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. – RadosianStar6 years 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. – LauraKincaid6 years 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. – SarahKnauf6 years 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. – PeterThelonious6 years ago
A lot of the time LGBT relationships in shows such as this are portrayed very subtly, but with the shows creators relying on the fans to find those links and emphasise them. Yuri!!! On Ice seems to be using more of this kind of technique, and the gay relationships are there more to excite and engage the fanbase (fans are known to jump onto any small hint of canon relationships and plots, and even the smallest signs can blow up, thus also increasing the shows popularity). – SophIsticated6 years ago
YOI has been the most explicitly pro-queer anime I've seen so far (though, tbh, I haven't seen a large number) in that it allows lead characters of the same gender to be in love. It is accepted by peers, there is no drama with family or love competitors, and the relationship is healthy. The discussion of gender fluidity is also interesting. – IndiLeigh6 years ago
YOI is probably the first sport anime that has LGBT themes, especially between its main characters, which is Yuri and Victor. Its also an anime in which there is an (implied) interracial relationship, with Victor being Russian and Yuri being Japanese. In terms of most animes, the show is quite progressive in terms of LGBT, though it is subtle. However, the issue with the anime, from a lot fans' perspective, is that it is still not as progressive as it could be. As mentioned before in a previous comment from PeterThelonius, fans of the show focuses more on shipping the characters together, rather than the sport. Some fans argue that YOI does show LGBT themes, but not the struggle that comes with being LGBT. As many may know, not a lot of people will accept those who are gay, trans, lesbian, queer, etc. Especially in sports, as seen with many gay athletes like Jason Collins and Johnny Weir (who is in fact a gay competitive figure skater), that face discrimination. YOI could actually discuss this considering that the show is made in Japan, where LGBT is still considered to be "abnormal," or with Victor dealing with discrimination from his family or Russian fans (Russia is very staunch anti-LGBT). It would be interesting to delve deeper into the show dealing with more LGBT themes and struggles. For now, I will say that YOI has broken barriers for LGBT community, but this is only the surface. – themessenger1515 years ago