Mark Watches ‘Yuri On Ice’: S01E02 – Two Yuris?! Drama at Yu-topia

In the second episode of the first season of Yuri On Ice, Victor’s arrival brings with him the chaos of fame and a bitter rival. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Yuri On Ice.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of fatphobia

Oh, gods, can y’all understand how CONFLICTED I am? Look, I’m used to the bait and switch. I’m used to being teased by the possibility that this is real, only to have it swept out from under me by the end. So there’s a part of me that cannot deny that this show is GGGGGAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY because there are so! many! things! that feel specific to this experience! Yuri’s general adoration and shyness feels like the show is falling into that gay angst trope of desiring someone but believing they’re out of your league because they are a) straight and b) so much more perfect and pretty than you are. I DEEPLY RELATE TO EVERY BIT OF THIS TROPE OKAY. But is this meant as an exploration of Yuri’s subconscious feelings, or is it supposed to be about the discomfort of putting our idols on pedestals? (OR BOTH. LET IT BE BOTH, THAT WOULD BE GREAT.)

So, while watching this show, I’m torn. It seems exceedingly gay at times, and my instant reaction to those moments is usually excitement? But then I have to temper it with my expectations. It’s not that I’m imagining these moments! I know they’re happening. Exactly how far is the show going to take it, though? SHOULD I BE EXCITED BY ALL THOSE LOOKS OR THE FACT THAT VICTOR GAVE YURI SEXUAL LOVE AS HIS SONG CHOREOGRAPHY??? 

I’ll be cautiously excited for now.

Anyway, I can’t say I had many expectations for what Yuri On Ice would be about, but I guess I assumed there’d be lots of competitions??? Instead, I’m getting this intense examination of Victor’s fame and what that means for both Yuri and Yurio. (Which I’m using as a way to refer to the other Yuri just because this would be complicated otherwise.) Victor’s presence in Hasetsu is chaotic and distracting… to a point. As the skating world finds out that he’s stopped training himself, that he’s now flown to Japan to help out someone who placed last in the Finals the year before, they LOSE THEIR SHIT. So, you’ve got this hero worship mixed in with a media frenzy, and then there’s Yurio. Oh, wow, I don’t like him a whole lot? I appreciate that he does have an important stake in this. Victor did promise him to design his first senior choreography, and thus, Victor’s trip to coach Yuri interrupts that. Plus, Yurio is on the Russian team; Yuri is a competitor! There’s an element of betrayal here, isn’t there?

Still, it’s hard to like Yurio, and I certainly hated that he kicked Yuri in the chest as soon as he arrived at the Hot Springs. WHAT THE HELL, WHY WAS THAT COMPLETELY UNADDRESSED??? Yurio despises Yuri, and it’s not just because he’s a competitor. He feels like Yuri doesn’t deserve to compete because he’s too weak! Well, then there’s an uncomfortable thread about calling Yuri fat? Ugh, I get it, figure skaters are “supposed” to be thin, but wow, everyone is so harsh toward Yuri about this! It upsets me because despite understanding the reason why, it’s still so cruel to witness, you know?

Anyway, let’s talk about FEELINGS!!! Because one of the truly exciting things in “Two Yuris?! Drama at Yu-topia” is Yuri’s reaction to Yurio’s presence. It’s clear that anxiety and paranoia affect Yuri’s performances, and that’s going to be a major roadblock this season. How can Yuri perform (and do the kind of emotional and vulnerable performances that Victor requires of him) in front of other people? I don’t know yet! However, there’s the spark of Yuri finding his confidence within this episode as he decides not to take Yurio’s bait. Those rare moments of positivity might be what he needs to conquer his anxiety… but I’m not certain. Ah, it’s complicated! Clearly, Yuri is talented, and I’m hoping that his desire to impress Victor will push him past this roadblock.

Also, I just want to state that I nearly expired when Yuri said he wanted to eat more pork cutlet bowls with Victor if he won this skate-off. Yeah, christ, this is going to destroy me, y’all. 

The video for “Two Yuris?! Drama at Yu-topia” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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