The 2018 Winter Olympics kicked off last night, but all anyone can talk about is Yuri!!! On Ice. You may have seen the Japanese anime series take over the internet after Japanese skaters Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara set their performance to the show's theme song — but even if you did, you may not know what it's about.
The 12-episode series premiered in October of 2016 and tells the story of 23-year-old Japanese figure skater Yuri Katsuki and his relationships with another figure skater named Yuri and a Russian figure-skating champion named Victor Nikiforov. The show gained a cult following largely due to its open and honest depiction of homosexuality as well as mental health issues like anxiety. However, the dedicated fanbase had yet to see their favorite show reach mainstream audiences...until they heard the first few notes of the opening theme along with the entire world on Thursday night.
"The japanese pairs figure skating team is skating to a song from yuri on ice so the #olympics announcers briefly had to talk about anime, what a time to be alive," wrote Amy Brown on Twitter.
"Me hearing Yuri on Ice," another fan posted.
"No fucking offense but Yuri On Ice is such a fantastic series with a compelling storyline and realistic characters and amazing love and passion and the fucking fact this, a series with a main same sex couple, made it to the olympic stage. they said they'd make history. here it is," wrote another.
Despite the critical acclaim it received back home (it won three awards at the Tokyo Anime Award Festival, the Blu-Ray and DVD releases came in number one on the Oricon Animation Blu-Ray disc and Animation DVD disc rankings, and it was one of the top-selling Japanese media franchises in 2017) the series rarely gained international traction outside of dedicated internet fan communities.
Suzaki and Kihara have been singing their love loud and proud. As Kotaku points out, they did the same routine to the same music in Detroit, and again this past September. However, Thursday night may have given the series its biggest exposure yet.
So, how do you watch it? Licensed by Crunchyroll, all twelve episodes are available on the website. Beyond that, a Yuri On Ice movie has been announced, but no other details have been released. That's okay, because if you're reading this, it probably means you have twelve episodes' worth of catching up to do — but I won't blame you if you start by just watching Suzaki and Kihara's performance over and over again:
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