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Embodying Yuri on Ice: Cosplay Video as Youth Media Authorship by Louisa Stein

by Ethan Tussey

In her In Focus piece, Allison McCracken describes Tumblr as “central to…creative production among youth, especially girls, people of color, and LGBTQ-identified fans” (151). Young people on Tumblr use the cultures of online fan creativity to recreate popular media according to the evolving value systems that they have fostered within their online communities. They also spread and celebrate niche media that reflects those values. In fall 2016, midst fraught processing of the US election online and off, the anime series Yuri on Ice caught on in Tumblr fan communities. Fans celebrated this show’s combination of arguably escapist romance and progressive politics. The series is a sports anime featuring a love story between two male figure skaters, one Russian and one Japanese. Co-creator and series writer Mitsurou Kubo wrote that: “Regardless of what people in the real world think of this work, the people in [Yuuri’s] world will not face discrimination no matter what kind of love they have.” While some fans critique Yuri on Ice’s choice to not deal with discrimination, for many the series offer relief from current events of the “real” world. Perhaps in part because of its relatively short length (12 episodes), Yuri on Ice fans have taken to creating more source text--not only the more familiar forms of vidding and fanfiction, but also in a form that had previously been perceived as more niche: cosplay. Fans share videos of cosplay con panels, web series, tutorials, and music videos (also known as CMVs.). CMVs like “Party Like a Russian (YOI CMV)” (Rintamasuunta) are akin to Anime Music Videos (or fan vids), but they use footage shot by the cosplayers themselves, sometimes replicating particular scenes or creating entirely new scenarios. Images from these videos circulate in social media spaces including Tumblr as stills, moving gifs, and gifsets. In their various cosplay videos, fans recreate favorited narrative and visual moments by embodying them. At the same time, they create new narratives, often picking up where the series left off. They are additionally transformative in that they often shift both form and genre, transforming animated TV series to live action comedy web series or music video. In many cases, these videos continue the positive, joyous tone set by the series itself, while also embodying the characters in a range of ages, nationalities, and body types—a multiplicity of fan-inhabited renditions of these beloved characters and their narratives.

Party like a Russian [YOI CMV]

Are you guys ready to Party like a Russian? Because we surely are! With a little bit of gold and soul, here it is, our Yuri!!! on Ice cosplay music video!

from Party like a Russian [YOI CMV] (2017)
Creator: Rintamasuunta
Distributor: YouTube
Posted by Ethan Tussey