This blogpost will mainly focus on the main couple, because contratry to the big majority of the fandom, I think it did Victuuri amazing justice as a couple and did not lack, like many other people believe.
Finally, the follow up after the infamous episode 7 has arrived and the fandom… was initially mostly disappointed. Or let’s say the yaoi fans in the community were severly disappointed. I saw this comming so much, I can’t even tell you how amused I am. And a tiny bit mad, because I’ve read many comments with complains about “lack of Victuuri”, when, in fact, this episode was full of Victuuri. BL fans were going into this episode with the question how they were going to make this episode even gayer than last. The real question was, however, how Victor’s and Yuri’s relationship will continue now.
I think we need a little excursus into the world of Boys Love. Anime is an industry, that means, it wants money by entertaining you. In other words: anime will give you what you want to get your money.That’s why in so many cases movies, TV-series, even games and books, they play it save rather than trying something new. The BL fandom is obsessed with sexual love. Form my experience, there’s a lot more stories about glorified rape out there than actual healthy and functioning relationships, which is why I absolutely detest genre standards and bestsellers like Jujou Romantica and ususally try to find stories like Seven Days, but these are much rarer.
Now, we have Yuri on Ice, which is not yaoi. People were confused and asking who the seme and the uke is, because Yuri was acting rather bold in the tie-scene, but they always forget: Yuri on Ice is not yaoi, it does NOT live off sexual love. It purposely avoids common BL genre standards. It’s a sportsanime that happens to feature a same sex couple and it treats it’s main couple just like that: a normal couple that happens to be of the same sex. Of course we all know there’s a lot of different kinds of couples and heterosexual as well as homosexual couple comes in many diffrent varieties. Everyone will agree that the kind of relationships we’re presented in pornography are not normal, because relationships are not just about sex. Sex is part of a relationship (not all, though), but it’s not all of the relationship.
Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, a lot of BL fans think these super-sexualized relationships build on physical intercourse and a lot f times build on rape, are normal and not jut for this genre, but for same sex couples in general, because that’s primarily what media is presenting us on a daily basis and they’re doing this, because the fans want it that way.
Yuri on Ice goes a different route and I can only laugh at the people being disappointed nobody cared about the kiss, because there is nothing to care about, but the kiss had a huge impact nonetheless. Many fans were angry this episode was not gay enough, but I say, it was even gayer than the last. There was no big build up, no overcome-by-emotions driven kiss and no big drama, but that was aleady impiled in the last episode, when Victor pointed out he was going back to Russia was Yuri’s Coach. Victor was already doing damage limitation and he was continously doing it thoughout episode 8.
Epsiode 8 had much more of these little Victuuri highlights and no big drama and the reason is very simple: Victor and Yuri are now in a relationship. Even though the anime didn’t show it, a few weeks of time has passed between these episodes and Yuri and Victor sorted out their relationship in that time, therefore there’s no reason to talk about the kiss from ep 7 anymore. Contrary to most stereotypical BL relationships with very distinctive roles, Victor and Yuri are both very equal, now that Yuri is comming out of his shell more and more. Victor still seems to be the overall more active and dominating part, but he encourages Yuri to be more bold and loved Yuri taking control.
I just absolutely loved how Yuri has 100% more selfesteem now. I was always under the impression Yuri didn’t like competitions, but this was the first time he truly enjoyed himself at a competition. He looked like someone lifted a huge weight off his chest. He has no problems with competitions whatsoever, he just crumbles under pressure a lot, he can’t deal with big expectations that well, but he learned to have faith in himself and there’s someone who’s supporting him no matter what, so the entire situation seemed to be much more stress-free for Yuri – even though he had entire Russia against him for stealing “their” Victor away from the ice. Instead of cracking under the pressue, he tackled it head it and that’s a HUGE leap of character development for Yuri.
Thoughout the entire episode Victor and Yuri were having a damn lot of fun and this good time, laughing, giggling, doing silly stuff like kissing Yuri’s skates after a successful short program, was a wonderful portayal of their relationship. Unlike most of BL media that primarily focusses on the sexual part of the relationship, Yuri on Ice focusses on the carefree and fun part of a relationship. You know, when most people who’re about to marry say they’re going to marry “their best friend”, it’s just like that. Of course you are intimate and you get into arguments and you get embarrased every once in a while, but being in a relationship should mean there’s a lot of fun on a daily basis and you’re having a good time with your partner. Yuri and Victor were having a damn good time with eath other, they’re truly enjoying their current relationship status and it’s obviously still in early stages, but it looks 100% healthy and normal.
I said somewhere Victor was going damage limitation and what I mean with that is also one of the reasons we probably didn’t see much more smexy stuff. Victor, even though he can behave like a silly child, is the more experienced person when it comes to relatioships and I think it’s a safe bet to say he’s experienced with same sex relationships as well and understands what that means. As sad as it is, homosexual relationsips are still very much frowned upon by many people all over the world. Russia in particular is not the most gay friendly country either. After the kiss, Victor immediately said he was going back to Russia as Yuri’s coach. When he kissed Yuri’s skates, the announcer said Victor was overwhelmed with pride and joy and nobody seems to be having second thoughts after Victor kissed Yuri live on television just a few mere weeks ago. That’s not normal, my friends.
What I thought was very interesting, was when Victor was asked if he wanted to skate against Yuri in a competition. Victor smiled and changed the subject to Yurio immediately. My theory is that he’s probably very conflicted. As a profressional first rate figure skater, he would probably love to compete against Yuri, after he’s gotten rid of his problems now. If Victor goes back to figure skating, he’s going back to Yakov, that’s save to say. For Victor, Yakov is the only coach, he said it numerous times and has nothing but respect for the man. The problem: without Victor as his coach, Yuri would probably retire from competitions. I can’t see him going back to Celestino and I can’t see him going to train under Yakov either. In other words, I’m 95% sure, for Victor going back into competitions would mean seperating from Yuri (even if Yuri, by some miracle, decides to train under another coach and continues) and Victor doesn’t want that.
He can’t tell the media all this stuff, though: “Oh, I would love to, but I don’t want to leave my boyfriend whom I’m madly in love with.” That’s a bad idea, especially in Russia. Victor knows that, he’s been into this business long enough and he knows the media and his home country well enough. That’s why I think Victor is trying to lessen the damage of their freshly-in-love-couple-behavior much more than Yuri, who happily goes along with everything Victor does without a second thought.