Warning: Contains spoilers!!
I started being more active on Twitter the day the finale of Yuri!!! On Ice came out.
I had to board an airplane 10 minutes after it came out. I wouldn’t be able to watch it till 7 hours later, when I had Wi-Fi. But even though I didn’t want to stream videos, I still had data. I could still go on Twitter.
It was a really bad idea to start being more active on Twitter the day the finale of Yuri!!! On Ice came out.
This episode featured the last part of the Grand Prix. The six skaters performed their free skate, hoping to make up for or keep up their previous world records. Victor and Yuri fight beforehand as Yuri declares his intention to retire after this Grand Prix. Yuri executes the best skate of his life, breaking a world record. Victor fires up Yurio, who gets angry and just barely edges out Yuri to win the gold. Afterwards, Yuri declares that he wants to continue his career and asks Victor to keep being his coach. A wonderful couple’s skate fills the ending sequence.
The couple’s tension was pretty strong in this one, folks. Those two really have a great chemistry on screen and I don’t really want to focus too much on it, as I’m sure others have remarked on it heavily. And the line “We call everything on the ice ‘love’” really choked me up—the anime has been building to this point so much: sexual love, romantic love, love and pride for one’s country, love of self, love between siblings, love of friends, love of people whom you might consider family; and how they might all intertwine and transcend.
My favorite part of this episode was Yurio. Particularly, this scene:
Everything comes back full circle. Yuri crying in the bathroom stall, Yurio kicking his door right down and telling him to retire—it was because Yurio thought that Yuri had potential that he wasn’t living up to, and a weak personality to boot. And it gets expressed again this time around, when Yuri becomes so angry at the thought of Yuri retiring, after he’s finally starting to show how good he can be, that he steps up his game even more to try to make him not retire. Really gives another side to the whole rebel Yankee Yurio was made out to be at the beginning. I don’t know if I’ve ever liked a guy like Yurio in anime before, but I love him!
Yurio winning wasn’t too much of a surprise—er, well, let’s rephrase. Yuri not winning wasn’t a surprise since he hasn’t seemed as (for lack of a better word) impressive as other skaters. I just would never have thought that he would lose the way he did, almost winning gold but just barely, with a world record to boot. Rather, I thought that one of the other skaters (say, JJ if he hadn’t panicked, or a dark horse like Otabek) would have done significantly better.
In retrospect, it makes sense, sort of. Yuri has been blossoming since the start of the series, and his skating along with him. Others have obviously seen his potential but his nerves always got the best of him.
I was a little confused by the prospect of Yuri reversing his decision to leave skating. It’s just that a beautiful part of the anime was the idea that Yuri will be too old to skate soon—a main concern for Chris Giacometti, too, and definitely Victor. (Though, uh, I guess it hasn’t been mentioned too many times, if at all, for Victor–that guy’s timeless?) It’s been mentioned several times throughout the series and used effectively to contrast Yuri with, say, Yurio. The anime could have cut it off right there, Yuri making history for himself, without mentioning five more gold medals and the maybe promise of another season, and we would be left bittersweet but satisfied. He’s past his prime, so make way for the budding young’un.
But at the same time, it’s just like Yuri, the ever-blooming late bloomer, to be motivated even more to try his best after seeing the gold slip away from him. In fact, it’s the only scenario I can think of (+ the promise of more Victor without actually telling Victor to stay with him, coach or not) that would have caused him to reverse his decision. His sister mentioned something along those lines quite a while back, how he’s so competitive and works harder than anyone else even though he might not look it. Maybe like Victor, he has a season or two left in him yet.
As with other episodes featuring multiple skates, it felt a little cramped. The main three characters were given ample screen time, but everyone else’s skate felt a little wanting. I hope that this issue can be addressed with the possible next season, which should be much more competitive—with the two Yuris at their peaks and showing that they have the potential to beat Victor, Victor making a comeback, the possibility of JJ knocking off his slump, and Otabek/Phichit chugging even harder along. Then there are the other skaters who may prove to fare even better next time around.
Thanks for reading my episode-by-episode reviews on Yuri!!! On Ice! This series has been such a blast to watch, and I’ll definitely be watching if they release another season. Thank you to everyone who chatted and discussed this series with me.
I am unfortunately not posting series reviews on any of the anime I’m reviewing this season (save for the mini season recap on Nanbaka), but I do have an idea for a YOI post that I’ll try to hash out. Till next time!