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Greetings! Railgunfan75 here with my first anime review of 2017. At the end of last year, I conducted a poll asking the readers what their favorite anime of 2016. There was a clear winner- Yuri!! on Ice. As promised, I have my review for the series for your reading pleasure.
After suffering a crushing defeat, Yuri Katsuki develops mixed feelings about ice skating and puts his career on hiatus. When secretly recorded footage of Yuri mimicing an advanced skating routine is uploaded to the internet, it catches the attention of Victor Nikiforov Yuri’s idol. Victor then travels to Kyushu and offers to coach Yuri and restart his figure skating career. Together with Victor, Yuri aims to win the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating series as he battles against his rival, Yuri Plisetsky, a 15-year-old rising star skater from Russia.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series and it surprised me a bit that I did. I honestly didn’t think that an anime about figure skating could be entertaining but it really was. I can certainly understand why it has received the attention from the anime community. It is certainly a good series. However, there are a few minor things which stop it from being an all time great series.
One of the areas which many people have raved about are the characters. The cast of characters is really good. One of the strongest characters is the main character Yuri Katsuki. Yuri is a very human protagonist which I found refreshing. Not to sound like a jerk, but it was nice to see a character who is capable at failing and has failed in the past. This leads to a rarely seen trait in a protagonist, self doubt. This is expressed which just felt natural and not annoying like many other characters with a similar personality. The fact that Yuri has to struggle with plenty of things on his way through the series makes him a very endearing character and one that is easy to get behind.
Complimenting him nicely are Victor and Yuri. Victor serves as the mentor but he doesn’t necessarily have all of the answers himself. I really enjoyed this about Victor, the idea that you have a character in a roll which typically comes up with the solutions for the protagonist but he is still looking for answers himself. Victor is also a great source of humor and is a great a compliment to the more serious characters around him. Yuri Plisetsky the rival is also an interesting piece to the puzzle. While hating Yuri and seeing him as a rival, Plisetsky also serves as a great motivator in his way. In some ways it seems like he wants Yuri to succeed despite the 2 of them being rivals and that I found fascinating. The three characters really have a great chemistry and play off each other nicely. It certainly helps to make the series entertaining.
While the cast of characters is certainly solid, there are a few aspects in this category which fall short. The first one is the relationship between Yuri and Victor felt incomplete. Sure it is strongly hinted that the two of them are a couple, but I just felt that they should have just established the relationship firmly instead of dancing around it. It would have really made the ending of the series strong and could have provided some more gravitas to the events of the series. Typically that is not a problem but when that is a major component of the plot, it hurts the series a bit. A second aspect which disappointed me was the fact that we didn’t have more time devoted to some of the side characters .Some history of the characters makes their motivations much clearer. For the most part we find out very little about the backstories of the competitors which kind of makes the characters feel just thrown in at times. This is mostly a byproduct of the series length as it it is next to impossible to cover all of this in 12 episodes. While it is not a backbreaking thing, it certainly is something which did impact my view of the series a bit.
The story in general was done really well. The series has great pacing and does a great job of keeping the audience engaged.This was certainly a fast watch as the plot advances at a quick pace. The pacing worked really well as it struck a balance between advancing the story but not dwelling on things too much. This is a hard balance to hit in a 12 episode series and in general, I didn’t feel cheated by the story. With a show with subject matter such as Yuri, it could become boring rather quickly.However Yuri succeeds by making the skating routines seem repetitive fresh each time. The series does this by doing a great job of spacing the routines out and by adding new things in each time. Yuri is also a series with a clear goal in mind- to tell a story about a man’s journey of self discovery. The story is really about Yuri’s journey to greatness and happiness and it really a compelling story. Some of the best stories involve a character overcoming one’s past or themselves. This type of story gives the plot a clear direction which it wants to go and also provides nice character studies. The story succeeds because it has a concrete goal with a character as it’s lead that you can get behind. That typically is a recipe for success.
While the story was generally well done, Yuri slips up a bit by not giving enough focus on the sport itself. While I was marveled by the quality of the skating scenes, the terminology just lost me. I wanted to know more about the what the characters were doing or trying to do and the series doesn’t provide that. This unfortunately did take me out of a few moments and some moments didn’t quite have the impact that maybe they should have.
One aspect of the series that certainly agree on with the bulk of the community, the technical aspects of this series are really well done. This series has great visual moments and certainly has times when it looks gorgeous. The skating animations were really well done with the motions of the characters seeming really fluid. It was clear that a lot of time was taken to animate the skating routines. I also have to give kudos to the series’ soundtrack which was diverse and entertaining to listen to. The music does an amazing job as being a compliment to the animation especially during the skating routines. The musical pieces certainly conveyed the emotions that they were trying to express in these routines. I like many others also enjoyed the opening theme song and animation. It definitely got me hyped for episode.
Yuri on Ice is certainly one of the more noteworthy series of 2016. Yuri contains an engrossing story, a great cast of characters, and explores an avenue which hasn’t really been touched in anime up to this point. There are certainly a lot of positive aspects of this series. However, there are a few things which hold it back a bit and stop it from being an all time classic. For these reasons, Yuri!! on Ice receives a ranking of Gold and a recommendation to watch. This is a series certainly worth your time and I can understand how this gathered such a strong and devoted fan base.
Pros: –Engaging Story
-Nice Main cast
– Solid soundtrack
– The skating routines were animated nicely.
Cons: –Too many characters and not enough time devoted to them
– Series assumes you know a lot about figure skating
-The romance sub plot felt a bit awkward.
So what did you think of Yuri!! on Ice? Please comment below. The runner up in the poll Erased will be the next anime anime review so stay tuned for that! If you enjoy my content and what to keep up with the latest news and updates, please follow my Facebook (Railgunfan75’s Geek Blog) and Twitter accounts (@Railgunfan75). So until next time, this is Railgunfan75 signing off! See ya soon!