The YOI Soundtrack is absolute genius PART ONE - Kamome
So, this is a post I’ve really wanted to make for a while.
And, I know how much people seem to like my metas, so why not? I will preface
this with the fact I am not a musical expert. I had vocal training, was in a
few choirs etc., but I have no qualifications, I’m just a nerd who’s really
into music and analysis. I would be perfectly okay with someone with experience
sweeping in to tell me I’m completely wrong, these are just my personal
thoughts and observations. Also, if you
want to skim this, I’m bolding the main points.
I have a bone to pick with the Yuri On Ice Original Soundtrack(s), because they’re absolute bloody genius. And personally I think, represent a lot about Viktor and Yuuri’s relationship.
My main focus will be on three: Kamome, Passacaille In Barcelona, and Yuri On Ice itself. To stop it from getting to a ridiculous length, I’m going to be tackling this in three different parts.
First, the appropriately named Kamome (translating to ‘seagull’ in Japanese).
One thing you have to understand is that consistently in the music, Viktor is represented by strings, and Yuuri by piano. I’m not going to claim that this is true for 100% of the anime, but honestly just listen to background in the scenes for the characters (even down to their Free Skate music! The difference between Stammi Vicino and Yuri On Ice!), you’ll see what I mean.
Personally, I think this represents their personalities. Though it’s true you can pluck strings pretty quickly if you want to, none of that really happens in the pieces we care about. In fact, Viktor’s pieces are always so steady sounding (some are waltzes, I believe? A very sturdy dance and beat). Whereas, a lot of the piano represented by Yuuri is super erratic and unpredictable. I don’t think I really need to go that deep into explaining why that represents them both, and what they brought to each other’s lives so beautifully. But oh boy, the piano and string pieces meant to represent the both of them together?
We see Kamome used in three scenes, which all represent similar events in that the scenes start with Yuuri fighting on his own, and end with a greater bond between he and Viktor. Those scenes are:
Yuuri running off to practice figures in Ice Castle (episode two)
The infamous beach conversation (episode four)
The Christmas market scene (episode ten)
And the same story is told through the music too!
Now I believe the figures scene and the market scene both use the exact same clip of the music, which happens to be the start. Honestly, just listen to how innocent it sounds. For me at least, the first part of Kamome reminds me of a music box. Which, if we take that image, makes me think of repetition (you know those spinning ballet dancers and such? – Interesting that we see Yuuri skating figures with this playing).
Now, these two scenes skip the strings sections and just keep the little piano parts. And to be fair, these are both scenes that only lead up to Yuuri bonding with Viktor, hence the solo piano; Yuuri is fighting on his own, making his own choices.
So, we’re left with one scene were the music is pretty much as it appears on the purchasable soundtrack: the beach scene. This is, in my opinion, the best symbolic use of the music. First of all, we start off with the innocent sounding piano as Yuuri recounts that story of Detroit, which again portrays him in a naïve and kind of childish/innocent light. And finally, we get the strings at this moment:
As soon as Viktor reaches out to Yuuri, the music has a different mood. The strings fill in the gaps the piano left, almost swirling around it and complimenting it in the best of ways. If you will, Viktor is literally meeting Yuuri where he is, both in animation and their figurative strings/piano representations.
The music for that scene ends there, but if you listen to the whole piece, it almost tells the story of Viktor and Yuuri all together. This is going to be a lot easier if you actually listen to it, the music is on both Spotify and Youtube.
0:00-0:28 We have the innocent music box piano, AKA Yuuri on his own
0:28-0:51 The strings have joined in, but the piano definitely seems to be leading, so this part represents where Viktor followed Yuuri’s lead, and decided to ‘meet him where he is’
0:51-1:10 This part feels more like a mutual balance, showing how Yuuri has begun to accept Viktor’s presence, and even trusts him more.
1:10-1:20 The piano is alone again, but this time much more playful. For me, this sounds like an invitation, especially with the little flourish at the end that begs to be completed. The anime literally shows this, as it’s the same moment Yuuri actually extends his hand to Viktor in invitation.
1:20-2:00 This honestly sounds more like the strings are now leading, showing how Yuuri has finally put his faith in Viktor. Now the piano sounds like the steady beat, which could perhaps represent how the tone of the anime shifts as we find more out about Viktor, and see how Yuuri created stability in his life too.
2:00-2:18 The piano and the strings are now in perfect harmony, creating a beautiful, romantic sounding duet as they’re less distinguishable from each other. To be honest, this is the exact conclusion of Viktor and Yuuri’s relationship in canon – just take a look at the Stammi Vicino Duetto
To be completely honest, I have no idea whether the Yuri On Ice creators actually intended this to be such a perfect representation of viktuuri or not, but I kind of think it is? Why? Kamome. Seagull. Through the entire series, seagulls are used consistently as a symbol for Viktor and Yuuri’s love. Sometimes it’s a mere background shot, but it is explicitly brought to our attention. Although it could just be called Kamome due to the beach scene it’s in, I have to think it’s deeper than that.
So, long story short, some serious praise is deserved, because this is symbolic genius.
Even if you don’t buy into my analysis, please listen to it because it is a BEAUTIFUL piece of music.
(I promise I’ll upload part two and three soon, but this third is over 1000 words and took me a while to write, so please be patient)