The story of Yuri!!! on ICE revolves around Yuri Katsuki, who carried all of Japan’s hopes on his shoulders to win at the Gran Prix Finale ice skating competition, but suffered a crushing defeat. He returns home to Kyushu and half feels like he wants to retire, and half feels like he wants to continue ice skating.
With those mixed feelings swirling inside him, he confines himself inside his parents house. Suddenly the five-time consecutive world championship ice skater Viktor Nikiforov appears before him, and along with him is Yuri Plisetsky, a young Russian figure skater who is already defeating his seniors. Viktor and both Yuris take up the challenge on an unprecedented Gran Prix series.
Yuri is a young figure skater considering retirement after he plummeted from world championship level to failing to qualify at nationals over the course of a single season. He goes home for the first time in five years in poor physical and emotional condition, reconnecting with his family and trying to reconnect with his love of skating – not realising everything is about to change.
We often get sports anime at the start of an athlete’s career. Picking up with elementary school Yuri as he first discovers skates then comes to surpass his friends, or middle school Yuri struggling to balance training for regional competitions with studying for high school entrance exams, or high school Yuri working his way up to his first national championship – any of these would have made for a solid anime. Instead, we meet Yuri when he is 23, at a crossroads and in a state of doubt. To the people of his no-name hometown he is a proud success, but to other skating professionals he is a failure; he is aware of both opinions, and they are equally painful to him. To start an anime with this kind of everyday, relatable complexity is pretty rare, and it is handled expertly.
The storytelling works by gently layering multiple elements, characters and settings to build up a world in which a story happens rather than spoon-feeding information to the audience. Throwaway comments in normal conversations hint at reasons why Yuri might have stayed away for five years, or what he sacrificed by leaving. There is occasional exposition given in voiceover or through SD imagery, but it is quick and lightly handled. As a general rule, the animation is used to convey both character details and set an atmosphere, supporting and elevating the storytelling, which is strong and sophisticated to begin with. The script sets up and subverts expectations, making a fairly slow-paced drama less predictable and even more satisfying to watch.
Despite frequent use of cartoony facial expressions and visual gags, Yuri’s world is one of the most grounded of the season. His world is full of people who feel like people, not archetypes, with full lives which continue outside Yuri’s view. There are female characters of different ages, all with individual personalities, styles and mannerisms, none of whom are sexualised.
This episode gives a lot of information on story, backstory and characters in this episode, but its focus is tight: Yuri is in a slump and needs to find a way out of it. To add stakes and complications, his idol, exceptional Russian skater Victor, has no idea who he is. His idol’s younger teammate told Yuri in no uncertain terms that he should retire, but Yuri knows that if he retires he will never get another chance to skate on the same ice as Victor. However, his performance has dropped so dramatically he may be forced into retirement anyway simply by failing to qualify for anything. Also, didn’t he love this once? What happened?
Review by Anime Feminist
…you sweet, sweet summer child. It sure seems to be the year of leaks. Bieber, Troye, now Dean-Charles Chapman. And much like the character he portrays on Game of Thrones, the British actor seems to occasionally have trouble with his sexual energy clouding his judgement.
Yesterday a video surfaced that was captured on the video chat site Omegle. It shows the 19-year-old actor having a wank with his cousin (who seems to take more than one close look at Dean) and according to 4chan he confirmed the authenticity of the video on his Instagram account. Take that as you will.
Both the thread and the video are gone by now but let’s all take this as a reminder to use common sense when we sext or get off in front of a webcam. The headache the potential aftermath can cause is rarely worth the few seconds of bliss that orgasm might bring. More importantly though, don’t record people without their consent. Duh.
This is the occasional post in which we regretfully feature content from the overproduced shit shows that are X-Factor and America’s got Talent because some of the contestants actually do have really nice voices.
First up is 14-year-old Campbell Walker Fields who was adopted by two guys which, of course, was turned into a tearjerker segment but oh well, not his fault, he seems great and certainly can sing.
Then there’s Grace Vander Waal who must have struck a saucy deal with the devil to get a voice like that, she’s pretty awesome, she writes her own songs too! Will be interesting to see how her voice will age.
Photo by Sakiko Nomura
The journey of a suicidal transgender teen in small-town Sweden swerves between striking and meandering in this impressive drama. What’s most consistent is the compelling lead performance from newcomer Saga Becker, who stars as Sebastian/Ellie, a waif whose need for sex and love leads to a dysfunctional affair. The object of her desire is a boy whose confused sexuality threatens to destroy the budding relationship.
The film’s bittersweet take on young love is familiar, but the gender-related difficulties add something fresher, and Becker has an undeniable screen presence. Director Ester Martin Bergsmark’s slight film works best as a character study focused almost exclusively on the lead. There’s a grubby ugliness – from transphobic violence to an obsession with urine – and a garish style that leaves an impression, although too much repetition holds it back.
You can watch the whole film on Vimeo–if you speak either Swedish or Spanish. I’ll try to find an English version and link it here when I do.
Looking for more music to play/fap/chill to? This way…
Olle, an introverted, well-mannered boy with an air of innocence and sincerity about him has been camping with his father at the same camping ground with several other people for years now. A sort of tradition that ends in a karaoke party.
Then one summer, a family friend brings her reticent ‘city boy’ nephew, Kevin, and his pet budgerigar. Olle accidentally releases the bird and what follows is a discovery of friendship and love between the guy who has grown up in a loving environment and simply accepts love for what it is and the guy who’s apparently been burned too many times in his own circle to feel comfortable with it.