Yuri on Ice!!!
If you’re a fan of anime, you may have recently heard of the new sports anime “Yuri on ice!!!”. Following the popularity train of other sports anime like “Free!” And “Haikyuu!!” (These animes are getting more and more excited with each new series!), Yuri on Ice!!! has gained a huge fanbase both in Japan and in the United states. Why you may ask? It might be the fact that it has an interesting plot, with diverse and complex characters, or it might be the fact that it actually has quality gay representation. Yes, you’ve heard it hear folks! An anime with actual, no queer baiting representation!
Littler backstory about Yuri on Ice!!!; it’s an anime about a Japanese figure skater named Yuuri Katsuki who appears to have been stuck in a losing rut with no choice but to go back to his hometown. Once there he meets with his longtime friend (and crush) Yuko Nishigori, and skates the routine of the renowned figure skater, Victor Nikiforov, to her; however, what he doesn’t know is that he is being recorded by Yuko’s triplets. The video goes so viral that Victor himself sees it, and decides from then on to be Yuuri’s coach in the upcoming Grand Prix. With the help of Victor, Yuuri is finally able to get rid of his fear of failing, and is finally able to the figure skater that he can be.
The reason why it has gained much popularity among a lot of gay fans is because Yuuri’s and Victor’s characterization is not stereotypical or fetishized. Very rarely do you get to see gay characters in anime series that isn’t yaoi or yuri — two genres that have a bad reputation for glorying overly sexualized abusive relationships — so to be able to have gay characters where their sexuality is a big part of their identity, but not the only part is something that is lacking in television. With every episode, Vitor’s support and his belief in his abilities help Yuuri grow more confident in himself as a skater, and the same can be said about Victor.
Just as Victor helps Yuuri gain the confidence he needs, Yuuri helps Victor be more empathetic and giving to those around him. They help each other grow and mature, but they never rush each other, and always meet where they need to be.
There are a lot of comedic scene that brush upon their sexuality in the beginning of the anime, but it not done in an offensive way, and it doesn’t leave the audience wanting more because by the 7th episode, they share their first kiss (something that unfortunately, due to censor laws in Japan, is not explicitly shown).
In the world of anime which is plague with fetishization, oversexualization, abuse, and unhealthy relationships, it’s a breath of fresh air to be able to see something that doesn’t fall into any of the traps that many animes get trap in. If you’re a fan of anime, and you would love to see the gay representation that isn’t just fetishized domestic abuse, Yuri on ice!!! is definitely for you.
This show has many “I can’t” moments. This being one of them