In the tenth episode of the first season of Yuri On Ice, the final six competitors prepare for the Grand Prix. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Yuri On Ice.
Still not ready. I’M STILL NOT READY.
Oh, it was just brilliant to get an entire episode narrated by Victor instead of Yuri. BRILLIANT. And the change in focus was needed, especially since it allowed Victor to give the audience a look at the entire competitive field in a way Yuri could not. There’s a sense of Victor’s history all over this episode, from the people he has trained with to the one’s he has competed with. All of this matters because of how integral it is to understanding the complex fabric of this competition. This is not simply a case of everyone wanting to win gold. THERE IS SO MUCH MORE AT STAKE. Having Victor narrate this helped me see the bigger picture.
Also, wow, what the hell kind of friendship does he have with Christophe THE BEST KIND since they can take risqué selfies and photos for Instagram. TRUE FRIENDS, Y’ALL.
The Yuri Angels
I believe this is the first time these characters are actually named within the show, and I’m torn on how I feel about them. It’s so easy to just have a pack of screaming young girls represent an unhealthy fandom, despite that straight men are often the worst, most violent “fandom” imaginable. (Seriously. Sports fandom.) And with a show that is almost entirely comprised of male characters, it feels a little cruel to shove all the women into supporting roles or into stereotypes. I think there was a way to build on what the writers might have been attempting to show: toxic fan behaviors. Which are real! And I don’t want to suggest that figure skating isn’t consumed in this manner or that there isn’t anything real to what is displayed here. Lord knows I have regaled some of y’all with stories of the absolutely absurd things that “fans” have done to me. It’s also true that the majority of these things were done to me by women.
Look, it’s also possible that because I’m not in the figure skating fandom—either here or in Japan—I am missing the mark on what the show might be trying to say if it is saying anything at all. Perhaps they’re just here to push Yurio to befriend Otabek. I assume that’s the case! It’s why Otabek ends up reaching out to Yurio and “saving” him from the Yuri Angels. So maybe there wasn’t all that much thought put into this anyway.
DON’T WORRY, I’M OVER HERE OVERTHINKING EVERYTHING.
The Day Before
I am pleased that we didn’t immediately move into the Grand Prix. So while this episode doesn’t have the same type of excitement that comes from competition, I found a lot to love in this story. Oh, there was excitement of a different kind, BUT WE’LL GET TO THAT. I just loved that we got to see all the skaters try to relax before the biggest day of their lives, only to discover in various ways that what they really wanted to do was reach out to one another. As I said in an earlier review, it’s clear that this particular type of figure skating is pretty lonely. Who do these men have to talk to? To relate to? To vent to? Almost none of them are particularly close with their coaches. (Except maybe Phichit, who appears to be the exception.) It’s my theory as to why them all seem to pair off. Otabek seeks out Yurio. Victor and Yuri go shopping as a form of retail therapy, which mostly helps Victor, not Yuri. (Until the BIG THING happens. I’ll get there, I promise.) And then, at the end of the night, all six skaters are joined by Mari and Minako over dinner. Why? Why did these athletes gravitate toward one another, despite that they might not ever be friends? Well, they share an experience, one that the majority of the world doesn’t understand. It felt natural to me that they’d all end up together. Bless Mari’s reaction, for what it’s worth.
There’s no way I can read Yuri buying Victor A RING as anything but a DECLARATION OF LOVE. Yes, Victor might very well have been joking about getting married to Yuri if Yuri wins the gold medal in the Grand Prix, but everything else was so intentional, y’all. It’s framed like a marriage proposal. The expressions on their faces is romantic and intense. THEY MAKE VOWS TO ONE ANOTHER IN A MOTHERFUCKIN’ CHURCH. What am I supposed to think??? Victor LITERALLY admires the ring on his finger and how the light bounces off of it. THAT IS… THAT HAPPENED. IT WAS REAL. It’s so clearly about love? And devotion? And making the other person happy??? THIS IS SO WILD, I GENUINELY DID NOT EXPECT THIS TO GO SO FAR. And yet it is! Victor wasn’t remotely ashamed of that ring once the group noticed it, and that’s INCREDIBLE.
I can’t. I CAN’T. YURI EXPRESSED HIS INTEREST IN VICTOR A YEAR AGO WHILE DRUNK. HE INVITED VICTOR TO COME TO HASETSU AND TOLD HIM THAT HE WANTED VICTOR TO BE HIS COACH IF HE WON HIS DANCE BATTLE. Oh my god, for the first time in the series, Victor look like the embarrassed one. Is this why Victor came to Hasetsu? Did Yuri simply not remember the bargain he made with Victor?
I’M EMOTIONAL. THESE LAST TWO EPISODES WILL END ME.
The video for “Skate 10 – Gotta Supercharge It! Pre-Grand Prix Final Special!” can be downloaded here for $0.99.
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