In the third episode of the first season of Yuri On Ice, this show is tormenting me personally. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Yuri On Ice.
What am I supposed to do with this??? I am stuck in the exact position I was in the previous episode: I am supposed to read all these looks and these gentle touches as something genuine, or is Victor just so goddamn oblivious that he doesn’t realize what he’s doing?
Perhaps that’s the whole point, especially since this episode works spectacularly as a Yuri unaware of his own feelings and affection towards Victor. Well, sort of unaware. At times, Yuri is perfectly willing to admit that Victor is his idol, that he finds him attractive, and that he means the world to him. But the context is muddled; he expresses them through safe avenues or through narration to the audience. Is it ever to Victor’s face? Is it ever expressed as romance or sexual love? No, at least not yet.
But “I am Eros, and Eros is Me!?” dances around this subtext as Yuri struggles with the emotional motivation for his routine. And y’all, I can’t believe this episode got me to think about Yurio sympathetically, but WOW, HOLY SHIT, DID I HAVE A FEELING? This is why I felt so captivated by the story, though. This isn’t just about the technical skill involved in skating; it’s a vehicle by which these deeper themes can be explored. That being said, this show does not fuck around when it comes to depicting figure skating, and I love that, too. It feels so real? Like, let the video for this episode stand as evidence that I was enthralled with both performances in the Hot Springs face-off. So I don’t want to belittle the fact that this is about figure skating, you know? It’s an important aspect of the show.
So, let me back up and talk about the main conflict. After Victor gives both skaters their general choreography and then has them run through it, they both have the same problem, though they come at it from opposite directions. Yurio is so overconfident that he can’t master the emotion of unconditional love. His skating is technically perfect, but it’s mechanical. Yuri, on the other hand, never really has a problem being emotional; it’s all right on the surface. But he lacks confidence, and that means it’s incredibly challenging for him to portray sexual love with any intensity. His skating is messy, not certain.
How do you find something that seems so contradictory to your nature? Well, Yuri tries really hard to, and Yurio resists every attempt Victor makes to put him in the right mind for it. Seriously, Yurio is so angry, y’all. He fights everyone on everything all the time, so it’s no wonder that the concept of unconditional love seemed confounding to him… until he let it in. Look, all we know about Yurio’s current coach is that he’s the Actual Worst. He’s mean, cruel, and incredibly demanding. But that brief flashback that Yurio experiences while at the falls communicates warmth and understanding. It’s so short, but I still understood why it was important. At one point in his life, that represented skating to Yurio. Y’all, it’s so intense that he nearly has a breakdown on the ice thinking about how he failed his theme, despite skating well. He isn’t like his grandfather in that regard.
While Yuri’s choice to skate for his pork bowl is adorable—and look, there is some food I love so much that this feel perfectly relatable—I can’t help but feel like the reason Yuri excels here is because he’s tapping into a subconscious affection for Victor. Like!!!! Victor caressed his lip with his thumb! He looks upon Yuri with so much intensity! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO FEEL ABOUT ALL OF THIS, OH MY GOD. But again, it’s easy for me to assume this is the point because I am deeply biased by the GAY AGENDA. I want this to be real because of how much it would mean, and I think it captures a part of the gay experience that I don’t see too often. Pining for beautiful straight men who are out of your league but irresistible? Channeling your unrequited and unacknowledged feelings into performance art? BECOMING UNABLE TO SPEAK BECAUSE BOYS???
I don’t want to project too much, but I hope this is real, y’all.
The video for “I am Eros, and Eros is Me!? Face Off! Hot Springs on Ice” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff