Following similar posts for Attack on Titan and Shiki, here’s a compilation of my favorite scenes in Yuri on Ice.
As my review of it has made clear, I love Yuri on Ice. It has many elements that make it dear to me, the most important ones being the figure skating itself, the main character Yuuri and also the relationship between Victor and Yuuri. It was once again hard to narrow down my favorites into ten but here we are. Be warned that this is fairly Katsuki Yuuri-centric.
- Yuuri performing Stay Close To Me
The full impact of this scene didn’t hit me until some time after the series was over. It’s not just Yuuri’s masterful imitation of a record-breaking routine that I find impressive. Sure, that’s pretty cool on its own but what makes this really great is Yuuri’s mental and emotional state leading to the performance. He spectacularly bombed his last figure skating season and is even considering retirement. He admits to being depressed. He’s gained enough weight that his figure is not ideal for skating. All things considered, he’s at a dark point of his life and is a hot mess. But rather than resigning himself to his misfortune, Yuuri makes a conscious attempt to make things better. He wants to regain his love of skating that his recent losing streak has stolen from him. And for that, he looks back to his childhood days before skating became about competitions and tries to do what he did then – recreate Victor’s routines with his close friend Yuuko. He skates for her and for himself and he skates it beautifully. It’s clear to see that there’s a lot of emotion and effort behind that program and the end result is stunning for more than one reason.
- Yuuri’s first Eros skate
The phrase ‘I’m a katsudon fatale that enthralls men’ is one I won’t forget for as long as I live. That phrase is not from this particular instance but it sums it up pretty well. I like this skate for two reasons. One is that it shows us a whole other side of Yuuri than the nervous, easily flustered one we’ve seen until now and also marks the point where his demeanor becomes more confident. But the main reason is the mindset Yuuri adopts for this skate. The story he envisions for the Eros program is of a playboy coming to town and seducing the most beautiful woman but rather than play the part of the playboy, he opts to be the beautiful woman who seduces and then casts away the playboy. That kind of nonchalant gender fluidity is very rare in media and the way Yuuri’s internal monologue assimilates this feminine persona is a true treat. Even the costume Yuuri wears from Viktor’s long-haired pretty boy days is deliberately tailored to evoke both femininity and masculinity. This is also indicative of the way Yuri on Ice in general seems unconcerned with gender roles and as you can imagine, I’m 100% there for that.
- The Parking Lot Conversation
Real imaginative titles I’ve got, huh? I really didn’t see this confrontation coming at all and was blindsided in the best of ways. Once again, it’s about Yuuri. We know that Yuuri is prone to anxiety so the way he becomes a nervous wreck after placing first in the Cup of China short program is no shock. Victor knows too but he’s a first time coach who’s got little idea what he’s doing and his desperate attempt to try and fire Yuuri up backfires spectacularly. This scene could have gone wrong in so many ways and ended unsatisfactorily. An example of that is there in the show itself when Victor offers to kiss him. How many stories have we seen where the love interest kisses the main character in the middle of conversation? It’s always treated as the height of romance but honestly, it’s pure assholery. So Yuuri’s vehement disapproval of this idea followed by his earnest plea that he just needs Victor to believe in him and support him is heartwarming and also the best direction for this conversation. Things aren’t magically solved between them but there’s communication and the solid basis for forgiveness. Yuuri’s bravery in coming out and saying what he needs rather than suffer in silence as per usual is also a sign of his character development.
- The Kiss
I’m not having the hug/kiss debate with anyone. How you choose to interpret it is up to you and none of my concern. The reason I love this scene is pretty simple. It’s where the relationship between Yuuri and Victor enters the next level and it’s portrayed as an emotionally charged moment that’s the culmination of all the mutual mental turmoil they went through prior to and during Yuuri’s free skate. While both Yuuri and Victor are unsettled at the beginning of it, Yuuri’s skating actually benefits from the way his crying released some of his tension, allowing him to skate calmly. Even the way he’s preoccupied with Victor actually helps his performance He also adds a quad flip, Victor’s signature move and a jump Yuuri’s never tried before for the sole purpose of surprising Viktor and seeking his approval. Victor’s sufficiently surprised and returns the favor by tackling Yuuri to the ice and kissing him. It’s clear that Yuuri is shocked but also visibly pleased. Potential danger aside, it really is a very sweet scene and the wide, happy grins on their faces in the aftermath are truly a beautiful sight. Episode 7 really was a wild one.
- Airport Scene
I may have a prickly exterior but I’m a big softie at heart. So I did unashamedly aww over Victor, Yuuri and Makkachin reuniting at the airport after the Rostelecom Cup. It was already a tense episode with Makkachin’s health at risk. I do not deal well with animal deaths whether they’re fictional or real and damn was I impatient to find out whether the poor thing was alright. Then there was Yuuri’s own less than stellar mental state after his free skate. In short, the whole episode was building towards an emotional finale and boy, did it deliver. There’s Makkachin, alive and well, at the airport right along with Victor and then we get a scene worthy of a romcom where Victor and Yuuri just run towards each other from opposite sides of the glass without either one ever taking their eyes off the other. It ends up with a sweet, kinda desperate hug with a bonus happy Makkachin. This level of sappiness doesn’t always work for me but this time around, it didn’t just work, it had me on the verge of tears. Not only is the dog just fine but the humans involved get even closer and make some really sweet declarations to each other. It’s all just…sweet. Yeah.
- The Rings
Again, not having the engaged or not debate. I do see the rings as good luck charms but also as engagement rings. Not only does Viktor state as much out loud, there’s also the ring exchange scene which was rather loudly symbolic. To be honest, I find this scene sentimental but also very humorous. The way Yuuri just sees a jewelry shop and runs in there to buy fucking wedding rings slash good luck charms with his partner right there is really something else. That’s some high level of impulse buying right there. What follows is actually a very lovely moment where they exchange the rings in front of a church. The ambience of this scene is pleasing visually as well. I love the way it’s framed even though I don’t really know the words to describe it from a cinematographic angle. Of course, we’re right back to humor afterwards with the group dinner where the engagement announcement is swiftly superseded by the gathered competitor’s rivalry. It’s a strange episode altogether but it’s got a lot of great parts and is probably my favorite episode of YoI. The thing with the rings isn’t best part of this episode though. That comes later.
- Yuuri’s Final Free Skate
I love all of the routines in this show but this one takes the cake. Yuuri’s programs have always been remarkable for his internal monologue during them. It’s really the only times in the show when we see him be wholly, brutally honest without any of his usual reticence to hold him back. From the first Eros program, this has been true and it only got better and better as the show progressed. And his Grand Prix Final performance of the eponymous Yuri on Ice is absolutely gorgeous and no, I am not talking about (just) the animation. We see Yuuri give everything he’s got to his skating, improvising the program to have the same difficulty as those of Victor, the man he’d been chasing after since he was a kid. And he executes it perfectly. There’s more to it than that though. We also finally find what Yuuri actually feels about retiring and letting Victor go. He wants to keep skating with the guy forever but is afraid of killing Victor’s career if he does so. He says none of this out loud to Victor (because these two need to work on their communication) but he is honest about it during his skate. The whole thing is brimming with emotion and it’s a beautiful, though somewhat sad, sequence.
- Yuri’s Final Free Skate
It took me a while to warm up to Yurio’s character – I don’t really have much patience for the obnoxious brattiness he displays in his first few appearances and the frequent kicks he was prone to dishing out made it worse. But he mellowed out a bit in the later parts of the anime and the kinda nice kid beneath the brattiness showed himself so I warmed up to him. He is a bit of a complex character though most of that complexity seems to come from the teen angst we’re all familiar with. And nothing shows off Yuri’s layers more than his free skate in the Grand Prix Final. It’s not a perfect performance but it is raw and real. It’s also the first time we see Yuri skate not just for himself. Even more than the previous Agape routine, this last free skate is where he shows his passion for others including his coaches, his grandfather, his friends and most importantly, Yuuri whom he wants to beat so that Yuuri will continue skating and not retire. The Yuri-Yuuri dynamic is an interesting one and some of the revelations during this skate show us more clearly than ever that there’s something beyond hostile rivalry on Yuri’s part towards Yuuri.
- Pair skating
I have the bad habit of skimming seasonal blog entries of anime I plan to watch so a few of Yuri on Ice’s key moments were spoiled for me. This was one such moment but that did absolutely nothing to reduce the impact of the pair skate when it finally appeared in the last minutes of the final episode. Simply put, it’s fucking beautiful. I have been abusing that word a lot in this post but to be fair, if I had to pick just three words to describe this anime, beautiful would be among them. So yeah, the beautiful pair skate. Yuri on Ice has been a pleasant surprise for its entire run but it was still something else to see two men do a pair routine onscreen. Not to mention that the whole thing is so sentimental that it hurts. There was this intense intimacy to the routine and I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s one of the most romantic things I’ve seen in anime. Beauty and emotion is an amazing combination and Yuuri and Victor’s pair skate has them both in spades. Also, using the duet version of the same song that kickstarted the story is brilliant. I do wish we could have seen all of it.
- Banquet Scene
You know how, sometimes, there’s this one thing in a story that irrevocably alters our perception of everything that transpired before? I love those kind of reveals but I was not expecting something like it in Yuri on Ice. Then episode 10 happened and what was supposed to be a laidback filler episode ended with this little bombshell. We see a whole new Yuuri or rather we see what he’s like when filled with enough alcohol to kill a horse. If I drink too much, I get a headache and pass out. When Yuuri drinks too much, he turns into a frickin dance master. The break dancing with Yuri and the whatever it was with Victor are both lovely but it’s the pole-dancing with Chris that really made my jaw drop. Seriously, pole dancing. But Yuuri’s mad skills ain’t what turned the whole story on its head, rather it’s his interactions with Victor. They already seem to be close and having fun while dancing but the brief bit at the very end of the episode reveals that Yuuri drunkenly asked Victor to be his coach while half-naked and grinding on him, and that Victor was obviously affected (no, no like that, get your minds out of the gutter) by the whole ordeal. Victor’s willingness to fly halfway across the world over a single video and his early over-the-top flirtatious behavior to Yuuri at the beginning all take on a whole new level of meaning after we find out about the banquet. The poor guy must have been so confused though.
(No, I didn’t forget how numbering worked. #7 is at the end on purpose.)