Back to Yuri!!! though...I'm still trying to figure out what kinds of editorials I should be writing about this show. I've been keeping an eye on the reactions on the show, and whilst it ended mostly the way I was expecting (it gave me everything I wanted, even though I really had no clue as to how they'd do that! Here, my familiarity with the real figure skating world was a barrier to me picking the ending!), it's clear to me that the vast majority of the fandom would think I'm...well, "crazy" would be a mild way to put it. I'm more likely to be saddled with a far more negative label. Though I suppose I've known that ever since I started writing my comments here (mostly) intead of on twitter or tumblr...
Well, I might as well get to it.
First let me list the things I loved:
- Victor's reaction to Yuri telling him "Let's end this" was perfect. Of course Victor wouldn't want to see Yuri leave the ice!
- And also from Yuri on the ice: telling Victor to be himself. Which produced the call back to the “saying something as if you were testing me” in episode 7, but with such a different result! (I am so glad I translated Kubo's Animage interview for this week!)
- Then how it's Yurio who gets Yuri to keep skating! Though it does seem like that was something of a request, a wordless wish from Victor, that Yurio somehow understood!
- Yuri with a perfect FS performance, trying to tell Victor that he wants to see him skate again. And the idea that Victor would have a fire light up in him again because Yurio and Yuri broke his two records was also brilliant. Clichéd and somewhat unrealistic though his return might be, this was exaclty what I wanted to see!
- Yuri's Gala exhibition. I have my reservations about them doing it...but it was mostly realistic, going by what some actual figure skaters have said about the low difficulty of those lifts. (Also interesting to note that the some of the 'pair skating' part is based on Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir's free dance from this year!)
- And most importantly: Phichit!! OMG, that ice show idea is something I really really REALLY want to see! I'd watch a sequel just for that!
And then, the things that I did not love:
- The unrealistic scoring. Well, I suppose in this particular episode, we can think of JJ-flation as some kind of commentary on Chan-flation (being awarded high performance scores despite flawed performances), because his scores were absolutely ridiculous. In fact, given that Otabek is from Kahzakhstan, this may well have been a reference to Worlds 2013, where Patrick Chan defeated Denis Ten despite a really flawed free skate... I still can't believe they threw it in there, though... (^^;
- The worst thing about the scoring, however, was Yurio's short program score. I know they wanted him to beat Victor...but they wrote themselves into a corner there and had to give him a score that was mathematically impossible given the content of his short!
- Victor aiming to return at Russian Nationals? That's just 2 weeks after the GPF! And it usually overlaps with Japanese Nationals! Who's gonna head to Japan with Yuri?!
- Where was Yurio's "Welcome to the Madness"! Like, dafaq!
- Now, if you've gotten this far just to see if I would actually write about the "romance"...well, I do have a few brief comments on it. The interpretation that I've written in previous posts still stands: as far as I can tell, Yūri and Victor relate to each other as student-coach, AND as fellow skaters who love their sport, who love the ice on which they perform and everything that comes with it. There is no romantic relationship, and no engagement. There is but the possibility of a romantic relationship, built on the fascinating mutually inspirational bond that they have with each other. I'd also like to think there is something of an inkling that at least one of the two might be falling in love, perhaps unconsciously at present...but even the 'evidence' I would cite here can concievably be explained by other factors.
- That is my interpretation. You don't have to agree with me--and I know that most people won't. If you want to ask for more specifics, feel free to do so; I suspect, however, that most of you will just dismiss me as being "in denial." But, I'm not, I've just interpreted what we've been presented with through a completely different framework from everytone else -- that of the figure skating world. And for me, that framework means that the ending makes complete sense. It settled everything that needed to be settled, completed the stories that had to be told, and set our characters up for their new beginnings. I am arguably happier about the ending Kubo and Yamamoto gave us than the majority of the fandom, and I am immensely grateful for that. There are flaws--I honestly wish the animation for many skating scenes could have been better, and I would much have preferred to have seen full versions of both Yuri and Yurio's free skates in this episode. Nevertheless, the show did what I wanted it to do, and gave me the ending I wanted to see, the one that I thought was impossible given that Victor is 28... But as Kubo-sensei noted several times in the LOOOONNNG interview I translated last weekend, some things that would be impossible in real life, you can do them in fiction, even if only in fiction. And I'm glad they went for it.