let’s talk about free skate programs and their meaning.
I’m sorry, I know y’all have been reading YoI analyses all day, and this one is super long and features zero kisses, but I have a point to make.
I’m attempting to blow minds here.
Yuri!!! on Ice is very
blatant in showing that every choreography tells a story: from the
loverboy and the prettiest girl in the town, all the way Beijing
assassins as played by the world’s most innocent cinnamon roll.
have also undoubtedly noticed how Yuri!!! on Ice (the anime) and Yuri on Ice (the
song) have the same name.
skate program is officially a representation of Yuri’s skating career but I would
like to contend that it goes way, way deeper than most of us see.
see, Yuri on Ice (the choreography) isn’t just a narrative of Yuri’s
previous skating career, it’s a meta-narrative of Yuri!!! on Ice (the
Let me explain.
It’s hard to pick out the full narrative, since a free skate program is
four minutes and a half, so we never see the whole program. It also
doesn’t help that Yuri’s program is very fluid. He keeps switching
out triples for quads and whatnot. But we can discern some narrative elements from what has been shown so far.
Yuri’s program starts with him being alone (or so
he thinks) and dejected.
In the Japanese nationals we see Victor commenting on the moment the story version of him steps in.
followed almost immediately by a triple Salchow (that Yuri turns into a quadruple) and this very recognizable spin:
in the Japanese cup is that moment where the music goes breathless
for a bit, and story Yuri realizes what love is.
this is important:
This is only half of the skate program. Victor mentions that he already looks tired and he’s only halfway.
was a narrative of the past, it would end about there, but it
doesn’t. To me this kinda cements that the Entire Last Half of the
choreography is a skating representation of what happens in
the anime, after Victor shows up, starting from about episode 2.
Meanwhile Yuri, in the nationals, lands two more jumps, followed by some
combination jumps and a step sequence. This is also the point where
Victor comments on how impatient he is.
He ends this program with
an attempt at a quad jump, and a bloody nose.
So that’s what we learn of his narrative in the nationals.
On to China.
I’m gonna start after his first few jumps, where
he’s contemplating how inexperienced Victor is as a coach.
great here is that you can again see where he is in the story, by what goes on in Yuri’s mind. It is extremely
in tune to what the choreography’s saying.
instance: Yuri is very self aware about his mental issues.
He is thinking about this while he is skating the bit in the choreography where
he breaks down because of his mental issues.
know this, because it’s the sequence right before Story Victor shows up.
the bit where he’s crying in the bathroom.
You see: the very next
sequence gives us the quadruple salchow (which was supposed to be a
triple in the nationals), and that recognizable spin again.
up, is Yuri finding something akin to love: we have the part again
where the music goes breathless, and the anime goes through the trouble of
taking off the audience noise and putting in some really pretty
animation, because god, this is a beautiful sequence.
We have some more jumps and this is the point where
Yuri starts wondering about Victor’s opinion if he tried something new.
Remember, in the story of the choreography we’re smack dab
in the middle of Early Victor Coaching. We’re at the part where Story
Yuri is looking up to Story Victor, wondering how he could ever make
have the two combination jumps again, and then the step sequence.
This, to me, is the part where Story Yuri and ‘anime’ Yuri
This is the part where real life Yuri is now, in the
He wants to become stronger.
He’s decided that he has
the confidence to do so.
In the anime by episode 7, he’s become Victor’s
equal. He’s comfortable enough to criticize him and give him advice on how he should coach (stand by me, remember). Victor is no longer
on his pedestal.
But this is still a sports anime,
so this is
also the exact point where he realizes he can become better than Victor.
that moment where he decides to actually put the quad flip
Yuri knows right now that he can surpass Victor’s wildest
We get another step (?) sequence,
And then the quad flip.
Look at that face. Victor knows exactly why Yuri is doing that.
the thing: Yuri is not nailing that quadruple flip yet.
absolutely will in the finale of the show.
That quad flip is the
summit to Yuri’s character development, and the end point of the
When he nails that, it will be the point where he surpasses Victor, because while it’s Victor’s most famous move, he never landed it that late in a program.
That will be
the bit, in both choreography and anime, where he gets the gold, gets
the guy and wins the whole thing.