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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Anime Song Used During Olympic 2018 Figure Skating

I enjoy watching the Winter (and Summer) Olympics... I do. While I certainly enjoy watching men's and women's hockey, I really enjoy watching long-track and short track speed skating, downhill skiing, skeleton, ski jumping, and snowboarding, Nordic combined, and even curling.

There's no sarcasm here, folks. If it's an Olympic sport, I'll watch it. Cross-country skiing, biathlon, moguls, luge, bobsled, 

And, much in the same way I enjoy the athletic grace and skill of gymnastics (men and women), I also enjoy figure skating.

The only thing I dislike is the frou-frou clothing some of the figure skating athletes wear... and that nude fabric which always surprises me when I'm not seeing skin.

Frou-frou does not equal sexy.  Look, I get it that the costuming of today allows for greater stretchability allowing the skaters to better perform their incredibly athletic leaps and spins. But man, oh man... the look.

Here's the awesome Peggy Fleming in 1968. Nothing frou-frou here.

I can't do any of these sports, save cross-country skiing (even did so when I was in Japan), and have curled only once (it was fun).

But yeah, I enjoy watching all aspects of figure skating. While I couldn't judge an event, I have, over many a decade now, picked up a keen enough eye to know when a routine is superb or sub-par.

Which brings me to these 2018 Winter Olympics being held in PyeongChang, Korea.

By the way... since when did we start capitalizing the "C" in PyeongChang? Shouldn't it just be Pyeongchang? That's what it it's called. 

I suppose putting the capital "C" in there makes it easier to spell and pronounce, when visually taking in the word.

Anyhow... figure skating... at these Winter Olympic 2018 Games, Japanese pair skaters Kihara Ryuichi (dude) and Suzaki Miu (dudette) - surnames first - they skated to a song from the anime series Yuri!!! On Ice (ユーリ!!! on ICE), a Japanese cartoon that is about figure skating and does indeed have three exclamation marks after Yuri.

The anime was produced by MAPPA, directed by Yamamoto Sayo and written by Kubo Mitsurō. Character design was by Hiramatsu Tadashi, and its music was composed by Umebayashi Taro and Matsushiba Taku.(All surname first)

How popular was the anime? Well, if you blinked back in 2016, you might have missed it. Just 12 episodes were produced and televised between October 6, 2016 and December 22, 2016, although there is supposedly an animated film in production.

No... I shouldn't be so snarky. The miniseries - because that's what it was - was well received, winning three awards at a Tokyo Anime Award Festival.

The series revolves around the relationships between Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki; his idol, Russian figure-skating champion Victor Nikiforov, and up-and-coming Russian skater Yuri Plisetsky; as Yuri K. and Yuri P. take part in the Figure Skating Grand Prix, with Victor acting as coach to Yuri K.

By the way... Yuri is not exactly a traditional Japanese name for men. Hence the katakana alphabet used in the Japanese title of the anime.

However, Yuri is Japanese for the flower we call a "Lily", so it is a woman's name.

As for our real life Japanese figure skaters, the team has used the song as part of their program before, performing it multiple times in 2017, but it is believed that this is the very first time an anime song has been used on the Olympic stage.

The actual song they skated to has the same name as the anime, IE "Yuri!!! on Ice".

Hmmm... the Japanese version of "Ice" in the anime title is all CAPS, but there is no reason for that - just like there is no reason for the exclamation points...


For those in the know, nowadays music from Japanese video games and from animated movies and television programs are highly complex, having come along way from the 1981 Donkey Kong video game theme, and the one from the 1960s television anime Speed Racer.

Be forewarned, the sound pick-up isn't the best, so you may have to put the volume up (you are wearing headphones at work, aren't you)... and fair warning... the music still makes me want to puke.

I still prefer my music - figure skating or other - to have a bit of bite... some élan (vigorous spirit or enthusiasm) at least. 

Andrew Joseph
PS: And because you know I have to present it, here's the theme song for Speed Racer:

PPS: And what the heck, Donkey Kong:

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