What Watching Yuri on Ice Taught Me

What Watching Yuri on Ice Taught Me

I don’t watch a lot of anime anymore. I often scroll through Crunchyroll, looking for series I’d like to try. But I rarely stick with them long. Time is a big part of the problem. I don’t have a lot of time to watch long series anymore. But I’m also looking for depth of storytelling. Lots of anime want you to watch 200 episodes before you get that. I’ve never been a huge fan of sports or fighting anime as a result.

But shortly after we moved to the new house, I found myself with a tiny bit of unused time and in need of an immersive world that wasn’t my own. I decided to give Yuri on Ice a try. I heard a lot of good things about this anime and I’ve always had a strange fascination with figure skating. I’m careful not to read too much about series I might want to watch, so I had only a vague idea of what to expect going in.

Boy am I glad I decided to go for it!

Without giving anything away…

For those unfamiliar with Yuri On Ice, the anime centers around two young figure skaters, both by the name of Yuri. Main character Yuri has long idolized Viktor, the series heartthrob, who has dominated the figure skating scene for the last several years. When Yuri finishes last in his first attempt at the World Championship, he decides it’s time to quit figure skating for good. But when his best friend’s children post a video of him skating Viktor’s latest routine, the figure skating world decides it isn’t quite finished with him.

When Viktor shows up at Yuri’s family resort and offers to be his coach, he doesn’t know how to react. The offer instantly pits him against the other Yuri, Viktor’s teammate from Russia, for whom Viktor promised to compose a stunning routine.

Yuri on Ice is ultimately about a season of figure skating. It does a good job of giving each of the major competitors their own story, motivation and even skating style. In fact, I was blown away by the level of detail. Each of the routines was skated by an actual skater before it was animated. All the locations are based on real stadiums. And the character development is phenomenal. For a series with only 12 episodes, it packs a lot of plot – and heart – into the space it has.

But this anime is about so much more than a sports competition. It’s about a group of people and the relationships they forge on their journey through life. Exactly the kind of story I needed to help me escape in the midst of a heavily stressful move.

This anime gave me more than I anticipated.

Sometimes stories come into our lives at the exact right moment to make a big impression. This is what happened to me with Yuri on Ice. I’ve written a lot about the fear and anxiety we faced during the most uncertain portions of this move. Along with the heavy time constraints, this transition had a major impact on my writing. During my darkest moments, I questioned whether or not I should even continue pursuing a writing career.

Ironically, Yuri on Ice perfectly illustrated each and every one of my fears in tiny little five minute segments. Because each time a character stepped on the ice, they faced a hundred of the same decisions. Depending on where a skater falls in the standings, they may have to adjust their skating routine to maximize their point gain. They may need to make their routine more complicated by adding more jumps or increasing the difficulty of the jumps they planned. Jumps are where a skater is most likely to fall, so each of these changes potentially increases the risk of failure as well as increasing the chance of success.

Each of these decisions is potentially dream-breaking or life-defining. Yet the skaters must make them within a matter of moments. Especially if they make a mistake early in their routine!

The idea of making a high number of snap decisions in the moment blows my mind. But the more I think about it, I have to make those decisions whether I agonize over them or not. Sure, having time makes me feel less pressured. But it also gives me more of a chance to overthink the situation.

My conclusion about Yuri on Ice:

When I reflect on the anime’s story, I notice a lot of similarities between myself and main character Yuri. Yuri does a great job skating when no one is watching, but psyches himself out every time he has to compete. He has a comfort zone. When he steps outside of it, he freezes.

I’m the same.

I love it when a story teaches me an unanticipated lesson. It reminds me why I started writing in the first place. (And why I’d rather like to keep doing it.) The magic of weaving something meaningful into an entertaining story never fades. Especially if you don’t realize until afterward that you were learning the entire time.

I found Yuri on Ice thoroughly entertaining. It was so much more than I expected it to be. It eased my stress and fears during a particularly difficult time by giving me something to look forward to. The lesson about venturing outside my comfort zone and never giving up, even in the face of almost-certain failure, was just an added bonus.

The next time I face a tough decision, I’m going to remind myself how lucky I am to have time to think it over.

So if you’re looking for something both entertaining and heart-warming, give Yuri on Ice a try. (Have a box of tissues handy.)

As for me, I’m reminding myself that if a figure skater can make a snap decision that might cost them gold in the span of their routine, I can probably figure out how to tackle a book release schedule with a few months of advance planning.

Has a book, show or movie ever taught you an unexpected or lingering lesson? Tell me about it in the comments!

2 Replies to “What Watching Yuri on Ice Taught Me”

  1. Awesome post! I am glad the anime inspires you! Yuri sounds inspiring. And I relate to both you and Yuri. When I step out of my comfort zone, I feel a ton of anxiety. But being able to move past the zone gives me a boost of confidence. And yeah I know what you mean by overthinking. But we do what we can.

    An anime that surprised me was Yu-Gi-Oh. Never thought that show would impact my life, but it did. Tea Gardner’s messages about friendship and her kindness gave me hope during a difficult time in my life. And the messages of friendship in the show helped me become a better friend. It taught me to keep going too. :)

    1. That’s awesome! I think a lot of people dismiss anime because it’s animated so they assume it’s just for little kinds. I’ve always found it can not only tell really detailed stories, but impart a lot of meaning at the same time. I never saw Yu-Gi-Oh, but I’ve had similar experiences with other anime. ^.^

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