Yuri!!! on ICE

milkboys Anime & Cartoons, Films & TV 8 Comments

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.

yuri-on-ice-fanservice

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.

yuri-katsuki

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.

yuri-plisetsky

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

Oh Tommen…

milkboys Films & TV, News & Articles 32 Comments

…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.

dean-charles-chapman-naked

The little prince who could. Four times sin a row.

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.

dean-charles-chapman-fap-video

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.

Something Must Break

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 20 Comments

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.

The Guardian

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.

Something Must Break (Original Title: Nånting måste gå sönder)
Release: 2014, Sweden | IMDb | Website

Lucky Blue

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 7 Comments

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.

Hold the Door

milkboys Films & TV, Music 9 Comments

Oh, Game of Thrones. For a show being famous for killing off beloved characters left and right it sure upsets lots of people over and over again. I never really felt any emotional impact from any of the many deaths in the show. Spoilers ahead.

got-the-door-01

Yeah, I was mildly annoyed when Renly got killed because he would have been a good king, I do miss Robert’s fuck y’all attitude and it’s a shame someone like Myrcella isn’t around anymore but emotionally all that was fine. As long as sweet, little Tommen isn’t touched by anyone (except for Margaery of course and maybe Tormund ;p) I’ll be all right.

got-the-door-02

Last Sunday’s death wasn’t all that different to me. It was OK, it made sense and unlike most other deaths it actually served a purpose. But fuck me, the acting by the fantastic Sam Coleman still haunts me days later. That scene will be stuck with me for quite some time to come and I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling like that. What an outstanding young actor.

To make matters worse Sam just recorded a short but sweet song about the whole thing and boy, is it ever touching. Check it out below…

Four Moons

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 17 Comments

Four stories about love and self-acceptance: An eleven year-old boy struggles to keep secret the attraction he feels towards his male cousin. Two former childhood friends reunite and start a relationship that gets complicated due to one of them’s fear of getting caught. A gay long lasting relationship is in jeopardy when a third man comes along. An old family man is obsessed with a young male prostitute and tries to raise the money to afford the experience.

The film is available for streaming here.

Four Moons (Original Title: Cuatro lunas)
Release: 2014, Mexico | IMDb | Website

Concrete Night

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 6 Comments

A fourteen-year-old boy in a stifling Helsinki slum takes some unwise life lessons from his soon-to-be-incarcerated older brother.

In a recurring nightmare, Simo (Johannes Brotherus), a 14-year-old with a sweet, open face, swims around an underwater train car, desperately looking for exits. The reality to which he awakens is only marginally less hopeless. Simo lives in a cramped public housing project with his alternately neglectful and manipulative mother (Anneli Karppinen) and Illka (Jari Virman), the troubled big brother he looks up to for lack of other viable role models.

concrete-night-02

On a weekend night before Jari “goes inside,” the two brothers wander around a Finnish capital self-consciously drenched in noir tropes. In their encounters with druggies, enforcers, Illka’s masochistic girlfriend, one excruciatingly stereotyped gay predator and the traumatized dreamlife inside Simo’s head (where scorpions abound), the brothers both witness and collaborate on atrocities of accelerating brutality, all of them lovingly fussed over by an overbearingly poetic camera.

Concrete Night (Original Title: Betoniyö)
Release: 2013, Finland | IMDb | Website

Utpressing for Nybegynnere

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV, Skin & Skylcad 22 Comments

Simen (Johan Tinus Lindgren) is strongly influenced by his feelings, and unable to get over the death of his mother four years ago. When one day he learns that his father Vidar (Kim Prisoner) will die of cancer unless he gets an operation abroad which costs $200,000, he becomes afraid of being orphaned.

utpressing01

How will he be able to raise so much money in a few days? After he witnesses a robbery by Ove (Erik Skold), he decides to try and blackmail him for the money he needs for his dad’s operation. Since Simen is an amateur at blackmailing people for money, he does everything wrong. Suddenly he finds himself bound in Ove’s car. Now it’s Ove’s turn to push Simen’s family for ransom.

Blog reader James submitted this rather weird piece of film history. It’s from a Norwegian film called Utpressing for nybegynnere. It looks a bit trashy (IMDb rating of 3.9 and that title Kidnapped & Enslaved…). But see for yourself…

You can find the whole thing on the milkboard if you’re so inclined…

Utpressing for nybegynnere
Release: 2011, Norway | IMDb | Website

Reckless

milkboys Film & TV, Films & TV 30 Comments

reckless04

Reckless is set in the Scandinavian suburbs during the hottest summer day. It narrates an episode in the life of two siblings. Sofia is a beautiful blonde 15 year old girl and Mads is her little brother. When their parents decide to spend a weekend away, the girl is asked to baby-sit her brother – a task she seems reluctant to execute, so she takes him to the swimming pool. Here, she meets two boys that try to hit on her. Their interest is returned, and she leaves the child to himself, without thinking of the consequences.

It is clear that we are faced with a softly controversial film whose plot moves on two connected wires, where eroticism and social drama are interwoven, in a blurred line between a casual incident and recklessness. On one side, the man focus for Sorensen seems to be softly pushing the magnet of attraction until it reaches the sexual encounter between the teenagers: everything seems to happen with a certain naturalness. He gradually moves towards the intimacy of sex until he reaches a ménage à trois free from every morbidity, respecting the (surprising) innocence of these teens without indulging in an indiscreet gaze. The erotic charge is preserved in its spontaneity, which is not easy to accomplish.

The other strand is linked to the dramatic component that derives from Sofia’s failure to take care of her little brother, a task that her parents gave her perhaps without giving it too much thought.

Even if it would have elements to work on, Reckless does not attempt to engage in a specific discourse, but only wants to suggest something, leaving its message open, impressed on the “skin” of its characters. Several elements hint in this direction: the warmth of the light on the bodies, the cinematography that employs warm tones, the cream smeared on the body, the first physical contact, the water that glides on the bodies in the shower, the drop of blood that falls from Mads’ face. The viewer is left with a feeling of insolvency, taken by a double spiral of dizziness, the erotic charge of love and the violence of Mads’ drama. If the former is vented, the latter is there, suspended, waiting to be let out.

Reckless
Release: 2013, Norway | IMDb | Website

I would have loved to show you the actual short but couldn’t find any source that would have been somewhat legal to link to, let us know in the comments if you had more luck.