Yuri!!! On ICE Goes the Distance for Life & Love | OWLS “Flight”

Chances are that if you were linked here from another blogger pal, then you might be new. To those first-timers, “Hi, I’m Takuto, welcome to my anime cafe!” As part of the OWLS blog tour’s second monthly topic, “Flight,” I decided to incorporate what would have been my standard Yuri!!! On ICE review into this pep talk about ambition. Something different to mix things up, right?

An individual takes flight when there is a goal, a dream, or an ambition that he or she wants to achieve. For this blog post, however, we are going to look at “flight” through different lenses: the underdog’s dream, the possibilities that Yuri!!! On ICE allows viewers to think about, and also the dangers of greed and ignorance that can influence one’s dream.

Since last month’s interpretation of mine was a bit gloomy, I’ll be honing in on the wondrous joys of living in each moment–leaving it all out on the rink–and the ephemeral effects of social media.

I LOVE YURI!!! ON ICE so this’ll be fun! Thanks Lyn for the prompt!

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A brief discussion of the 12-episode fall 2016 anime “Yuri!!! On ICE,” produced by MAPPA, directed by Sayo Yamamoto, based on the original story by Mitsurou Kubo. 

Unexpected Loss, Unexpected Arrival

At age 23, country legend Yuuri Katsuki nearly lost it all when he returned to his family-owned Japanese hot springs without the gold. In fact, he didn’t even medal, taking last in the men’s ice-skating Grand Prix Final. Even though his face still beams youthfully, Yuuri’s not as agile as he used to be–and he knows it. Just as Yuuri contemplates moving on from skating, however, a video of him performing five-time world champion Viktor Nikiforov’s previous routine during practice instantly goes viral.

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Scrambling to keep his life from further collapse, Yuuri finds himself in utter shock when Viktor, bearing himself in glistening full-frontal nude, unexpectedly shows up at his hometown’s Hasetsu hot springs. He jovially offers to mentor Yuuri and, being the BIGGEST Viktor Nikiforov fan ever to exist, Yuuri immediately accepts. His rekindled encouragement may blaze hotter than ever before, but Katsuki isn’t simply fighting against his past self! Everyone wants a piece of Viktor, including the competitive and fierce rising star of Russia, Yuri Plisetsky, and it quickly comes to both of their minds–and hearts–that there can only be one Yuri (!!!) on the ice.

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So how do our guys “take flight” in the show? We’ll look at 3 ways that all relate to the anime’s ending theme, “You Only Live Once”!

1. Leaving the Comfort Zone

From their first day of practice together, Viktor splits Yuuri and Yurio apart, assesses their basic personalities, and assigns them opposing labels and routines completely and clearly different from themselves. This was all in the hopes of giving the two what they lack or fail to understand. Born from this exercise were the two spiritual entities on love, Eros and Agape, which I covered previously post that, ironically, received lots of love from you guys–thank you very much! Anyway, life and love come as a pair of L’s that Viktor himself has neglected. By understanding love, you can live a fuller life, and vice versa. To achieve their goals of competing in the GPF, Viktor rips the boys out of their comfort zone so that they, too, could fully comprehend the bizarre nature of love and its many beautiful forms.

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2. Going the Distance

(In a post coming up soon I’ll be elaborating on my life-changing experience with sports, so for now you’ll get the truncated version.) Simply put, competitions like the GPF allow hardworking spirits from around the globe to come and put on a show for the world. They connect us. These boys all have their own origins: towns or cities that vary in atmosphere depending on the season; varying experience with languages and culture; the definition of a home-cooked meal.They are athletes, they are performers. And when they board that plane for the long flight ahead with determination to be the best in the world, they are ready  to put it all out there on the rink, no holds barred, no regrets. These boys want to do the best not only for themselves, their coaches, families, or nation, but for each competitor, too. THAT is the spirit of sportsmanship in competition: to do the best you can and make memories–make history–doing it with others!

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And then that’s it. They’ll part ways, maybe take a couple pics together, and then decorations come down. But the memories never fade.

3. You Only Live Once

Tuning in to w.hatano’s “You Only Live Once” at the end of each episode treated us to an upbeat, happy-go-lucky firework show, not to mention a series of behind-the-lives-of-the-cast photos styled like an Instagram feed. The strong use of social media in this anime emphasizes a transient feeling, the romantic notion of fleeting emotions–of living in each moment–and living full and true to oneself. All of these characters are separated by their languages, styles, cultures, races, expressions, and location, but what binds them is love, love for one’s nation and the glorious joys that ice-skating brings.

The art they create doesn’t let them merely glide on the ice, but soar on the wings of life and love. Yuuri and the guys are just a bunch of kids from different countries coming together to make an ephemeral moment together. That’s why those last few episodes of touring Barcelona mean so much to the show as a whole and to us as viewers. They show us the boys out of their environment, or what they’d be like if we met them on the streets, and passing them by would be just that–evanescent.

So go out there and work hard, perform brilliantly, act courteously, be silly, laugh loudly, sing merrily, dance gracefully, pose triumphantly, speak clearly, learn intensely, ponder cleverly, play gently, dream wildly, write creatively, think positively, love passionately . . . and while you’re out there taking lots and lots and LOTS of pictures, never forget this: You only get one life. Live truthfully. 

It’s the only way those wings on your back will let you fly majestically. 

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There’s a place you just can’t reach unless you have a dream too large to bear alone. We call everything on the ice “love.” – Yuuri Katsuki


It’s no surprise that Yuri!!! On ICE has had a profound effect on my life recently, so regardless of its few shortcomings, flaws, or inconsistencies, the cafe will warmly welcome this anime as a “Caffè Mocha,” a proud rating for those shows that have touched my heart and are regarded as a must-watch from me. Watching YOI air throughout the cold, bitter wintry weather gave us all hope and anticipation for whatever excitement the next Wednesday would bring, and I’m seriously glad I joined Twitter when I did, otherwise I’d be missing out on the bountiful quantities of fan art, haha!

I strongly recommend watching Yuri!!! On ICE via Crunchyroll since you can boot up all 12 episodes for FREE! And OH MY GOODNESS, I didn’t even get to talk about the incredible soundtrack that accompanied each of our star performers! Not to mention studio MAPPA’s captivating and elegant animation–it’s on it’s own level in terms of representing sports physics in anime!! And then Dean Fujioka’s instant hit opening “History Maker,” oh how INSPIRING this entire ensemble is!!! I consider myself lucky each day that we honestly got a show like this one. It truly went out of its way to bring us something wonderfully unique and powerful. Emotionally touching, entertaining, comedic, inciteful, inspirational, full of good vibes all around . . . wow, it just means so much to me, and I could probably go on and on forever~!

This concludes my February 27th entry in the OWLS “Flight” blog tour. Please check out Hazelyn’s (Archi-Anime) post discussing how Viktor may have risked it all with his leap of faith! Next after me is . . . wait, did I just end our second blog tour? I DID, and what a pleasure it has been! Thank you so much for reading, and stay tuned for Arria of Fujinsei to wrap up this lovely month. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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Smiling Yuuri with long hair is everything. Go the distance to make yourself and others as happy as this kid!

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22 thoughts on “Yuri!!! On ICE Goes the Distance for Life & Love | OWLS “Flight”

  1. Oh wow. What a heartwarming post, Taku! Love passionately. Yes! And good thing you reminded us of your previous eros and agape post from way back when YOI was still airing. I love it and it’s during that time that O started actively stalking other bloggers who were writing about this anime. 😂 I like how you focused on love as your theme or interpretation of our tour topic. As OWLS, we aim to promote tolerance and acceptance but I think that love is the most powerful method we can use…even if not for saving the world per se, but loving what we do, our dreams, our passions…it gives us a strong driving force to keep pushing forward, no matter how hard it gets. Just like Yuri. He was a mess, crying in the toilet and getting yelled at by a talented skater years younger than him. But then he rediscovered his love for competitive skating through Victor coaching him, and of course, discovered the amazing love with him. Love it! Great job, Taku!

    Liked by 1 person

    • AGH I’m so glad you remembered the Eros and Agape post, and yup, that’s when I was on twitter hardcore!! I couldn’t agree more with you on the OWLS mission: as much as we work on the freedom front, we wouldn’t be anywhere without the love for our craft. Though it’s only been three months, I’ve already learned so much about what our motto truly means: “Free to be me,” and that there are so many different interpretations to the way we live our lives. Finding the passion within ourselves and in others to do wonderful things like Yuuri did is a vital part of, well, living, right? Thank you so much for your kind words and guidance, Arria, this seriously made me so happy, and I’m just sorry I was late to this lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, no problem, Taku! That’s great to hear. It’s really amazing seeing OWLS grow as a group. I can’t wait to see how we evolve not only as a group but also as bloggers months…years from now. Great post, Taku. Keep it up!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post Takuto! I find it amazing that all these characters are willing to go out and explore the world and enjoy ice-skating. I listened to the History Maker song and oh my gosh, it was awesome. I kept repeating it constantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Coming into this anime, I was expecting sports and not much else. Thankfully, we got to see our characters in other environments besides the rink doing all kinds of crazy and fun things. “History Maker” really does tie in the whole experience, doesn’t it? It’s always on endless repeat whenever it pops up on my playlists. 🙂 Thank you, Matt!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah when I first heard about this anime, I thought it was going to be on sports but it looks like it focus on people and their backgrounds. History Maker is definitely one of the best songs.

        Liked by 1 person

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  4. I think one thing I love about Yuri on Ice is that other than the fact that they all want to be the best ice-skater, the other things they want out of life are the simple pleasures. Good food and company and to find love. These characters find joy in simple moments and interactions. It really is just fun spending time with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? Watching any of the guys shopping, sight-seeing, practicing, eating, partying, traveling, and anything else off the ice really made for some of the show’s character highlights. It’s the things like this that pull us through each day, giving us fun and freedom, you’re absolutely right. Thanks for dropping by (sorry I’m so late)!

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. This month’s OWLS post was a lot more uplifting than last month’s (and just as engaging), so mission successful!

    YOI was really all about making the most of your life like you said, be it through sports, through social media, or through self-exploration. It may have had some rough spots in regards to animation, but the show was inspirational and motivational just like this great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, yay! I like to think that YOI was a show that got many people out of their beds or off their couches and out into this vast world, whether that’s through the power of the net or physically going out and having a grand ol’ time. Thanks for such kind words, Remy!

      Liked by 1 person

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  10. Sorry it has taken me so long to read your post *hangs head in shame* but I have to say… nice work! I have to agree with Arria, “heartwarming” really springs to mind when thinking of this post. Honestly what an awesome way to end the tour. I like how you discuss stepping out of your comfort zone and really using life to experiment and try out new things. Even if it can be kind of nerve racking to do something out of the ordinary it can be a great experience! Like you mention, the memories are the important thing. Love the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh not to worry at all–I still have ALL of March’s tour to read up on! I’m just glad you made it here and left such a pleasant comment. Ending a tour revolving around on one of anime’s current biggest hits felt a bit daunting, so your words reassure me that I did a decent job tying up February.

      Stepping outside the box and trying new things is a scary but fantastic thing to do once and a while. It’s one of my mantras, but “Variety is the greatest spice of life.” Go out and do all sorts of crazy and silly things, and do so with a healthy mindset and hopefully with the people you cherish most! Thanks so much, Kat!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It really was a perfect end. Yeah that is daunting 😖 I always try to avoid scheduling my days on either first or last day lol I’m a total chicken! That is something I love about these tours. I feel like they challenge to write differently. I am once again really behind. So we’re in the same boat with this March tour!

        Liked by 1 person

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