Animation studio MAPPA has released a new Yuri!! on the ice art.
The new image was revealed on the company’s official Twitter account and shows a surprisingly stern Yuri Katsuki discussing skating strategies with his coach and lover, Viktor Nikiforov. Several other characters from the series can also be seen in the background, including the temperamental Yuri Plisetsky and the headstrong Jean-Jacques “JJ” Leroy. Interestingly, several of the characters are wearing face masks, suggesting the image is set after the original 2016 series and shows the characters during the modern pandemic of 2022.
Yuri!! on the ice is an original animated production by studio MAPPA (AAttack on Titan: The Final Season, Jujutsu Kaisen) which first premiered in 2016. The series was directed by Sayo Yamamoto who is also known for her work on many other critically acclaimed anime including Michiko and Hatchin, Lupine Three: The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and eureka seven. The story was written by Mitsuro Kubo, the creator of the romantic comedy Moteki and the time-traveling high school drama Again!. Anime played Durarara!! and tokyo ghoulToshiyuki Toyonaga as Yuri and veteran voice actor Junichi Sawabe (Fate/stay night, Jujutsu Kaisen) as Victor.
The series tells the story of Yuri Katsuki, a sensitive and generous young man who was on his way to becoming one of Japan’s greatest figure skaters until his severe anxiety and lack of confidence led him to suspend his career. After a video of him skating goes viral on the internet, Yuri catches the eye of Viktor Nikiforov, a former world champion who retired from the sport after losing his creativity. Viktor becomes Yuri’s new coach, and the two begin a relationship that rekindles their love of ice skating.
The series has been recognized for both its depictions of professional ice skating and same-sex romance. The series has been praised by many former and current professional figure skaters, including Johnny Weir, one of the sport’s first openly gay athletes. “I think all positive images of LGBT themes in sports are good. Unfortunately, the majority of people running the skating world are conservative and more business-oriented… I don’t know if Yuri on ice will be able to change the perception of gay athletes into a 60-year-old businessman, but I’m of the school of thought that every little bit counts,” Weir said. The two-time Olympian also said “I broke my rule about one episode a day because physically I couldn’t stop watching.”
Yuri!! on the ice should continue with the release of the still mysterious Yuri!! on Ice the movie: Ice Adolescence. The film was originally announced in 2017 with a 2019 premiere date, but the film has since been delayed indefinitely as its producers expand the film’s scope and content. A new release date has yet to be announced.
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