Hello everyone! In this post, I will be looking at Yuri!!! on ICE and compare it with some of the communication theories I’m familiar with, including Celebrity Culture.
Celebrity Culture has always been a fascinating thing that we consume daily and one of the activities we do is idolize our celebrities. In their studies, Engle and Kasser (2005) reported that celebrity idolization can be disregarded as a harmless hobby among the fans that has taken place for quite some time.
However, they also pointed out that this remarkable behaviour is something that researchers could look into. It can also be regarded as a leisure activity and somewhat of an interest for fans towards their favourite celebrity. Likewise, our protagonist Katsuki Yuri has also admired Victor Nikiforov as a fan.
In the first few episodes of the series, we can see Yuri have a para-social relationship with Victor where Victor is the hyper-real to him. Para-social relationships are one-sided relationships, where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time, and the other party, the persona, is completely unaware of the other’s existence whereas the hyper-real is something that is surreal.
To the Yuri who has admired Victor for so long, Victor has always been out of his reach. For a long time, Yuri has looked up to and has admired Victor to a point that he even tried to emulate him. There are several reasons pointed out by Engle and Kesser as to why females idolize male idols.
Longing to be in romantic relationships may be a driving force for females adoring male celebrities. Early adolescent girls, especially those who are undergoing puberty may be curious and intrigued with the opposite sex. In their article, Engle and Kesser (2005) stated that under the pressure of the social norms in getting into a romantic relationship, they develop crushes towards celebrities. To these girls, they feel emotionally safer and secure than being in a relationship with a real guy.
Secondly, liking a celebrity is under one’s personal control and is viewed by most people as relatively harmless (Engle and Kesser, 2005 ). Even though Engle and Kesser (2005) focuses on female viewers but I personally think that it could also be applied to male viewers as well. In Yuri!!! On ICE, Yuri has little to no experience in romantic relationships and is also emotionally insecure so he may have admired Victor for the same reason. This is because Victor has taught him something that is like love which he has never experienced before meeting Victor.
The fans also form para social bonds with their idols through Materialism. It is a common practice for fans to show their love for the idols by purchasing merchandises such as CDs and posters. Within episode 1 itself, you can see how the media plays a part in influencing the characters. In the first episode of Yuri!!! on ICE, the audience could clearly see how much Yuuri idolizes Victor just by having a glimpse of his room whose walls are filled with Victor’s posters.
He even got a poodle and named it Victor knowing that Victor himself has a poodle, and felt sad when Victor the poodle passed away. To the fans, it is like having a piece of the celebrity itself and also being a step closer to that particular person.
Self-esteem or as the Oxford Dictionary (n.d.) defines it as “the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities”; self-respect, is another key player that influences fans to idolize celebrities. An individual idolizing a celebrity can be regarded as an act of admiring the celebrity for how great they appear to that particular individual.
However, it can also been regarded as that person having to look down upon him/herself. People with low self-esteem may gain a sense of pride from associating with people of higher social status, such as superstars. Hence, it is possible that fans who are not confident about themselves could be suffering from low self-esteem about themselves and feel more confident when they have their idols in mind. Yuri whom has always been emotionally insecure may also experience the same thing. He has always looked up to Victor as someone who is way above of him.
Another point that Engle and Kasser (2005) pointed about celebrity idolization would be how media also plays a part in adolescents’ cognition and behaviour. Media is one way that the fans can ‘connect’ with their idols. First, for many adolescents, identity is partially constructed by interacting with popular media, which of course includes many celebrities (Engle and Kasser, 2005).
Secondly, it is one of the ways that the fans can stay connected to their idols by reading about them or watching them. Using Yuuri and Yuko as an example once more, they found out about Victor through the media, from his performance to the news about him getting a poodle; the news about Victor never failed to excite and inspire them.
Well, those were a few things that I picked up in university and used it when I watched Yuri!!! On ICE. If you have any interesting observations from watching the show, share it with me in the comments below!