Yuri!!! on Ice does everything but explicitly state the relationship between the main characters. As a well-received, mainstream anime (aired on Asahi TV during primetime and popular overseas) that normalizes gay relationships, does Yuri!!! indicate a step forward in representation? Potential angles include how gay relationships have historically been portrayed in anime or an analysis of Viktor and Yuri in Yuri!!! itself.
I believe that this anime focuses more on the skating than the relationships. There didn't seem to be much interaction between the characters during the series, and the characters identity were depicted through their thoughts as they performed. As far as I can tell this anime portrays very little concerning the ideals of romance, its more about the skating. – RadosianStar2 months ago
I think this is a great topic because I know there is much debate in the fandom about it on social media like Tumblr. Personally, I think it is a step forward because gay relationships in anime have a reputation for being sexualized, like in yaoi. There's a lot to work with between Yuri and Viktor's interactions, like the promise rings in front of the church and Viktor literally calling them engagement rings. Some say its queerbaiting, but they have the emotional development of a romantic relationship. The question comes down to whether people believe that romance can be written or shown without a kiss. – LauraKincaid2 months ago
I have not seen Yuri!! on Ice myself, but if it anything like Free! (which can be used as a comparison) I can understand the suspicion of homoerotic undertones. – SarahKnauf1 month ago
While Yuri!!! On Ice certainly has LGBT undertones (and overtones, depending on who you ask), I think its important to regard the the intended audience for its consumption: Fujoshi, (usually female) Yaoi and BL fans. 'Representation' connotes a certain progressivism upon the part of the show's creators, displaying gay relationships to normalize LGBT culture in the strongly heteronormative Japan. However, at the end of the day, Yuri!!! On Ice isn't being consumed by fans who want to challenge their perspective on sexuality, but rather shippers who view Boy's Love as a means of titillation. Even in America, where the show is equally beloved, a great portion of fan discourse is about shipping characters together, rather than contextualizing their relationships in staunchly anti-gay Asian cultures. Despite how negative I've been coming off, I do think analyzing these themes would be a worthy topic of discussion- I just don't think that the show has had nearly as large an impact on Japanese views on homosexuality as westerners might hope. – PeterThelonious2 weeks ago