Yes, Yuri on Ice is actually as gay as you think.
I need to say something to the skeptics out there, the ones who are annoyed with YoI, the ones who believe it’s yaoi trash.
Yuri on Ice is quite literally revolutionary so far. It is a big deal. We’re not screaming over some spineless fanservice or some homoerotic subtext. You’ve probably seen the screenshots and gifs out of context and thought, ‘wow, that looks pretty gay.’
No, you do not understand. It is gay.
This is an anime that is not labeled as yaoi- meaning, it is not basic, heteronormative fanservice intended for women with problematic themes. It is not shounen-ai, where it simply teases the watcher for hints of homosexuality but never actually goes through with any of it.
Of course, there is fanservice- butt shots, body shots, what have you- that is skillfully placed in with the rest of the story.
But so far, this show is not queerbaiting.
So far, only three episodes in, Yuri on Ice has been smashing anime stereotypes one after another.
This is unlike we’ve seen in Sports anime. This is almost comparable to No. 6; an anime with a solid, well-done plot that so happens to have a gay romance rather than a straight one. However, Yuri on Ice isn’t just that. There is no doubt this show is one about sexual awakening. That much was painfully clear throughout episode 3.
Not only is it unique that this show is about sexual awakening, but it is between two men. It is very real, very blatant, and not made fun of. It is not a joke. It is not a facade to draw the fangirls in. This is real.
The amount of proof for this is outstanding. The ending song is a great example, from the lyrics to the pictures shown.
‘You’re so beautiful tonight
I was simply entranced
Even the hourglass was
C’mon and take my breath away’
And, as pointed out in previous posts, the act of combing one’s hair is an intimate act between lovers in Japan. That was focused on in the ending sequence of instagram posts.
In episode 3 alone, there was the significant dialogue of Yuri as he skated about how he found his eros in embracing his femininity. That was not made fun of in any way- it was accepted as the right thing, and Yuri felt more comfortable being ‘the woman seducing the playboy,’ the playboy being Victor. If you had any doubt about who the playboy was, Victor’s whistle was a skillful and clever way to give that away all too obviously.
If you haven’t watched Yuri on Ice yet because you believe it’s all fanservice, because you think it is like Free, or Hibike! Euphonium- you are wrong. Both of those shows, while absolutely beautiful and I personally enjoy them both, are constantly skirting around homosexuality. They do everything to imply romantic attraction, but do not actually take the next step. They tease, but don’t give. And this show is not like Haikyuu or any other sports anime, where you can easily see the bonds in the show as platonic or romantic (depending on how you want to think about it).
No, this show is gay, whether you like it or not. You can deny many anime of being gay, as being something only the fangirls are seeing for their shipping desires, but you cannot deny this one.
This is representation, and by god, I hope this show continues to do what it’s doing. If nothing comes of Victor and Yuri’s relationship, this show will still make history as the biggest queerbaiting flop ever seen. And, if it continues to do as amazingly as it is, by god will it be hard to beat.