We had the pleasure of chatting with the folks being YoI Nation! Yuri on Ice fans you do not want to miss this!
What made you decide, "Hell yeah, we need a YoI Nation now," especially when the anime world's super dry with Yaoi content?
A: Well, I remember thinking we (the yuri on ice fandom) needed an account to keep track of any YoI related news or events, but it might’ve taken an entire resurgence for someone to make a decision like that. So, I thought, “I should do it myself, then”, and that’s how YoI Nation was born. I also thought it was important to keep this beautiful project alive in people’s minds, specifically with LGBT content. There was an alert going off in my mind since I barely saw YoI posts during Pride Month, and I was truly shocked to see a show with such great LGBT representation fall down like that.
While we're all twiddling our thumbs waiting for new Yuri!!! On Ice, what are you doing to keep the hype alive?
A: we’re planning on entering the content-creating world soon, who knows? We might give it a shot and see how it works; our fandom has reduced considerably, and my current focus is to keep working with the MappaWhereIsYoI team, so we can slowly but surely get the general public to support us.
B: What A said! It’s hard to keep hype alive when the fandom is only a fraction of what it was at its peak, but we’re doing everything we can with what we have right now.
C: Also, to resist during this “drought”, we have to mention that we’re planning several activities for the fandom.
Why does the world need more Yaoi? Give us your thoughts. Like why do you think studios aren’t pushing for more Yuri!! On Ice despite the fanbase being extremely loud about a need for it.
A: For me, lgbtq+ visibility is extremely important, and it’s hard to believe we’re in 2023 when we can’t seem to get a lot of stories like this, call it homophobia or anything you’d like; giving an opportunity to lgbt stories is crucial for them to be naturalized.
About *the studio*: There are plenty of rumors about the production of this franchise, but I’d say what’s holding YoI back is the current focus of Mappa studios and a loss of interest from Avex pictures. Mappa is now known for their shounen adaptations, and they won’t let go of them, even if their original figure skating anime is one of the best-selling of all time.
B: I also think it’s ridiculous that it’s 2023, and we still have to take crumbs for canon LGBT content in (mainstream) anime. Of course, yaoi/BL is great, but I would love for more of those LGBT themes to be explored in non-yaoi animes for a wider audience. In my opinion, even though studios know that fans will show up for gay stories like we did with YOI, I think there’s still unfortunately a lot of homophobia behind the scenes, and they get cold feet. However, I would want more authentically LGBT anime made with love, than just studios trying to cash grab.
C: It's possibly the fact that, for the producers, being in charge of different shounen anime leaves Ice Adolescence to the side, unfortunately, making it more and more irrelevant.
What's your coping mechanism for the never-ending wait? Group chats? Fanfics?
A: YoI’s subtwt! I’ve had the time of my life around yoitwt, ask and you shall receive, they’re the funniest people to be around, and I guarantee they won’t run out of ideas, like ever.
B: I cannot stress enough how interacting with the fandom has kept me sane for all these years. I’m on YOItwt, Tumblr, discord servers, etc… I’ve made so many friends because of YOI, and the fact that there’s other people I can talk about it with lets me know I’m not alone in this wait and keeps me going.
C: Fanfics entertain me quite a bit during this wait. I love the way many of them are written, and how they make me feel different emotions. I read “Until My Feet Bleed and My Heart Aches” on AO3 a short time ago, and I loved it. It made me feel a lot of emotions, in a similar way to YoI (maybe not in the same way, but it was a nice experience)
What other Yaoi do you enjoy or recommend to fans?
A: I haven’t watched any BL lately, but I really loved Doukyuusei! I do love a cute and natural love story, and it’s hands down one of the best romance projects I’ve ever watched.
B My personal favorites are Doukyuusei, Given, and Sasaki to Miyano! I’m not a huge BL fan, but I really want to get into more.
C: I haven’t been aware of any type of anime for some time, but if we’re talking about BL, the last one I remember watching was Sasaki to Miyano! I still haven’t finished it, but it’s a cute anime.
Give me your rawest, honest opinion: What's been the lowest point in this whole waiting game?
A: Probably 2020, when we were completely fooled by the Ice Adolescence teaser. We thought we had finally arrived at the final stage, I felt like it was finally happening when I first saw yurionicepr’s post. It was a cruel thing to do if they already knew it wasn’t going to premiere soon. They played us, and somehow that was worse than staying silent (in my opinion)
B: I’ve been in the fandom since 2016, and I remember when a movie was announced. I was ready to wait as long as it took, but I have to agree with what A said. When the teaser was finally made public, it felt like we were finally getting somewhere, and a release date was inevitable! That was three years ago, and still nothing.
C: Maybe the continuous forgetting of YoI by Mappa and Avex (that 's still ongoing). Although I can’t remember what year this silence that’s still with us began, it’s definitely something that keeps my mind quite busy.
What sets YoI Nation apart from other fanbases?
A: We’re practically new in this world, but what sets us apart probably is that we are active during the YoI drought!
B: To me, YoI Nation shows the dedication of the YOI fandom to stay alive despite a lack of content or updates. A lot of fandoms that stop getting anything new eventually fade to oblivion, but we don’t want that to happen to us. I think the YOI fandom is like a sleeping giant, and YOI nation helps to remind people that we’re still here, and we love YOI no matter what happens.
C: I think every fanbase has its own unique stamp, or something to identify them with. However, I can’t think exactly of something that sets us apart from everyone else (besides, we haven’t seen a lot of people who keep talking about YoI).
How are you encouraging the production of more YoI? Are you petitioning? Getting in touch with producers?
A: We’re working with the MappaWhereIsYoI pals! There’s a change.org petition, of course, and we’ve tried talking to media outlets, but there has been no response. We have limited chances to help, so we’re sticking to the petition.
B: I think we can all agree that the petition by MappaWhereIsYoI is the best shot we have currently. I’m not sure if any higher ups have seen it yet (I hope!) but even if it doesn’t change anything, people still know that there’s a dedicated fandom waiting for more.
C: As it was mentioned before, we’re too small to be able to contact the producers. The petition alongside MappaWhereIsYoI is the biggest thing we’ve achieved!.
You made the jump from an update account to a fanbase. What was the moment you knew you had to evolve?
A: YoI nation had a change of staff, so I was left alone again and thought, “it could be nice to evolve into a fanbase”, since I really wanted to be vocal about our *situation*, but we often got backlash for supporting the MappaWhereIsYoI movement, or simply because we were “complaining a lot as an updates account”. I told myself I didn’t owe loyalty or silence to any studio or distribution company, but I did owe loyalty to this project and its fans. That’s when I started using the account to support said movement and helped organizing activities to support YoI as much as I could, and I couldn’t be happier about any other decision of mine.
Why did you personally start YoI Nation? Was it for the love of the series, the Yaoi, the fandom?
A: My love for the series and this fandom, definitely. Yuri on Ice has been part of my life for 7 years now, and it never ceased to comfort me. I’m really the happiest when I’m around other YoI fans, I’ve always thought of this fandom as a safe, fun and healthy space, so I think it is only fair for me to reciprocate that energy through YoI nation. But I’m also here to spread the Viktuuri agenda, if you know what I mean.
How's the BL community responding to your existence? Do you get the Yaoi stamp of approval?
A: I mean, you can’t really tell what’s going on through people’s minds, but I think we do! I’ve seen some comments around our posts about tgcf and Sasaki to Miyano, and they’re positive, so they probably like us.
B: I don’t know for sure either, but it seems good so far!
C: I’m not really sure, but let’s hope that there’s a positive response either way, maybe.
In the absence of new episodes, what are the hot topics or debates keeping your community busy?
A: Ice adolescence theories (of course), and I’ve noticed a peculiar rise on the YoI appreciation posts. I feel like this fandom is trying to move on, and we’ve entered a stage (at least this last year) where we’re looking back at 2016 and this project as a whole to highlight all the good memories and aspects of it. Long story short, I’d say we’re staying alive by making our best to consecrate YoI as the wonderful, joyful, passionate and human project it is.
B: A big thing is speculating about what Ice Adolescence was/is, and people headcanoning and making theories in the meantime. I love to see the things that fans come up with, because it’s the best thing we have to the actual movie now.
C: Ice Adolescence and its future are definitely something that keeps the fandom quite active.
What other Yaoi series do you think deserve as much attention and why?
A: I read “Here u are” and I LOVED IT! I think it’s really well done, since it really made me emotional, but it never treated me (as a reader) like a fool. I ended up loving a lot of characters, specially Li Huan; I’d say everyone needs to read this if they’re looking for a good story.
B: I don’t think I can understand my love for “Sasaki to Miyano”. It’s not unpopular, but I definitely think it’s underrated, and deserves way more attention that it gets. It has one of the healthiest relationships I’ve ever seen, regardless of gender, and it’s super cute and wholesome!
C: Not too long ago, I read the manwha “When the killer falls in love” and I loved it. It’s a mix between comedy and action, in addition to the art style which made me fall in love completely. Even though it’s on hiatus, I totally recommend it.
Are you guys planning any events, virtual or otherwise, to keep the fire burning?
A: We’re in our brainstorming era, haha! I’d like to start next year with a brand new YoI Nation, so I’ve been talking with my other admins about what we could do to improve and get ready for anything. I might be planning something for the Ice Adolescence teaser’s anniversary, not too big, but luckily big enough to bring the fans back together for a day.
B: In honor of Yuuri’s birthday this month, we’ve been coming up with ideas of what to do to celebrate, so stay tuned!
C: Yes yes! what A and B said *wink wink*.
Give it to me straight: Is Yuri!!! On Ice still as relevant as it was, or are people losing interest?
A: As sad and painful as it is, it definitely isn’t as relevant as it used to be. Fans lost interest due to the lack of content and updates, so it is completely understandable for them to forget about it or distance themselves during the wait. I’m still not happy about YoI being forgotten, it’s not what it deserves.
B: It definitely isn’t as relevant as it used to be, unfortunately. This hurts me a lot, because I remember when it was THE anime everyone was into, or had at least heard of. Now, it’s fading into nostalgia for a lot of people, and I can’t blame them because of the lack of content.
C: Unfortunately, no. I blame the time that has passed and the very little content that we’ve been given through these years, so it's reasonable for people to lose interest because of this. It’s understandable, as sad as it is.
What's the first thing you're gonna do when that elusive new Yuri!!! On Ice content finally drops?
A: Take a deep breath so I don’t faint, and then rush to post the update. After that, I’d probably need to take the entire day off to process and focus on ranting about what’s going on. Sounds like a perfect day, doesn’t it?
B: I think it would be such a shock to me that I honestly can’t say how I would react. C: Cry.
What are the big plans for YoI Nation if (or when, let's be optimistic) new episodes or a movie release?
A: Best scenario I could think of would be next year. We’d keep up with the updates, encourage fans to express their happiness, try to start a trend or hashtag, I’d also like to start a countdown, but most importantly, I’d like to find a tangible way to thank Kubo and Sayo for their masterpiece.
B: Definitely to still keep fans updated! Like A said, it would be awesome to find some way to express our gratitude to Kubo and Sayo after waiting so long. I’m sure that whatever new content were to be released, we would all be extremely grateful.
C: As it was said before, it’s keeping our fandom informed about any update that could pop up, we’ll be looking forward and ready for what’s to come!
Most important question ever: why do you love Yuri!!! On Ice?
A: My favorite question EVER. There are many reasons why I love this show: The plot, the character’s development, Viktor, the lgbt rep, the general depiction of love and human relationships or bonds, how it approaches mental health, the accurate representation of an athlete’s state of mind or motives, the animation, the memories, THE SOUNDTRACK, the diversity, the wonderful women who created it, every episode, the merch, I could truly go on and on and on for hours. But the reason I love Yuri on ice is that it goes beyond figure skating, beyond sports or romance. YoI does a great job at reminding us of our value, reminding us that we’re not alone, that it can always get better, and that we don’t need to be the shiniest person in the world to be loved, and that we need to go after our dreams and we don’t have to do it all on our own. YoI is a great life lesson, and it is able to resonate with us. It’s exactly the show that I needed 7 years ago, and it has helped me to be the woman I am today. I love YoI’s influence in my life, and I couldn’t thank Mitsurō Kubo and Sayo Yamamoto enough.
B: I could go on about YOI forever. Its captivated me from the second I started watching in 2016, and it has definitely changed my life; I don’t know who I would be today without YOI. As someone who struggles with mental illness, seeing an MC be so vulnerable, and his anxiety not treated as comic relief, was refreshing, and I felt like I was watching myself a lot. Having an interracial, canon LGBT couple as well, in a sports anime (which is notorious for “baiting”), was revolutionary. The story of Yuuri and Viktor is one of the greatest love stories ever told, and it will always stay with me. I can also sing praises about the soundtrack, diversity, accuracy to real life figure skating, etc… YOI isn’t perfect, but it’s close to it, and will always hold a special place in my heart.
C: YoI made me love animation even more, as it’s one of the main reasons I’m studying for an animation degree, even if it was criticized for this exact reason back in the day. It personally made a huge change in me, as well as showing me a beautiful story with
interesting characters who leave you wanting to know them more. It also shows the different ways in which love is interpreted, whether it’s love towards someone or something, in this case, figure skating.
The lgbt+ representation gave me several new perspectives on the world, and it showed me a relationship as beautiful as Yuuri’s and Viktor’s and how it unfolded with every episode. It’s a true masterpiece which shaped me as a person as it carried on. The feelings it made me feel make me think that I’ll never feel as happy as this anime made me, I miss it so much…