Alright, I’ll admit it. I’ve been living under a rock for taking this long to watch Yuri!!! on Ice. I had a hard time believing I’d even remotely care about a show whose main focus is ice skating, but evidently I was wrong. And for that, I deserve to have that same rock beaten against my head for how foolish I’ve been to have even started this series so late into the season. To put it simply, Yuri!!! on Ice’s first episode was amazing. It begins with the introduction of our protagonist, Yuri Katsuki, a recently graduated 23-year-old boy whose dream is to skate on the same level as his idol, Viktor Nikiforov. After having a series of failed tournaments, he sinks into a brief depression, questioning the direction of his life.
The first episode covered a lot of ground. I enjoyed how we’re just thrown into the thick of things, learning about Yuri’s recent failures as an Ice Skater and his depression after graduating. Yuri’s reason for embarking into the Ice Skating world was simple and compelling. I love how the show handled the introduction of his rival Viktor. From the opening alone, we already see just how much Yuri truly admires his rival’s brilliance by establishing Viktor as a prodigy even in childhood. Yuri’s captivation for Viktor’s performance cements his desire to become an ice skater. It’s a very simple and grounded reason, making it all the more believable.
While the art was originally what grabbed at me, the personalities of characters is what propelled my interest further, convincing me that this show has the potential to be among some of the greats. Yuri’s goofy and energetic personality especially held my interest. I like the fact that he’s completely aware he’s not even close to the best, but he doesn’t let that stop him from trying. A seeming simpleton by nature, he is someone who operates on emotion. This can be to his own demise, as his insecurities and environment can cause sways in his mood, severely impacting his performances. If he’s to become one of the greats in the ice skating world, he’ll have to learn to conquer his emotions. His manager, Minako compliments his weaknesses greatly. Her awesome no bullshit attitude is the necessary shove Yuri needs to keep him in gear. She was easily my favorite character in the first episode.
Warning: Art-gasm occurs in the paragraph below.
To add on top of all these pleasantries, our eyes are subjected to some of the best art I have seen in an anime to date. It’d be a crime not to mention the animation quality in this show. The animation in Yuri!!! on Ice is enough to make the inner art-school dropout in me squirm. To put it bluntly, it is a cut above the rest when compared to anything released in this season.
All the little subtleties and nuances of expression captured combined with the fluidity and gestural quality of the animation is what really pushes the show over the top for me. It also helps that there is an incredible amount of detail to character outfits. Yuri’s sneakers in particular stood out to me as being rendered absolutely gorgeously. The manner in which the camera would zoom in closely and pull out of characters during performances was also particularly engaging.
Overall, the first episode was awesome even if there were some convenient plot points to push the story along. Were they a stretch at times? Sure. Regardless, I’m still regretting how long it has taken me to start on this show. I’ll be following Yuri on his Ice Skating adventures for the rest of the season and I hope you will too.
Mood: Palpable =D