Yuri on Ice BD audio commentary translation - Volume 1
Happy New Year!
I was wondering if I should do something about the bonus audio commentary in the BD/DVD vol.1, and in the end after some thinking I decided to provide a translation for mostly the “new” information. In other words, this is a partial translation of the audio commentary. (Since they speak for almost 30 min, translating every single line would take ages and some things they say are either already talked about in one of the interviews posted/linked in my Tumblr account or are just random chatting, so not really worth the effort…) I think I was still able to cover quite a lot though.
By the way, the audio commentary is only available for episode 1 and it’s by Mitsurou Kubo and Toshiyuki Toyonaga (Yuuri’s seiyuu). Episode 2 doesn’t have commentary.
Since the format is different from normal interview translations, you can find my comments too (mostly in brackets).
-Kubo says that in the beginning she was really anxious, because as this is an original anime not based on other existing works no one knows it at first, and you don’t know whether it will be successful or not. It also aired at night (2:20 AM) and, though it was available through a few online streaming services, there weren’t many TV channels broadcasting it. She also says that she checks the online response a lot, so much that she jokes “I’m probably doing more research than the staff responsible for advertising and marketing research”. She was glad to see that the series was very well received right from episode 1. Also, there was actually a preview screening of the first 3 episodes at a cinema before the official airing, and she praises the participants because they only wrote vague opinions on the net (like “it’s fantastic”) and didn’t write any spoilers.
-Regarding Yurio clicking his tongue in the scene where he finds Yuuri crying in the toilet after the Grand Prix Final: Kubo has only been to the recording of episode 1 (and I think maybe 12?), so she was there too, and she comments that when she heard Kouki Uchiyama (Yurio’s seiyuu) clicking his tongue she thought it sounded like a kiss and, since in that moment you only see their feet and not their faces, she was worried that some people might misunderstand what is happening. She actually told this to the sound director, though the seiyuu don’t know because she was in the booth with the sound staff, so seiyuu cannot hear what they are talking about. Of course they didn’t really change anything because there’s no way that scene could be mistaken, and she also acknowledges that she was worried for no reason.
-Announcer Morooka is voiced by Taihei Katou, a real Asahi TV announcer. They comment that they were surprised because, beside the commentary during the matches which of course is perfect, he was also very good at playing Morooka even when he speaks normally.
-The writing used for the episode titles is Kubo’s handwriting. Some text sound effects that are shown in a few instances (mainly comical, for example the audience going “kyaaaa” at Victor) are also Kubo’s handwriting.
She mentioned this in an interview too, but here again she says that she and director Yamamoto decided all the titles in a cafe near Tokyo Station after going location hunting somewhere. The main reason they used that amusing style for the titles is that they wanted something catchy that people would remember.
-Regarding the scene where Victor is walking to the arena in Yoyogi (for the World Championship), he winks and we see the audience going “KYAAAH” on him and people with their eyes turning into hearts: Kubo comments that she found it nice that the male cameramen in the audience too had hearts coming out of their eyes. Toyonaga comments that when they recorded the audience background noises someone actually pointed it out like “…oh, there are guys too”.
-Kubo herself is from Kyushu and that’s one of the reasons they set the story in Kyushu (she is from Nagasaki by the way). They chose Karatsu as model location because they thought the castle and general atmosphere would appeal to a foreign tourist. (I’m leaving out some things they said about why they chose Karatsu because she already talked more in detail about it in various interviews) Kubo says she was surprised because they used a few places as models but didn’t really write anywhere which ones they are, yet the day after episode 1 aired someone on the net had already identified the places complete with pictures.
-Ironically enough, when they visited the hot spring resort in Karatsu they couldn’t eat katsudon because the dining room was only open in the evening and they went there during the day. She says the reason they chose katsudon is that she knows of many foreigners who come to Japan and fall in love with katsudon. For example, she says that a friend told her of a French guy that totally loved katsudon, considered it healthy food and ate it all the time. The most shocking thing is that the guy actually lost 5 kgs with this, and both Kubo and Toyonaga are of course appalled because katsudon is very high-calorie food, and she comments “I wonder what he used to eat before if he could lose weight eating katsudon…”. (Totally personal comment: I’ve lived in Japan for many years and I almost never ate katsudon because I find it heavy on the stomach, as in I can barely finish a bowl… Though for some reason I’ve already eaten it twice last month)
-Kubo comments that the character who is drawn cuter than anyone else is Yuuri’s mother. She also says that she was glad Yuuko is popular too, despite being a married woman and not the heroine as the viewers may have thought when she first shows up. She is also happy that she receives lots of comments from people saying they don’t hate any characters. She reveals that actually she is unable to draw villains, as in even if she tries to they just end up being likable. She considers it somewhat of a weak point as a mangaka, but was glad to hear of people being able to watch YOI over and over again without feeling stressed because they don’t hate any characters.
-She extensively praises Toyonaga’s acting as Yuuri, for example the fact that when she heard him for the first time she believed the voice he uses for Yuuri was his natural voice, but actually Toyonaga was “creating” what he pictured would be fitting as Yuuri’s natural voice, so it’s something that requires a lot of effort and she was impressed by it. Toyonaga asks her if her impression of him has changed over the course of the series, and she replies that it hasn’t, and also that he was very good at conveying the way Yuuri “evolves” over time without making him sound like a completely different character. She also comments that other seiyuu, like Junichi Suwabe (Victor) and Kenshou Ono (Phichit) were also using voices they rarely use in other anime. She feels that all members of the cast really made a big effort to try to get as close as possible to the characters, in fact recordings for YOI always took a very long time.
-Regarding “Hanarezu ni Soba ni Ite”. Kubo wrote the lyrics and had them translated into Italian. She imagined the song as coming from a (fictional) Russian opera. She says she is glad that they didn’t disclose the lyrics early on, because as much as she likes that the series becomes a topic of discussion, she feared someone might misunderstand them as being directly connected to Victor and think that he has an incurable illness or is going to die. She says that actually she did see people worried that this might happen, even though she believes that anyone who has watched the whole series would probably comment “there’s no way something like that could happen!! (LOL)”. She says that they couldn’t possibly fit such a sub-story in only one cour in the first place, and that she doesn’t really like the idea of athletes being injured, let alone dying.
-Regarding the meaning of “Hanarezu ni Soba ni Ite”. It’s a love song, but it’s about a man who lost a person that was dear to him. The man, who now is alone, hears something in the distance, like the voice of someone crying, and even though he doesn’t know who this person is he sympathizes with them because he thinks maybe they were abandoned too. The song is about the man recovering from loneliness, though even if he says “let’s fight together” he actually doesn’t know whether the other person is alive or not. (By the way, she mentions the line “let’s fight together”, but as I wrote in the Spoon interview actually it doesn’t exist, because the line in the lyrics says “let’s leave together”) In the opera it then turns out that the person was wrongly thought dead and is in fact alive, and the story ends with a happy grand finale. (To be honest I don’t really get whether this person the man is “fighting/leaving together with” is the voice in the distance, and if the person “wrongly thought dead” is this one or the one that was dear to the man…? I’m pretty confident my translation is correct because I wrote down the full text for this part, as it was interesting, but the way she explains it is not really clear… If you know Japanese too, own the BD/DVD and have any ideas feel free to comment. I wish she would talk more in detail about this in some interview, lol)
-When the ED starts Toyonaga comments “and then after staring at Victor’s ass we have the ending (LOL)”, and Kubo very passionately comments about the onsen scenes. She says that it may look like they were just thrown in because they are nice but that actually it’s very difficult to animate them and it took a lot of work and the “latest technology”, so they are definitely not “randomly” there but they were created because they absolutely wanted to show them. She says “Who knows, someone might not be able to sleep if they don’t see this first! Someone having a hard time might find the strength to go on looking at Victor’s ass!”, and she mentions that she received a comment by a person who had an illness making it difficult for them to return to society, but that they were able to cheer up after watching YOI, and she was really happy about this. (EDIT: I see lots of response for Victor’s ass, but to be safe I would like to point out that with “being difficult to animate” she refers to all the scenes set in the onsen, not only his ass, LOL. I guess it’s because of the water/steam etc?)
-Toyonaga says that he has watched all episodes at least 5 times. (By the way, when they recorded this commentary episode 12 had not aired yet).