Figure skating is very popular in Japan, this is an indisputable fact. Anime is also very popular in Japan, and this cultural phenomenon has spread widely throughout the world.
The figure skating anime “Yuri on Ice” has brought many new fans to the sport (isn’t that a good case for ISU marketers?), and figure skaters often use music from iconic movies in their shows. .
In our time, it has come to full-fledged ice shows based on anime – the premiere of the first such a large project with the participation of the strongest skaters of the national team will soon take place in Japan. But the pioneer of this genre could be our Evgenia Medvedeva: three years ago she got the main role in a production about Sailor Moon.
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With the music of the anime, they are not afraid to enter competitions.
The most popular Japanese entertainer among figure skaters is Hayao Miyazaki. The music for his paintings is often written by composer Jo Hisaishi.
Hisaishi is known for being zealous with the use of his music: Canadian figure skater Kevin Reynolds had to change his free show in the 2018/2019 season due to the composer banning its use.
Jo Hisaishi at one time “saved” Alexandra Boikov and Dmitry Kozlovsky. In the 2020/2021 season, the couple performed a short program to the music of the film “The Captivating Star of Happiness” and often made unfortunate mistakes. Before the World Championships in Stockholm, the coaching staff decided to drop the show’s choreography, but change the music, to a more upbeat waltz from Howl’s Moving Castle. At competitions, Alexandra and Dmitry skated in this composition only once, but the rental came out flawless and brought the couple to first place after the short program. Later Boikova/Kozlovsky returned to this program at the gala show.
Alexandra Boykova/Dmitry Kozlovsky
Photo: Alexander Safonov, “Championship”
The Howl’s Moving Castle waltz is taken quite often: for example, in the 2015/2016 season, Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khalyavin performed their rhythmic dance to this music.
The music from “Princess Mononoke” was also taken more than once. Elizabeth Tursynbayeva’s free show in the 2016/2017 season is completely based on compositions from this anime. The composition “The Battle Drums” was used in Denis Vasiliev’s short program in the 2021/2022 season. The soundtrack of “Nausicaä from the Valley of the Wind” was also used several times – in free shows by Korean Lee Si Hyun (2017/2018 season), Japanese Takahiko Kozuki (2011/2012 season) and even American Mariah Bell (2011 season). /2012).
Skaters skate to music from modern anime popular around the world and things that have become classics. In the 2015/2016 season, Kevin Reynolds, already mentioned by us, took the song “Tank!” from the soundtrack to the famous 90s anime Cowboy Bebop.
In the Olympic season, figure skaters rarely experiment, but American Jimmy Ma decided to go his own way: in the 2021/2022 season, he took themes from Attack on Titan for the free show. It is unlikely that Jimmy would have been able to qualify for the Beijing Olympics, but he was definitely remembered for his choice of music. They still skated to anime music at the Olympics: in Pyeongchang, the Japanese couple Miu Suzaki and Ryuichi Kihara performed a short program to the soundtrack of Yuri on Ice.
Jimmy Ma in the free skate from “Attack on Titan”
Photo: Joosep Martinson/Getty Images
There are also shows where music from the anime was mixed with the usual neoclassical music. Such is, for example, Polina Tsurskaya’s free program of the 2018/2019 season, arranged after moving to CSKA. Along with the compositions “Leningrad” by William Joseph and “Live Or Die” by X-Ray Dog, music from the anime “Code Geass: Lelouch Risen” was used in the production.
Gala numbers are no exception either.
Music from the anime also plays in the skaters’ demo numbers. Keiji Tanaka twice took the themes of Japanese animation. In the 2019/2020 season he presented a show program to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and in the 2016/2017 season, a number with the music of Spirited Away.
In the 2021/2022 Olympic season, the Russian figure skater Evgeny Semenenko presented an indicative number with an opening from the anime “Black Clover”. This choice combines a whole mix of cultures: the song from the Japanese cartoon was made by the Korean group TxT, and this number was presented to the public by only one skater from Russia.
One of the most popular gala performances for anime is Evgenia Medvedeva’s show with the Sailor Moon soundtrack. For the first time, the figure skater performed this number in 2016 at one of the Japanese shows and even managed to meet the creator of the anime, Naoko Takeuchi. Even more viewers saw the number at the World Team Championship gala show in Japan a year later.
This show was so fond of the Japanese audience that Zhenya subsequently had to play a major role in a whole ice show based on the cartoon.
Evgenia Medvedeva, Sailor Moon exhibition number at the 2017 World Team Championship
Photo: RIA Novosti
Now the anime features full ice shows.
Medvedeva landed a role in the Sailor Moon Prism on Ice 2020 ice show, shortly before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The project was conceived on a large scale: world famous figure skaters Satoko Miyahara, Mirai Nagasu, Jason Brown, Andrew Poje were supposed to take part in the show.
Zhenya even flew to Japan during the quarantine and was preparing for a possible premiere of the show, but the project was postponed and the figure skater was stuck in the country. After the show was postponed several more times, the last of them – to the summer of 2023, but already in the winter it became known about the complete official cancellation.
But in 2023, Japan will see another ice show based on the plot of the legendary anime. In August the premiere of “One Piece On Ice” will be held, the main star is the two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medalist Shoma Uno.
Shoma Uno as Monkey D. Luffy
The manga started appearing in 1997 and is currently the best-selling manga in the world. The first anime series was released in 1999. It is based on a story about the adventures of a team of pirates, which goes in search of a treasure, it is simply called “One Piece”. The team captain is Munky D. Luffy, who has the great ability to shrink and stretch like rubber.
Shoma will play the role of Luffy – posters for the upcoming premiere have already appeared on the Internet and a full press conference has been held in Japan. Other well-known Japanese skaters will also take part in the show: Keiji Tanaka, Koshiro Shimada, Rinka Wanatabe, Marin Honda, Nobunari Oda, Kazuki Tomono. In August, various shows will be held in Yokohama, and in early September, in Nagoya.