Fujoshi, sports fans, and anime watchers alike have proven once again Wednesday nights belong to "Yuri on Ice!!!." The show has already broken barriers with its diverse casting and realistic character growths. It is one of the first animes to show the progression of a homosexual romantic relationship grow and develop without being labeled as a shounen ai or a yaoi.
Last night's episode was impactful both on the screen and within the YOI universe itself. Fans got to finally see everything come together in one grand plot twist. Viktor's ambitions and reasonings for coaching Yuuri, to many a surprise, all started with a silly drunk Yuuri months before Viktor approached him to be his coach. It was in that moment the fans begin to realize Yuuri was actually the seducer and Viktor was the one who was cast aside all along.
Many fans with the fujo eye had claimed Viktor had fallen in love at first sight after seeing Yuuri at the airport after his failure at the Grand Prix. Little did we know they had a flirtatious dance together months before! The reason why Viktor had decided to drop everything and coach Yuuri was not from pure instinct, but rather he had already been asked and seen exactly what Yuuri was truly capable of. There was a reason Viktor chose Eros for Yuuri to dance to, he knew he could bring out that seduction once more.
Little things start to add together with this new insight to the series. In the very first episode we see Viktor excited to take a photo with Yuuri, only for Yuuri to walk away. Throughout the series Viktor is very touchy with Yuuri and blatantly flirty, assuming that these are things Yuuri wanted since he had shown this flirtation once before.
The idea that they were both infatuated with each other, but were unsure with each other at the same time gives this series more depth. Yuuri not having memory of their one evening together gives these characters even more room to grow emotionally. Each character gets to take the chance to truly get to know one another beyond flirtation, but see one another as they truly are with every struggle and happiness in between. For them to still fall for each other is a truly wonderful and romantic notion.
The giving of the thank-you-rings-turned-engagement-rings is something never done so casually in a sports anime before. What makes this even more significant is that when their friends and competitors find out, they do not scoff or scorn their relationship. Instead they rejoice and amp up their competitive fire. Sayo Yamamoto has created an universe that has well rounded, open minded characters. This is something fans have been asking for a while, creating natural, healthy romantic relationships, regardless of gender with an accepting universe.
Yuuri still has the Grand Prix to compete in, and with the promise of marriage from Viktor and fierce competitors in the way, will he succeed? Regardless of how the season will end, this story has impacted the industry in such a positive light, here's hoping for more creators to follow in Yamamoto's lead.
This fall season's anime lineup has truly tapped into the fujoshi market. Learning how fans responded to "Free," fan service anime took over autumn. From the groundbreaking "Yuri on Ice" to satires like "Gakuen Handsome," the boys love genre expanded the market beyond just indulging fandoms, but giving substance to the main stream. As the fall season is starting to wrap up, we would like to share with you some of our favourites.
Yuri On Ice
"Yuri on Ice" first seems like just a figure skating anime with a typical sports plot where the protagonist fails at the beginning and works his way back up through a series of obstacles. This is not, however, not your typical sports anime. YOI is a show all about passion and inspiration. It builds up realistic relationships through every interaction that, man or woman, anyone can relate to these humane feelings and experiences. It has become a groundbreaking series by episode 7 where this "sports" labeled show pushed the boundary between teasing fanservice to full on relationship establishment with a simple passion induced kiss. The opening theme song sings about "making history" and the show is proving that both in the plot and in its fans. Ranking number one on all social media websites every Wednesday, "Yuri On Ice" has proven taking realistic character developments with beautiful animation quality is a sure fire way to win over all audiences.
Kiss Him, Not Me!
Based off the hit manga, "Kiss Him, Not Me!" is the fujoshi comedy of the season. The story revolves around the main character, Kae Serinuma, who is a full time otaku and fujoshi. When one of her favourite characters dies in their series, she falls into an extreme depression that causes her to loose a huge amount of weight. Now that she is skinny, pretty girl her classmates have started to notice her. Only problem, she would rather ship her suitors together than be with them herself! Kae sees herself as a spectator of romance rather than the main character. This anime is a delightful comedy told through the eyes of a fujoshi (and yes, we really do ship everyone 2D or otherwise).
"All Out!!" is another sports themed anime this season, focusing around a high school team of rugby players. Told through the eyes of a newcomer, Gion, the viewer gets thrown into the world of the muscular, rough sport of rugby. This one is not made as an obvious fanservice for the fujoshi life "Free" or "Yuri on Ice," but if you are a fan of baralicious men, your eyes will get their fill. The character designs are vast and varied, showing all sorts of body types and personalities. Fans of sports anime in general will definitely want to add this one on their list of must watch this season.
Beginning as BL doujin game, "Gakuen Handsome " translated perfectly to the mini episode satire series. Since last fall season, the "mini episode" (between 2 and 7 minutes long) series have always been a comedy hit. "Gakuen Handsome" pokes fun at every harem and yaoi stereotype you can think of. From their exaggerated features of pointy hair and chins, to the typical characters like the outlaw teacher and megane president, GH has it all. The low animation quality emphasizes the types of clichés they are making fun of. If you want a good laugh and have a few minutes to spare, add "Gakuen Handsome" to your fall anime list.
Be sure to catch up on all these great series and watch their exciting conclusions! Have a favourite we didn't mention? Tell us all about it in the comments below!