Malleable Designs in Yuri!!! on Ice
Yuri!!! On Ice utilizes malleable character designs to communicate varying character identities, relationships, and motivations. This malleability can be seen as early as Episode 1, but Episode 5 provides the best and most interesting example so far. Yuri’s face modelling and costume both change between his performances to reflect significant changes within and around his character.
Yuri’s first performance is clearly motivated by a desire to execute what he has practiced and impress Victor. Or, rather, to “seduce” Victor. We’ve already seen the androgynous, half-skirted costume in earlier episodes, and it has come to represent both Yuri’s idolization of Victor and his efforts to become a “pork cutlet bowl fatale that enthralls men.” These are two important aspects of Yuri’s identity. In his relationship with Victor, he has (at least up until this point) been submissive. He looks up to Victor, he is Victor’s student, and he performs for Victor’s attention. He manifests this in his efforts to become something beautiful and seductive, something he transforms into on the ice. He spends early episodes learning what his “eros” is, and thus what this identity is. As he explains at the end of Episode 5, he was unfamiliar with love and had to discover it under Victor’s tutelage.Read More »