You remember when Yuuri was so embarrassed that Victor might see all the posters and photos of him in Yuuri’s room? I bet after The Banquet Victor looked through all social media, news sites etc and downloaded every Yuuri picture he could find and instead of putting them on his wall he has a Yuuri folder on his phone.
Okay so just like everyone else I am also in
love with Victor and Yuuri in episode 6, but can we take a moment to talk about
the other skaters in the Chinese competition? Because they offer a lot of diversity and actually all have their own motivations and backstories and I think
they’re worth taking a look at.
Let’s go chronologically, so starting with
He’s the first Thai skater to perform to “Shall we skate”, which is pressure in and of its own, but add to it the fact that it’s a popular piece in competition and many fans and judges already know it well, he has to exceed not only expectations but the previous famous performances. But let’s not forget that the song comes from the first movie he saw and has huge emotional value for him - it’s not just his desire to be wow the crowd which already knows the piece, he’s skating to it because of a genuine connection he has to the song. And this is most likely reason for why he succeeds. Like Yuuri says “He’s made the music his own”, which grants him a new personal best score in the end.
Next we’ve got Guang Hong Ji, whom we don’t actually know much about. He’s 17, landed third place in the American competition and is now competing in his home country. I think fair to say that if you take that and consider the fact that he’s performing after Phichit’s amazing performance, he’s more than a little stressed:
In a way, I feel like he’s most similar to Yuuri here. He’s scared and under pressure, but he also does his best to find his confidence and lands his first quad toe loop. We don’t actually know much about his performance apart from the fact that he’s sixth by the end of the short programs (which allow me to remind you is similar to Yuuri from the previous year). (But he still believes he can do better in the free program.)
Next we’ve got Georgi Popovich and I genuinely love him. His theme is ‘heatbreak’ after, well…
That happened. He’s basically skating out of bitterness and a sense of being betrayed by his ‘true love’ and he puts all of himself into the performance, so much so that he’s actually crying while skating. His program is a visual presentation of his desire for vengeance and he nails it because of how much he connects to the piece and the emotions behind it. Y’all can laugh at his coral blue lipstick and Ursula face and failed smoky eyes but this boy knows what he’s doing and he rocks his Carabosse persona, and scores second place in the short program as whole.
After that comes Leo de la Iglesia (I really appreciate that they chose to make someone Hispanic represent America in then anime) and his performance is special in the competition because it features no quads, as he decides to focus on the performance the artistic part of skating (sounds a bit like what Victor tells Yuuri, don’t it?). Leo comments on it, saying that “It’s a song I like so I just want to skate the way I see the music. That’s all.” Leo wants to fill the world with things he likes and that’s why he skates.
If we look at his flashback, he says that he has no idea how he would have found courage in himself
Basically he skates because he loves music and loves the song to which he’s skating so he can score high points even without difficult jumps. He ends up third after the short program so I think it’s fair to say that he has a point.
And then there’s Christophe Giacometti and honestly what is this man.
It’s hard writing about him seriously because I immediately feel like laughing but he’s basically the foil to Yuuri’s eros with his own erotic expression which is not the innocently seductive performance that Yuuri shows us. Nah, man, Chris goes all out. Like, getting a boner during his performance level of all out. He’s not just in touch with his sexuality, it’s like he’s in love with it. Sex appeal is his thing to the point of autoerotic arousal on ice. And yeah, it looks weird to us (though I love the butt), but Minako clearly loves it, so there must be something to it.
I just really appreciate that they actually took the time to create backstories for all of these characters and show us their internal thoughts and feelings and make them feel like they have some sort of personalities and aren’t just ‘evil competition that Yuuri has to defeat to move forward’. They’re all their own people with their own quirks and little things that drive them forward and I love it because the anime really didn’t have to go through so much effort to show us such a pleasantly varied, diverse and enjoyable cast (especially that most of them will be gone by ep 8).