Japanese culture shines in its own uniqueness. On one hand, it is driven by ancient traditions and religious practices, while on the other, it incorporates modern trends and influences. Japanese artists are credited for the creation of manga and anime that are now famous worldwide.
Most people tend to assume that anime was adapted from Western comics. This isn’t entirely true as only a few aspects are borrowed from the West. It’s true that Osamu Tezuka, the father of modern manga and anime, was influenced by the works of Walt Disney and Max Fleisher, but several aspects of his work are entirely Japanese.
Figure skating is yet another fascination among the Japanese, and is a hugely popular sport in the country. You’d find yourself bedazzled by the elegance and the glamour of figure skating performers, even though the sport is looked down upon by many.
Highlighting the challenges of a figure skater is an anime series, Yuri!!! on Ice, has been a huge hit in Japan and abroad. Aired on TV Asahi, this series was the first anime with primary theme of figure skating.
Read on to know how Yuri’s story can be a source of inspiration for you:
1. Motivation to Keep at It
Yuri Katsuki, a pro figure skater, initially struggled with his own passion for figure skating despite several losses, until he meets his idol and eventually his Russian coach, Victor Nikiforov. Right at the start of the show, Yuri suffers a crushing loss at the Grand Prix Final. With a heavy heart, he finishes college and returns home to take control of his life.
Under the guidance of Victor, Yuri learns to accept his passion for this sport and works towards developing his skills. The infectious enthusiasm of the lead characters and the presence of some gorgeous female anime characters contribute to the success of this series.
The popularity of the show led to its high Twitter ranking among all anime series, with a record of over 1.4 million Tweets. Who’d expect an anime series to attract the attention of such a large number of fans!
2. Succeeding Despite Minimal Support
Yuri was born in Hasetsu, Saga Prefecture, Kyushu, where his family owns the last existing bathhouse inn in town. Yuri started figure skating as a child at Ice Castle with his friends Yuko and Takeshi. It was his ballet teacher, Minako who recommended him to learn figure skating.
In a world where people are think twice even before taking calculated risks (or no risks at all), Yuri had the courage to break the monotonous nature of his life. He sets an excellent example of how you should not let anything discourage you from pursuing your passion.
Yuri’s idol, Victor Nikiforov is a Russian figure skater, regarded as the world’s number one in this sport. During the peak of his career, he charmed his audience with every performance. But after winning yet another competition, he worries that he can no longer surprise his fans. He was on the verge of losing inspiration when he learnt of Yuri. The complexities faced by both these characters are extremely relatable and make for a compelling story.
3. Fighting the Odds Humbly
The lack of regular practice since the competition causes Yuri to become out of shape. But, he still loves the sport. After returning to his hometown, he performs a routine originally performed by his idol, Victor Nikiforov, at the community rink. Some kids capture his act on video and post it online. Victor himself sees the clip and rushes to Japan to help Yuri. The skating star wants to be Yuri’s coach and train him to win the Grand Prix Final, which is likely to be Victor’s last chance to be associated with the competition.
Yuri’s journey until the Grand Prix Final is a tough one. He faces multiple challenges in his training and personal life. Being a sensitive person, Yuri is often seen hassled by Victor’s words. He was also intimidated by his opponent, Yuri Plisetsky, a young Russian figure skater who dominated the Junior World Championships for three years straight, winning gold at the previous Junior Grand Prix Final. The protagonist is seen being humble and kind towards his competitor, teaching fans about these values in the most realistic manner.
Even in reality, speculations about the show are always afloat. Some fans are critical of the relationship between Yuri and Victor, while others are unhappy about the lack of explanation of the technical aspects of figure skating and the repetitive nature of the plot. However, the show has been successful at getting past these challenges.
4. Valuing Emotions and Relationships
For anime fans, Yuri!!! on Ice is not just about the character depiction or the spectacular skating sequences. The show is heavy on showcasing the emotional turmoil that the characters go through. When each skater performs his routine, viewers can associate with the innermost emotions, hopes, dreams and insecurities of the inanimate characters.
In this way, the show succeeds in giving a better idea of who each character truly is and what drives them. For instance, during competitions, Yuri tends to be more self-centered due to his anxiety and competitive nature, but Victor trains him to pay attention to the people who are present to support him.
There’s no denying that anime fans enjoy the excitement emanating from watching this sport in this series. In fact, a vast number of fans are excited to include Yuri in their lives. The Yuri on Ice body pillow is definitely becoming a trend among diehard fans.
Yuri!!! on Ice is about competitive figure skating and hence, its plot is focused on highlighting the strength, competition, and the pleasure of excelling in this sport. Most anime fans never expected a show about men’s figure skating to be this enjoyable, but this anime series has surpassed that notion. Yuri!!! on Ice debuted last year, and has evoked instant love and praise from its fans.