RACHEL RACHEL can you write a quick meta about that entire lip touching scene AND ALSO THE LEG/FOOT MOVEMENT THERE??? We were talking about it but I want it in words :')
This scene? This scene!!! I’m glad you asked!! Before we really get going, I’d like to try something. An experiment, if you will.
Let’s do a thought exercise, everyone. You’re watching something, a movie perhaps, and you see a man come up to a woman–close, less than six inches away. Too close for total strangers, too close for recent acquaintances, too close for friends who aren’t touchy. Too close to stand without closing the distance for something. He takes her by the chin, drags his thumb over her lower lip. His leg slides between hers, but they aren’t quite touching. She tilts her head up, lips parting at the press of his thumb. There’s a beat.
What happens next? They kiss, don’t they? Or maybe they get interrupted right before they close the little distance that remains between them? The girl blushes bright red, stutters out a reply. The boy is blissfully unconcerned. Sound familiar? (I tried to find a gif of Yuri(o) yelling at them from the sidelines, but no dice. Suffice to say, they are interrupted.)
(I’m not going to go into it here, but I’d like to take a moment to remind everyone that in Japan, this kind of display is practically obscene. Think of Victorian/Elizabethan levels of contact between people. Would Mr. Darcy touch Elizabeth Bennett like this out of wedlock? They’re in public!)
Even without looking at the words themselves, this scene is strongly coded. And the only coding here is both romantic and sexual in nature. Straight men don’t stand this close to each other. Straight men don’t touch each others’ lips. Straight men don’t slide closer like they’re a breath away from kissing. So, with that in mind, let’s move forward to what’s said while this is happening.
“No one in the whole wide world knows your true ‘eros’, Yuri. It may be an alluring side of you that you yourself are not aware of. Can you show me what it is soon?”
Let’s start with the most important thematic element for this episode: eros. This show was created. It’s not happening by chance or by accident. There are six major words for love in Greek, and any of them could have been chosen. Eros and Agape are two of them, of course, but there’s also: Philia (deep friendship), Ludus (playful love), Pragma (longstanding love), and Philautia (love of the self). Any of these words would have been reasonable choices. In particular, Philautia and Philia stand out to me. Philautia even has the added bonus of something that comes easily to Victor but that Yuri would struggle with.
Granted, I don’t know where they got the music. If they had it arranged in particular, that proves my point. If they were the only ones with music, that still doesn’t discredit it. Everything happened on purpose. Every frame is a conscious choice.
ETA: The songs were specifically composed for the anime.
Next up, something I think everyone has focused on, so I won’t need to spend too much time on it. There is no way to read ‘hurry and show me the sexual side of you’ that isn’t, well, sexual. Eros is quite literally sexual passion and desire. Lust, in other words. They aren’t close friends, so they can’t just be teasing. In fact, they barely know each other. They’ve spent a few weeks together? Maybe? And most of that time was spent training. And yet, there’s something magnetic between them.
Yuri tilts his head up, his lips part, he waits. Victor presses closer, less than six inches away, his leg sliding between Yuri’s… “There’s an erotic side to you that maybe even you’ve never seen. I want you to show it to me soon.”
Victor wants to be the first person to see that side of Yuri.
Imagine his dismay when Yuri later exclaims, “My eros is katsudon!” But then the moment of truth when Yuri follows through. They both know who he’s skating for. Who. Not what. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve more or less exhausted this moment (not to say I can’t go deeper, but this is meta, not an academic essay ;D).
tl;dr Between the body language/movements and the dialogue, this scene is heavily romantically/sexually-coded, and given their genders, queer-coded. Any questions?