In 2016, Yuri!!! on Ice took anime fandom by storm, and while it’s not unusual for a series to capture the imagination of many fans, Yuri !!! on Ice was a strange case. It was a totally original anime focused on ice skating. He had to face stiff competition from other sports anime like Free! Y Haikyuu!
Despite this, Yuri !!! on Ice became a mega-success, being one of the most watched anime of 2016, sweeping the first Anime Awards de Crunchyroll, and proving to be so popular that, even years later, the anticipation for its continuation, Yuri!!! on Ice: Ice Adolescence, it was still intense. Many anime come and go every year, so what is Yuri’s secret to strength !!! on Ice ?, and what can future anime production teams learn from it to create content that stays in the public consciousness?
Yuri!!! On Ice has solid characters
Without burying the protagonist, Yuri!!! On Ice it worked because it had a very well developed characterization. Although the series features too many characters, the three main figures – Yuri Katsuki, Yuri Plisetsky, and Victor Nikiforov – are incredibly well-realized characters, with deeply explored ambitions, flaws, and desires, all of which are worked on throughout the series. Their relatable struggles immediately make the public sympathize with them.
Victor is the least developed of the threeAlthough his upcoming prequel film should offer a deeper insight into his life. Victor is 27 years old, which, for Olympic-level skating, means he is close to retirement. It’s clear from the start that Victor is incredibly aware of his age. He is a very reserved and melancholic person who hides his sadness through happiness and being extravagant.
Victor is expected to coach Yuri Plisetsky, a 15-year-old skater with anger issues. Instead, he chooses to train Yuri Katsuki, a failed skater who, in his last world championship competition, came in last place and had practically given up.
Yuri Katsuki is a painfully recognizable main character.
In this regard, let’s talk about Yuri Katsuki, the main character. Yuri is an immediately sympathetic protagonist in part because of how vulnerable this boy is. He loses his first competition because he finds out that his dog has died on the day of the test. He battles some undiagnosed anxiety problems that lead to emotional eating, profoundly low self-esteem, and unable to take pride in his many accomplishments.
What makes this series fantastic is how these three characters manage to help each other grow and overcome their demons throughout the series. Yuri Plisetsky’s story arc focuses on being less cheeky and arrogant, allowing him to get in touch with his softer, more emotional side. Victor manages to open up more to people and allow himself to go beyond being a skater and being a coach. Yuri Katsuki’s arc shows how he comes to understand his worth as a skater and recognize his incredible talent and self-esteem.
Yuri!!! On Ice fulfills various wishes
Another reason why Yuri!!! On Ice it has gained international appeal is because it is an international anime. Due to the nature of the competition, which is essentially a world tournament, many of the supporting characters come from all over the world. Therefore, many different cultures are represented in the series. Phichit is Thai, Chris is Swiss, Otabek is Kazakh, etc.
However, when people talk about Yuri!!! on Ice and diversity, what is usually mentioned is that it is possibly one of the best works of representation LGBTQ+ of the last times. When the series premiered, many fans thought that Yuri’s admiration for Victor seemed too intense to be just platonic. This became even more apparent when Yuri comes home to find Victor naked in one of his family’s hot springs, a sight that leaves him quite red.
As the series progressed, many fans debated whether Yuri!!! on Ice he was engaging in “queerbaiting”, in which a creator makes fun of a same-sex relationship without intending to carry it out. Then midway through the series, the two kiss on screen, treating the numerous same-sex romances in the series as most anime do with straight people.
Despite the diversity of the show’s population, it exists in a world without any fanaticism, without explicit racism or homophobia. It exists as a wish-fulfillment fantasy of the world for many people. It could be said that it is for that reason that Yuri!!! on Ice has managed to stand out among so many other animes of a single season. Also, the magnificent animation.