This is a summary of three news reports covering the Yuri!!! on ICE special talk event of August 21, 2016 held at Roppongi Hills Arena in Tokyo. Each report contained different bits and pieces, so I decided to summarize instead of translating just one article. Kubo Mitsurou and the main cast talk about sexiness, figure skaters, voice acting in the Yuri!!! on ICE series.
Yuri!!! On ICE Portrays the Sexiness of Figure Skaters
The original anime Yuri!!! on ICE is created and produced by Kubo Mitsurou, Yamamoto Sayo and MAPPA. It will start airing in October this year. A special talk event was held on August 21, 2016 at Roppongi Hills Arena. Kubo Mitsurou, Toyonaga Toshiyuki (Katsuki Yuuri), Suwabe Junichi (Victor Nikiforov), Uchiyama Kouki (Yuri Plisetsky) and Fukuyama Jun (Nishigori Takeshi) took the podium. Katou Taihei was the MC. Kubo and the others made their entrance holding uchiwa fans[ref]A traditional Japanese fan.[/ref] of the anime. When Suwabe Junichi greeted in the Russian language, “Dasvidaniya” [ref]’Goodbye’ or ‘See you later’ in Russian.[/ref], the public’s enthusiasm quickly reached a peak.
Regarding the charm of the work itself, Kubo decisively declared: “The point of focus is obviously figure skating. And I want to shout out loud: the sexiness is amazing and won’t lose out to pretty girl anime! That’s all I want to tell you.”
Toyonaga said, “Sexiness?”
Kubo replied, “It can’t be helped. After all, real-life figure skaters are all amazingly sexy themselves, don’t you think? I want everyone to enjoy that sexiness in anime in a lawful manner.”
Suwabe also agreed: “Honestly, it’s off the charts from the very first episode. I asked, can this even be allowed to air so far? Will TV Asahi-san be okay with it?” He said, provoking laughter from the audience.
Toyonaga plays the 23 year old figure skater Yuuri. He explained, “Yuuri has the world’s biggest glass heart. His mood swings and love for Katsudon influence his weight. When I received the design materials, I saw a very fat Yuuri.” Without a moment’s delay Suwabe said that he’ll attract the interest (of the audience).
When Kubo added, “I decided on Toyonoga-san as I thought he’s a good fit with Yuuri who is weak under pressure.”
Toyonaga joked, “How rude!”
Kubo commented on the background story of his casting, “That way of replying is also Yuuri-like. Toyonaga-san elaborated his role for us in points we still hadn’t decided on. He’s the closest to his character’s image.”
Suwabe commented on his character Victor Nikiforov: “He’s an unparalleled genius skater, so he has no enemies around him. He’s a super popular guy who is loved by skate fans throughout the world. He’s a character who broke through, so he is enjoyable to play. But he’s also somewhat difficult.”
Kubo also spoke about Victor’s charms in high spirits: “When you look at Victor, he’s so popular with girls to the point they are no longer able to make normal judgments. Suwabe Junichi-san is the only one who can play him. I want him to destroy our reasoning.”
Hearing her expectations, Suwabe took responsibility: “At the very least I shall take it until PG-15.”
Yuri Plisetsky is the other “Yuri”, played by Uchiyama. “In Yuri’s character data I read “a Russian delinquent”. I thought he’d be the type who would pick a fight while sobbing. However, I was told to “please keep it low-spirited”,” Uchiyama commented and looked at Kubo.
Kubo said, “The director and I requested for a low-spirited delinquent rather than high-spirited, so Uchiyama-san was perfect for him.”
Uchiyama also touched upon Yuri’s past as a character who made a clean sweep of the junior titles: “I think he’s a person who’s clad in brilliance every moment in the period in which he changes from being a junior to becoming a senior.” His analysis also received a seal of approval from Kubo who is in charge of the original draft.
“As I expected, you really get it! As for the Russian skaters, the difficulty of approaching them, or perhaps I should say, impressiveness is amazing. When I saw Yulia Lipnitskaya in real life, I thought “It would be awesome if she’s a guy”, and that’s the beginning of Yuri,” Kubo said, revealing the secret behind the character’s creation.
Lastly, Fukuyama Jun plays Yuuri’s childhood friend and former rinkmate Nishigori Takeshi. Nishigori is a character who retired from figure skating. “While everyone is making brilliant efforts as figure skaters, Nishigori is Yuuri’s link to his home town. I suppose he holds the position of talking to Yuuri properly when he returns home, and be a supporting backbone to Yuuri as a human being. He might be plain, but he’s entrusted with a significant role. Going by his appearance he’s a guy who packs a punch (lol).”
When Fukuyama was asked whether it wasn’t difficult to play an ordinary character, he replied: “I follow the sound director’s orders while thinking about the balance with the surroundings.”
Kubo said, “He’s a very important character to Katsuki Yuuri. We (the production staff) are doing our best to portray the sexiness of the characters, but the only one we didn’t do our best on was Nishigori.”
Fukuyama joked back, “You didn’t have to say you didn’t do your best!” and made the audience laugh.
After the talk about each character completed, Kubo spoke about the casting: “I’m not knowledgeable about anime, so I decided by purely listening to audition tapes. I thought, let’s make Toyonaga-san and Uchiyama-san the “two Yuri’s”, and first looked up in which anime they appeared. Just then, after the live viewing of “High Speed! – Free! Starting Days -“, there were a lot of tweets concerning those two (who appeared in the movie). There were many tweets like: “Ucchi and Tosshi seem to get along well” “Ucchi only opens his heart to Tosshi”…” She jokingly said, sharing the knowledge she gained from the internet.
Uchiyama swiftly denied it: “That’s a false rumor.”
However, Toyonaga-san also joked along: “They say, “Uchiyama only smiles on pictures photographed with Toyonaga.””
Kubo said, “I thought it would be amusing that the two, who get along in real life, are on bad terms with each other in the anime’s story.”
Regarding Suwabe Junichi’s audition Kubo disclosed that she was curious about the line “Amazing![ref]In English.[/ref]” which Suwabe eagerly reviewed in the rest time of the audition. “I thought, why “Amazing!” even though other people were reviewing the ordinary lines?”
Suwabe explained: “He’s a character with a big amplitude. He’s also somewhat spontaneous, so I was adjusting how to express that difference.” The audience showered him in applause when he showed off his “Amazing!” in front of them.
The talk changed to the topic of post-recording. Uchiyama said: “While reading the story, I thought about the kind of lives of the characters had. A life is composed of many things. Anyway, it took time. Such a carefully done work is rare too.”
Fukuyama also commented on the length of the recording, “We recorded one episode apiece for Yuri!!! on ICE. In the case of other series they record three episodes each time.” The reason seemed to be that they try out various cuts while doing the recording. The director also once contacted Kubo-san after the end of the post-recording late at night.
Suwabe added, “They’re using sounds such as the formation of ice, which they recorded in real life for sound effects, while we are performing.”
Promotional Video & Additional Cast
After that, they projected a new promotional video on screen. The audience erupted in cheers as it included information about the additional cast. Kubo revealed a few things about some of the newly unveiled characters: Otabek Altyn is modeled after the real-life figure skater Denis Ten, Christophe Giacometti is a rival-like being to Victor, and Jean Jack Leroy (nickname: JJ) is the owner of a fashion brand called JJ Style.
The Event Ends
Finally, here are the farewell messages at the end of the event.
Kubo: “Everyone on stage has a leading part. We used the method of writing a tune suitable to each character which is used for their acting. I want to take everyone to an exciting world through the anime.”
Toyonaga enthusiastically said: “Even as an actor or as an individual, acting-wise this work gives me a challenge.”
Suwabe seemed delighted: “It’s truly a work full of commitment. I have always loved figure skating and often watch it. I am truly happy to be involved in this work.”
Uchiyama said: “I myself am practicing figure skating at the present, so from my point of view this work is incredibly interesting. They are creating an unbelievable work, so please look forward to enjoying the broadcast.”
Fukuyama commented: “It’s not like I have more appearances than the others in the cast, but for this reason I really feel it’s objectively very interesting. I find it crazy that this work will be broadcast as a television series, so please look forward to October.”