Anime Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: Yuri!!! On Ice The Complete Series

Yuri!!! On Ice The Complete Series is a Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack that includes two Blu-rays and two DVDs. There are bonus features on the second Blu-ray disc. Audio options for this release include the original Japanese audio with English subtitles and an English dub.

Yuri!!! On Ice The Complete Series
English Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack
Release Date: February 6, 2018

Yuri!!! On ICE focuses on Yuri Katsuki, a 23-year-old male figure skater who suffered a crushing defeat during the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final and failed showings at other skating competitions. Unsure of what he wanted to do going forward, Yuri returns to his hometown of Hasetsu. When Yuri visits his childhood friend, Yuko, at the ice skating rink where she works, he shows her a perfect imitation of an advanced skating routine performed by his idol, a famous Russian figure skater named Victor Nikiforov. Unbeknownst to Yuri, someone filmed him as he performed the routine and uploaded it onto the internet. The video goes viral and gains the attention of Victor Nikiforov himself. Victor comes to Hasetsu and proclaims that he will personally coach Yuri so he can win the gold medal at the next Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

Of course, there’s conflict before Yuri can even make it to the first qualifying event. An up-and-coming young Russian figure skater named Yuri Plisetsky comes to Japan to find Victor, because Victor had promised to help him choreograph a routine if he won the junior division (which the Russian Yuri did). Unfortunately, Victor can be very forgetful, and had no recollection of this promise. Victor choreographs routines for both of the Yuris, which leads up to a skate-off between the two in Hasetsu. After this, the Japanese Yuri must return to competing professionally in order to progress. The remainder of the series follows Yuri through this process, as well as the relationship that develops between Yuri and Victor.

The first time I watched this series, I was blown away by it because I loved how the story progressed for Yuri Katsuki. With a second viewing, though, I realized that many of the characters weren’t as developed as I had originally thought. While we get brief glimpses into their past, I realized that more could have been done to expand on those brief glimpses. Once Yuri Katsuki gets going, it basically becomes a pattern of an episode devoted to the first day of the competition, followed by an episode of the second day of the competition. Then we would pretty much move right on to the next competition and the same thing would happen. There was an episode right before the finals that broke that pattern, but that was it. I think that Yuri!!! On Ice isn’t bad for what it is, but I think perhaps this series could have been 24 episodes and spent more time developing more of the characters besides Yuri Katsuki, Yuri Plisetsky, and Victor Nikiforov.

The animation for Yuri!!! On Ice was incredible, especially the ice skating sequences. I may not have much knowledge of ice skating, but even I could tell that the animators weren’t randomly drawing movements to bring the ice skating to life. It felt like I was actually watching people ice skating. The character designs were also very effective, and it felt as if each character had a distinct look that matched their personality. There weren’t any character designs that felt “cookie cutter” or copied between the characters.

Another outstanding aspect of Yuri!!! On ICE is the music. There were a number of musical pieces that appeared for the ice skating routines, and it was obvious that the composer took a lot of care with this aspect. The music was all well written, and the pieces used for each character really fit with their personality.

The Blu-ray video for this set has 1080p High Definition 16:9 (HD Native), and the audio includes Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 and Dolby TrueHD: Japanese 2.0. The audio on the DVDs includes English 5.1 Surround and Japanese Stereo. I had no issues with either the video or the audio quality of this release.

The bonus features all appear on the second Blu-ray disc. They include a commentary on the 11th episode, two textless versions of the opening song, a textless version of the ending theme song, a textless version of the end of the 10th episode, a textless version of the end of the final episode, and trailers for other releases from FUNimation Entertainment.

But there were two bonus features that were more interesting. The first is an OVA titled, “Yuri Plisetsky GPF in Barcelona EX ‘Welcome to the Madness’.” This runs for about two-and-a-half minutes, and it is just a routine that Yuri Plisetsky performs during a competition in Barcelona. I wish there was more than just the routine here. Maybe some kind of commentary to lead up into Yuri performing the routine or something.

The remaining bonus feature is “Yuri!!! On Ice: A Cast Discussion.” This feature runs for about 20 minutes and includes Sonny Strait (the dub director for Yuri!!! On Ice), Josh Grelle (the English voice for Yuri Katsuki), and Jerry Jewell (the English voice for Victor Nikiforov). For most of the feature, though, Sonny and Josh dominate the discussion. Poor Jerry hardly got a word in edgewise, and I felt kind of bad for him. But it’s basically Sonny and Josh (and an occasional statement from Jerry) talking about the show.

I would recommend this release to someone who is a fan of Yuri!!! On Ice who hasn’t already added it to their anime home video library.

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