very well written and had some clever and funny lines. I also liked how the lines were delivered as the lines that were meant to be taken seriously sounded serious and believable and there were more funny lines added into the dub then in the sub, or they just sounded better than in the sub. However, I will admit that I still love the sub over the dub, although I’m a little biased as my favorite voice actor, Junichi Suwabe, played my favorite character, Victor. But I don’t think the Yuri on Ice dub was bad, so I will give it a 3.7/5.
So overall, Yuri on Ice was an absolutely beautiful anime that I would probably recommend for those that like ice skating, a good slice of life story, as well as all you other fujoshis and fudanshis out there. However, for those that are not into yaoi please don’t turn this anime away, as Yuri and Victor’s romance, while canon, is not the main focus of the show and mostly focuses on Yuri’s journey to get back into the skating world. I highly recommend watching this anime as it is also getting a movie that continues from where the anime ended. This show has a huge fanbase and it is not surprising, as this show was amazing and came out at a perfect time. My overall score for the Yuri on Ice anime is 4/5. Please comment below on your own thoughts of this anime and what you disagree or agree with what I said. If you haven’t watched the show, please go and check out the sub on Crunchyroll and the dub on Funimation. Thank you guys for reading and I hope to see you guys next time!