This is one of my episode reactions and analyses! I started these as a way to delve into particular episodes of a show. My thought is that some people would read these alongside watching the episodes, and that others might read them to get a sense for whether they would enjoy the anime. I hope you like it!
The episode starts with Victor parting with his coach. It is obvious that they have a close relationship. Since I have watched this anime before, I will say it has shown that the relationship between the coach and skater is a special one. I feel like the relationship between the martial arts student and instructor is somewhat similar, because of the amount that my instructor was invested in my Tang Soo Do training. I still appreciate all that the Grecos at Hidden Tiger Tang Soo Do did for me. Anyway, that was what it made me think of.
The next scene is of Minako freaking out because of the rumors that Victor will be Yuri’s coach. And then she sees that Victor is literally sleeping on their floor, tired after his journey. Now I admire plenty of famous people at least a little, but if I came home to any of them sleeping on my floor I would likely just be uncomfortable. Forget being a fangirl; I’m just plain awkward.
Victor came because of the video of Yuri’s skating that the triplets posted online. That has to be every fan’s dream–their own talent recognized by someone they admire, who then decides to be their personal coach. That sort of thing happens mostly just in stories–but since this is one, the spectacular is accepted as possible.
The Russian Yuri is pissed off that Victor made that decision. He feels entitled to Victor because of a promise Victor made to him. I mean, promises are important so I kinda get it. I myself consider a promise like an unbreakable vow. I barely ever make them, and never break them.
Victor tends to be forgetful, so it is not especially surprising that the promise was not at the forefront of his mind.
When Victor wakes up, he asks for food and is treated to the special, a pork cutlet bowl. Now this is not just any meal. This pork cutlet bowl is destined to become a metaphor, a goal, and a nickname. Not even kidding.
The first order of business is getting Yuri back in shape. Which means no more pork cutlet bowls for the time being, and a strict exercise regiment. I understand how hard it can be to get back in shape after developing bad habits. I rarely exercise and am completely out of shape, and have been having trouble getting the motivation to improve myself physically. So good for Yuri!
Victor just straight up assumes he will be staying in the same home where Yuri lives. I remember not being sure what to think of him when I first watched this, partly because of this specific moment. Inviting yourself to stay in someone else’s house would be awkward even for a friend, but for a near complete stranger? It’s ludicrous. Then he says he will not bill Yuri yet, which is crazy because he basically insisted on being Yuri’s coach.
But I love Victor, so he gets a free pass to be quirky.
The boxes Victor brought to move in are great in number, filling most of the room. They are also labeled Cedex, which is no doubt a riff on Fedex.
Victor gently holds Yuri’s chin in his hand and touches Yuri’s hand. Yuri blushes uncontrollably and runs away in embarrassment, then makes an excuse. It’s not clear if this is a romantic interest situation or just the way Victor treats people. He really doesn’t seem to have many inhibitions. The reason that Yuri ran away wasn’t out of fear or anything, he just couldn’t handle being so close to his hero.
Victor wants to have a sleepover and chat with Yuri, and Yuri goes into panic hiding all his fanboy stuff. He had posters of Victor all over his wall. Some people want to go out of their way to prove they are the greatest fan, but Yuri really seems to want to play it cool.
When Victor and Yuri go to the skating rink, Yuuko and her family are visibly astonished to see Victor and hear he is Yuri’s coach. Victor has such a matter-of-fact way of speaking; he is humble enough or good-humored enough not to acknowledge his own fame.
Later, Minako gives Yuri ballet lessons. I guess I never realized how figure skating and ballet would translate so well that improving in one would inevitably improve the other. I guess that makes sense. Believe it or not, martial arts and dancing are not that far apart, either. Martial arts forms may look similar to a choreographed dance, even. I once taught my friend how to turn her choreographed dance into a series of self-defense moves, grabs, and locks, while keeping the spirit of the original dance.
Yeah, I was weird.
What am I saying?
I still am weird.
Anyway, Minako was the one who suggested that Yuri start figure skating in the first place. It’s funny, the little nudges that change your entire life. My mom asked offhand if I wanted to try martial arts when I was in my early teens. After a fateful and reluctant yes, I trained for more than eight years. It changed my entire life. And figure skating transformed Yuri’s life too, changing the kind of person he was.
Victor questions Yuri about if he has feelings for Minako, if he has had lovers or ex-lovers. And okay, sure, he may just be nosy. But it really seems like he might be romantically interested in Yuri. Because as soon as he asks the question about lovers, he says “then let’s talk about me.” That juxtaposition…just saying.
Then the hot spring inn is tracked down by the paparazzi, and Yuri’s mom is just happy to have customers. Maybe she didn’t get the memo that they are only there to find Victor? But I guess some of them may stay at the inn to be close to Victor. Fans also show up at the skating rink.
Cue exercise montage. Poor Yuri still needs to get in shape. I don’t envy him. I have gotten lazy since quitting Tang Soo Do.
This is the point where Yurio (Russian Yuri) catches up, and when he starts to grow on me. Taking social media pics, buying a cute shirt, being an excited tourist in Japan. Not something I am natural at, but something I can recognize as fun teenager activities. Very relatable. So he’s not just the punk who yells at everyone. He is Bakugo done right. If you got that reference, good for you.
It was easy to forget that Yurio is only 15 in the previous episode, but I’d say it’s more obvious in this one. Yurio always pushed himself to the limit, even as a younger child. Victor appreciated it, but it just frustrated Yurio’s coach. Victor agreed to choreograph a program for Yurio if he won the Junior World Championship without doing any quads (a difficult kind of jump). That was the promise.
And Victor should be holding up his end of that deal. If only he was not so forgetful.
I feel a little less sympathy for Yurio when he kicks Yuri down. It was uncalled for. Plus, how the heck is he that strong? Wow.
Yurio explains that Victor made a part of a routine for competing this season before he decided to be Yuri’s coach. Victor apparently experiences a lot of frustration because he can no longer surprise his audience. Victor is feeling a lack of inspiration.
Without inspiration you’re as good as dead.”Yurio
An interesting quote from Yurio. I happen to agree. For me, anyway. If I can’t be inspired to write and talk about what I love, then what’s the point in being alive? That’s kind of dark, but for me, writing is my life. That’s why not being myself in my writing eats away at me. That’s why I came out as asexual and biromantic, and why I revealed that I was agnostic. To be myself in my writing, so that I could fully share my perspective and not have my words be stilted and void of my own voice. Being someone else by hiding parts of myself had killed my motivation and inspiration. And I still have a ways to go, sharing what I have been keeping quiet about my mental health. Be patient with me.
That turned into a ramble, but hey, the kid’s got a point.
Victor is confronted and agrees to make a program for both Yuris to the same music. I mean, having to pick only one music track had to make it easier, but I suspect he mostly likes messing with the two of them. Besides, doesn’t that put the two of them on more equal footing? But the real reason may have been just that he had already partially choreographed two routines for the music piece. Who knows? This is Victor we’re talking about.
Yurio, like Victor, assumes he will be staying at the hot spring inn and they question it, but end up accommodating him. Apparently the inn is getting used to boarding famous figure skaters for free. They make sure he has food and a bath (unlike Victor, he hates the idea of bathing around other people–I have to agree with Yurio there). And he finally gets his nickname, Yurio, which I have been calling him since the beginning so he wouldn’t get mixed up with Yuri. Seeing him relax a little made me like him a bit more.
Yuri runs off after seeing how naturally Yurio and Victor interact. He deals with a crap ton of anxiety. Me and most of my friends can understand and relate to that. Luckily, like the rest of us he finds an outlet and a way of calming down. For him, that’s figure skating.
The music has two themes to skate to, Eros, symbolizing sexual love, and Agape, symbolizing unconditional love. In a twist, Victor assigns Eros to Yuri and Agape to Yurio. That may be the way he sees them–his romantic interest for Yuri vs. his (fatherly perhaps?) love for Yurio. Or, it could be just that he wants to push both out of their comfort zones. Or, he may just like messing with people. My guess is that it is a mix of the three. In addition, he gives his own reason: that you should always do what people expect least from you, otherwise you will never surprise them. But Yuri and Yurio are both startled and irritated by his choice.
In response, Victor says,
You’re both actually far more mediocre than you think.”Victor to Yuri and Yurio
Being called mediocre by someone you idolize has to sting. But Victor is pretty blunt, so it makes sense for him to say something like that.
They are going to have a competition. If Yurio wins, Victor will come back to Russia to be his coach. But if Yuri wins, he wants Victor to eat pork cutlet bowl with him. (And it was implied that Victor would stay and be his coach if he won as well.) Omg, that’s so sweet!
That’s basically the end of that episode. I loved it every bit as much as the first one, and perhaps more since it showcased more of Victor’s personality.