Yuri’s Smile Is as Bright as That Ring on His Finger in New Yuri!!! On Ice Special Illustration
Five years later and he looks happier than ever
Spoilers for Yuri!!! On Ice
A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Dean Fujioka’s updated version of the absolute bop that is “History Maker,” the opening to Yuri!!! On Ice. That song isn’t the only thing that’s reignited the fandom this holiday season. There is now a new, official, special illustration of our sweet pork cutlet bowl, Yuri Katsuki, to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the anime.
Just in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
❄『ユーリ!!! on ICE』新規描き下ろしイラスト公開❄
放送5周年を記念して #ミズノ 株式会社様と再びコラボいたしました。
2022年スケート日本代表ウェアを着用した勝生勇利選手に注目です。#yurionice #yurionice5th #勝生勇利 pic.twitter.com/k9zNzFGGGU
— MAPPA (@MAPPA_Info) December 26, 2021
In collaboration with Mizuno, a major sportswear company originally founded in Osaka, MAPPA (the studio behind Yuri!!! On Ice) has not only released new art, but you can order Yuri’s Olympic gear from now until January 11th (though I’m unclear on whether or not it’ll ship outside of Japan).
The jacket is being made to order and is based on Japan’s jacket for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
「ユーリ!!! on ICE」5周年を記念したミニコラボを受注生産にて、本日より22年1月11日まで承ります。ご購入特典は未公開を含む公式描き下ろしイラストのクリアファイル♡最高の記念に。#もしも勝生勇利選手が代表ウエアを着たら #yurionice #yurionice5th #勝生勇利https://t.co/IwKTNLxkWk pic.twitter.com/B3s92bNbUf
— MIZUNOSHOP（ミズノ公式） (@mizunoshop) December 27, 2021
Much fangirling ensued this Christmas from yours truly.
Good afternoon to Yuri Katsuki and that ring on his finger 😌😌😌 pic.twitter.com/Q5p52zpnlT
— Bri Back On Her Yuri!!! On Ice Agenda (@BrichibiTweets) December 26, 2021
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t the only one, as this is a fandom that will take any inkling of new content and run wild with it because, well, we’re kinda starved for something here.
Everyone say thank you to Dean Fujioka and Mizuno for the YOI food we got this month! pic.twitter.com/hlvghwJ3Z5
— Ap @ NEW YOI ART!!!!! 🥺 (@ahedis_art) December 26, 2021
This, of course, led to the not-so-subtle reminders that there has been no new information on Ice Adolescence in 84 years, something that comes up whenever MAPPA collects another anime series in their ongoing Infinity Gauntlet.
yuri on ice fandom be like pic.twitter.com/TSnniZ9fd1
— 🎅 MERRY KITMAS 🎅 (@magnamilktea) December 26, 2021
Mizuno is the real mvp#yurionice pic.twitter.com/QHiN6x8hYR
— 🍒 Cerise – “my dream is only you” – 🔞 (@ceriseonice) December 26, 2021
“Long Haired Victor, The Movie,” aside, the new art does show us two things that make me a very happy YOI fan.
Yuri loves being on the ice now
I feel the need to talk about two things here.
#1: How absolutely undoubtedly overjoyed Yuuri looks. The truth is we never saw him laugh during Yuri On Ice, not once, but here? He looks likes he’s laughing and having the best time of his life.
#2: THE RING. NEED I SAY MORE? pic.twitter.com/4fuNr2j7yp
— GoldyLikesArting (@GoldyLikes) December 26, 2021
At the beginning of Yuri!!! On Ice, we meet Yuri at a low point in his career. We see him crying in the bathroom, frustrated and embarrassed after a crushing defeat at the Grand Prix Final. He’s thinking about quitting ice skating altogether because his self-esteem is completely shot to hell, so much so that meeting his idol, Victor Nikiforov, just adds more anxiety and stress. There’s also the fact that he’s already in his 20s, which should be a young age, but with the skaters around him being younger and better, his defeat just pushes him toward considering retirement.
While the series is very much a love story (I’ll get to that) it’s mainly about Yuri finding the passion in ice skating and taking another shot – his final shot, or so he says. He has to start from the bottom and work his way back up, more importantly, he has to learn how to love himself in a way where he can be a force that no one can take their eyes off of. He has to learn how to believe in himself enough that it can be felt as he moves on the ice.
The series ends in a way that’s a lot more encouraging, showing us a Yuri who is far from playing with the idea of retirement and is, instead, ready to hit the ice again. This new art really drives that point home.
Not only does it imply that Yuri is representing Japan in the Winter Olympics, but he’s HAPPY about it. The Yuri who started the series would never even consider being a part of Team Japan because that Yuri thought so little of himself that he would’ve rejected the offer – assuming he’d even get one. The Yuri in this picture looks euphoric, like he can’t imagine his life without figure skating, and like he knows that he’s earned that spot in the Olympics.
Also? For an extra bit of warm and fuzzy feelings, Yuri starts Yuri!!! On Ice at age 23, and the series aired back in 2016. The Winter Olympics are in February 2022, meaning that Yuri is in the Olympics when he’s damn near 30!
That. Ring. On. His. Finger.
Going into 2022, many things are uncertain, but one thing we can be sure of is that Yuri and Victor are still married pic.twitter.com/1Qw5fDVnv8
— ㋐🍌🐟ジンちゃんさん＠Free!-The Final Stroke-応援中🔥⛸🐬㋐ (@denkimouse) December 26, 2021
I go into sports anime expecting a bit of homoeroticism every time because the shipping goggles are self-activated when characters spend 12 episodes talking about “bonds” and “only feeling this way around you” and whatnot. However, NOTHING could prepare me for Yuri!!! On Ice and how every episode had Yuri and Victor grow to care for each other in a way that can only be described as “love.”
These two will openly embrace each other. Yuri will pull on Victor’s tie and demand that his eyes are on him and him alone.
Victor will openly whistle at Yuri while he’s on the ice.
Victor kisses him on live television.
Yuri gets them rings.
happy 5th anniversary to the time yuuri proposed to victor pic.twitter.com/WnxB6OaaYT
— gobo (@goboee) December 7, 2021
Of course, Yuri doesn’t call it that, but the rest of the series has moments where these two will KISS THE RING ON THEIR FINGER before an important event happens.
Yuri and Victor’s relationship is just as important to the series as Yuri’s growth, and it’s clear that the influence they have on one another is how they both get out of the rut they were both stuck in. It’s so genuinely presented and so beautiful to watch that the series literally ends with them skating together, leading to a shot of Yuri running toward Victor, who looks like he’s floating on a cloud higher than nine when he realizes that Yuri is coming toward him, and his future, instead of shying away from it.
In conclusion, they’re married, and this new art took the time to have that ring on Yuri’s finger. After 5 (going on 6) years these two are still close, and I bet Yuri kissed that ring before he went out on the ice.
I’m sure we’ll get that movie by 2027 but until then this new art is my new wholesome anime boy support unit.
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