Yuri on Ice interview translation - CREA 2017/03 (p32-33)
This is the full interview with Mitsurou Kubo published on CREA. I actually wanted to translate all the YOI interviews together but some translations going around urged me to post this one before the others, as I wouldn’t be able to finish everything tonight.
It’s not really an interview, it’s more like a partial interview and a short commentary of each episode.
The other 4 short interviews are with Kenji Miyamoto (choreographer), Eiji Abiko & Junpei Tatenaka (figure skating animators), Yuuko Sagiri (original costume designer), Keisuke Tominaga (music producer). I will try to post them tomorrow night if I can finish them.
***If you wish to share this translation please do it by reblogging or posting a link to it***
***Re-translating into other languages is ok but please mention that this post is the source***
The reality as expressed by 5 people who created “Yuri on Ice”
Reality #1: Story x Mitsurou Kubo
“The reality of emotions” is what Kubo-san gave most importance to when she created the manga storyboard for this series. “Simply listing up the contents of the skaters’ programs and their score and connecting them together is not going to create something emotional. In my storyboard I tried to convey the feelings of all athletes, not just Yuuri, with their performances, to express them carefully, so that other skaters who watch them will in turn be influenced by them like in a chain reaction.”
An important tool to express those feelings are the monologues that can be heard during the programs, blended in harmony with the performance.
“Watching the footage of the choreographies by Kenji Miyamoto-sensei I realized that, even though he simply created them based on the songs, in many cases they perfectly match the athlete’s feelings too. I was so moved and thought that Kenji-sensei is an amazing person.”
As the series is pursuing reality, it does not contain any unrealistic techniques.
“If we had included something over-the-top people would have just said ‘that’s unreal’, so I thought that it was better to just go a little ahead of reality, and consulted with many people to decide the difficulty of the techniques to use. However, shortly thereafter real life skaters actually surpassed that level, which really surprised me. We did decide the level knowing that it would be surpassed one day, but we didn’t think it would happen so soon!”
The writer Mitsurou Kubo also needed a lot of courage to portray Yuuri determined to win for love.
“On the ice rink you can express anything, and that’s why, even if I had never thought about what true love is or represented it before, I decided to try my hand at openly depicting love as fiction. As a result, I myself was encouraged by the story I wrote and felt that I could make a fresh start after that.”
“I ended up being encouraged by the story about love that I openly portrayed as fiction.”
Highlights of every episode by Mitsurou Kubo
#1 Nan no Piroshiki!! Namida no Grand Prix Final
“I want you to watch the best figure skating animation”
Before the series was broadcasted I was worried, because normally original anime not based on a previous work and airing late at night take a long time to catch the viewers’ attention. However, my fear was swept away by the extraordinary skating scenes of the first episode, and the show gained a good reputation right away. Stunning images can provide the best promotion.
#2 Futari no Yuri!? Yutopia no Ran
“Figure skaters feeling more familiar”
This part is set during the off-season in Yuuri’s hometown. If we had showed special people battling each other in a faraway place from the very start the viewers would never have felt close to them, therefore I decided to start the story with the Russians, Victor and Yurio, spending time in the onsen of the castle town Hasetsu, eating katsudon and spreading news via the SNS, so that they would feel more familiar to the audience.
#3 Boku ga Eros de Eros ga Boku de!? Taiketsu! Onsen on ICE
“You can feel the growth of Yuuri and Yurio”
Once the Grand Prix series starts no one can afford to lose anymore, so I created this provisional match between Yuuri and Yurio to emphasize their relationship as rivals but also as comrades. I also wanted to show that a competitive program is progressively brushed up during the season based on each athlete’s pace. Originally I also thought of showing Yurio’s mother rushing to the scene.
#4 Jibun wo Suki ni Natte… Kansei!! Free Program
“Yuuri and Victor gradually become closer”
In the process of completing the free skating program Yuuri and Victor become closer to each other, both as coach and student and as equals. Yuuri’s gesture of poking the top of Victor’s head has no logical meaning. I think it symbolizes how Yuuri, acting on an impulse, breaks his own shell and steps into the territory of the person that previously was only considered a living legend.
#5 Kao Makka!! Shosen Da yo! Chuu-shikoku-kyuushuu Senshuken Taikai
“Check out the relationship between seniors and juniors”
Minami-kun, a skater that looks up to Yuuri, appears in this episode. I really like the scene where Yuuri, finally becoming aware that he is going to lead the current generation of Japanese skaters, silently hits Minami-kun’s back. As in the scene where he pokes Victor’s head, once again Yuuri uses a physical action, instead of logic or words, to try to communicate something. When it’s animated it looks really awesome.
#6 Kaimaku Grand Prix Series Yacchaina!! Chuugoku Taikai SP
“Check out Chris’ sexiness”
The tournament starts and many fascinating athletes make their appearances, but this episode is also an occasion to fully enjoy the charm of Chris’ ass. After watching Kenji-sensei’s choreography I decided to draw a beautiful ass in my storyboard, then its charm was further emphasized in the animation, and finally thanks to the voice actor’s absolutely sexy voice we could obtain the best ass animation ever.
#7 Kaimaku Grand Prix Series Yacchaina!! Chuugoku Taikai FS
“An FSP where Yuuri and Victor overcome their fears”
Yuuri and Victor were both anxious before the FS, and I feel that the strongly emotional scenes following that were represented in a very effective way. Regarding the last scene, I started receiving lots of questions from overseas, asking “Did Yuuri and Victor hug? Or was it a kiss?” and that’s when I realized how much the anime’s popularity had spread worldwide.
#8 Yuuri VS Yuri Osoroshia!! Russia Taikai SP
“JJ’s striking appearance is a must see”
This episode is where Jean-Jacques Leroy, aka JJ, one of the most likely candidates to win the gold medal, appears. What is scary about JJ is that he has the ability to paint any story in JJ color, overshadowing even the protagonist. Mamoru Miyano-san, the one who played his role, managed to take JJ to the next level with his natural personality and made him all the more convincing.
#9 Yuuri VS Yuri Osoroshia!! Russia Taikai FS
“When the absence of an important person makes you grow”
This episode is where Yuuri grows after fighting without Victor next to him. When we went location hunting at the Fukuoka airport there was a glassed-in corridor close to the arrival lobby, and as the director saw it she excitedly said “Yuuri and Victor are going to run side by side separated by the glass!”. I was like “they definitely are!”, and we started taking heaps of pictures. The airport is currently being remodeled and it’s not possible to recreate the scene.
#10 Chou Ganbaranba! Grand Prix Final Chokuzen Special
“Ordinary life episode the night before the last fight”
As the last part depicting ordinary life before the Grand Prix Final, I wanted to create a relaxing episode without skating scenes while at the same time introducing the athletes, but in the end so many things happened in it that no one could relax and I was told that even animating it was a pain. The ring Yuuri gave Victor also carries the meaning of a symbol that the two of them are like soul mates.
#11 Chou Chou Ganbaranba!! Grand Prix Final SP
“The speed leading to the last episode is impressive to watch”
The OP footage, that was gradually changed from episode 1 by adding colors, is finally complete. I was happy that we could welcome as voice actors Ken Gamada-san, who actually works as an MC in tournaments and ice shows, and Nobunari Oda-san as himself doing the commentary. With the pace of the story speeding up toward the finale, this episode was just chaos.
#12 Chou Chou Chou Ganbaranba!!! Grand Prix Final FS
“A final episode where you can catch a glimpse of everyone’s future”
Including Stéphane Lambiel-san’s debut as an anime seiyuu, which is something no one could have expected, the chaotic mixup of anime and reality reaches a climax in this episode. Beside the sense of fulfillment for the victory, I think that the contents also let you catch a glimpse of each character’s future. I was about to faint looking at the beauty of Victor’s tears.
Final note (this is just my opinion, it’s not part of the translation): There is a translation going around where the line about soul mates is translated as “proof”, but actually the word 証 (akashi) can have many different meanings, among which symbol/mark/token/proof/sign etc. In this case, I personally do not think it means “proof” (also to be honest when it’s “proof” usually they write it as 証拠 shouko). It’s more like symbol/token, as in “it’s meant to symbolize Yuuri and Victor’s deep bond that goes beyond a normal relationship”. Although the difference is only subtle, I still think it’s not the same. Also please understand that the Japanese word “soul mate” does not have the meaning that is used in fanfiction… I believe it’s actually the same in English too, but in normal conversation it means “two people that have a strong spiritual/emotional bond (that makes them suited for each other, be it either as friends or lovers)”, not “two people who were destined to be together from their previous life”. That is something you are free to imagine or fantasize about, however please do not twist the creators’ words just to fit people’s headcanons…
P.S.: And please do not misunderstand me. I love Victuuri, but I prefer to draw a line between canon and fanon, and I don’t really like it when words by the creators are “adapted” to accomodate people’s shipping ideas. I think what she says is deep enough even without mistranslating it anyway…