Is the Yuri on Ice anime shounen ai? I want to watch the anime but it gives me yaoi vibes. I'm not a big fan of yaoi, so I want to know if it is a yaoi.

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This answer was written when the show was first airing, in Fall 2016. I don't claim to have watched it; I've only gleaned information about this particular show from Wikipedia.

The description for it on Wikipedia gives a pretty good summary of the story.

Yuri!!! on Ice follows a Japanese figure skater named Yuri Katsuki following a crushing defeat during the final of a Grand Prix competition. As Yuri becomes mixed over his feelings about ice skating, among the other troubles in his life, he goes to an ice rink and perfectly mimics an advanced skating routine performed by the famous Russian figure skater Victor Nikiforov. When footage of Yuri's performance is uploaded to the internet, it catches the attention of Victor, who decides to become Yuri's coach and train him alongside another skater, Yuri Plisetsky.

From this, I can surmise:

  • The main demographic are fans of [male] ice skating
  • The main character is male
  • The story appears to be about this person's struggle to get back to prominence in a sport in which he thrived in

Not sure I see any yaoi or shounen ai vibes that are explicit in there, since this is predominately an anime about figure skating with a cast of male characters. There may be some degree of fanservice to that direction, but you really won't know much about the show until you watch the first couple of episodes.

Then again, if this genuinely makes you feel uncomfortable, share a moment of sympathy for every late-teen/early 20s woman who sees an all-girls anime and plenty of shojo ai overtones...

  • 1
    This answer seems slightly out of date to me, in light of recent developments in the series. – Maroon Dec 10 '16 at 7:24
  • @Maroon: It probably is. I'm not into sports anime all that much so I haven't watched it. I only gleaned my information from the very beginning of the season and what was readily available on Wikipedia. – Makoto Dec 10 '16 at 8:41

I'm not sure of how to best assess the genre of Yuri!!! on Ice. There are two approaches people seem to take with genre labels:

  1. Yuri!!! on Ice wasn't listed as BL; for some people, that's enough for a claim that it, well, isn't BL.

  2. On the other hand, genre labels sometimes get treated by others as some sort of vehicle for analysis, in which case the labels are not necessarily predetermined. (For example, I would describe The Brothers Karamazov as a "religious novel" in the sense of being preoccupied with religious themes, more on account of my impressions of it and of Dostoevsky than on account of any knowledge of how the original publishers marketed it. Goodreads lists it under the same.)

I don't know where a happy medium between these two extremes would be, in the case of the BL genre. However, part of the concern here seems to be about whether there is any major same-sex romance in Yuri!!! on Ice, and writing about that is straightforward. (Mouse-over to view spoilers.)

The relationship between Victor and Yuri Katsuki is eventually pushed to a point where it's difficult to not see it as romantic in nature, in light of a combination of both plot points (e.g. the implication of a kiss in episode 7) and various markers of physical intimacy that we're shown (e.g. handholding in episode 10). However, the whole matter is approached a bit indirectly.

Going back to the first point, would this mean that Yuri!!! on Ice is then automatically BL (in the sense of having a romance between two men), under approach (2)? The mere development of a romantic element doesn't have to mean that a work is centred on romance though, so it really depends on what one thinks is the focus of the story. (Alas, I can't give a personal opinion on the role of romance in the series without first doing a rewatch.)


I just finished the series and I TOTALLY can tell there's no yaoi in it.

Well, Yaoi on Ice is, errr sorry, I meant Yuri on Ice is a sports anime with VERY straight males.

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Watch this 20-second video. The way the two main characters kiss is SO manly.

The way they exchange compromise rings (they mean engagement) is another proof of how straight they are. The whole anime focuses on their same-sex romantic relationship err I mean it focuses on their career and ends with them going all the way in their career :D

Now seriously, it definitely has Yaoi as one of the main tags. As a man that loves Yuri (I mean the girl on girl thing, not the main character of the series) Yaoi isn't my cup of tea but this one was actually very good. It doesn't matter if you don't like Yaoi, it isn't 100% focused on it at all. If you like sports anime just watch it. To give you an example. In Baby Steps we see the relationship between Natsu and Eiji. it's more or less like that. They like each other and the like but you can definitely watch the series even if you hate romance as it isn't the only element in the series.

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