Dancing on the Blades: Yuri!!! on Ice OP and ED

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My soul and my body has been completely taken over by Yuri!!! on Ice. The next few posts will be about me blabbering about it like an idiot, so I’m apologizing in advance. Since I already posted the summary+review for episode 1, right now I’ll be talking about the opening and ending songs, which are both lovely. It’s hard to resist not to analyze and break down the details of these two as they are really made for the show. It tells us a fuckton of stuff and not just entertain us with character antics that may not be shown in the show itself.

If you want to watch and/or listen to it first, here’s History Maker (OP) by Dean Fujioka, and You Only Live Once (ED), by Wataru Hatano.

History in the making

I’ll be honest, the OP—which is written fully in English—it didn’t really hooked me right away on the first watch. Yes, it was catchy (I did find myself humming to the tune of History Maker a few days after watching the show), but it never struck me with “Woah, this shit is awesome!” feeling, if you know what I mean. But I liked it for the fact that the words were pronounced nicely, and I think Dean Fujioka knew how to speak in English. Take note: the OP is not in Engrish, but English.

Okay I’m not nitpicking on the OP because I’m a grammar and pronunciation Nazi scum, I just find it nice that there is a Japanese artist who speaks English quite fluently. This getting more and more common, which is a good thing for Japan I guess? It’s sort of a sign that they are becoming more open to foreign influences. And also, I have a fascination with people who can speak two or more languages effortlessly, I think they’re cool.

The video was AWESOME. It did remind me of Incubus’ Drive, or A-Ha’s Take on Me, as well as the movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya. It looked like it was a rough draft, looking sketchy and watercolor-y all at the same time, and beautiful nonetheless. The animations were fluid, the movements and the choreography is great. I also like it that it follows the lyrics of the song very closely, and after you watch all the available episodes, you’ll understand the significance of the timing of each characters’ appearance during the opening.

The first few lines of the song tells us Yuuri’s outlook about his skating career and the frustrations that he feels.

Can you hear my heartbeat
I’ve got a feeling, never enough
I close my eyes, tell myself
That my dreams will come true

op_can-you-hear

Then Victor appears on a purple background, with the lyrics hinting the huge role of Victor to Yuuri’s life, and vice-versa (especially after Victor saw the video of Yuuri performing his routine).

There’ll be no more darkness when you believe in yourself
You are unstoppable
Where your destiny lies, dancing on the blades
You set my heart on fire

op_victor

And then during the chorus, Yuri(o) also appears, indicating that he is a main character in the show as well. Not only Yuuri will be a catalyst of the great things to come in the show, but Yuri(o) and Victor as well.

Don’t stop us now, the moment of truth
We were born to make history
We’ll make it happen, we’ll turn it around
Yes we were born to make history

During the chorus, Yuuri and Yuri(o)’s outfit changes to white instead of the all-black piece, and the background colors alternates from dark and somber tones to splotches of yellow, light blue, white, purple, and other brighter colors.

Some people with a quick and clear set of hawk eyes noticed that the background gradually changes every episode. At episode 1 there are just solid, flat colors, but starting on episode 2, more details are being added: the colors became more vibrant, there were splotches of color added on their every movement, there is an added touch of stadium seats on their back; there are also additional sound effects but episode 3 (a little on the softer side, but you can hear the faint cheering of crowds). You’ll need to carefully watch them all, and you’ll notice the difference.

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Episode 1.

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Episode 2.

I’ve read some reviews nitpicking that the movements were just “recycled” after the chorus, but I really don’t see anything wrong with this. The second stanza of a standard song usually repeats the melody of the first stanzas, as well as its lyrics, just changing it a little bit here and there. So why can’t an opening video do it as well? Take note that this is a skating anime, and anime in general frequently recycles stuff to save on money and effort. I don’t think it’s a bad idea to use the same choreography all over again (unless it’s being used over and over, which is not done in this scenario). And guys, chill. This is only the OP. If they spend too much time varying the choreography just for the OP, the expenses and the work will be doubled, and in the end it might affect the show.

All in all, it’s a fabulous opening for a very fabulous show. Me not liking the OP right away is just my personal preference. Or maybe I’m just hungry when I watched it the first time, so…

By the way, you can already buy it on iTunes. I just did, last week. :p

#yolo

Who thought that a popular internet meme will be used as a title for the ED of an anime.

This one TOTALLY blew me away. The concept of the video, the beat of the song, EVERYTHING!!!

It’s ingenious to use fireworks for the light stop-motion animation effects. I usually find cellphones, flashlights, or glowsticks being used for the purpose. It’s so fucking coooooool! And it looks like they’re definitely having a good time, indicating that the rivalry that Yuuri and Yuri(o) has is purely on a professional level only.

And it’s the three of them again! Further reinforcing the theme in the OP that these three are the main characters for this show, and the show will showcase their development as characters, which we will see later on in the episodes.

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Yurio looking scared. I understand that too, since I get scared of fireworks sometimes.

I like it that they used shots of Victor and Yuri(o), as well as the not-yet-introduced-characters’ Instagram accounts so we viewers can get a glimpse of what they are doing when they are not on ice. It effectively reminds us that behind the camera, these are real people, with hobbies and activities other than ice skating (though really they are 2D and fictional characters only).

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Seeing posts like this make us think of athletes just living the posh life with their millions or something, but come training time they are practicing like hell.

We see that Yuri(o) is a total cat freak, and Victor likes drinking (is this a Russian stereotype or something???)

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This Russian punk and his obsession with cats. It’s ok, he’s cute.

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I wonder who took this picture. Yuuri, maybe?

Next is a picture of Victor and Yuuri sitting on a train, facing each other. There is a smile on their faces while they look at each other, and Makkachin is sleeping in Yuuri’s arms. No other people can be seen (so who took this picture?) It gives us a glimpse of their private time, and yet Victor posts it on IG, like he is teasing his followers. With almost 11,000 likes, the caption simply says, “Time flies so fast.”

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168 comments. Hmmm. I really wanted to know what the comments are about. Seriously. I bet they’re from shippers, lol.

This image seems to be a foreboding of some sort, but I really don’t want to think about it now because I’ll feel sad, especially that this show is only about 12 episodes or so, and we’re now on the 5th episode by the time this gets posted.. *sniff*

The last image in the IG roll is a post by the Nishigori triplets. It’s another picture of Victor and Yuuri in their private time, and definitely screams stolen shot. The lights indicate that this might be in Yuuri’s or Victor’s room, with Yuuri seated on the floor looking all comfy while Victor lovingly combs his hair.

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Damn, this is so sweet, I can’t.. *wipes bloody nose*

This picture was focused a few seconds longer than the first ones, but this is the last picture on the IG roll and the screen slowly fades right after, so we don’t know the caption for that picture, as well as how many likes and comments the post got (I nitpick on things like this, sorry). This got me intrigued even more, to be honest..

Now, this is a big deal, I heard. Apparently, grooming each other is an intimate activity in the Japanese culture, usually being done by husbands and wives (kyaaa!!!) This image is very significant, since in the first three episodes we see that Yuuri is afraid of Victor’s total disregard of personal space, being very casual on touching him and getting really close to him. This is a sort of assurance to the viewers that eventually Yuuri will be totally comfortable with Victor around, touching him here and there. Wait, I need to breathe…

Notice that Yuuri doesn’t have an IG account? Hmm… (Edit: By episode 4 we knew that Yuuri has an IG account. But why it isn’t shown here, why???)

The next shot that we see are images in sepia, of Victor and a certain someone running off and having fun in the beach, with Makkachin tagging along, as usual.

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C’mon guys, we already know who’s with Victor here..

Looks like another stolen shot/video of an intimate moment to me..and of course I’m not complaining, duh.

After running off in the beach, it’s now bath time!!!

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Look at that fluffy mofo. So cute 🙂

Yuuri is now totally comfortable around Victor. This is an important piece of evidence, Your Honor.

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Damn, how closer these two can get? My ovaries can’t handle this!!!

The last few snippets of the ED focuses on Yuuri. Well, his name is on the title of this show…

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Behind this scene: Yuri(o) saw a cat and probably ran off to catch it, and Victor got tired from all the running, so he’s resting for a bit.

This song, mwah, so perfect. 10/10!!!

This song unfortunately, is not yet available in iTunes, but I heard it will be released digitally around 2nd week of November (if you’re impatient, you can find it on other sites instead  *ahem*). My ovaries (and my wallet) are all ready.

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