The anime Yuri!!! On Ice, about a Japanese ice skater named Yuri Katsuki, who is at a crossroads in his life after facing a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix Final, and the renown Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov, who is inspired to be Yuri’s coach after seeing secretly recorded footage of Yuri skating in the rink, has been the runaway hit series of 2016. It’s also one of the rarer anime series to prominently feature a positive same-sex relationship between two men. I had the pleasure of finally finishing all 12-episodes of Yuri recently on Crunchyroll, and I’m definitely excited for more of this delightful show. Whenever Yuri comes back for a Season 2, there’s a number of things I hope to see in the new season. There will be some light spoilers about the anime, so read at your own risk.
1. Further Development of Yuri’s and Victor’s Relationship
This is the biggest and more obvious reason for a new season. One of the draws for watching the anime is the constant push-pull relationship between Yuri and Victor. A will they or won’t they dance and attraction they have to one another. Once you start watching the chemistry between the two men, it’s impossible to stop watching without knowing the outcome of their relationship. There’s also no confusion as to whether or not these two men are romantically interested in each other, the huge giveaway being Yuri buying them rings for the pair to wear before Yuri’s Grand Prix Final. A lot of the moments between Yuri and Victor are really sweet, and their relationship builds up slowly. They start off as trainee and coach, then move onto being good friends who care about each other, until it eventually blossoms into something more than fondness. I certainly want to see how Yuri’s and Victor’s relationship continues to grow in Season 2, and what challenges they may need to confront together as a couple. I also hope there will be better scenes of them kissing, instead of the more ambiguous, maybe they kissed scene between Yuri and Victor in the first season. I need those scenes to be blatantly obvious, and I’m not alone in that sentiment based on other reviews I read about Yuri!!! On Ice.
2. Better Development of Secondary Characters
One of the biggest complaints I read in reviews about the show is being introduced to too many additional side characters and not having enough time getting to know them or seeing their backstories fully developed. Yuri Plisetsky, another budding Russian skater who considers himself Yuri Katsuki’s rival on the ice, is probably an equally important main character, aside from Yuri K. and Victor, who we know very little about. Yuri P.’s personal backstory is only touched upon briefly, and further information about him is actually written in separate media not included in the anime at all. We learn in the anime that Yuri P. values his grandfather very much and we know Yuri P. idolizes Victor as much as Yuri K. does. But that’s about all we know about Yuri P. We get glimpses of Yuri P. being more than a bratty 15-year-old kid, who is a bit of a bully to the 23-year-old Yuri K. Yuri P. has his moments of kindness, which leads you to believe that the kid ain’t half bad when you get past the mask he insists on wearing around other people. I’m personally hoping Season 2 will be an opportunity to focus on these other characters better. There were also many other skaters introduced in the anime that I would love to have gotten to know, like the super cheerful Thai skater Phichit Chulanont or the very sensual Swiss figure skater Christophe Giacometti. Yuri teases all these very different and unique characters in the anime and we just don’t get a very satisfactory story behind any of them beyond their skating programs during the competition.
3. The Aftermath of Yuri K.’s Victory Since the Grand Prix Final
Yuri K. undergoes a monumental transformation by the end of the first season. Yuri starts off at a really low point in his life and lacks any kind of confidence in his ability as a skater. With Victor’s help and the support of his family and friends around him, you could say Yuri finally gets his groove back. He has the drive and determination to succeed on and off the ice. Yuri is able to express what he wants and no longer hesitates to go after it. While Yuri only manages to come away with a silver medal, instead of the gold, in the Grand Prix Final, this is still a major victory for Yuri. It builds up his confidence enough to want to keep skating and work harder next time to finally kiss that gold medal. Watching how Yuri K. deals with his success since the Grand Prix Final and if he’ll occasionally fall back into old habits of doubting himself is part of the struggle I feel Yuri will need to work on. I think there’s more growth and learning Yuri still has to do. He’s already made progress in the first season and that continuation of his underdog story is one everyone will want to keep rooting for. Another reason to watch the show is seeing Yuri succeed in all aspects of his life, both in his professional and personal life.
4. A Tightly Written Plot
Many have pointed out that there are spots in Yuri!!! On Ice where the animation falls a bit short. There are some badly drawn frames or shaky animation transitions. I haven’t actually noticed it during my viewing of the anime, but I won’t fault the animators on imperfect animation. The skating sequences are amazing to watch and it felt like I was watching an actual ice skating competition instead of an anime about ice skating. The different set of combinations like the toe loops, lutz, or axel can’t be very easy to draw or animate. I have to applaud the animators on their effort to get the animation nearly perfect. What I think Yuri could do better in the next season is tighten the writing better. The second half of the anime is mostly watching every skater kind of do the same routine over and over again with a slight variation on their skating program, either to show them mess up in the middle of a jump or landing a perfect Salchow, if they didn’t do it perfectly in a previous episode. It does kind of get a bit boring and repetitive. I think there could have been other ways to advance the plot of the anime by cutting out some of these additional skating sequences. All the time focused on these skating routines leading up to the Grand Prix Final in the last few episodes could have been better used to properly develop the anime’s other secondary characters. You can only watch so many triple jumps before you start wanting to skip ahead toward the end. The second half of the first season starts to drag a little, and I’m hoping Season 2 will use the skating scenes more sparingly or forward the plot in a much more significant way.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Yuri!!! On Ice and I can’t wait to come back for more.
Have you watched Yuri!!! On Ice? What do you hope to see in Season 2?