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Brief thoughts on Yuri!!! on ICE episode 11

Just gonna add to what I wrote two weeks ago ^^;








  • Well, there we have it. Yūri has come out and told Victor that he wants this to be the their last competition (as student and coach). This isn't a surprise--as I wrote in that previous post, the presentation in episode 9 suggested to me that Yūri was thinking of retiring straight after the GPF. Then, I wrote that his main reason might be wanting to give Victor back to the skating world...but after seeing Yūri consider what happened to JJ in this episode, I wonder if Yūri's thinking might have changed slightly. As in, he's still going to have Victor stop being his coach...but perhaps it's also a boost to give himself the extra motivation to skate well in the free?

  • Is it possible for Yuri to win? Not if Yurio and Otabek skate well. But as JJ demonstrated in this episode, and the real GPF showed us last weekend, anything is possible. Just as the two people who won both their Grand Prix Series qualifiers finished off the podium...JJ may well finish off the podium. To be honest, I wonder if he's gonna throw down the gauntlet and have the free skate of his life, thus setting a really high bar for the rest. Having come last, JJ should be skating first in the free - I'm fairly certain they're still using last year's rules on GP skate orders. It makes me wonder how they've paced the finale: Yūri should be skating third, and I'm going to have my heart in my throat because I desperately want to see him skate clean. But then Chris, Otabek and Yurio will skate after him... So I'm honestly stumped as to how they're going to end this...in an ordinary sports series, you usually find the protagonist making a fantastic play at the end to win the game, and that's certainly what last year's real-life GPF, and World's in March this year, were like. But this is figure skating...and sometimes, it's more that a skater lets a (gold) medal slip through his/her fingers... My heart will bleed for Yūri if Yurio wins...but it'd bleed for Yurio if he succumbs to the pressure and falters at the last gate...

  • And by-the-by, all figure skating fans are currently going "BS!" at those short program scores. Yurio's score, for one, is impossibly high. Under the current scoring system, his maximum should have been around 115 points. The only possible explanation I can think of is that, because of Victor's insanely high technical scores over preceding seasons, scoring has been revamped such that PCS has now been increased from 50 to 60 in the short, and 100 to 120 in the free, so that the maximum achievable for each is roughly the same. But if so, then Yūri's score is probably a bit too low, and JJ's is still too high. The jump requirements for a short program are (1) a double or triple axel, (2) a solo triple or quad jump, and (3) a combination jump. JJ singled his axel, and didn't manage to complete a combination jump...so he really should only have gotten in the 60s for that short (or 70s if PCS has been boosted). So non-figure skating fans have the advantage over us in suspension of disbelief here--I dearly wish that they'd been a bit more realistic about this!

  • In any case...I think I'm done for now. In lieu of thoughts about Victor--and I have to admit that I still don't know how he's going to respond to what Yūri just told him--there's a relevant translation I have to work on.

Comments

( 4 writings — write me? )
scriva
Dec. 16th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC)
I reactivated my sleeping lj-account, so I could finally post a comment to your „thoughts on Yuri!!! on ice“. I hope it doesn’t come off as stalkerish, but I really liked reading your posts regarding episode 3 on the animesuki forum where I lurk a bit. That’s why I followed your interesting articles about the anime. And I’m approaching you, because I also feel that my reading of the story is slightly misaligned with the majority of the fandom and I need to talk a bit about my feelings regarding the show. I hope you don’t mind.

First, I want to say that like you I consider Victor’s and Yuuri’s relationship with figure skating the main theme of the story. I do think that it's also a romance, but the romantic relationship is secondary to their passion for the sport.

Second, I have thought quite a lot about the ending of the last episode and after mulling it through, I’m actually quite happy with it. Since TPTB put it in the middle of the GPF arc and not at the very end, it means that it is not the end of the story. In addition, I also think it is necessary for Yuuri to “set Victor” free, even if I disagree with some of his reasoning. I guess he feels even more responsible for taking Victor away from the skating world after the knowing about the banquet. However, setting Victor free is necessary from a narrative point of view, so that Victor can decide for Yuuri and for them together as a creative team on his own accord and with full commitment. Since this anime has so much positive energy, I don’t think it will end on a depressing note and Yuuri’s retirement in the middle of the season.

However, I’m (almost) sure that Victor will make a new commitment to Yuuri, thanks to his character arc. I will not drown you in all my thoughts about Victor, because they are a flood. ^__^ Instead I will just leave a few brief observations. In my opinion, the theme of his character arc is the slow transition from being a competitive skater to being a true coach (instead of playing one). At the beginning, he acted on a whim because he was in a slump (and probably lonely and mentally tired), but I’m not sure that he was aware how much joy he would receive from taking responsibility for another person and creating things together, and how much his absence would affect the competition and how interesting everything would become. As a consequence of his decision, he can’t just come back now, because “Victor Nikiforov is dead” as Yuri said and proved it with his world record. Victor himself helped Yuri along on this way, unintentional at first, but very consciously gave him a last push, during the beach scene in episode 10. He feels probably a bit ambivalent about that now, but I think that he has already made his decision (sometime before episode 10) and on the whole really enjoyed watching the competition from a new point of view. If he went back into competitive skating now, he would only chasing after his fading glory and I don’t think that he is that kind of person. There are new ways for him to surprise the skating world.

I’m very sorry for the long reply. As an ending note, I want to leave you with this article (if you haven't seen it one Kubo-sensei's twitter) (http://www.absoluteskating.com/index.php?cat=articles&id=2016rostelecom) about this year’s Rostelecom Cup. At the ending, there is a short interview with Stephen Lambiel that made me think that Victor’s signature pose isn’t based on Lambiel for nothing.
karice67
Dec. 20th, 2016 08:04 am (UTC)
Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting, going so far as to reactivate your LJ to do so! (If you’re on tumblr or something then my apologies for not posting there ^^; I feel that I have taken such a controversial position in the fandom that it really isn’t a good idea for me to do too much more than post the interviews I translate over there… ) But in any case, I’m always happy to chat about YOI here, too ^^

On the ‘romance’, I have to admit that I find it hard to believe there is one at this point. In fact, if TPTB actually reveal in the final episode that they are in such a relationship, I’d probably stop buying the BDs, because I simply don’t believe that would be possible given what we’ve been shown of Yuri’s personality and character development. I’d also be pretty annoyed about how it’s been presented, to be honest. But I’ll see what happens when the final episode lands.

On what will happen with Yuri: I sincerely hope he chooses to keep on skating. Whether or not Victor remains as his coach, I think that Yuri having renewed his determination to skate, to keep trying new challenges and share his love for skating with his peers, fans and especially the younger skaters that come after him, would be the absolute best ending for his character arc. Though depending on how they present it…I may be willing to accept him retiring as well. I just have no idea what they’ve decided to do!

As for Victor…I think that all of us have to tease out his own relationship with skating and the skating world a lot more than most people seem to have done… Kubo and the seiyuu have said some very interesting things in the latest lot of magazines…though I have the feeling that toraonice may only be able to get to Toyonaga’s one before the finale lands. That said, Victor’s still a mystery to me (which I think is a good thing!), so I’m really looking forward to the finale ^^

I’m very sorry for the long reply. As an ending note, I want to leave you with this article (if you haven't seen it one Kubo-sensei's twitter) (http://www.absoluteskating.com/index.php?cat=articles&id=2016rostelecom) about this year’s Rostelecom Cup. At the ending, there is a short interview with Stephen Lambiel that made me think that Victor’s signature pose isn’t based on Lambiel for nothing.

Thank you for that! Fantastic interview!

To be honest, we’ve only seen Stephane as a coach from August this year, so this is one of those funny cases of life kinda imitating art that had already been set in motion? It’s such an amazing intersection between these two worlds that I love so very much, though, and I can’t wait to see what role he plays in the final episode! A commentator? Or was he coaching one of the other skaters, perhaps (whether it’s Otabek or one of the juniors)?


Edited at 2016-12-20 08:04 am (UTC)
scriva
Dec. 22nd, 2016 08:49 am (UTC)
I didn't have time to reply before the last episode aired, but I still wanted to comment on a few of your thoughts, even more because of the ending than before.

First:
Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting, going so far as to reactivate your LJ to do so! (If you’re on tumblr or something then my apologies for not posting there ^^)

Don't worry, it was just meant to be an explanaition. I'm happy that you still have a live journal, because I don't have tumblr and I find it very hard for discussions.

On the ‘romance’, I have to admit that I find it hard to believe there is one at this point.

When I wrote my longass post, I hesitated between "romance" and "love story", and after reading your reply, I knew I should have chosen the latter, because "romance" implied the wrong associations and a "romantic relationship". I still think that Yuri on ice is a love story, even after the ending, and that both characters love each other. However, they are not in a "romantic relationship", because the romantic love is only a part of the whole "love" between them. In addition, I also think they are not on the same page with regards to their feelings outside of skating, at least not Yuri, because right now the various forms of love he feels for Victor are inseparable from his love for figure skating.

In that light, I expected the final episode to be a starting or a transitional point for further development, but not the culmination of a "romance". What they did was not exactly what I expected, but I liked it nontheless and I'm even very happy after watching it a second time. Separation was presented as the BAD END, that would have felt devastating for both characters. Both of them retiring would also have been a BAD END, because it would have been a waste. So, the final conclusion is the best of all the worlds. I think the ending that we got was always supposed to be the ending we were going to get, independently of the second season.

One last thing:
To be honest, we’ve only seen Stephane as a coach from August this year, so this is one of those funny cases of life kinda imitating art that had already been set in motion?

Yes, that dawned to me afterwards, and I think it's pretty endearing. I liked his little guest appearance, even though he sounded a bit stiff at times, but it would have been very difficult for the voice coach to guide him, because the Japanese native speakers wouldn't have an ear for nuances in French. It was a nice idea, anyway.
karice67
Dec. 31st, 2016 12:23 am (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply - it's been a much busier holiday season for me than I'm used to!

Re: 'Love story' instead of 'romance'
Yeah, I'm good with that. Though I'm actually happy to call their relationship 'romantic' in the more general sense of the word, because it is. Although both of them love skating themselves, above all, they were both willing to do anything to make sure that the other kept their love for skating as well -- to me, there's almost nothing more romantic that that!

In fact, I feel that Victor and Yuuri are really close to what Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford say about each other in this video: simply put, they're soulmates. I just don't see a physical relationship as being necessary or even important to that calling them 'soulmates'.

Edited at 2016-12-31 12:34 am (UTC)
( 4 writings — write me? )