No matter how many times one has read the manga, watched the anime or cosplayed as one of the many characters, nobody could compete with Johnny Weir for the the title of being the biggest Yuri!!! On Ice fan. Despite his busy schedule, the Olympian returned to Crunchyroll Expo to once again share his love for the series and to learn more about the anime community.
During Crunchyroll Expo, I joined by the team at Nerdbot, The Kitsune Network, and Anime Feminist for a chance to sit down with Johnny Weir for a chat about anime, figure skating and being accepted for who you are among a community of like minded individuals. These are some of the highlights during that round table discussion.
The Legacy of Denis Ten
One of the first topics brought up by the team from Nerdbot was his thoughts on how so many characters on Yuri!!! On Ice are based on real life figure skaters, most notably how Otabek Altin on the late Denis Ten.
Weir first reflected on the legacy of Ten and how it impacted the community. Noting that despite the cutthroat atmosphere of the sport, spoke highly of Ten and how his death was a painful event for so many figure skaters.
Regarding Yuri!!! On Ice, he notes how the figure skating world has embraced the series due to its accurate depiction of the struggle many athletes have to endure along with the focus on their personal struggles. At the same time he notes how so many have praised the series for avoiding the stereotypical tropes often seen in other depictions.
Embracing the Anime Community
The next topic brought up was how he got into Yuri!!! On Ice. While he had heard of the series while touring in Japan, it was only after Evgenia Medvedeva tweeted how much he looked like Yuri that truly sparked his interest. The plan was to only watch one episode but he got hooked and became a fan. It was after he started tweeting about Yuri!!! On Ice that he was truly introduced to the anime community and was honored at how accepting of a community it is.
As a follow up, I asked if he has had the chance to check out any other anime series. Unfortunately due to his busy schedule he has not had the chance to check out other shows but he has a list of recommendations that was made from last years Crunchyroll Expo. He did note that he wants to put sometime aside to watch The Rose of Versailles.
A New Interest in Figure Skating
Another interesting subject that was brought up was if he had seen a greater interest in figure skating because of Yuri!!! On Ice.
Since the release of Yuri!!! On Ice, Weir has seen a major interest in figure skating based on all the questions he receives on social media. He has also witnessed how the series has changed the fugue skating audience as he note the many cosplayers that can be seen at major events like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting. In his words, it has been incredible to see the anime community embracing the sport of figure skating.
What to Expect at Crunchyroll Expo
One subject I was curious to know about was what he enjoyed about Crunchyroll Expo along with what he was excited to see at this years event.
He was excited for his panel on sports anime along with the Masquerade (which he will also be hosting). In regards to why he came to Crunchyroll Expo, it’s all about the openness of the anime community. He is not there to learn about what’s new in anime but to enjoy the festivities among the many fans who have ventured to the convention.
This interview is part of 8Bit/Digi coverage of Crunchyroll Expo 2018. If you attended the event, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Crunchyroll Expo provided 8Bit/Digi with press passes for the weekend.