The marvelous demonstrations of agility, strength, supernatural power, and beauty seen in anime are often best thought of as nothing more than fantasy. However, hit sports anime Yuri!!! on Ice has been largely praised for how it deals with the real life world of competitive figure skating.
Drawing inspiration from actual iceskating stars like Johnny Weir, the saga has now come full circle with Yuri!!! on Ice finding its way into the Japanese Olympic team’s performance at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games this week.
The instantly iconic short program was performed by duo Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara to the track “Yuri!!! on Ice” from the series’ official soundtrack by Taro Umebayashi. Their routine featured absolutely dazzling technical artistry and synchronicity that surely paid paid proper tribute to the relationship between Yuri and Victor.
Kihara was the 2014 and 2015 Japanese national champion for pairs with his former partner Narumi Takahashi as well as the Japanese Junior Silver Medalist. Suzaki and Kihra would later become the 2017 Japanese national champions. They also won Bronze then Silver in the Asia Open Trophy 2016 and 2017 competitions.
Team skating in this incarnation has only been around since the Sochi Winter Olympics.
While their performance did not qualify for the final part of the competition, fans around the world were dazzled and overcome with emotion at seeing an anime dream brought to life on the Olympic rink. The last high profile performer to skate to music from the anime was former Olympian Johnny Weir last year.
Suzaki and Kihara have an established tradition of performing to pop culture classics. They’ve also skated to “Out of the Garage” by Daniel Pemberton, a song from film The Man From U.N.C.L.E.‘s soundtrack as well as John Williams’ score from The Star Wars franchise.
Fans quickly watched, rewatched,and dissected every bit of the program, searching for clues and nods to Yuri and Victor’s relationship within the skating.
I love how the announcers were like um yes yes and I'm just sitting here fangirling pic.twitter.com/hh9Nz3Fxhh
— TesseThing (@BrattishFlower1) February 9, 2018
They might not have won a medal, but they surely made history on their own artistic terms!