My mad dash before episode 8 airs continues.
Yuri and Viktor have arrived in China, and after fooling around a bit at a hotpot restaurant and catching up with Yuri’s old buddies, it’s time for the Opening Event – the men’s short program.
Besides getting to see more of Phichit, we’re introduced to quite a few skaters and they’re signature styles. There’s the Chinese Guang Hong, a cute and timid boy who skates gracefully, the American Leo who has a style packed with confidence, and the new champion from Russia taking Viktor’s place, Giorgi, whose style is…uh, Giorgi. There’s also the swiss Christophe who represents what may be Yuri’s biggest challenge – his style is also based on ”eros”, but of in a more mature fashion than Yuri’s, and he’s convinced that he can beat him at his own game. (Phichit, by the way, has a very showy style that fits well with his chosen song.)
Yuri manages to wow everyone again, having completely transformed himself from last time, and actually manages to get the highest score.
Well, the writing in this episode was certainly a lot better. Not a lot happened, which was a good thing because it gave time to show the stuff that actually did. This episode was mostly for introducing the various other skaters and showcasing their own styles, but it worked really well.
Their routines are quite long but I didn’t get bored from watching any of them, as they’re all incredibly different and, hurray! actually decently animated! I can now accept the lacklustre animation in the previous episodes now that I know where the budget went. And, by the way, it looks like a whole lot of that budget went to Christophe’s butt. He sure wants you to look at his butt. Having another character who specialises in ‘eros’ in a much more obviously sexual way than Yuri does (probably because it not based on goddamn katsudon) is an interesting idea, but I really don’t know if I like this guy. He’s a little too over the top, and while I’m not sure if he actually is supposed to be gay or not, some of his behaviour skirts a little close to the ‘predatory okama’ trope I hate so much. (I mean, he greets Yuri by touching his butt. Come on.)
As for the other characters introduced, Phichit continues to be adorable and seems like a fun guy, Guang Hong is a sweetiepie, Leo doesn’t interest me personally but seems like a decent person…and then there’s Georgi, who appears to have escaped from Yowamushi Pedal as one of the more oddball cast-members there. He’s pretty ridiculous and everyone else seems to think so, but he has the potential to be pretty funny. That makeup, what the hell.
I’m really enjoying seeing all the different skating styles and the types of performances they bring, so I’m eager for more. Let’s hope the budget holds up.
Yuri begins the China Cup in first place….and this is not a good thing. The poor dude is not remotely used to being in first place, and his anxiety spikes through the roof. Not being able to sleep or function properly, he cant even stand the sight of the other skaters performing so well, not even his good friend Phichit, and Viktor cant seem to bring him back to his usual self no matter how hard he tries.
The other boys are all doing well of course – Guang Hong’s new performance is based on the tale of a Shanghai assassin while Georgi’s almost uncomfortably bizarre interpretative dance reaches ridiculous new heights while still somehow scoring points. Chistophe, who is determined to face off against Viktor on the ice again, wants nothing more than to crush Yuri and pull Viktor from coaching back to skating.
Meanwhile, all the pressure continues to get to Yuri, who is not only angsting about his own potential failure but the effect it will have on people’s opinion on Viktor – as people have already made it clear that they’re mad at him for ‘stealing’ him from the sport. Viktor takes him to a quieter place (the carpark, actually) in an attempt to calm his nerves, but has the weird reverse-psychology idea of telling Yuri that if he fails, he’s quitting as his coach. Obviously, this does not have the desired effect and only makes Yuri cry a whole lot…although perhaps it was for the best in the end, because he feels a lot better about it once he gets all his feelings out and is able to return to the ice feeling refreshed.
He ends up putting on his goshdarn best performance yet, even working in a move that Viktor himself couldn’t pull off, and he is rewarded with the silver medal (Phichit earning gold and Christophe Bronze)…..and a kiss from Viktor.
WELL this was the episode that caused the internet to implode for a bit – it was even trending on twitter for a little while, and despite the fact that I wasnt able to see it until today, three separate people felt the need to message me about it and spoil it entirely for me when it first aired. Thanks guys!
So, I knew the kiss was coming, so it was hard to be surprised by it, and while it was a very great thing that I’m hoping has both the people insisting this show is nothing but queerbaiting and the (even weirder) people who insist this show is nothing but 100% hetero dudes doing hetero dude things with a lot of egg on their faces, I was actually a little more moved by the scene in the carpark which was amazingly done. I really don’t know what Viktor was hoping to achieve by pretending he’d quit as Yuri’s coach but his reaction to Yuri’s reaction to this was what got me. The whole scene was one of the most emotional ones in the show so far, and it enhanced the kiss scene a whole lot more. I hope this is going someplace good – unfortunately the show is only half over, and while its possible they might actually get together for real before the end it’s very likely some kind of obstacle is going to come up.
Speaking of obstacles, I was also happy to see Yuri facing some kind of setback with his own nerves as his enemy because until now it did seem like things were a little too easy for him. His almost-meltdown seemed incredibly realistic, and should to anybody with anxiety who has been in a similar position of expectation placed on them before.
The skating in this episode was also amazing (Maybe I’d put airquotes on ‘amazing’ for Giorgi’s) – with the exception of Christophe’s for some reason; which is ironic because his stood out the most in the last episode and the whole time he was narrating how important it was for him to get Viktor back. It just didnt really have much impact or stand out at all. Guang Hong, on the other hand, had his superimposed with something like a gangster movie which worked really well, and then Giorgi’s…was ridiculous, of course.
The silver lining of my internet being out for so long is that I dont have to wait a week for episode 8. Bring it.