Watching Yuri!!! On ICE From A Media Student’s Point Of View (Part 2)

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Columns Otaku Lessons
Yuri on ice analysis

Disclaimer: This is the second part of this series and it covers a few other things that has been brought up in Celebrity Culture (click HERE to read)

1. Fragmented image

What does it mean? Well, a celebrity has an image to uphold but most of the time it may not be the true self of that individual. When Yuuri did Eros, both Victor and Nishigori noted this point by saying that it is another image of Yuuri. Many has known him for the insecure skater he is but in this particular program, we see the more confident side of him. Now, the question is which one’s the real Yuuri? Hard to say because both are him.

Screenshot 2017-01-19 22.55.26

Another character whom has gone through this would be Yuri Plisetsky. Throughout the season, he has to “kill” his past self through the rigorous training with Lilia Baranovskaya. In order to skate through to the next level, he has to shatter those past selves and uphold a new image on ice.

Screenshot from episode 4

Screenshot from episode 4

2. Self image versus Public’s Image

Other than the split image, celebrities also have to go through public scrutiny. Under the public’s gaze, each celebrity also has an image to uphold and the characters here are no different. In Yuri!!! On ICE, Victor emphasizes a lot on doing something that is opposite of the dominant hegemonic reading or the majority reading of the public. The position he took was the Oppositional Reading of the public, which is the reading opposite of what the public interprets. (Click here to find out about Stuart Hall’s encoding and decoding) 

Screenshot from episode 2

Screenshot from episode 2

Screenshot from episode 2

Screenshot from episode 2

In the later episodes, viewers can also note how the commentators commented on each skater. Here, the commentators showed how the media perceived the characters.

  1. Blurring of the Gender: Social Roles

    This point is quite interesting because of the way Yuuri interpreted this program. After hearing Victor talk about his costume being able androgynous, he decided to change his way of performing his program. The blurring of the gender roles here does not take away the charms of his performance and his sexuality. Instead, it has brought him to another level by drawing out another side of him.

    Furthermore, by learning how to move femininely, Yuuri gets to experience a little bit of switch in gender roles as well as understanding a little bit about it. This is because, based on his monologue in episode 3, he changed the way he addressed himself from “僕” (Romanji: Boku) or the masculine way of addressing oneself to “私”, a more general way of addressing oneself. It can be seen that he switched from the masculine perspective to a more feminine perspective.Screenshot from episode 3
    Screenshot 2017-01-19 23.07.35

  2. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory

    Throughout Yuri!!! On ICE, Bandura’s Learning Theory can be seen. This theory talks about how a person learns by observing others and this behavior can be further enforced through rewards or punishments. (Click here to read about the theory)

    In this anime, Yuuri can be seen emulating Victor at a very young age. In episode 1 itself, a flashback showed Yuuri and Yuko emulating Victor after watching him on televiaion. As the series progressed, this theory can be seen again as he emulated Victor’s moves and also his rebellious attitude. His reward? Well, to surprise Victor if he manages to pull it off.

    In Japan, he attempts to change the program (something Victor had possibly done before, because according to Yakov, Victor has never been the type who follows instructions) and in China, he did it again just to surprise Victor.

    Screenshot from episode 5

    Screenshot from episode 5

    Screenshot from episode 7

    Screenshot from episode 7

  3. Performativity

    Relating it back to all of the above, the images of the characters have been pulled so many ways. Though not a major influence, their identities have been pulled in various ways. In a way, each character has to deal with all the various identities given to them and they must learn to adapt to them.

    However, this term applies more to Victor. Having an image as the living legend to uphold, Victor has to put on usual front as one of the top skaters. According to Judith Butler’s Theory, every person has an identity that is performed through speech patterns, body languages, sexual preferences and lifestyle as well as clothing. Throughout the series, Victor has to adapt from being a living legend, to the top skater to being a coach.To the public, Victor is seen as a hot and handsome person. As a skater, he is viewed as a living legend to have set world record and having many titles under his belt. As a coach, he is viewed to be inexperienced. The way he acts as either one of the three identities mentioned above is a performance.

    His ‘performance’ in public  has changed a little since the first episode as his identity changes. Here, viewers can certainly see the different performance staged by him to go with his changing identity.

    Screenshot from episode 5

    Screenshot from episode 5

    That is the end of part two. A lot more can be analyzed but as of now the focus will surround the skaters.

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