Yuri!!! on Ice has been taking the anime world by storm ever since its debut in October 2016. Just a few days ago, both a DVD-Blu-Ray set and a limited edition set that included the two formats and a ton of goodies hit American shelves.
Being a fan of the series, and curious about the art book and the art cards in the limited edition set, I couldn’t resist picking up my own copy to check things out.
(Please note that this will be a review of the items that come with the limited edition box set and the special features on the discs, not the series itself.)
Yuri!!! on Ice is about a figure skater named Yuri Katsuki who is getting ready to quit skating for good after losing a competition. He unknowingly attracts the attention of Victor, a skater he has looked up to for many years, who shows up at Yuri’s home. Victor convinces Yuri to take on another season and becomes his coach.
First of all, there is the box itself. It is nice and sturdy, and both sides feature holo art; the limited edition collection features the cover art from the regular edition on its backside. The details are actually pretty impressive: the first few lines from the opening theme are written on the inside rim of the box. The actual disc case features art of Victor and both Yuri K and Yuri P; the backside has a shot of the entire cast of male skating competitors. If you take the paper cover out of the case, there’s another piece of artwork printed on the inside that features Victor, the two Yuris, and Victor’s dog Makkachin at a hot spring. Again: the level of detail and care was impressive to me even when I was just opening things up for the initial look.
This edition also came with a loose page with the information about the series and discs on it that’s printed on the back of the regular box set’s case. There’s not much on it other than the usual summary, praise, and some screenshots from the show. (Just a note for those of you younger fans who were thinking of asking for this from someone: one of the screenshots featured is of Victor when you first see him in the hot spring.) It’s the same size as the collection’s case, so you can’t neatly tuck it into anything, which seems odd to me. It’s not a particularly important item, so it’s not the biggest deal, but I’m already regretting losing it–inevitably, it will happen.
As for the bonuses, there are the art cards, to start. The three cards can (partially) be seen in the art above and feature the three fan favorites, Victor, and the two Yuris. The other sides feature the anime’s logo against different color watercolor splatters. The cards are nice and sturdy and were packaged with a cardboard card and placed in an envelope to keep them from bending. I got my edition in the mail, so I’m not sure how they are packaged at stores like Best Buy or Target, but the cards are small enough to fit into the box set’s sleeve if you’re worried about damaging them.
The art on the cards themselves is great, and, so far as I know, original for this collection. My favorite piece is the one of the Yuris and Victor at a shrine. Yuri P isn’t my favorite character, but I love that I have a picture of him looking something other than moody!
As for the art book… At first, I was a little torn over it. It fits neatly in the limited edition’s sleeve, which I can appreciate for its convenience, but I usually buy art books to really pore over an artists’ work, which is usually easy, as art books tend to be pretty large. However, despite the size, there is a lot of detail in the art. There are screenshots from the show, production art, and guiding sketches/storyboards and stills from the animatics (animation tests). There are also character profiles of everybody but Makkachin, and even tertiary characters get a fair amount of attention, which is nice to see.
There are also some great interviews: Kenji Miyamoto, the skating choreographer for the show and former ice dancing champion, Mitsurou Kubo, who worked on the original concept, storyboards, and character designer, and Sayo Yamamoto, the director, who also worked on the original concept, and series composition all have a few pages to shine with interesting interviews about their hands in the creation of Yuri!!! on Ice. These interviews serve as a great companion to one of the special features on the discs, which features three members of the American cast and crew talking about the show and how they have interpreted it.
The art book also features quick breakdowns of things like recurring themes or images in the show and information on skating events and skating terms. I was happy to see that, as I watched the show with a friend, after we were both introduced to it by one of her friends, and we never really got the whole point or technique system. We discussed it constantly when we watched the show, but it never occurred to us to, you know, google it.
The special features are great too, though they’re only on the second Blu-Ray disc. (The second DVD disc just has trailers for other anime series.) Along with the chat with the American cast I already mentioned, there are textless versions of both openings, the regular ending, and the episode 10 and 12 endings, which vary from the norm, and the “Welcome to the Madness” OVA. Some of these things can be found online, but as with the few pieces of art in the art book that can be found elsewhere, it’s nice to have access to it at my own convenience.
The only thing I found lacking about the special features was that only one episode of the series comes with audio commentary. The cast seems to have such a great chemistry that I really wanted to watch the whole series with commentary.
Ultimately, this set exceeded my expectations and I’m glad I picked it up–and that’s before ever even rewatching a series I really enjoy. If you’re a big fan of the series I’d recommend it, especially now while Funimation, Crunchyroll, and Barnes and Noble are offering this collection for a reduced price. The reduced prices for the series all still end up over the $60 mark though, so if you’re on the fence about the series, haven’t finished it yet, or haven’t seen it yet and are curious about it, I would recommend getting the less expensive collection, or just rewatching it (or watching it for the first time) on Crunchyroll, where it is still streaming for free at this time.
If you’re interested in other Yuri!!! on Ice merchandise, please check out our Yuri!!! gift guide from over the holidays as well.