Yuri!!! On ICE – Episode 2 – “Two Yuris?! Drama at Yu-topia”

To anyone who remembers The Soup, the only program on the E! Network ever worth watching, you might remember a segment they had called “Gay Shows,” where a clip with some homosexual subtext would be shown, and they would often be at the expense of Gold Rush: Alaska. Lots of talk about drilling and glory holes, if you catch my drift. But there’s a fine line between subtle double-entendres and full-on “this is very, very gay, and I like it.” And thankfully for me, and many others, Yuri!!! on ICE is a case of the latter.

"Something something Russian something."
“Something something Russian something.”

Continuing from last week, Viktor’s sound asleep at the Yu-topia hot spring inn, but news of his departure from Russia has seemed to make headlines, with many citing that video of Yuri skating his routine to be why he’s flown out to be his coach, complete with luggage and boxes of furnishings for his new residency. Back in Russia, though, the younger and more short-fused Yuri isn’t too happy over this bit of news. With any coaching regimen, there’s always a first step, and for Viktor, his first step for Yuri is to cut that extra weight, which means one dire cutback: no more pork cutlet bowls. GASP! Yuri and Viktor start setting up the new room, when Viktor… well, I’ll just say that he gets pretty close to Yuri, asking him quite a few “trust-building” questions. Sure, and it’s nothing more than just that. Yuri ends up being just a little bit flustered over these new living arrangements, but in his own words, he says to himself, “My heart’s pounding because of how happy I am.” Again, not saying nothing, but yes. From there, things shift over to, of all places, a ballet school. And more specifically, Yuri’s ballet school, with his instructor, Minako, telling him to take advantage of Viktor offering to coach him back to success. There was a pretty cute moment with Yuri and Viktor at the nearby Hasetsu Castle, which Yuri calls a home for ninjas, so naturally, this leads to a photo-op for Viktor on the ol’ Instagram, with “#ninja” under the picture. And, of course, since it was geo-tagged, a LOT of media folks and general fans find out where he went off to. A week passes by, and it seems the Russian Yuri is on the hunt for Viktor, keeping a close track of his whereabouts and geo-tagged Instagram posts.


Backstory time, everybody! Back when Yuri (the Russian Yuri) was a younger child, he would often get scolded by his and Viktor’s coach, Yakov, for going too far with routines – you know, 4 spins instead of 3 or 2. And during this time, a promise was made – if Yuri can win the Junior Worlds without any quad jumps, then Viktor will choreograph a program just for him. Back in the present day, though, Yuri (the Russian Yuri) finds his way to the skating rink, where Yuri (the Japanese Yuri) bolts to, and this leads to the meeting of the Yuris… which is mostly made up of the Russian Yuri trying to punk out the Japanese Yuri. I sense some jealousy, here. And with both Yuris watching Viktor run a routine on the ice, the Russian Yuri’s motivation comes to the surface: he wants Viktor’s help for his seniors debut at the next Grand Prix Final. But with two Yuris wanting similar end goals, what is Viktor to do? A compromise, choreographing a program for the both of them. And it’s gonna be made into quite the grand show at Ice Castle Hoshido, to see who can wow the audience more. And unfortunately for Yuri, “Yurio” (now coined) is staying with him and Viktor. Strange bedfellows, indeed. To close out the episode, both Yuris are with Viktor, where he has them listen to the music for their programs and tell him what they feel about it. Both Yuris have their own takes, serving as their own counter-points and differences in character, and they both like one variant more than the other. So, naturally, Viktor declares that they’ll skate to the opposing songs, instead. They both have one week to master their routines and come out with a surprise performance. Good luck, gents.

“Both of you, skate like you want to win!”

Drama bomb, y’all. We have our trio of the established heartthrob, the new flame, and the old flame, all commingling with one another. Get ready for hijinks and drama to form out of this unique union. It turns out, as confirmed with this week’s episode, Viktor seems to be trilingual, knowing Russian, Japanese, and even a little bit of English, and he’s taken a strong liking to some of the Japanese cuisine courtesy of Yuri’s family. As someone who has a very broad European ancestry, this kind of cultural inclusiveness rings well with me; it’s always nice to see characters in an anime that aren’t always Japanese… even though they all speak Japanese with perfect fluency. But hey, in fiction, the narrative’s language is the universal language. In probably the most noteworthy moment of the episode, we have the scene of Viktor asking Yuri everything he wants to know, while getting very handy. A touch to the shoulder, the hand, and the chin, along with quite the longing stare into his eyes. I’m not going to say anything for fact, but come on. We know. We all know. And that ship is sailing itself. Knowing more about “Yurio,” after this episode, I’m getting a serious vibe of “ex-boyfriend who hasn’t let go” from him. Clingy, jealous, short-fused, unwilling to play with others, the signs are all there. And I’m not too much of a fan of that kind of thing. Didn’t like it with Rin from Free!, and I don’t really like it here. As for these three little kids that keep butting in the flow of things, my stance on little children groups in anime remains the same: NO. Nothing is contributed, and they’re always an annoyance. Looking at you, Eureka Seven. The themes of the music at the end, interestingly enough, are of “unconditional love” and “sexual love.” Both themes strike a chord, with Yuri liking the former and “Yurio” liking the latter, so it’ll make for an interesting end result with what they come up with, next week. In all, though, this show is keeping steady, through its second episode, personal character archetype grievances aside. It’s supplying plenty of “the gay” to keep me coming back, and I just want to see it build and build throughout the rest of the series, and this time, have it end with proper resolution. As in… you know, lip-on-lip action.


If there was a moral to be learned in this episode, though, it’s this: don’t use geo-tagging on Instagram. Ever.

Yuri!!! On ICE is available on Crunchyroll as a weekly simulcast, every Wednesday at 3:00pm EDT. An English simulcast dub will be available from Funimation later this fall. Additional screencaps are available here.

Leave a Reply