'Yuri On Ice' Season 1 Episode 12 Finale: Winter 2016's Best Anime Hastily Sets Up For Season 2

yuri on ice season 1 episode 12 finale
Yuri on Ice season 1, episode 12 finale. (c) MAPPA

Yuri on Ice episode 12 is the finale of winter season 2016’s best anime, a sports anime about life and love. The twist? Yuri on Ice features a canon gay relationship between the main character and his coach which is devoid of all the groan-worthy tropes that usually plague any kind of LGBT content in anime, let alone in media at large.

The closing episode lacks Yuri on Ice’s adorable and iconic opening/closing sequences, choosing instead to use that time to pack as much figure skating glory into the episode 12 as possible. All our hopes are pinned on Yuri winning gold after his journey this competitive season, a journey just as much against his own anxiety as against his competitors. With five-time world champion and legendary figure skater Viktor Nikiforov at his side – and wearing his gold engagement ring – Yuri would seem to have all he needs to pull off a spectacular upset on ice.

But the episode opens with Yuri announcing that he’ll be retiring, to Viktor’s consternation. Viktor thought he’d be needed more, but Yuri doesn’t want to be responsible for removing him from competitive skating forever. They decide to make their final decisions after the free skate. Viktor does all he can to inspire Yuri, who winds up breaking Viktor’s world record. Little Yuri Plisetsky, having broken another of Viktor’s records, winds up making history and taking the gold by fractions of a point. Yuri Katsuki takes silver after a triumphant performance, his first time on the podium.

Viktor decides to return to the ice, timed to the Russian Nationals. Yuri decides not to retire after all and asks Viktor to stay with him in competitive skating for one more year so that he can win gold. Viktor plans to stay on as Yuri’s coach as well as return to competitive skating… somehow? The episode closes with Yuri and Viktor doing a couples routine to Viktor’s free program from the previous year, “Stay By Me.”

While it’s all rather rushed and a little hard to believe – Viktor might be one of figure skating’s GOATs (Greatest Of All Time), but to come back after a year off while also coaching another of the world’s top skaters who’s also his fiancee seems like an awful lot to put on anyone’s plate – it does set us up for things to explore next season. We want to see Yuri Katsuki chase that gold with Viktor at his side, we want to see how Viktor’s return to the ice will look, we want to see how “Russia’s fairy” Yuri Plisetsky will grow in his artistry, and we want to see how the rest of the figure skaters we came to love will do and what new routines they’ll bring to the table.

Season 2 is not yet confirmed, though the season 1 finale certainly set up for it. We’ll let you know if season 2 comes through.

yuri on ice next level

Season 1 has unquestionably made an impact, however. For its great animation and in-depth look at the figure-skating world, Yuri on Ice has actually won famous figure skaters as fans. Johnny Weir, to whom the show pays tribute in several places, had a whole interview where he discussed why he became addicted to the show.

“ I love figure skating, its funny little world, and Japan, so even watching the first episode made me feel so at home and happy.  There are so many details about the show that I can relate to, even small things like spending time in onsen, Japanese train stations and so on, that the show is visually filled with happy memories. I am now caught up and agonizing of the Grand Prix Final free skate with the rest of Yuri’s fans,” said Weir.

Evgenia Medvedeva, a highly-decorated Russian figure skating champion, has posted extensively on her Twitter about the show, even cosplaying as main character Yuri Katsuki:



Kazakh World and Olympic champion Denis Ten shouted out his own Yuri on Ice tribute character:






In fact, Crunchyroll crashed as people raced to the site to view the Yuri on Ice season finale:



What are your feelings on the Yuri on Ice season finale? What do you hope for if season 2 happens? Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

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