Allow me to introduce you to Yuri!!! on Ice, your new favorite gay anime series.
"Gay" and "anime" might sound a bit oxymoronic, especially given the genre's complicated history, but this revolutionary series does what many shows simply cannot: depict a gay romance simply and beautifully.
But what's Yuri!!! on Ice about, you ask? Let's dive in.
Meet Yuri, the dark-haired boy on the left of that provocative GIF above. Yuri is a professional ice skater who's back home in Japan after an embarrassing 6th-place defeat at last year's World Championships. Since the pressure to compete is off, the shy 23-year-old uses his spare skating rehearsals to imitate his idol, five-time world champion Viktor Nikiforov.
After one of his private practices, Yuri finds out someone secretly recorded his closed rehearsal and posted the video on the internet where it quickly went viral among the ice skating community. The clip makes it's way to Viktor himself, who abruptly decides to abandon his ice-skating legacy and become Yuri's coach for the upcoming World Championships.
Viktor is a few years older than Yuri's and is very comfortable with his sexuality. Viktor also takes great pleasure out of Yuri's discomfort and is overtly flirty with Yuri, who blushes deep red nearly every time they speak. The chemistry between the two is clear from the get-go, even if Yuri doesn't yet know how to digest it.
A jealous Russian rival, who's also conveniently named Yuri, learns of Viktor's plans, travels to Japan, and initiates a Yuri vs. Yuri ice-skating death match. What does the winner get? Viktor as a coach, of course.
To keep his idol and man-crush around, Yuri must compete once again, and this time, he has to get out of his comfort zone. Viktor challenges both Yuri's with a performance theme they have never attempted. For our introverted hero, that means he must perform "On Love: Eros," which focuses on sex and intense desire.
"No one in the world knows your true eros, Yuri," Viktor tell him during one intense scene as he leans in seductively. "It may be an alluring side of you that you yourself are unaware of."
Yuri, a virgin, struggles to understand his sexual eros is and how to translate it into his performance. He first equates those strong feelings of affection to a pork cutlet bowl, but once Yuri understands eros as what he feels for Viktor, he begins to piece together who he is in his performance and who he is sexually.
Yuri's first characterization of eros was a playboy traveller who comes into town and sleeps with whoever he pleases. He eventually realizes he identifies more with the maiden who wants to seduce the traveller to stay.
But Yuri!!! on Ice isn't only a sweeping romance. It's a coming age of story for Yuri, who's fear of opening up kept him reserved and closed in, even from himself. I won't reveal how this episode ends or the what happens throughout the season, but watching Yuri learn who he is through an art-form as dazzling and graceful as ice-skating is absolutely breathtaking.
Not to mention, the animation is beautiful.
Give Yuri!!! on Ice a chance! You'll be scream-singing "WE WERE BORN TO MAKE HISTORY" with the theme song in no time.
Watch the trailer for Yuri!!! on Ice below, and cath the entire series on Crunchyroll!