So, how exactly do we go about doing that? As the cliché saying goes, that every aged politician out there says, “I believe children are our future”, or something along those lines. And it’s true, the future is, quite literally, up to the young people who build it. One aspect I’d like to touch upon here is the treatment of LGBT individuals in society. And I’m going to use anime to do that.
Yuuri on Ice is an anime series about a young professional figure skater, Yuuri Katsuki, who aspires for greatness but never seems to be able to achieve it. After coming in short at the world championship, Yuuri gives up and hopes to retire from figure skating. In comes Viktor Nikiforov, a figure skating prodigy that’s won several consecutive gold medals at just about every event he’s competed in, and who Yuuri has idolised for his whole life. He just shows up at Yuuri’s house one day, and says that he’s taking the year off from figure skating to be Yuuri’s coach. The series goes on from here – Viktor tries to teach Yuuri how to express himself while skating, even though he’s an inexperienced coach himself. The mentor-student relationship between the two helps them grow on a personal level, to become better versions of themselves, all the while with hints of mutual romantic and sexual attraction.
I’m going to let your imaginations figure out where it goes from there, lest I spoil the whole show. But what the show does brilliantly is an extremely positive and normal acceptance of a gay relationship. In fact, their closeness is celebrated – shown to be just as beautiful as any hetero relationship. That’s the message that’s been going around the world a lot over the years – love is love. And this series showcases that in such a positive way, with the supporting cast being happy for Yuuri and Viktor, and with nearly no homophobia (there was likely none, it has been a while since I’ve watched it) to show.
The show was incredibly popular because it’s pretty boys skating, and well… other reasons that would necessitate another blog post entirely. I certainly won’t say that it depicted a realistic gay relationship. The real world largely opposes any form of LGBT expression, and anyone that would identify as such would definitely feel the need to repress it, for fear of being ostracised.
This is precisely why Yuuri on Ice is so wonderful. It shows just how happy people could be if we could let them live as they like, and love who they love. Social change certainly won’t happen overnight, but as people say, the future is in the hands of the youth. Our actions will decide where society at large, our nation, and the world stand on important issues such as this one.
Because after all – we were born to make history.
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