Fujoshi, sports fans, and anime watchers alike have proven once again Wednesday nights belong to "Yuri on Ice!!!." The show has already broken barriers with its diverse casting and realistic character growths. It is one of the first animes to show the progression of a homosexual romantic relationship grow and develop without being labeled as a shounen ai or a yaoi.
Last night's episode was impactful both on the screen and within the YOI universe itself. Fans got to finally see everything come together in one grand plot twist. Viktor's ambitions and reasonings for coaching Yuuri, to many a surprise, all started with a silly drunk Yuuri months before Viktor approached him to be his coach. It was in that moment the fans begin to realize Yuuri was actually the seducer and Viktor was the one who was cast aside all along.
Many fans with the fujo eye had claimed Viktor had fallen in love at first sight after seeing Yuuri at the airport after his failure at the Grand Prix. Little did we know they had a flirtatious dance together months before! The reason why Viktor had decided to drop everything and coach Yuuri was not from pure instinct, but rather he had already been asked and seen exactly what Yuuri was truly capable of. There was a reason Viktor chose Eros for Yuuri to dance to, he knew he could bring out that seduction once more.
Little things start to add together with this new insight to the series. In the very first episode we see Viktor excited to take a photo with Yuuri, only for Yuuri to walk away. Throughout the series Viktor is very touchy with Yuuri and blatantly flirty, assuming that these are things Yuuri wanted since he had shown this flirtation once before.
The idea that they were both infatuated with each other, but were unsure with each other at the same time gives this series more depth. Yuuri not having memory of their one evening together gives these characters even more room to grow emotionally. Each character gets to take the chance to truly get to know one another beyond flirtation, but see one another as they truly are with every struggle and happiness in between. For them to still fall for each other is a truly wonderful and romantic notion.
The giving of the thank-you-rings-turned-engagement-rings is something never done so casually in a sports anime before. What makes this even more significant is that when their friends and competitors find out, they do not scoff or scorn their relationship. Instead they rejoice and amp up their competitive fire. Sayo Yamamoto has created an universe that has well rounded, open minded characters. This is something fans have been asking for a while, creating natural, healthy romantic relationships, regardless of gender with an accepting universe.
Yuuri still has the Grand Prix to compete in, and with the promise of marriage from Viktor and fierce competitors in the way, will he succeed? Regardless of how the season will end, this story has impacted the industry in such a positive light, here's hoping for more creators to follow in Yamamoto's lead.