Crunchyroll Expo 2017

(author’s note: yes I know this is like super super months behind, but I finally finished it!)

This year, Crunchyroll hosted their very first Crunchyroll Expo (CRX) the weekend of August 25, 2017.. I bought the weekend pass the day of my birthday, as it was the cutoff date for them to mail passes to attendees. That alone was one of the main reasons I ended up checking it out. I didn’t have to do the whole line-con thing just to get a badge. The only other convention I’ve had the chance to go to is Fanime both in 2016 and 2017. I got a weekend pass; but ended up attending 2 of the three days. I was just too exhausted by Saturday night, so I skipped the last day.

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from my personal instagram

Continue reading “Crunchyroll Expo 2017”

Top 8 Silver (Grey) Foxes

Welcome back to another eye-candy filled MCM to kick off your week! Last week I featured some white-haired men; this weeks goes a few shades darker in featuring my top 10 Silver/Gray haired men. Silver and Gray hair often denotes a type of distinguished, almost sophisticated appeal to a guy. While this may ring true for many of these characters, more often than not – it doesn’t apply!

8. Shogo Haizaki & Chihiro Mayuzumi (Kuroko no Basket)

This list wouldn’t have been complete without a KnB character making an appearance. There are two men in this anime with grey hair. I had a hard time choosing so I decided to leave them in a tie. Haizaki is Kise’s counterpart on the show. Yes, we all know my love for Kise (see my twitter) is undeniable, so why would I pick his arch-enemy to be on the list? He’s the ultimate bad boy on KnB, actually he’s probably the worst guy on KnB, forget being of the bad boy type, he’s a total jerk! He slaps around his teammates and is the most selfish player on the court. He feels entitled because he’s talented; therefore representing everything that KnB does not promote. But still I’d choose Haizaki over Mayuzumi if I really had to. Unfortunately Mayuzumi is just a pawn to Akashi’s plan to win (see my red haired list – he’s number 1) and is easily cast aside when he’s no longer useful.

Continue reading “Top 8 Silver (Grey) Foxes”

Take Two! Feb 26 – March 4

Happy Tuesday Ya’ll! I’ll be changing up this format just a tad bit! Evolution is always awesome isn’t it? Next week I’ll probably start integrating more graphics into this segment! But for now…

Let’s re-cap shall we?

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • The Other Self – KnB: With the movie comine in 2 weeks, I wanted to start using KnB songs as a countdown!
  • Broken Bird: Chikara Doumeki: My Yaoi/BL crush was featured last week. I’m just completely obsessed with Twittering Birds Never Fly. I may make my way back to talk about this series at some point.
  • Role Model: Haruhi Fujioka: I brought back WCW and decided to use a classic female that I wish was around for me when I was growing up. I mean I had Sailor Moon but Haruhi was somehow more of a rolemodel I think.
  • [Nendoroid Nonsense]: Tsukki Pays a Visit: I had Tsukki announce a new Nendoroid Nonsense manga was in the works! I’m still in the middle of storyboarding.

A FEW OTHER HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS:

  • “This Week in Anime” – was supposed to be my weekly episodic watch of shows; but I’ve fallen pretty behind on series’ as of late. I want to continue this, but let’s be real it’s hard to keep it up week to week! So I may or may not continue this – or this may also evolve into something else.
  • I have a few reviews coming, an “unboxing” of something really special and an Anime Film Review, SAO: Ordinal Scale and an older one, that I recently watched, so keep an eye out for those!
  • I have a few awards to get thru, so hopefully I can conquer those this week!

LAST WEEK’S INTERESTING READS:

 

OWLS FEBRUARY BLOG TOUR RECAP:

As you know I’ve joined up with the OWLS recently. Here’s a little bit about what we do and a re-cap of our February blog tour! Please check out our Facebook here, our twitter page here, as well as our very own wordpress for tour updates!

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We are a group of otaku bloggers who promotes acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and disability. We emphasize the importance of respect, kindness, and tolerance to every human being.

In February, we looked at Yuri!! on Ice and our interpretation of the prompt “flight”:

Topic: An individual takes flight when there is a goal, a dream, or an ambition that he or she wants to achieve. However, for this blog post, we are going to look at “flight” in different lenses: the underdog’s dream, the possibilities that Yuri on Ice allows viewers to think about, and also the dangers of greed and ignorance that can influence one’s dream.

2/3: A Yuri on Ice Dream: Love is Love, Gay or Not by Arria Cross (Fujinsei)

2/6: A Lack of Communication and Its Implications as Seen in “Yuri!!! on Ice” by Remy Fool (The Lily Garden)

2/8:  Would Yuri and Viktor’s Relationship be Accepted in Their Own Countries? Homosexuality in Japan and Russia by Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog)

2/10: Yuri on Ice – Love and Life by Steph (Two Happy Cats)

2/13: The Flight of a Russian Fairy – A Character Analysis of Yuri Plisetsky by Pink-chan (Pinky’s Palace)

2/15:  Diversity and the Normalization of the LGBTQ Community Brought To You By Yuri On Ice by Kat (grimmgirl)

2/17: Otabek Altin’s Flight from Inferiority by Venus (Japanime Talks)

2/20: We’re All Pork Cutlet Bowls: The Relatability of the Underdog’s Dream in Yuri!!! on Ice by Naja (Nice Job Breaking it, Hero)

2/22: YURI ON ICE – INDIVIDUALITY by Stephanie (Anime Girls NYC)

2/24: Viktor’s Leap of Faith by me @ archi-anime

2/27: Yuri!!! On ICE Goes the Distance for Life & Love by Takuto (Takuto’s Anime Cafe)


and Cut! That does it for this week’s take two! If you’ve found something of interest for me to read feel free to send it my way! If you’ve read any of the above, I’d love to hear your thoughts! And always, thanks for tuning in this week! ❤

Megane Monday!

This week’s MCM is a bit special; some of the following weeks may end up being a Top 5 list; because well it’s hard to choose one favorite. I may end up featuring each of these guys more in-depth but for now I shall list my top Megane’s! This also coincides with Naja‘s March Megane Madness theme. Ah, you gotta love alliteration. Be sure to check it out when you can: her first post is here.

top_10_megane Continue reading “Megane Monday!”

Viktor’s Leap of Faith – [OWLS Blog Tour]

Hello ani-bloggers! Welcome to my stop on the February edition of the OWLS blog tour feature. OWLS: Otaku Warriors for Liberty and Self-Respect, is a group that hope to spread the important message of respect and kindness to every human being. Our monthly blog tours that reflect this message of tolerance and self-acceptance, through various analysis of the anime medium; although it is not limited to anime.

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I joined OWLS mid-january, and as this is my FIRST OWLS blog tour since joining; I’m a bit nervous because this group has a lot of great writers!! This month we’re looking at Yuri!! On Ice and the topic of “flight”. You can click on the following names for their interpretations of our topic this month: Arria (fujinsei), Remy (The Lily Garden), Rai (Rai’s Anime Blog), Steph (twohappycats), Pink (Pinkys Palace), Kat (GrimmGirl), Venus (japanimetalks), Naja (Nice Job Breaking it, Hero), and Steph (animegirlsnyc).

Prompt:

“An individual takes flight when there is a goal, a dream, or an ambition that he or she wants to achieve. However, for this blog post, we are going to look at “flight” in different lenses: the underdog’s dream, the possibilities that Yuri on Ice allows viewers to think about, and also the dangers of greed and ignorance that can influence one’s dream.”

Yuri!! on Ice has taken the anime community by storm and it’s impact has been remarkable. It’s often made fun of for being “Yaoi on Ice,” or “Fujoshi Bait”, but it has affected the anime community nonetheless. It’s opened up the doors for the depiction of a LGBTQ relationships in the anime media. Yes, we have other branches: Shounen AI/BL/Yaoi, but those have always been in your face in terms of how they get you to grasp the relationship between two men. The depiction of the story between Viktor and Yuri is a natural progression and looks at love for love, not by gender or sex. It also focuses on the effect that love has on an individual, and many will argue it’s not necessarily romantic love. But it is a type of love, nonetheless. I will admit though, that the depiction of the relationship is not clear-cut; as the viewer often has to allude and make assumptions.  But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the relationship between the two characters allows for the normalization of LGBTQ relationships.

Flight in Yuri!! on Ice

When I think of “flight” I immediately thought of Viktor Nikiforov; the other protagonist of the show, and Yuuri’s partner/coach. So why is flight associated with this individual?

Personally, it’s hard to look at Viktor subjectively, as he was my absolute favorite on this show, and not for fangirl reasons.  I’ve seen some people knock on Viktor’s character for being flat, and unchanging. But there’s so much to Viktor than what meets the eye. And when we were given the prompt of “flight” I immediately thought of Viktor and his storyline in Yuri!! on Ice. Viktor is a true inspiration and I think he embodies the motto that OWLS has set forth: Free to be me. I’ll be looking at “flight” through the character analysis of Viktor Nikiforov in his skating career and his personal life as well. To me, Viktor’s flight is the life-changing choices and the effects his leap of faith has on his life.

On the Precipice of Change

When the anime starts, we’re witnessing Viktor at the height of his career. Viktor is far and away a legend on the ice: five consecutive World Championships and five consecutive Grand Prix’s amongst a deluge of other European championships. At the age of 16 he was already at the top of the ice skating world, and was known to continually surprise both audience and the judges with his routines.

Off the ice, Viktor doesn’t have much of a personal life, as he’s dedicated everything he’s had to his love for ice skating and his career. In episode 10 he says:

“On the rare occasions I take time away from skating two ‘L’ words come to mind: life and love. I’ve spent the last 20 years neglecting both of them.” 

Upon reaching his fifth consecutive gold medal, he’s asked what he thinks the next season will bring, but we see Viktor’s expression is pensive. His flight to the top is starting to level out; and it appears that he’s not sure what to do with his career; what more can Viktor accomplish after that? When you’re winning consecutive back to back competitions and winning by huge margins, is it really considered competition anymore?  At this point, Viktor is probably questioning his motives for skating, and is looking for the next step.

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When you’ve reached the peak of your career, and have already accomplished so much that you’re actually the person that’s been “raising the bar” and you’re the example that’s been set for others to aspire to, where do you go from there? When you stop and realize that there’s something missing from your life outside of your career, you start to question your motives. What’s next?  That’s when you realize something has to be done. Something has to change in order for there to be progress, and that goes for anyone that wants to change for the better.

The Catalyst

viktor_yuri_drunk.pngWe were led to believe that the Catalyst for change is the YouTube video of Yuuri skating to Viktor’s “Close to Me” Program, but we later find out at the end of the season, that Viktor and Yuuri had previously met at the banquet – Yuuri just has no recollection of the said meeting.  In a flashback scene we see a very outgoing Yuuri whose actions captivate Viktor’s attention and curiosity when he’s asked to be his coach. To Viktor it was an unforgettable chance meeting.

Leap of Faith = Flight

Viktor takes two leaps of faiths; one with his professional life and second his personal life. It took a literal flight out from Russia to Japan for this flight to begin; It’s both a literal and symbolic flight. In order to change, you must confront yourself with the uncomfortable to move forward. Challenge yourself. For Viktor to be able to drop everything and take a chance on something with no contingency plan takes an incredible amount of courage, and it’s not something just anyone can do. It takes someone with a high level of confidence to be able to follow through with a plan like that. However, we all have that capability in ourselves. This isn’t something that we should tell ourselves we could never do, because anybody can.  It’s really up to us to make these changes and how far we’re willing to push ourselves to be better.

First, let’s look at the his leap of faith as a skater. Viktor has no prior coaching experience but he agrees to be Yuuri’s and choreography both Yuri and Yurio’s respective programs. He’s brilliant at it, but he often struggles with what a coach should do, especially when the student is rebellious. Looking at Viktor’s past, we saw that he was a high-level competitor who was used to winning alone, but with the help of Yuri and his leap of faith to take a break from his life on the ice and into coaching that changed.

From the sidelines Viktor was re-invigorated by the sport as he watched his former competitors do better than they ever had before. On top of that, both Yuri and Yurio broke two of his world records. Having to take a step back and witness from another point of view encouraged Viktor to reassess as well as re-align his vision of ice skating. He wasn’t at the top anymore, his crown was going to be taken; that threat that had never been there finally showed up. He realized that he needed to compete, and that he wanted to compete, especially now that there were skaters out there that would be able to really give Viktor a run for his money. This was what he needed to rid of the stagnation that he had been feeling just a season ago, and Yuri helped him realize that there was still yet another chapter for him to write in his skating career.

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His second leap of faith, probably took him by surprise too. If you think about what happened at the banquet, followed by the viral YouTube video, Viktor really took a blind leap of faith in love. He only knew Yuuri was a skater, and that he had been doing poorly and was on the brink of retirement till he came along. Other than that, he had never really spoken to Yuri, and they knew nothing about one another. Viktor left his life behind in Russia on the off-chance that something could blossom between him and Yuri; and blossomed it did. Viktor was drawn to Yuri because he was always full of surprises both on and off the ice as well and this is what caused Viktor to be fascinated by Yuri and influenced by him as well. He also says, that Yuri’s life and love opened up a brand new world he never knew existed. Their relationship is one that allowed one another to give and take while pushing each other in the best direction.

Finale:

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Finally! The finish line is here!

Viktor’s leap of faith off and on the ice both stemmed from the fact that he was feeling stagnant. He felt like was something missing; his career was about to hit its peak and possibly a plateau. In order to get a fresh perspective on things, usually one takes a step-back, a break, just to reassess their goals, ambitions, and plan out their next step. However, Viktor doesn’t do that, he does the unexplainable and flies out with all his stuff to Japan in search of something he’s felt was missing from his life.

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These are reasons why Viktor is inspiring as a character. To take such bold life choices in order to seek out what’s missing and in the end having everything fall into place. Re-igniting his desire to compete, and experiencing a new view on life and love with another person. He does these things for himself and without regard for what other people think, despite his position in the ice skating world; he chose for himself and as the OWLS motto goes, he was free to be him.

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In order for one to take flight in search of new dreams and aspirations one has to step outside of their comfort zone in order to succeed. But, never lose sight of who you are in the process, stay true to yourself! So, take a step outside of your comfort zone, take the plunge, explore the unknown and tap into your unlimited potential with confidence just like Viktor did. You never know what’s waiting for you on the other side!


That just about ends my stop on the blog tour!! Thanks for reading my first contribution to OWLS, I hope you enjoyed it! This ended up being a lot longer than I had anticipated; in fact I think this is the longest post I’ve written!! Please check out Takuto’s (Takuto’s Anime Cafe) stop on Monday, February 27as the final stop of the ‘Flight’ themed blog tour for Feb.

Interested in OWLS? Fill out a form here! Also, please don’t hesitate to contact us on any of our blogs, and our official twitter account @OWLSbloggers and our offical Facebook Page!

Take Two! Feb 12 – 18

This week’s recap is a bit sparse due to the small break I had to take for work. The worst of it is over – I believe. So I’m trying to churn out as many scheduled posts as I can!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Yeah, last week was sparse. But I refused to give up on the OP/ED feature and MCM.

 

LAST WEEKS’ INTERESTING READS:

  • Favorite Anime Crushes: by avathenerd. Ah, the fairy tail boys. I was happy to see Gray and Jellal! 😀
  • Blog update: Introducing the Monogatari dissection project: As someone that isn’t familiar with this series; and not sure if I’ll ever get around to it – I’m looking forward to seeing their thoughts/dissection of the series!
  • ANI-Tay: One of my favorite anime communities; I haven’t been on it as of late since I became active on wordpress. But its still good to check them out once in awhile!
  • OTABEK ALTIN’S FLIGHT FROM INFERIORITY – OWLS YOI POST: OWLS Februrary Blog Tour is about halfway done, and Venus looks at Otabek’s role! My post on YOI will be coming out at the end of this week as well! 🙂

I am behind on everyone’s blogs so I haven’t really been able to pick out too many; but these are the few that stuck out to me last week!

 

Take Two! February 5 -11

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • “99” | Mob Psycho 100: Last week’s song was Mob Psycho 100’s OP to get me kicked off for the long work week ahead of me. I had been looking to a relaxing weekend – but alas relaxation has evaded me yet again!
  • No Longer Human: Osamu Dazai: Looked at one of my favorite supernatural anime characters; that being Osamu Dazai from Bungou Stray Dogs. I look at his character’s journey and what his cause to become apart of the Armed Detective Agency.
  • Daimidaler: I didn’t get to watch a ton of anime since I was working, but I did watch have something on while I worked; that being Daimidaler. An anime so bad I can’t tell if it’s bad on purpose.
  • [Guest Blogger] My Best Friend Became a Courtesan: Men of Yoshiwara- Hayabusa Main Story Review: Naja and I had been working on this collaborative post for awhile now, and we were finally able to get it together and get it done! It was my first otome and first collaborative post. I had so much that I’m looking forward to writing more about my Otome adventures!

This week was a bit short, but once my work deadline is done I’m going to try to get back on schedule and bring more content to the blog!

THIS WEEKS’ INTERESTING READS:


That just about wraps up this week’s Take Two! Have you guys read these? What were your thoughts?  Did you run across any articles that may catch my ever-growing interest in the anime/manga/gaming world? Send me a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out! 

ANI-Reality : Yuri!!! On Ice

Ever since episode 10 came out I’ve really been wanting to write this post. Not only did this episode have Viktor narrarating it; it had many of us fangirling over Viktor and Yuri’s ring exchange as well as the epicness of the pictures/video of Yuri at the ending credit sequence. But a lot of my own fangirling came from the amount of Architecture that was featured in this episode!

Europe holds some of the most fascinating pieces of architectural history. Heck, Europe’s rich history of architecture is kind of what drew me into this career to begin with.  There were quite a few masterpieces featured in Episode 10 in the city of Barcelona, which has been on my bucket list of traveling for as long as I can remember. One day though, one day.

Most of Barcelonas’ Architecture featured was designed by prominent Architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was the best known practioner of Catalan Modernism. A movement in art, literature, but mostly expressed in architecture. His passions in life included: architecture, religion and nature. He drew inspiration mostly from nature as he was obsessed with organic forms, which is showcased in his work. He also wasn’t much of a pen and paper guy when it came to visualizing his ideas. He truly worked with sculpting and building scale models.

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Continue reading “ANI-Reality : Yuri!!! On Ice”

Yuri!!! on Ice: A Review

As the Fall 2016 season comes to an end, it felt right to write about the cherry on top: Yuri!!! on Ice.

I’ve always loved watching ice skating. My family and I would tune into the winter Olympics and even attended some ice skating events that came to the Bay Area – my grandma is a huge fan of ice skating. It’s incredible to be able to translate emotions into movement through any kind of dance; but there’s a certain kind of elegance to ice skating.  I grew up watching Kristi Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Nancy Kerrigan, Oksana Baiul, Brian Boitano, Ilia Kulik to name a few. I also watched Disney on Ice! every time it came to town! I even tried to take ice skating lessons at the local rink! So naturally, when a sports anime depicting Ice Skating showed up I was beyond ecstatic and was one that I was highly anticipating for leading up to the fall season. However, I didn’t know what to expect. It could’ve gone several ways; the shounen power-up type (i.e. Kuroko no Basket), or the fan-service type (i.e. Free! although, I don’t whole heartedly think it’s 100% fan service) or the well rounded brotherhood type (Haikyuu!!). But after the first couple of episodes, there was no doubt that this was unlike any other sports anime and was completely sucked into the fandom.

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First, I need to fangirl discuss my first impression of Viktor Nikiforov. The first time they showed Viktor skating “Close to me” in episode 1 I was mesmerized. The beauty and elegance that was translated in Viktor’s performance in a two-dimensional medium was mind blowingly realistic. The lines and extensions that his body language created was exceptionally beautiful and very reminiscient of a ballerina. Viktor’s character exudes this elegant gracefulness on and off the ice even in his casual everyday body language. Props to the character designers and the animators that made these painstakingly intricate details that created such a beautiful character and an impactful impression of who Viktor is.

Speaking of body language. It was the one thing I picked up the most in this series. Our protagonist and his competitors use the ice to convey stories and emotions. At first I thought that the over the top expressions they used off the ice were over bearing; but the more I thought about it the more I felt that it was actually befitting for their body language to be exaggerated off the ice as well. It helped convey their character’s personalities even more. However, I felt that the animation production was a mix of good and bad.  While they paid such careful attention to Viktor, Yuuri, Yurio, JJ, Christophe and sometimes Phichit, some of the other characters skating programs looked awkwardly skewed and wasn’t as fluid.

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As for the music production, Yuri’s free skate theme “Yuri On Ice” made me feel really emotional the first time they introduced the song. I actually felt tears well up because of the composition; it pulled on my heartstrings in a way that I can’t really begin to describe. I think the mix of piano and violin’s in general just gets to me. I felt this song really did encompass Yuri’s journey as he had intended it to, especially the part that expresses where Viktor showed up to be his coach.  The pace gets quicker and the melody shifts a little as well as a bit of crescendo to that’s leading to the peak of the song which is when he realizes something like love where it becomes more delicate. Ah, it’s just such a great piece. My favorite track of the series and my favorite performace of the series. “Close to Me”, “Agape”, “Eros”, “Serenade for Two”, and “Partizan Hope” are also a few of my favorites. Guilty pleasure song is “King JJ’s theme”. Overall I thought the music was another great component to the show.

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The story. What can I say that probably hasn’t been said already. It wasn’t a straight forward love story. Majority of the time the story was alluding to the idea of their relationship only to be somewhat confirmed around episode 10 with the ring exchange. Even the infamous “kiss” scene was an allusion to the relationship. I read some criticisms that this story wasn’t realistic enough considering that Viktor and Yuuri didn’t undergo the backlash of being a gay athlete and the type of abuse that comes a long with it. But I don’t think that was necessarily the point of this story. This story was about growth and love. The strength that love can give you to improve oneself. But what’s important to note is that the two characters come from countries where homosexuality is indeed not the norm and highly looked down upon. Also, the rings! Fun fact, in Russia, the right hand ring finger is the traditional wedding ring finger. So when Viktor said they were engaged at that one dinner with all the skaters, he probably wasn’t bluffing.

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Character development wasn’t always there for all the characters and a there seemed to be a lot of character’s introduced that I had a hard time keeping up because they only showed up for one or two episodes. I thought JJ was a really douchebag of a character, but at the end I kind of felt bad for the guy. JJ was definitely at the top of his game and was on his way to the top, but at some point everyone falls and the struggle to get back to the top is part of the journey. It seemed like he needed the reality check after he was gloating so much about being the best. Yuri  on the otherhand is the one character I related to and someone to take note of. Especially, in my case since I definitely suffer from being timid and low on the self-confidence area. His confidence grew exponentially throughout the series and was such a joy to watch his character grow from someone timid to someone brimming with confidence as he committed to the decisions he was making and setting his mind on goals.

Overall, I thought this was a breakout hit for the Fall Season, and probably one of the best of the year! I was captivated by Viktor, the music and the blossoming story of Viktor and Yuri. It was really great watching him grow over the series. I can’t wait for a second season!! (If there is one!)

 

 

Yuri!!! on Ice’s “You Only Live Once”

I think this may be an unoffical Yuri!!! on Ice week for my blog (especially with the series being done now). I’m working on putting the final touches on some of my thoughts on the show in some kind of review form, and then working on a post I’ve had on the backburner for a few weeks. So I figured, it was only fitting to choose the Ending song of the show.

Title: You Only Live Once| Artist: Yuri!! on Ice feat. w.hatano | Show: Yuri!!! on Ice

I like this ED because it’s really catchy, but I also love the social media aspect of this clip – we get to see everyones IG’s and random snapshots of all the character’s lives.

Hope you guys have a great week! Also, Happy Holidays!! Looking forward to ringing in the new year with my fellow bloggers! 🙂