Yuri on Ice 1.6: China’s On! The Grand Prix Series Opening Event!! The Cup of China Short Program

We’re Running Out Of! Exclamation Points!!

It’s the China Cup! Yuri and Victor head to China and meet the other competitors: Phichit Chulanont, Guang-Hong Ji, Christophe Giacometti, Leo de la Iglesia, and Georgi Popovich. Yuri places first with a flawless first performance and feels like a new man. But there’s still the free program to take care of…

One thing I love about Yuri on Ice is that there’s no real antagonist. The other skaters aren’t presented as Evil Villains that we need to Destroy, they’re just other skaters with their own hopes, dreams, and issues to deal with. If there is a true enemy of the show, it’s Yuri’s depression and anxiety. He needs to overcome himself to succeed, which is a much greater villain that just besting some Big Bad in a competition.

Another thing I’m enjoying more my second time around is how the show gives each skater their own moment to shine; a little mini-episode to themselves. We see their backstories, we meet them in person and we even get to hear their own internal monologue the way we do with Yuri. Georgi wants revenge on his ex, Phichit wants to make his country proud, Chris wants to out-sexy Yuri; they each have a unique and compelling reason to be in the competition and on this show. They’re people, not hurdles.

It’s also really satisfying to see them interact with each other. There’s such a strong sense of affection and friendship between these people, and they all have their own ways of communicating. Guang-Hong and Leo are shy teenagers, Phichit and Yuri are a little older and more outgoing, Chris and Georgi are more mature and sexualised; there’s so much subtle detail given to each character.

Finally, let’s talk about Yuri himself, who’s really coming into his own this episode. The sexual tension between him and Victor is visibly rising, to the point where it’s now less subtext and more actual text. Yuri’s found a purpose in Victor, a reason for being and a reason for competing that dwarfs his own personal motivations. He’s finally got something to put out the fire of his own anxiety, instead of simply succumbing to it. For Yuri, Victor is a source of confidence and spirit he can draw upon whenever his own spirit is drained.

Some more notes before Georgi starts crying:

  • Oh Maccachin, if only you’d listened to Victor and stayed away from those buns.
  • Yurio looks so upset holding that silver medal in the Skate Canada photo. So close!
  • Love the Russian girls cackling at Georgi’s performance, that guy is way too serious.
  • Hey, look: A map of the world with Australia on it! Usually we’re either cropped out or just forgotten entirely.
  • The Chinese restaurant scene is drawn beautifully, it really does feel like the show is taking place in a different country.
  • Leo mentions needing an interpreter, it’s nice to see a show that acknowledges the language barrier and doesn’t just magically make everyone speak one language.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you tomorrow for the next episode of Yuri on Ice!

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