Tag Archives: anime

Pride Month: Yuri On Ice

It is LGBT Pride Month, and each week I will have discussions about LGBT media through entertainment. This week’s topic is the anime Yuri on Ice. Yuri on Ice is a figure skating themed sports anime that ran from October 6th 2016 to December 22nd 2016. The story follows Yuri Katsuki who after performing poorly in a national figure skating competition as a result of mourning the loss of his pet dog and performance anxiety. Despite his intentions to retire from figure skating Yuri’s idol Victor Nikiforof approaches him stating he will coach Yuri and turn him into a figure skating legend (completely naked when doing so too).

During the series Yuri grows in both his abilities as a figure skater, and a person as he slowly grows closer to Victor having his feelings towards Victor evolve from a crush/admiration to genuine friendship eventually leading both of them authentically falling in love with each other.

Watching this anime was a very wonderful for me, unfortunately I did not watch the anime as episodes premiered on Crunchyroll due to being unaware of it at the time, but a few months ago I watched and loved every moment of it. Even with the relationship between Yuri and Victor aside the story is very interesting and well told with Yuri frequently questioning if he should continue to be a figure skater despite gaining a considerable amount of skill with Victor as his coach.

The scenes where Yuri and the other skaters perform and compete are very intense and pulled me (and probably other viewers) closer to their tv’s and computer screens with heartbeats intensified. Despite the series being animated I did feel nervous watching Yuri and his rivals skate cringing when the performers had flaws in their routines. In addition to these routines sympathy and backstory is given to each character that aren’t Yuri, Victor, or Yurio (a third protagonist that I’m ignoring because I want to concentrate on Yuri and Victor) in the series. I consider the fact that all of the following was accomplished in the anime within twelve episodes very impressive.

Besides figure skating the main part of the story is the relationship between Yuri and Victor. Despite the original intentions of writer Mitsuro Kubo of having the relationship between the two be one of coach and student where at the end of the anime Yuri would retire so Victor could return to skating and the two could be separated once again, the two fell in love. I truly enjoyed seeing the two begin to synchronize their affection for each other, especially after later episodes hint that Victor was attracted to Yuri and chose to become his coach based on these feelings and emotions alone.

The voice acting in both Japanese and English are very good with parts of the Japanese dub giving the possibility that the voice actors were indeed crying while recording and some parts of the story possibly improved upon with the English adaption. The art and animation can be a little weird at times, but the figure skating scenes are amazing. The music compliments the skating scenes very well, and I rather like that Yuri and his friends tend to be social media junkies at times.

There is some criticism over the fact that there are no homophobic characters in the series despite two other figure skaters being hinted at Christian faith. Although I do understand the criticism over the fact that Yuri On Ice appears to be a world with no homophobia for Yuri and Victor to encounter (Victor is from Russia as well), I prefer the anime to be this way. If said two minor characters are indeed of Christian faith, then that makes things better in my opinion since at this current time Christianity is being hijacked by a bunch of assholes that are making all of us look like monsters that want to lynch anyone who disagrees with them. In my own opinion I think the show could be a form of escapism and provide an example of a happy gay relationship for lgbt viewers.

I highly recommend this anime to both hardcore and casual anime fans and give Yuri On Ice four out of five Katsu Pirozhki buns. Yuri On Ice is produced by MAPPA studio and has been dubbed in English by Funimation and is available on the Funimation website and for free on the Crunchyroll website.

 

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Legend of Korra Series Finale (part 1)

Spoilers Ahead
MY SHIP WON!!!!!!! Oh and something about the dramatic battle between the Air Nomads, Bei Fong family, Korra against Kuvira.
I will eventually get to that later on, right now I want to talk about the last five minutes of the episode. After the battle of Republic City is over everyone is gathered to attend Verick and Zhu Lee’s wedding. We get some moments between Korra and Mako that hints a little that the two may become an item again. Then a semi father/daughter moment between Tenzin and Korra, and finally what was thought to be small chat between Korra and Asami with Asami grateful that Korra was still alive despite losing her father in the battle.. Little did anyone know and to the delight of many lgbt shippers, the ship known as KorrAsami was made official.
Normally I don’t care for shipping, I wasn’t sure if KorrAsami originally started as a joke or not, but I liked the pairing because they were two mature women who handled the relationship between shared love for a man very well. Despite this Korra and Asami’s friendship proved to be stronger. Then more hints were dropped, I wasn’t sure if the creators were trolling the fandom, or just sending out strong themes of friendship between women.

I think this is beautiful that the creators of Avatar The Legend of Korra decided to start a healthy relationship between Korra and Asami. I also think it’s a really hopeful message to the lgbt community and lgbt youth watching the series. I feel that words can’t properly describe my joy over the series finale and the unintentional message evolving beyond “girls can save the day just as easily as guys,” to “anyone can save the day, even if you love someone of the same gender.”

Avatar The Legend of Korra returns

Somehow the return of Avatar the Legend of Korra snuck up on me and I had no idea it premiered. I managed to watch the first three episodes of season three and here is what I have to say. I liked what I saw, the writers saw the flaw of season two concerning ‘boyfriends’ as a main plot, touched on it briefly and threw it out the window because everyone knew that it’s a stupid thing to bring into a thirteen episode long season.

I’m a bit concerned nickelodeon decided to air three episodes friday night, sure it’s awesome that we get ninety minutes of a great show, but that just means we only have ten more episodes to enjoy and what may be the last season since Avatar The Last Airbender was only three seasons long.

There were quite a lot of twists that the first episode alone presented to the audience, and they will be discussed now.

From this point on there will probably be spoilers, please do not read if you do not wish to know them.

AIR BENDERS ARE BACK! A few weeks ago I had seen the previews of people airbending and my thoughts were ‘did either Aeng or Tenzin participate in infidelity? or did Tenzin get drunk a few nights before getting married?” I honestly was concerned that the writers would place such an adult theme in a television show that has teens and children as it’s target audience. Much to the (probable) relief to adults and parents who watch the show this wasn’t the case.

Something happened with Harmonic Convergence at the end of last season and Air Benders have returned to the Avatar universe. The first three episodes plays it out similar to X-Men where a person discovers a mutant ability, in this case air bending, and are scared and terrified and have no idea what to do. Legend of Korra puts a great twist on this since people who awaken as air benders don’t want to convert to the air nomad way of life due to not wanting to leave their families or go through a huge life change (or in some cases are such inconsiderate social shut-ins that even by force they can’t leave).

Regardless Korra is on a global search to find and train airbenders with Tenzin, I think this is a great change from the usual shenanigans of republic city that we’ve gotten use to. It takes us back to Ba Sing Se and the Earth Kingdom where it looks like Legend of Korra may do something shockingly smart for it’s target audience. In Avatar the Last Air Bender it is shown the extremes and differences of upper class and lower class citizens and how the lower class lives in poverty. Sadly after many years there is still poverty in the earth kingdom. This could easily be a way to educate younger audiences that even in a beautiful prosperous environment there are still people in need that are being ignored by those who have power and money, even in countries like The United States. 

A better emphasis is placed on the extreme difference concerning social class by having Mako and Bolin meet their family. Their family is very large, living in very small living conditions selling fruit that is expiring before your very eyes, however they’re not miserable. As soon as they discover that Mako and Bolin are present they’re brought to tears of joy and love that they finally have met the children of a family member who left the earth kingdom. 

While in Avatar the Last Airbender the ruler of the Earth Kingdom was just plain unaware of these social injustices, the current ruler just doesn’t care about those in need and only cares for herself even having the desire to reclaim republic city for her own some day as a probable allegory to dictators. The Dai Lee is still in effect as well capturing any and all air benders and holding them as prisoners. 

But now I’m just summarizing the show, not honestly reviewing it.

As I stated earlier romance was touched upon between Asami and Korra and although I (and many other fans of the show) hated that half of season two concentrated on Korra and Mako’s relationship, I am glad that they gave Korra and Asami this discussion. They had a similar discussion very briefly in season one, but didn’t go anywhere with it because the writers didn’t want Asami and Korra to be women getting pissed off at each other over a man (plenty of other shows that do that for us already). The conversation between Korra and Asami is mature and both sides ask for forgiveness for kissing Mako when they knew they shouldn’t have. And Korra and Asami being the two mature women they are accept forgiveness then proceed to continue being awesome.

It looks like romance may return in the form between Jinora and a newly awakened airbender boy who chose to travel with Korra. Normally I’d scream at the tv/computer/tablet screen and groan at how stupid such an idea is, but she has to help repopulate the air nomads since not too many people want to join up so the writers are forgiven for this…for now.

I say that season three looks to be very good; there are many twists that have turned the Avatar universe upside down and it looks like the writers are going to tackle themes and issues that were shown in Avatar the Last Airbender but had no actual solution for. Yes there will be more posts for the episodes to come, this is a great show and I honestly love it and can’t wait to see more of it.