Had a busy weekend, but finally here is the full translation of the BD/DVD vol.3 booklet. The format is the same as usual. I wonder if Yuuri was ever able to enjoy a banquet (and remember it), lol.
EDIT: I changed the translation of the street food eaten by Guang-Hong in episode 6 after being notified that it’s actually the Chinese “jianbing”, which is a kind of crepe, and not “rice cracker” which is what “senbei” means in Japanese. Thank you very much @dragonaeve for the input!! In Japanese it’s written 煎餅, with the same exact kanji of “senbei” (rice cracker), and though in the anime it totally didn’t look like a senbei to me I failed to notice that it was a false friend… (And to think I even researched all the other Chinese food listed in the topics section to be sure..)
The booklet has 3 parts: 1) Character introduction for Minami-kun, Georgi and Leo. 2) “Topics”, in other words random curiosities. It includes an explanation of how Japanese qualification matches work. 3) Interview with the figure skating animators Eiji Abiko and Junpei Tatenaka. Some of the things they say might be a little difficult to understand if you don’t know a lot about how animation works, but if you google “inbetween animations” you will find more detailed information. The parts in round brackets are exactly like they are in the original text, it’s not something I added.
Translations of the audio commentary and choreography parts coming in the next few days… (As usual I still haven’t even been able to put the BD in the player despite having it since the 23rd, sigh)
***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 future protagonist of Japan’s figure skating world!
Kenjirou Minami voiced by Ayumu Murase
Profile Date of birth: August 18th, 17 years old Height: 155 cm Blood type: O From Hakata, Fukuoka prefecture
Introduction Last season, all eyes were on him when in the Japan National Championships, in which he participated from the junior section, he became the center of attention and obtained the bronze medal at the young age of 16. This season, which marks his senior debut, he first succeeded in a quadruple jump at the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu Regional Tournament. Despite his small build, he brightens the hearts of the audience with his energetic skating and exhuberant dancing. The success rate of his quadruple jump and triple axel is still low, but he is the most promising young athlete that might become the future Japanese ace. He admires Yuuri Katsuki, who is from Kyushu like him, and for this reason he chose “Lohengrin” as his short program in the current season. His parents are doctors and his older brother is also a medical student. The late-blooming veteran becomes a witch.
Georgi Popovich voiced by Wataru Hatano
Profile Date of birth: December 26th, 27 years old Height: 178 cm Blood type: private Russian
He is a veteran who can perform high jumps worthy of one of Yakov’s students, but always tended to be overshadowed by fellow student Nikiforov. In this season where Nikiforov is absent he chose 2 programs based on the theme of “heartbreak” to fight to become Russia’s top athlete. With his peculiar artistic sense, in the short program he plays an evil witch that puts a curse on the princess, and in the free the prince that will save her. As also stated by Yakov, he practices hard and strictly follows his coach’s advices. He always entertains fans with his feminine costumes and in Japan is popularly called “pigeon”. Because music was always with me.
Leo de la Iglesia voiced by Shunichi Toki
Profile Date of birth: August 2nd, 19 years old Height: 167 cm Blood type: O American
Introduction A skater that knows how to show his charm and always performs programs brimming with originality, choreographed by himself. He doesn’t jump quadruples, but his Program Components are highly praised because of his performances that give importance to the music. This season he tried his hand at hip-hop in the short program and won the American tournament of the Grand Prix series, held in his country. He is riding on the wave. In his everyday life he is a cheerful American of Mexican origin and is very sociable. He has many friends among fellow figure skaters and his fans are always looking forward to the private shots he uploads on the SNS. He respects Nikiforov, who also choreographs his own programs.
TOPIC 1: Greed to SNS** (Thirst for the SNS) There are many skaters who share information with fans all over the world via the internet. Now that SNS are popular, skaters will upload a variety of contents, from their practice footage to their daily meals and private pictures of their holidays, some even being as open as to post romantic shots with their lovers. Fans can’t take their eyes off the social networks. In this regard, one of the hottest accounts is Thailand’s Phichit Chulanont’s. From pictures of his fainted teacher to candid shots of other skaters, he uploads any “juicy moment” he witnesses, in a way being the terror of the ones close to him. However, fans absolutely don’t want him to change his habits. [**translator’s note: “Greed to SNS” is what is actually written in English in the booklet, the part in round brackets is a more exact translation of what the Japanese says. All titles of the topics are in both Japanese & English and I’m usually leaving the original English as it is unless it’s weird.]
*Yuuri’s “Hanarezu ni Soba ni Ite” was also spread to the world *The results of matches and other news are always at hand *Maybe Anya’s gaze was already turned to someone else here…? (Phichit’s collection) *Regular updates about his state *He will never miss the chance to get a good shot *Sometimes it’s important to have the courage to upload!
TOPIC 2: Personal Best Score In figure skating, which is a technical sport, an athlete’s highest score up to the present is called “personal best” and the highest score of the season “season best”. Not only his ranking, but whether he managed to surpass his personal best is very important for a skater’s motivation. The season best is also important, because some big tournaments like the World Championships have a required minimum score to participate. ISU (International Skating Union) openly displays all skaters’ personal bests, but only the results obtained in competitions officially recognized by ISU are a target, therefore even if a skater achieves good results in the Japan National Championships or the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu Regional Tournament, unfortunately they will not be recognized.
*The score display for regional tournaments is simple *The electric scoreboard of the GP’s China tournament (showing the PB mark too) *The TV live broadcast shows the PB mark too
TOPIC 3: National Competitions For Japanese skaters to be able to represent the nation in the World Championships or the Olympics, they need to first win the regional block tournaments and then rank high in the Japan National Championships in December. There are 6 block tournaments, including the “Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu Regional Tournament” in which Yuuri participated, and if you rank high in these you qualify for the Eastern Japan or Western Japan Championships. And if you rank high in those you can proceed to the National Championships (the ones who ranked among the highest the previous year and the ones who have to attend overseas tournaments close to the date of the national competition will be exempted from the qualifiers). By the way, regarding the Grand Prix Series, participants are chosen based on the results obtained in international tournaments the previous year and other elements.
*4 senior athletes are participating in the Chu-Shikoku-Kyushu Regional Tournament *The skating order is chosen by drawing lots the day before *Official practice takes place 2 times, in the morning of the day of the SP and FS *It’s not rare for tournaments to be held in rinks without viewer stands *The skating order and raking are printed on paper *The award ceremony is often done outside of the rink and not on the ice
TOPIC 4: Chinese Gourmet This year’s China tournament of the Grand Prix was held in Beijing. While other athletes are preparing for the match, Victor and Yuuri went to enjoy the traditional Chinese “hotpot”. Various kinds of food, like mutton, are dipped in a pot that has two compartments, one with mild hot water soup and the other with spicy Mala soup. “Duck blood” is also a classic dish that goes with hotpot. The Chinese representant Guang-Hong Ji, who isn’t a fan of hotpot, likes the jianbing (crepes) sold at food stalls. Before the matches Yuuri was paying attention to what he ate not to compromise his physical condition, but at the banquet he had to look after a drunken Victor and it doesn’t seem that he could really have a taste of the Chinese delicacies.
*Winter is the season of Chinese mitten crab. The same as the skating season! *”Drunken shrimp” consists of live shrimps soaked in alcohol *”Duck blood” has a high nutritional value *People dip their favorite ingredients in the hotpot *Rice crackers are affordable snacks that can be purchased from food stalls
Tatenaka-san’s Victor is so elegant. (Abiko) Abiko-san’s spins are amazing! (Tatenaka)
Abiko: I also took part in the production of director Yamamoto’s previous work “ENDLESS NIGHT”, but I’ve always liked drawing looking at real life pictures, therefore when I was offered this job I thought that I had the necessary technical skills to do it. In the previous work there were some points I believed could have been done a different way, and I felt that in this new project we could try it out. Tatenaka: Before starting the job, I was suggested to try figure skating myself since the work was going to be about it, so I went to a skating class. Though it was just 4 days. The last time I skated was in elementary school, but (when I actually tried this time) I realized that I was going to draw something I knew nothing about. I could understand on which part of the blade you shift your weight when skating forward or backward, and that was really helpful later on. (When I watched the real life footage) after knowing that, I noticed that skaters really land on those points after a jump. They can land on the exact point even after spinning around at that speed! When I see videos where you can see them stress the landing to adjust the position so that they don’t miss the point I have goosebumps.
-Ideas to make performances look beautiful.-
T: What I realized when we started working is that scenes were very long, in the beginning. A: The director wanted to recreate a figure skating program and was determined to show the full sequence without shortening it. This means that all movements need to be connected, which takes a lot of work. T: Especially in the first part of the show, there were many sequences over 10 seconds long. You draw and draw and it never ends (LOL). A: To make skating performances look beautiful, I guess it was important to add a fair amount of inbetween animations (pictures added between key animations to supplement them). We gradually understood that using many key animations during slow movements wouldn’t make them look better unless they are very accurate. T: I had the idea to show the poses on screen for a longer time. (I was among the ones who went to Miyamoto-sensei’s choreography sessions, and) even poses that were really impressive when I saw them live only lasted an instant in the recorded footage, and it shifted to the next pose right away. If we recreated that in the anime, poses that were supposed to look impressive wouldn’t last, therefore I decided to use 2 extra key animations for some parts, so that the beautiful silhouette would stay in the viewers’ eyes. I like to draw “impressions”, and I always work thinking about what I want to show and communicate to the viewers. With figure skating I felt this all the more important. A: There are many things I found amazing about the scenes created by Tatenaka-san. Like Victor’s elegance in episode 1, isn’t that wonderful? When I watched it I was like “jeez, I need to get better too”, and he also has lots of ideas. Like JJ’s spin. I was determined to absolutely learn something from all that. T: Thank you. I like how Abiko-san draws all the characters properly. Yuuri always has an expression that fits his personality and the situation. And the spins are amazing! I couldn’t draw them satisfactorily and had to redraw them many times… I admit I was envious of Abiko-san’s soft touch that makes movements connect so smoothly. A: My favorite character is Otabek. I like how he is tough and cool. T: I like Giacometti. And JJ and Minami-kun. I think they are the ones I could figure out the best when drawing them. A: When the anime actually aired we had a huge response. Fans would write to me on Twitter, and every time I uploaded a picture I would get a lot of reactions. T: It was the first time that I had such a response, I was really surprised. I’m a fan of the baseball team Carp, and when I went to drink with my friends everyone knew “Yuri on Ice”. One person told me “a girl in my company watches it, she was praising it a lot”. It never happened to me so far!
-The biggest miracle is that all this staff could come together.-
A: Tatenaka-san also took part in the production of “ENDLESS NIGHT”, but this is the first time that we worked in the same space. I was really glad that he was there working in the same position as me. I can grumble about work (LOL), and he can understand me. T: It’s really like that. Watching Abiko-san I realized that Yuuri must be difficult to animate because he changes a lot, and when I was working on long sequences he would leave me alone. And he would talk to me when I finished. Things like that. A: I didn’t really do all that on purpose (LOL). But you really feel relieved (when there is someone else in your same position). There were also many other people around 40 years old, like the chief animation director Shishido-san, so we had things in common to talk about. T: It’s really a miracle that all this staff could come together. I think it was a difficult job for everyone, from the colors to the backgrounds to all the rest, not just us. But they were all people who would do whatever they could. Everyone would always find something to do. A: It would have been a problem if even one of them were missing. In difficult workplaces it happens that some people will get sick or leave, but this time it didn’t happen. T: The production staff, who probably had the hardest time, was outstanding and did their best. They were all young, but when they brought you things to fix saying “I want to make this better” you couldn’t refuse. A: Everyone got along well and even when they complained it was always jokingly. It was a really nice group.
The BD/DVDs were available in stores today, 3 days earlier than the official release, so of course I went to Animate to get my copy even if this meant waiting in line for almost 30 minutes, hah. I’m sure screencaps are being posted all over the net already, but I haven’t watched the BD yet because, guess what, I was translating the booklet.
The booklet has 3 parts: 1) Character introduction for Yuuri and Victor, which is mostly information we know already except for a few extra info (for example, I don’t think it was ever mentioned so far that Victor is fluent in French?). 2) “Topics”, in other words random curiosities. This is the same as above, information we already know plus extra tidbits. 3) Interview with Mitsurou Kubo, from which among other things you can understand that she is probably having fun reading all kinds of fan theories found on the web, lol (though mostly the Japanese ones I think).
Have fun reading, while I finally go watch my BD…
P.S.: I was actually meant to post the translation of an interview with Georgi Popovich’s seiyuu Wataru Hatano, but after being obscured by Victor’s birthday he also managed to be obscured by the early release of the BD… Poor Georgi. I will post that tomorrow or on Thursday possibly.
***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***
Will the piglet become a prince?
Yuuri Katsuki voiced by Toshiyuki Toyonaga
Height: 173 cm Date of birth: November 29th Blood type: A Born in Hasetsu City
Past record: Grand Prix Final 6th place Professional Japanese figure skater
Introduction He finally manages to participate in the Grand Prix Final, but ends up last. Following that he is unable to display his potential in the Japan National Championships and his season finishes there. 23 years old. He is called “glass heart” and the success rate of his quadruple jumps is low, but the peculiar rhythm of his steps has a good reputation. He was rumored to be retiring soon, however after Victor Nikiforov becomes his new coach he decides to aim for victory at the Grand Prix Final on his last season. He is a Kyushu boy who is actually very competitive. The source of all his problems is his lack of confidence, but he has made up for it by training hard and is currently the ace of Japanese male figure skating. Since he tends to gain weight easily, he has decided that he will only eat katsudon (900kcal), his favorite food, when he wins a tournament. His romantic history is top secret.
A new legend is about to start.
Victor Nikiforov voiced by Junichi Suwabe
Height: 180 cm Date of birth: December 25th Blood type: private Born in Russia
Past record: 5 times consecutive winner of the Grand Prix Final 5 times consecutive winner of the World Championships
Introduction The living legend that from the age of 23 years old has never lost a World Championship and has kept on surprising the world. He is not only considered a legend for his brilliant results, but also because he creates his own choreographies and is a pioneer always looking for new ways to express himself. He can perform 4 quadruple jumps, among which the quadruple flip that is considered his signature technique. His splendid and unlimited performing skills capture the hearts of skating fans and athletes from all over the world. Beside Russian, he is also proficient in English and French. Although he is always smiling and ready to provide fan service, his innocent and uninhibited remarks coming from his absolute confidence never fail to create tension in the Russian skate federation. Christmas is celebrated all over the world as the birthday of Victor Nikiforov.
TOPIC 1: Poodle Looking at the pictures of Victor and Makkachin, Yuuri also decided to get a poodle and named him “Victor”. His nickname was Vicchan. Now both his smartphone case and background picture feature poodles. His dog Victor lived out his natural life span when Yuuri was at the GPF, but Makkachin came to Hasetsu together with Victor! Yuuri’s first thought when he sees Makkachin is “so huge!”. Indeed, even though their faces are identical, Victor was a toy poodle, and Makkachin is a standard poodle. The size is completely different.
*His display background is also a dog *His smartphone case is also with dogs *His tissue case is also a dog *Yuuri’s pet dog Vicchan *The magazine picture that made Yuuri decide to get a dog
TOPIC 2: Blade The blades each athlete uses are different depending on their personalities. Yuuri’s blades are a standard type. Yurio’s are a new lighter model said to make it easier to perform jumps. If you look closely, the shape of the parts under the sole that support the blade is different. Victor’s blades are golden. Even the sound he makes when he glides the ice is beautiful. The personality of each athlete can also be seen in the color of the edge case used to cover the blades when the skating shoes are not used.
TOPIC 3: Hasetsu City A castle town by the sea in Kyushu. …Or so it’s called, but the castle is actually fake and has a ninja house inside. It’s famous for its marine products, however due to the decreasing population it’s somewhat of a lonely place. The monument in front of the station that Yurio found gross portrays the local “yuru-chara” (mascot characters), a squid and a sea urchin, which are not very popular among the locals either. The popular menus of Yuuri’s house, daytime onsen “Yutopia Katsuki”, are squid sashimi and katsudon. The sweet potato shochu “Makai e no Izanai” was also appreciated by Victor.
*A town with a castle and the sea *Unpopular yuru-chara! *Currently there’s only one onsen resort in the town
TOPIC 4: Russian yankee Yurio’s fashion style is Russian but it also corresponds to the style of Japanese punks (“yankees”). Or the style of old ladies in Kansai. His favorite design is leopard print and tigers are his favorite animal (he owns a cat). His meticulous aesthetic sense, with shoes, clothes, edge case, suitcase and even disguise mask all in the same style, makes his fans a little uneasy. However, his most hardcore fans “Yuri’s Angels” consider him a fashion leader.
*He’s fashionable but doesn’t like cleaning up *Attempt at a disguise? *He wants to show the world
TOPIC 5: Ice Castle Hasetsu Skate rink at the base of Hasetsu Castle, one of the few in Kyushu that are open throughout the year. It’s the place where Yuuri started skating and also his current training base. Thanks to his friends, the Nishigoori family, working as staff, he is allowed to use the rink to train even outside normal business hours, which is very helpful. It’s rare for a Japanese rink to have light coming in through a window, and to Yuuri this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The names of the mascot characters are Ikahime and Ikadono.
*The castle can be seen in the background *Yuuri is lucky because he can have the rink all for himself *The Nishigoori family
Original plan / “name” (manga storyboard) / character plan Mitsurou Kubo interview
A story where Yuuri seizes things with his own hands.
The first time I met director Yamamoto, 2 years ago, she told me that she wanted to create an anime about the deep bond between a coach and an athlete. How to concretely shape the story is something that we decided after carrying out extensive research on figure skating and studying it. The director taught me a lot and I also checked out stuff on my own, while at the same time keeping in mind the feelings of an amateur, as it’s important to understand what would catch the heart of someone who doesn’t know anything about figure skating and has their first approach to it through an anime.
-The feelings of the creators emerge in their work-
The director doesn’t follow single athletes, she really watches everything, ice dance, single, pair, and she has respect for everyone, both past athletes, current athletes and even young ones. For example, she always calls all athletes with the “-san” suffix (common Japanese honorific), including the junior skaters. And not only in front of them, she does it when she speaks with me too. I think it’s the small things like this that emerge in your work. I believe that it’s important to act freely within our creation, while treasuring the feelings of respect and support for the athletes and without feeling superior. However, you don’t really feel like enlivening the story with someone getting hurt. At least within the anime, you want everyone to stay safe from injuries. Since in real life it actually happens often…… But then, when the series started airing, I saw people worried that someone might get injured or die, and I realized that maybe it’s actually that kind of things that people look for in fiction. If it were a long serialization it could have been possible to accurately portray someone going through that kind of hardship, but this time we only had one cour. That is why we chose to limit the worries of the protagonist Yuuri Katsuki to his talent and his psychological weakness, instead of having the people around him put a lot of pressure on him or having someone that disapproves of his choices. We wanted to show someone who has trouble progressing while being surrounded by kind people who don’t step too much into his territory, thus diminishing the enemies. I was careful because I didn’t want to make a story where he would put the blame on someone. I was very happy when, after the show aired, I saw people comment that they can watch it over and over because they don’t hate any characters and so they don’t feel stressed.
-Having viewers get accustomed to the characters-
Indeed, what’s important is that characters are alive within this work. The first thing I thought when I found myself creating a story about sport is that if a saw a person completely unrelated to me that skates, no matter how well they skate I probably would not feel them “close”. If a person that isn’t really interested in real world figure skating watches it they would just think “oh, some skilled guy is skating”, like watching from a distance. I realized that if the viewers don’t become familiar with the characters they will never feel personally involved watching them in a tournament. That’s why we didn’t jump to the matches right away but we spent 3 episodes getting the viewers accustomed to the characters as much as possible. If you can get familiar with the characters and personally experience how it feels when an athlete you really like is participating in a tournament, then you can finally be engrossed in the world of the series. I hope this mechanism works well. I really did my best, because I’m sure that the fiction will not strike a chord in the viewers’ hearts if we don’t create the necessary premises first.
-Is it the same for Katsuki-kun?-
Based on my experience working with shounen magazines, Yurio wouldn’t make for a good protagonist. He shines the most as a rival, but if you use him as a protagonist he is not going to push the story forward, he would probably send it more in a tragic direction. Yuuri Katsuki really pushes the story forward, he’s helped me more than once. Yuuri is indeed the type that doesn’t have confidence, but when you see the interviews of lots of athletes from the real world, who have developed through many battles, you see what a strong personality they have. When you see a skater who is very passionate about training say “I don’t really listen to what my coach says”, automatically you think that maybe Katsuki-kun too doesn’t really listen to his coach when he’s focused. When a kind and sensitive-looking skater says that the judges should “watch me more” in a very blunt way you think that maybe Katsuki-kun too, deep down, has that kind of thoughts about the judges. I like it when real athletes say things that I would never come up with. Still, I use what I hear as a reference when deciding how the characters would behave, but the decision is ultimately based on the personalities that I created for them. Also, I didn’t want to make it so that Victor as a coach would give and teach everything to Yuuri. The driving force of this story is how Yuuri Katsuki seizes things with his own hands. When you have a coach that twists you around his finger you necessarily have to change yourself or to change something to understand how to move forward….
-The difference between manga and animation-
It’s the first time that I’m involved with animation, and first of all, in manga you cannot show music and movements together. Obviously. Recently I’m realizing how much manga actually rely on the imagination of the readers. If you draw someone saying “what an amazing performance!” and then spend a few frames to draw the pose in an impressive way the reader might actually be convinced that they’re indeed doing an “amazing performance”. I draw my manga adding details until I’m satisfied and consider them “completed”, but now I think that might not be true. I feel that this work, that was born from the joint effort of animators, voice actors, musicians and many other people, is now standing on its own. I reckon that there are people who think “since real life skaters are so wonderful, there must be something deep in the world of the anime too”, and so they imagine new things. Among many different languages, sexualities and discussions, there are many people who are bringing out their creative ideas, and I guess to every one of them this work is becoming something special. When I take a look at people’s impressions there are so many things that surprise me, for example how different people will interpret something in completely different ways, and how some people look for deep meanings I didn’t even think about. I have come to find it really captivating that these characters have left my hands and are existing somewhere else. When I see things like that I really feel like I would never get tired to hear the thoughts of people who say they love this work. And at the same time, the feeling inside me that makes me not want to lose to anyone has also become stronger. I didn’t create these characters alone with my own power of course, but more than ever I feel that I am responsible for making these anime characters grow stronger than anyone else! Like Victor, I found motivation.
Finally a new translation… This is a full translation of the booklet contained in the BD/DVD vol.2. This time I also decided to translate the captions under the pictures in the “TOPIC” sections because some of them actually have important information (like the one about the 3 sisters). Since it would be weird to only translate some based on what they say, I just translated them all and added them to the translation of the vol.1 booklet as well (you can find that here). If you check it you will understand why I hadn’t thought of translating them in the first place…
Like vol.1, the booklet has 3 parts: 1) Character introduction for Yurio and (short ones) for most characters living in Hasetsu like Yuuri and Nishigoori’s families. By the way, regarding Makkachin’s voice actor listed as “?”, I read in a recording report on Otomedia Plus that (at least in one of the scenes) Suwabe offered to voice him, lol. (I’m writing Makkachin as “he” but actually the gender is not officially confirmed yet) 2) “Topics”, in other words random curiosities. This time this section has some interesting information, especially if you are not too familiar with figure skating. (It also clears up why Yuuri and Victor are always alone in the rink and why they necessarily need to practice very early in the morning) 3) Interview with the choreographer Kenji Miyamoto. It explains more in detail some of the things that were mentioned in the commentary to the choreography footage of vol.1. The parts in round brackets are exactly like they are in the original text, it’s not something I added.
Hopefully I will be able to translate the audio commentary and choreography footage (which I still haven’t even had time to watch of course) too by the end of Sunday…
***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***
A beautiful monster that continues to grow
Yuri Plisetsky voiced by Kouki Uchiyama
Russian Height: 163 cm Date of birth: March 1st Blood type: B
Past record: 2 times consecutive winner of the Junior Grand Prix Final 2 times consecutive winner of the Junior World Championships
Introduction He debuts in the senior class at the age of 15 after repeatedly winning the Junior Grand Prix Final and Junior World Championships. Now a pupil of the noted scouter of young talents Yakov, he is Russia’s new hope. During his junior years he already mastered quadruple jumps, but his coach prohibited him from using them in matches. With his sharp jumps, he is in the focus of attention as everyone is curious to see how far he will be able to go in his first year as a senior. His talent was noticed when he was still little and he left his family in Moscow to train under coach Yakov in St. Petersburg. On the ice he is as beautiful as a fairy, but off the ice he is quite mischievous and is known for the striking aesthetic sense of the outfits he wears in the selfies posted on his SNS. He’s also famous for his devoted fan group Yuri’s angels, who cheer on him wearing cat ears. His favorite food is his grandpa’s pirozhki. Katsuki Family
Mari Katsuki voiced by Kyouko Sakai Yuuri’s older sister who works at “Yutopia Katsuki”. She likes idols and has a thing for blond boys. She named Yuri “Yurio” when he came to Hasetsu.
Toshiya Katsuki voiced by Souryuu Konno Yuuri’s father. He owns “Yutopia Katsuki”, the only day onsen in Hasetsu. He is not very familiar with figure skating and actually likes soccer.
Hiroko Katsuki voiced by Kei Hayami Yuuri’s mother. She runs “Yutopia Katsuki” with her husband. She knows Minako-sensei from when they were students, and Hiroko is the younger one. Nishigoori Family
Takeshi Nishigoori voiced by Jun Fukuyama Yuuri’s childhood friend and former rinkmate. He works at “Ice Castle Hasetsu”, is Yuuri’s good supporter and helps him with his basic training.
Yuuko Nishigoori voiced by Mariya Ise She is Nishigoori’s wife, works at “Ice Castle Hasetsu” and Yuuri has always admired her. She is Victor’s fan and doesn’t only care for Yuuri but for Yurio as well.
Axel, Lutz, Loop Nishigoori voiced by Akiko Yashima The 3 twins of the Nishigoori family, also known as the “3 skating otaku sisters”. They skillfully use their parents’ smartphones to post on the SNS and they organized “Onsen on ICE”. Their potential is bottomless.
Minako Okukawa voiced by Yuka Komatsu Former ballet dancer who currently teaches a ballet class in Hasetsu, she is Yuuri’s strict but affectionate teacher. She travels around the world to support Yuuri and as a personal hobby.
Makkachin voiced by ? Victor’s pet dog, a standard poodle. He came to Hasetsu together with Victor. He is quiet and friendly to people, but is a bit greedy when it comes to food.
TOPIC 1: Skate Otaku Sisters The triplets of the Nishigoori family. Since they can do anything people tend to forget that they’re still 6 years old kindergartners. Axel, Lutz and Loop can be distinguished by their hairstyle and personal color. The reason they are called “skating otaku” sisters is that they use their parents’ smartphones and PC to check information about skaters on the social media and enjoy watching real time live streamings of international tournaments. By watching their behavioral pattern you will be able to understand how skating otaku all around the world live. Their parents work at an ice rink, but it’s not clear whether the 3 sisters can skate too.
*Each of them has an assigned task: taking movies, pictures or uploading *Their carefree action strongly influenced the story *A perfect spin. Maybe they can skate…? *They are even good at drawing, but they use crayons *Axel has pigtails and her color is purple. Lutz has a bun and her color is light blue. Loop has a ponytail and her color is pink.
TOPIC 2: Off ice training Of course, figure skating is mostly practiced on the ice. However, there are also many kinds of training that must be done off the ice, like fitness training, stretching exercises, core training and so on. Beside running and stretching, many skaters also incorporate ballet lessons into their basic training. In addition, some of them take lessons or hear the opinion from dancers and performers of various genres, to improve their expressiveness and understanding of the program. Sometimes they might even go stand under waterfalls to train their mental strength… maybe. There are no restrictions on the types of training, as long as they can improve their skating skills and expression.
*It’s a tough sport that requires lots of basic training *It’s important to have a trainer that supports you *Stretching exercises at any time *Russia is the home of ballet *Training your mental strength might be the hardest
TOPIC 3: Music Choosing music is important to create a program. Cases where music is created from scratch, like for Yuuri’s FS, are actually rare, and most skaters choose existing songs and have them edited so that their length is according to regulations (in case of the men’s senior class it’s approx. 2:40 min. for the short program and 4:30 min. for the free). Usually songs are edited by either the choreographer, music professionals or skaters themselves. Most of the times they use the original title of the song, but in cases of original songs such as “Yuri on ICE” or when the skater wants to deliver a certain message they use a different title for the program.
*It’s important that the song gives you an image *Sometimes they choose from what are called “standard songs” *The CD is an important object that they must hand out at tournaments
TOPIC 4: Choreography Program choreographies are commonly created by coaches or professional choreographers, but there are also skaters who create them on their own like Victor, and some who order them from professionals unrelated to the skating world, like for Yurio’s FS. When a choreography is created by a dancer or someone who doesn’t skate, usually the steps and exact footwork will be thought by the coach. Most professional choreographers aren’t always by the skater’s side, therefore skaters practice the choreography on their own and then have the choreographer come over a few times during the season to adjust it. Yuuri is really lucky to have a coach & choreographer teaching him on a one-to-one basis every day.
*Victor was already creating his own choreographies when he was competing *Yurio’s choreographer is a legendary prima ballerina *A choreographer that skates together with you is very precious
TOPIC 5: Ice rink Every skater has a home rink that they use as their base, but rink conditions are very different depending on the country. In Japan, except for the rinks owned by a few universities, most rinks are open to the public, therefore if athletes want to reserve a rink for personal training they need to book it outside of normal opening hours. Yuuri and Victor also look like they’re comfortably training alone in a large rink, but actually that’s usually in the early morning or late at night**. In some countries with better conditions there are many rinks and some of them even have different training hours depending on the level of skaters, therefore some Japanese skaters choose to have their home rink abroad. Yuuri must be really grateful to Nishigoori. [**translator’s note: for your reference, most normal rinks in the Tokyo/Kanto area are open to the public from 10:00 to 18:00]
*The Detroit rink Yuuri used to belong to *Yurio’s home rink in St. Petersburg *The Thai rink is downtown
I said that if I was going to do it I would do everything myself, and choreographed about 20 songs.
The first time I was asked about the choreographies was in the summer of 2015. The first meeting was around October or November. My first thought was that it sounded like fun. There were countless possibilities, and I thought that we might get more people interested in figure skating, therefore I was really looking forward to it. At that time I didn’t think about the difficulties, and replied that I definitely wanted to do it. When I received the first request there were lots of songs and I was told that since it was hard schedule-wise they might have to ask someone else, but I said that if I was going to do it I would do everything myself, and adjusted the schedule.
-Choreographies were created at night, over a short period of time-
If I were working with a skater normally it would take about 3 days to create a program. We talked about the fact that it would have been difficult to create programs for dozens of songs right away, but since I was going to just skate them myself (instead of teaching them to a skater) I guessed it would have been faster. In the end I created choreographies for about 20 songs. I left 2 weeks of my schedule free from any other job. Every day I’d sleep during the day and we’d start from 23:00, after the rink’s business hours, until about 5:00-6:00 in the morning. It was still early spring, but everyone was freezing and every time we’d come out of the rink all clad in down jackets. We must have looked like some suspicious gang (LOL).
-Programs were conceived based on the songs and a little information-
On the day I had to choreograph a song I received information from director Yamamoto and Kubo-sensei, like what kind of person the skater is, where he’s from, what kind of songs he likes, the way he usually lives and so on, and I would get into his role and create the choreography. I only received 2-3 songs in advance, and the rest all came basically the day before choreographing. The songs were mostly original so it took longer to work on them, it was really a tight schedule. In some cases they said “today we were going to choreograph 2 songs, but 1 isn’t ready yet”, so on that day we only did 1 song and the next day we choreographed 3. If I were working with a skater it (3 songs in 1 day) would be absolutely impossible (LOL). All songs were difficult to choreograph. I was told that the programs need to be used in tournaments and skaters must be able to get levels for them, so even though the songs were edited slightly shorter than what you would normally use in a match, they include all necessary elements (required in a competitive program such as jumps, spins etc.). A program that was easy to picture is the protagonist Yuuri-kun’s. Also, Victor-san. About Victor-san I was told that “he is an absolute champion with a stately presence, a skater that no one can surpass”, so I created “Hanarezu ni Soba ni Ite” as a majestic and excellent performance. I made him raise his head in a way the line of his throat would look beautiful, like a white stone statue. It’s not something I was told by Kubo-sensei and the others, I came up with that idea myself. A program that was hard to imagine was maybe the FS of Thailand’s Phichit-kun. The reason is simply that I’m not familiar with Thai folk songs, so I had to look up pictures and movies and it took some time. Just at that time I couldn’t lift my left shoulder anymore and had my trainer come over and tape it, I guess that was really when I had the hardest time. I had to do movements for many different skaters, some of which are not movements I normally do myself, that’s why I ended up injuring my shoulder a little.
-Trying different camera angles and clothes-
There were 4-5 fixed cameras on the side of the rink, and Kanako Odagaki-sensei skated after me with another one. The sense of speed feels different when looking through a camera compared to looking normally though, so whenever I sped up I would end up going too far from the camera. In the beginning it was difficult because I kept leaving too much distance between us, but we got better with each time and in the end we were able to basically move in synchrony. For every program I told the director and the staff what the skating course would be in advance, and depending on the choreography we discussed on what would be the best way to film it, for example if it was better to film it from the center of the circle or from the outside, and I discussed with Kubo-sensei as well. Even for the clothes, in the beginning I was skating with a pitch black outfit, but I was told that it was hard to distinguish left and right and so I wrapped tape on one side. Also, since all athletes skate with costumes, I tried to wear clothes like large blouses so that the staff could see how they flutter in the wind when you skate. I always used to set my hair, but I also skated without setting it so that they could see how it moves when you turn around, how you sweat and so on. (We didn’t only film each program once,) I repeated every program a few times. However, doing everything again from the start to the end was difficult, also because my body wouldn’t last. (When I felt that it was difficult) there were times when I asked them to film as best as they could because I was only going to skate the full program once. If it still wasn’t enough, I skated just the parts they needed to see again the next day. (As it also happens when I create choreographies for real skaters) sometimes I would realize that I needed to shorten the skating part, or that even though the sequence was very difficult there was still a chance that they could land a jump. The rink was small, so jumps were done differently than normal ones, and I thought it could be fun to change the curve too.
-People who started skating after watching Yuri-
To be honest, I thought that once it became animation it would look very different from the actual thing, but in fact it was almost the same. Of course flat pictures are not the same as tridimensional reality, but it got really close to the essence of skating. I was surprised at how realistically they recreated muscles and other details. The staff is seriously amazing. Some shots were different than what I had created, because when the director, Kubo-sensei and the staff watched it they thought that another form would look better and so they changed it. It was interesting to see how different people see things in different ways. But they really did a wonderful job, because when I watched the programs they were indeed beautiful. I see a lot of response now that the series has started airing. (The other day when I went to a tournament) a foreign coach grabbed his pupil just before they were going to skate and told them “you know, Kenji did all the choreographies for Yuri!” (LOL). I replied “you don’t have to tell them now” though. It’s great that it’s having so much response, and I’m very happy about it. I was asked to do choreographies for those songs, and there was even a boy who said he started skating after watching “Yuri on Ice”, that really made me happy. Looking back, I’m glad that I said I would do everything myself.
Kenji Miyamoto / Born in 1978 in Hyogo. Ice dance winner of the Japan Figure Skating Championships in 2001-02. After retiring from competition he became one of the leading choreographers in Japan, creating programs for skaters of all ages, from children to world champions, both Japanese and foreign.