Eros and Agape: Behind the Lovely Ice-skating Veils | Cafe Talk

A light analysis and comparison of, in regards to love, Eros and Agape, and how they are represented in the fall 2016 anime Yuri!!! On ICE (eps. 1-4).

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The struggle to find love, either in others, oneself, or both, remains one of life’s greatest conquests. When world-junior-class figure skaters Yuri Katsuki and Yuri Plisetsky faced-off against each other in a competition for the gorgeous and professional Viktor Nikiforov’s coaching attention, the two took on opposite personas assigned by Viktor himself: Eros and Agape. But what lies beyond the romantic nicknames, and how do these titles represent each skater on more than simply a physical level? Welcome to “Cafe Talk!”

“Love,”a How-To by the Greeks and Christians 

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There exist arguably six different interpretations of what exactly “love” translates into from original Greek texts (geez, leave it to those Greco-Romans to complicate matters). The four listed above are the famous ones, and all but Eros (the smexy one) can be found somewhere in the Christian Bible. We will only be looking at the two that matter under Yuri‘s light: the red and the blue, opposites in every way. We’ll also sort this out in performance order.

“On Love: Agape” – Yuri Plisetsky, a Lover Deflowered by Cold Submission 

Our Russian punk Yurio wasn’t too pleased when he was denounced “the unconditional lover.” The show translates agape love as follows: “God’s infinite love is self-sacrificing and uncalculating.” That’s actually a pretty good first impression.

Agape love mirrors the sacrificial giving of God to humanity. Graceful, unselfish, unbiased, and possibly unknowing to or of love. Agape lovers give freely and seek nothing. It still functions as active love, but it remains “spontaneous and unmotivated.” In other words, agape lovers seek love by giving in return. They’re typically submissive as well, and value the worth of love above all else. Nygren (see works cited) depicts their value as such: “Those who are loved become worthy because they are loved.”

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Since Yurio hardly embodies any of the agape traits, perhaps they represent aspects he is deprived up. He knows neither of innocent love nor of self-sacrifice, demonstrating only that he is passionate and fierce, hence his epithet the “Russian Punk.” While it’s amusing for us fans to watch his battle against the unselfish, Yurio truly is an unappreciated boy by his Russian coach(es). They respond to success, technique, and poise, not to sympathy and affection. By assigning the Agape costume to Yurio, Viktor has given him everything he could have wished for — to be loved unconditionally and embraced with care. Yurio, if only for a brief moment in the rink, became a lover deflowered by submission.

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But you have to be devoted to the agape all the way . . . That is why Viktor picks Yuri.

And this piece, oooh, this heavenly chamber voice overflows with an innocent, perfect love! Can you feel “someone who doesn’t know what love is yet?”

“On Love: Eros” – Yuri Katsuki, a Lover Instilled with Fiery Passion

Our home-team Pork Cutlet was left stuttering “It’s enough to make even me, a man, pregnant! Such eros!” when the fabulous Viktor crowned him “the sexual lover.” The anime depicts eros love as follows: “Pleasure followed by pleasure. One just drowns in it.” This, too, hits the mark of a passionate lover.

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In stark contrast to the tender and giving apage love, eros love is not found in the Bible’s purity, tracing origins more closely to Greco-Roman antiquity. Nygren notices a sharp reflection of love “to Plato and to Plato’s heirs and followers.” Plato treated love as two different forms of the same “eros,” one being vulgar and the other “heavenly.” Yuri interprets this more on the raunchy side as a vigorous, demanding, and sexual love. It is seeking pleasure for oneself, not necessarily for others (though that is a plus, *wink wink*).

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The differences between Yuri and this controlling love honestly mirrors his relationship with others. Unlike Yurio, Yuri follows the orders of his friends and coaches, causing him to have weaker self-esteem and a poor sense of leadership in the art of skating. He doesn’t want to disappoint others, which is why Yuri lets his coach pick out an earlier song to skate to when he notices the coach’s lack of care for the tune a friend of his created.

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Yuri also tends to hide behind his appearance: longer bangs and glasses, both which shield the face. Just as how Yurio performs at the skate-off with a surprising sense of calm and devotion, our Pork Cutlet slicks back his hair, tosses aside the glasses, and makes passionate love with his footwork on the ice. Viktor has given him bold confidence and sexiness with the eros title, and to that, Yuri expends this energy in his fiery tango.

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And this one, ooh la la, the snappy guitar and sassy violin shine with passion!  To see him take the persona a step forward and declare himself the most beautiful woman seducing the playboy goes to show how much Viktor’s teaching has truly given him.

“On Love: Eros and Agape” – A Tale of Two Lovers

Neither of the boys have given love much thought, which is why the episode carries so much emotional weight in the grand scheme. Episode three (if it wasn’t apparent from the start) firmly presents us with the case of two lovers in search of filling the holes that occupy their minds and hearts. One desired confidence, the other pursued innocence. If I had my wish, Viktor would be teaching them both. But alas, the competition must go on and tear our lovers apart! If Twitter’s given us its two cents on the subject, it’s “Get a man who can do both.”

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“You have to do the opposite of what people expect. How else will you surprise them?” – Viktor Nikiforov, the perfect blend of power and grace

Yuri!!! On ICE claims a hot spot (oh the irony) as one of fall 2016’s bests, and I wholeheartedly agree! Catch it streaming over on Crunchyroll.com for FREE, or check out FUNimation Entertainment’s rockin’ English dub (complete with Russian accents), though you must be a subscriber to access the dub. And where would we be without the incredible music to accompany the performances? Fantastic, I say!

For our “Cafe Talk” conversation down in the comments, I ask, “What do you align with more – are you an Eros or an Agape Lover?” Also, “Who do you feel won the skate-off?” I wish I was more of a “go get ’em guy,” but I digress with my agape language. For the match, my eyes yearned for Yurio, but my heart and body told me Yuri. Let me know, and hey, glide over to that “like” button for more content like this, or the”follow” to keep up with me (OR BOTH)! Don’t forget to share with the other Yuri!!! On ICE fans! Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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Intrigued by the topic? Here are the works I used compile this post:

Crunchyroll – Yuri!!! On ICE

The Ancient Greeks’ 6 Words for Love (And Why Knowing Them Can Change Your Life)

Agape and Eros Summary – Anders Nygren

The Four Kinds of Love – Greek Agape, Phileo, Storge, Eros, 3 are in the Bible

The More Excellent Way, Four Greek Words for Love: Agape, Phileo, Storge, Eros

EDM Difference between Eros and Agape

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32 thoughts on “Eros and Agape: Behind the Lovely Ice-skating Veils | Cafe Talk

    • Why thank you Rocco!! I didn’t think I’d be enjoying it as much as I have, but it certainly has given me some inspiration. Great stuff, so do consider it if you are wanting to get into sports anime anytime soon. I’m just happy you stopped by regardless! ^.^

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for this great break down on the song choice and characters. While I found episode 3 a little lacking, the characters and how they were affected by the competition in the episode was definitely the strength of the episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very welcome–Glad you enjoyed it! And oh, you did? Well, I guess not much in the physical realm happened. In that department, the only thing I could say is that it ended the Yurio story and sent him back to Russia. But yeah, identifying the impact of the duel on the characters, as you mentioned, was definitely a milestone achieved. I’m really looking forward to more of this show!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Thanks for putting the research into this. I very much enjoyed just watching the two performances without knowing much of the meaning behind Eros and Agape, but for me, reading this has added more depth to what Yuri and Yurio were missing and searching for in their dances. Both were beautiful but deliciously flawed. God I love this show.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, I’m so glad you pulled something from it! That’s my goal with this piece, at least! The notions of love and the combinations with the songs just irked me so much that I had to give them a search. So I did, and I have reported. Viktor gives them both so much. It’s no wonder the boys (and girls, and fans) are tearing him from limb to limb! Their performances were just that, “deliciously flawed.” Ooh, that sounds nice indeed. This show will, should I say, go down and MAKE HISTORY BABY!!!

      Thanks so much for this comment. The intervals between each airing just deprives me so badly that I have to vent.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • I’m thoroughly enlightened, Takuto! Indeed, I’m not just in love with this series. I’m obsessed…freaking obsessed, I can’t even deal. I’m already having panic attacks just thinking about how it’s going to end next month. Oh well. You must think me a madwoman now. But oh well. Back to the main topic, I really enjoyed this post. Excellent job, Taku!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dude, I am sooooo IN LOVE with this show that I can’t even put down my phone without feeling the urge to double check my Twitter feed for that delicious fan art. Gosh, some people are so amazing. I COMPLETELY FORGOT that it’ll end in a month *hyperventilates* What will we all do by then?? I’m looking forward to a finale that’ll make me cry all kinds of tears, though. YOI has me on my knees, so I’m really glad you enjoyed this piece inspired purely by my wanting to vent my passion for it. Your delight makes me so happy–truly, thank you~!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I knooooooow. I literally feel sad and disappointed whenever I don’t see enough YOI tweets on my timeline. I know, I’m worrying a little. I hope they decide for another season. We’ll see. And of course, Taku. If I like a post, I like it and will express it. Keep up the good work. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Why, I am humbled by your words–Thanks! I’m happy I attached those videos, and that you were listening and reading at the same time, the way it was meant to be. That’s how I was writing up this post, after all. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

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  6. Love the research you did and the breakdown!
    I do wish Yurio had stuck around, but I think it’s because Agape love isn’t something you can be taught, it has to come from the inside, while Eros can be stroked alive from the outside /winks lewdly
    YoI has been surprising me a lot, and having way more depth than anyone thought, so I really hope Yurio achieves Agape and slays us in 😻

    Liked by 1 person

    • This’ll be more fun since I’m looking at this now a whole month later and after the show’s airing (RIP). Firstly, thank you very much, it was quite a spur-of-the-moment inspiration charge from when episode 3 aired, so I’m glad to see that you and so many others enjoyed this post! Second, *low blow whistle* I think we can all agree that Yurio achieved the agape mindset masterfully. What a kid!

      I’ll admit, his earlier performances do seem quite rough, but once he gave up on how others saw him he really began to soar. I don’t think anyone was expecting Eros and Agape to play such a leading role all the way to the end, but I’m more than glad it did (and I think you are, too :3). I’m not sure how to go about life now that YOI is done . . . very carefully, I assume. *sighs*

      This “See you next level” message better be more than just a tease, for YOI exceeded my expectations far more than any anime I had ever pre-judged before. Anyway, thanks again for the appreciation–Just doin’ my part in the vast YOI fandom!~

      Like

      • RIP ME NOW THAT I NO LONGER HAVE YOI T.T
        Oh man yeah, specially after all the twists and revelations!! I’ve rewatched it like 3-4 times tbh because of them, it just puts everything in a different light 🙏🙏🙏
        YES, YURIO, HE SLAYED ME THE FUCK AWAY 😭😭
        I’m definitely glad they didn’t drop Yurio and he was so important to the end, my cutie angel faery son really showed how much he can soar and do when he sets his mind on 👏👏👏👏😭
        I can’t even watch anime after YoI, there’s a huge gap that no show can fill in now 😭
        The see you next level WAS VICIOUS, I CAN’T DEAL, I NEED IT FOR YESTERDAY 😭😭😭😭😭😭
        May the director be sucessful in her talks and get a bunch of seasons greenlight /circle prayer 🙏🙏🙏
        YoI definitely exceeded mg expectations too, i was never disappointed like some were because of Yurio’s earlier Agape performances that were rougher, but the story and characters really killed me with how good they were done, delivered, everything just 👏👏
        It was my pleasure for sure!
        You did an excellent contribution, and i hope to see more from you!
        Or else… 😈😈😈😈

        Liked by 1 person

      • ^^^All of this–YES I FEEL YOU. Hopefully more news comes about that continuation soon . . . I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hang in there otherwise. And haha, yup, I’ll be in and out for sure, but definitely still here 😀

        Like

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