In the fifth episode of the first season of Yuri On Ice, I am continually overwhelmed by this show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Yuri On Ice.
Well, I got attached to this show real quickly. And now I’ve reached the first of what is bound to be many competitions, and WOW, THIS WAS A LOT. It’s actually the self-esteem arc of Yuri’s character that I find myself most invested in. (For real, though, the potential “gay” content is becoming more and more obvious, so perhaps I’ll start freaking out more on that.) I’ve spoken about how much I relate to it before, and guess what? Here’s even more about that topic.
Because seriously, as much as I want the romance between Yuri and Victor to be confirmed, I want Yuri to be happy with himself even more. That is a difficult path, though, and “Face Beet-Red” addresses one particular problem that Yuri has: he is not alone. And for what it’s worth, the show has done a fine job of showing us just how solitary figure skating can be, at least in the sense of how the skating sequences are portrayed. The writers use voiceovers often during skate scenes, and it helps to show us what these characters are going through as they’re on the ice alone. For Yuri, competitive spaces are where his anxieties thrive, so his internal narrations are usually fraught and complicated.
Yet these spaces are anything bit isolated, and if anything, we’ve never seen so many people jammed into that space. Victor’s a large part of that, and at the beginning of the episode, there are a couple sequences that demonstrate how Victor’s presence has created a media frenzy around Yuri’s rise. Which actually isn’t all that helpful, y’all! It makes Yuri feel like he’s under even more pressure to perform, and it’s why his first skate is… well, it’s not what it should be. OH, IT WAS GOOD!!! I don’t want to deny that! Y’all, Yuri got his best score of his whole career, and he landed some jumps he had never been able to land in a competitive setting, I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THIS.
But he’s got the same problem as before: he can’t just immerse himself into the skating. He analyzes every move, anticipates every jump, and thinks about them technically rather than naturally. Still, it was a solid performance. But was it enough? Not for Victor or Yuri. But it was everything for Minami, the younger skater that had once beat Yuri in a competition. It’s such a cool story for the show to address through Minami because it’s also an important part of Yuri’s growth as a skater. His work inspires other people, and Minami specifically takes influence from his skating, even if Yuri doesn’t enjoy it. But Yuri is so lost in criticizing himself and trying to impress Victor that he dismisses Minami’s excitement, offending him in the process.
It’s more than just him being offensive, though. Yuri is part of a community that makes up other skaters; other coaches; fans; judges; friends and families. And when he ignores those elements, when he thinks only about himself, how can he ever truly be a good figure skater? How can he consider himself as a part of this world?
When Yuri accepts his place, he transforms. Not only does he make Minami’s day, but his free skate is INCREDIBLE. He becomes himself, and he gives himself over to the theme, to Victor (JUST KIDDING, GOTTA SCREAM ABOUT THAT, HE LITERALLY FLUNG HIMSELF AT VICTOR), and to the entire performance. He is more fluid. More natural. And yes, he messes up a few times, but as a whole? Yuri finds that spark he was missing.
Y’ALL, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT COMPETITION.
The video for “Face Beet-Red!! It’s the First Competition! The Chugoku, Shikoku, and Kyushu Championship” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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