HOO BOY so I was without internet on my computer for about 3 weeks, and yes, it sucked. It also means I haven’t been able to watch anything since then (although every single person on the internet seemed determined to spoil things for me anyway). So let’s see if I can crank these out before episode 8 airs!
Yuri and Victor have a distracting as hell conversation in the hot springs where you’d be forgiven for missing absolutely anything that was said in it – but apparently Yuri’s major weakness is how many points he loses on technicalities. He’s managed to make those back with his performance score, but obviously that isn’t good enough for the big leagues and so his performance needs to shine better than ever. Since he always let his former coach choose the music for him, Viktor believes that he would perform a lot better if he was using something he picked himself. Unfortunately, the reason he never had is because he simply lacked the confidence to do so.
Back in Russia, Yurio is taking his own training a lot more seriously – and what’s more, he’s been taken under the sharp and stern wing of the famous former prima ballerina Lilia Baranovskaya who is determined to work him to the bone. Yurio is determined to do whatever it takes to win, no matter how fierce she is.
After reconnecting with his old friend Pichit from Thailand, Yuri also manages to get back in touch with an acquaintance who once made him some music that apparently wasn’t good enough. He manages to have a Moment on the beach considering things with Viktor before he receives a reply, and a new music composition, which is apparently perfect.
After that all the placements for the finals come out – and Yuri’s first match will be in China with Pichit. However, since he placed so lowly before he first had to go to the qualifying Kyushu/Shikoku/Chugoku match.
This episode sure did introduce a lot of characters. Besides Pichit and Lilia, there’s also Yuri’s former coach Celestino, Yurio’s rinkmate Mila and, if his mention at the end counts, the skater named Minami from Fukuoka who Yuri will face off against in the next episode. It’s a lot at once, but it’s not the only reason this episode felt over-crowded. There were simply too many scenes in it.
It’s hard to really put into words, but this episode felt weirdly disjointed and the transition from each scene kind of odd. I watched it twice now – once because I saw it before my internet broke and then again just now to remind myself what even happened in it – and both times something felt overly weird about the way the characters act in it – especially Yuri. I don’t know if it’s just me that feels this way, but it really did feel like too much was crammed in and the episode only really got a few moments here and there to ‘breathe’.
I am glad to see Pichit though, because he’s super duper cute, and I really cant wait to see more of him. Lilia is also an interesting character so far, and I was glad to see that Yurio is taking his training with her so seriously instead of mouthing off like I would have expected him too.
Besides the rushed feeling, the major downside of this episode was, again, that noticeable dip in animation quality. Weirdly, they put a whole lot more effort into the parts where Yurio is skating than the parts where Yuri is skating, even though it seemed from the tone of the episode that it should have been the other way around. (The parts with Yuri just looked really awkward imo.)
Out of 5,
It’s time for the qualifying rounds for Kyushu, Chugoku and Shikoku, and one of Yuri’s competitors is the energetic Minami, hailing from Fukuoka. Minami is completely obsessed with him in a way very reminiscent of the way Yuri obsesses over Viktor, and idolizes him to a massive degree.
Unfortunately Yuri is having a very hard time concentrating, half because he can’t help remembering his failure before and half because of Viktor’s ever-critical eye. When he tries to suppress his worries and pay no attention to the other skaters, he ends up incredibly aloof and only annoys Viktor.
Eventually he realises that the correct way to go about this is to let the others inspire him and have fun, and he is able to deliver an incredibly passionate performance to wow Viktor with.
don’t mind me just gettin all giddy and excited again about a character from Fukuoka. It was cool enough being set in Kyushu, but Fukuoka is even better, and hearing so much hakata-ben spoken in a single episode really tickled me. Minami is incredibly cute in a way I didn’t expect – I don’t know if we’ll ever see him again, but I hope he at least gets a cameo. His personality is cute enough and its nice to see that Yuri has such as passionate fan, but where he really shines is in his skating performance, which was hands down my favourite one featured in the show so far.
It was so unique! He does this adorable jazzy number that was a lot more like a tap-dancing than the type of skating we’ve seen so far, and it seems to fit him to a T. I’m glad that they put as much effort into it as they did, because…once again, Yuri’s first one was underwhelming. Even worse, for his first round it seemed like they just reused the same animation from the last episode (which had already been used twice) and recoloured his outfit for it, and it still looks just as awkward.
On the plus side, it only made his second performance stand out a lot more, which was kind of the point. Here the shortcomings in the animation were made up for by Viktor’s monolgue narrating it. That, with the music, was incredibly effective in giving the performance an emotional and personal feeling to it – and is also one of the first times we’ve ever actually been inside Viktor’s head as far as I can remember. The passion in his movements really came through – even though he ended up somehow whacking his nose against the wall and sustaining a nosebleed – and it made me really eager to see what he’s like in the actual finals. Plus his new outift is super sparkly.
The only thing that puzzled me, and actually kind of annoyed me, was the fact that Yuri honestly came across as kind of a dick to Minami in this. He walks out of his performance?! At least watch the whole thing! Exactly what would Minami think had he known his idol had walked out of the performance, right after cheering him on? The poor lil dude.