The Gist: Yuri dominates the short program section of the China Cup, which sets him up for a rough second half of the event butterflies in the stomach and all.
We meet a torrent of other skaters and coaches and even an ex-girlfriend this week, blitz through all top 6 ranked skaters’ performances, and glimpse a little off the court social life too. It’s a ton of information, it’s a ton of animation, and the speed vs time to show it to us tugged at Yuri!!!’s quality this week. Faces and figures are occasionally drawn weirdly, parts of the crowd are animated at times, in a mechanical way, while others are not. It works, but it’s a step down from the YoI highs.
The Verdict: While I could argue that the clips-show or trailer vibe of this episode may capture the overwhelming feelings Yuri himself is experiencing, the show doesn’t really play with that. Rather, it feels like a standard ‘competition’ arc, but compressed into a two parter instead of a half season.
On a final note, YoI’s choice to put bizarre fem-eyes on certain characters just doesn’t work — and it works even less when the general animation is stretched for time and budget. The giant eyes with long lashes look totally out of place and don’t capture anything about the characters’ personalities or relationships.
What salvages it all is not only the amount of content rendered here (6 routines, 5 of which are ‘new’ for us) but the emotional growth seen in Yuri. His new spin is to want to be hated by the world as the guy who stole Victor away. That’s the only way he can shake the identify of dancing like Victor, but as a student, as a lesser shadow.