If you’re a Twitter or Tumblr user, chances are you’ve seen (or at least heard of) the winter anime that took the world by storm: Yuri!!! On Ice. We might be a little late to the review game, and several great articles have been written already on the merits of an LGBTQ+ friendly Japanese anime that also addresses the pain and pleasure of competitive sports. But what is it that makes YOI such a powerful story? They tell us from day one: the recurring theme of YOI is love in all its multifaceted forms.
It may seem like a simple, trivial theme for a show that centers on a competitive sport, but that is precisely where its beauty lies. Of all emotions, love is perhaps the most complex; a unifying feeling that can bolster or break someone. It hurts, it heals, and it gives hope. It is the great motivator behind countless calls to action, and YOI draws upon it to tell the story of three lost figure skaters—Yuri (Yuuri) Katsuki, Victor Nikiforov, and Yuri (Yurio) Plisetsky. They are all unique, individualized personas. And yet, they are startlingly alike in that each one of them is desperately afraid.