Thursday, October 6, 2016

Recap: Yuri!!! on Ice Episode 1

I’m a huge fan of sports anime but this is the first ice skating anime I’m watching EVER. This is very unlike Days or Baby Steps in which the beginnings of a future athlete is closely followed, but instead, our main character is an ice skating athlete who already bested others in Japan (I assume) and has lost inspiration in continuing on after losing international titles.

Yuri!!! on Ice is very funny and entertaining and the animation of skating routines are very beautiful! I’m not really a fan of ice skating but I’ve watched a lot of Olympic pair figure skating before (it’s more entertaining for me than singles competitions hehe).

So anyway, before I bore you with anything else, here’s the recap of Yuri!!! on Ice!

A male skater dances on ice in the shadows as a voice narrates “You have always surprised me.” Our protagonist, Katsuki Yuri, watches in awe as his kid self morphs to the present.
We later arrive at the Sochi Grand Prix Final, in which the champion is announced in the persona of Viktor Nikiforov from Russia, the man skating in the first seconds of the episode. The commentator notes Viktor’s amazing performance has put to rest rumors of him retiring after this competition.
Then we cut to a scene with Yuri, who ended his first time in the Grand Prix placing last, reading news items and still reeling from the shock of losing. He blames it on binge-eating due to the pressure and the death of his family dog.
Yuri calls his mom from the toilet and apologizes for losing. He bursts into tears and that’s when another contestant kicks his stall. He opens it to find the Junior Grand Prix Final champ Yuri Plisetsky, known as a “Russian punk.”
The Russian Yuri tells off the Japanese Yuri to get lost and retire as he will be joining the senior division next year and doesn’t want two Yuris in the competition. Japanese Yuri thinks to himself that even he left the sport, there would be tons of talented young skaters to replace him.
As Yuri and his coach are leaving the arena, a reporter approaches Yuri and tells him not to give up. Viktor and Russian Yuri, meanwhile, passes by and Viktor turns to Japanese Yuri and asks him if he wants a commemorative photo.
Yuri just turns around and leaves muttering to himself it’s humiliating for even thinking of skating with his idol Viktor on the same ice.
A year later, Yuri arrives in his hometown Hasetsu, a fictional place in Kyushu province. Yuri is welcomed at the train station by his ballet teacher who scolds him when he wouldn’t shake the hands of an old man. 
Yuri arrives home, which is apparently a hot springs inn. His sister (or an older female working in the inn) asks him how long he will be staying and what his plans are. These are the questions Yuri has been avoiding for a year and he just tells his Mari-nee-chan he still has to think about it (“onee” is a Japanese term for older sister, while “chan” is an honorific usually attached to female names).
Minako-sensei is still at the hot springs inn and is drinking beer at the common room. She’s watching the World Championships of figure skating being held in Tokyo, and saying how she could have gone to watch if only Yuri qualified for it.
Yuri meanwhile goes to a nearby skating rink and tells the store manager and his long-time crush of his desire to skate alone. He reminisces how he, Yuko, and another classmate in skating Takeshi gush about Viktor when they were kids and he even bought a puppy (the one which died recently) like the one Viktor has.
Yuri asks Yuko to watch his performance and while he skates, the scene is interchanged with Viktor’s routine in the World Championships. Minako-sensei, while watching Viktor on TV, notes the routine is actually more fitting for a younger and innocent-looking man, while the scene cuts to Yuri dancing beautifully and Yuko watching in awe.
Yuko is very amazed at Yuri’s “perfect copy” of Viktor’s routine and Yuri says after he got depressed due to his losses, he began reminiscing the days they would copy Viktor. His would-be confession is interrupted by Yuko’s triplets—all are his fans—and husband (GASP! HAHAHA) Takeshi. Takeshi tells Yuri he can always come by and practice as his whole family will always be cheering him on.
Yuri tells himself he has to skate on the same ice as Viktor again but his thoughts are interrupted by Takeshi, who apologizes for his daughters uploading his video ice skating to Viktor’s routine! Viktor meanwhile is watching this and his eyes twitch in —anger? curiosity? Haha, we’ll see.
Yuri’s mom later asks him to shovel snow and Yuri is surprised to see a poodle looking like his own on their entrance porch and rushes out when his Dad says it was brought by a handsome foreigner who’s enjoying their hot spring!
Yuri checks the pools and finds Viktor happily soaking in their hot spring. Viktor stands up and reaches out a hand to him and announces he will be his coach and together, they will win the next Grand Prix finals! HAHAHAHA

I obviously enjoyed this one and CAN’T WAIT FOR THE NEXT EPISODE!!!


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