There are two things you need to learn about Yuri!!! on Ice. One: it doesn't know the meaning of subtlety. And two: the amount of homoerotic subtext in this series alone exceeds all the subtext that can be found in every other sports anime — combined.
For those looking for Victor/Yuri, check the Ship Tease page.
For the most part, it seems to be one-sided. Nevertheless, if you look closely enough, the anime throws a lot of hints that what Yurio feels towards Yuri may not be hatred, but actually admiration and possibly even more. And if we look at their relationship through that spectrum...
- An official scan◊ shows Yuri and Yurio lying down on one bed in opposite directions, with Yuri's shirts slightly unbuttoned at the top and Yurio's shirt almost completely unbuttoned, and while his gaze is directed at the camera, his head is slightly tilted in Yuri's direction... all in all, the image looks anything but innocent.
- Another scan◊ shows both Yuris in their respective costumes for their short programs. While there's nothing suggestive about the image per se, there's a quote in the scan that sounds borderline romantic: "Only in traces on [the] ice rink, you and I cross each other.”
- MAPPA producer for Yuri!!! on Ice, Manabu Ootsuka expressed thoughts in an interview that the reason why Yurio calls Yuri either "pig" or "pork cutlet bowl" is maybe because he's actually too shy to call him by his name.
- Yurio stated in the previous episode that he doesn't take a bath with other people, yet he joins Yuri in the hot springs, which is obviously a public bath.
- When Yuri asks him to teach him how to land the quadruple Salchow, Yurio obliges even though he has no obligation to help Yuri; he wouldn't have even agreed if he truly hated him.
- Given Yurio’s personality, he wouldn't likely be fond of being touched by just anyone. Yet he doesn’t resist or react violently when Yuri holds his arm while they're meditating in the waterfall.
- When Yakov tells Yurio that the assignments for the Grand Prix qualifying tournaments are up, Yurio immediately demands to know where Yuri is assigned.
- When Yurio sees a picture of Yuri leaping into Victor’s arms, he angrily throws his phone onto the window — just like how some people in real life would react when they see photos of their crushes with their current special someone. It doesn't help that Mila teasingly accuses him of being jealous, to which he yells at her to shut up.
- Yurio seems to be so entranced while watching Yuri perform his short program that he forget to put his straw (which is in his mouth) back in the juice box. Additionally, Mila even notifies him when Yuri is skating next.
- Yurio always watches Yuri's performances; while he forgets to watch Georgi's free skate, he makes sure to watch Yuri's.
- It’s notable that when he watched both of Yuri’s programs, he was mostly calm, if a bit pouty or annoyed, besides appearing dumbfounded when Yuri attempts to land Victor's Signature Move. But then after Yuri and Victor kiss in public, the next time we see him, he's incensed.
- When Yurio threatens that he'll make Yuri suffer a miserable defeat and that he'll have Victor stay in Russia, it sounds like a competitive challenge. But it can also come across as a declaration of making sure that Yuri and Victor's relationship as lovers doesn't last.
- Yurio may be standoffish towards Yuri in this episode, but he's mostly calm when he watches Yuri in his short program, and looked just as composed when Yuri's score is announced. But then his fuse is blown when Victor kisses Yuri's skate, and gets even more furious when both of them cheer him on, with Yurio believing that they're taking pity on him. The whole thing is like how a couple would act nice to another person, unaware that the person sees themselves as the third wheel in their relationship.
- Generally, it’s notable that here, he's at his nicest towards Yuri, and this is the same episode where Victor is almost completely absent.
- In the last few minutes of the episode, he goes out and looks for Yuri even though it's freezing cold outside. When he does, he attempts to cheer Yuri up from placing only fourth in the Rostelecom Cup; and Yurio's words are tinged with hints of Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! and You Are Better Than You Think You Are, although he goes about it in a Tsundere-like fashion. He even gives him pirozhkis filled with Yuri’s Trademark Favorite Food as a birthday present, and shows Yuri a genuinely happy smile — which is an unusual sight given his temper — when the latter starts eating them. While it’s possible that he’s only nice to Yuri due to scoring higher over him, it's also possible that his actions are born out of genuine sympathy and altruism.
- In case you miss it, Yurio knows when Yuri's birthday is. He wouldn't even bother to know if he didn't care at all.
- After Yuri and Victor’s engagement is publicly revealed, Yurio is the only one who doesn't seem to be happy about the news. In fact, he confronts Victor about it the following morning, and spews nothing but venomous insults. The entire scene is reminiscent of two people arguing over the same person whom they both have feelings for. This adds a possible double meaning to Victor’s question towards Yurio (“Did you want to compete against me?”).
- While he seems to be insulting Yuri along with Victor during their exchange, there are hints that he means to insult only Victor, particularly with this line: “I’ll win just to prove how incompetent his owner is.” He could have referred to Yuri in this line if he saw Yuri only as a rival, but he was specifically referring to Victor and not Yuri.
- After Yurio leaves, Victor states in his thoughts that he's not the only one who got his L words (life and love) from Yuri. Now what could that mean?
- When Yuri mentions that he remembers nothing about the Grand Prix banquet held last year, Yurio grimaces that “[he] got dragged into a dance-off and got humiliated”. However, the pictures in the ending credits show that he wasn’t dragged off at all; he voluntarily participated in said dance-off with Yuri, and was even enjoying himself.
- A small detail that's easy to miss: the ending credits show various photos of the banquet from Victor, Christophe, and Yurio's phones, respectively. In Yurio's phone (whose wallpaper is a picture of pirozhkis with a cheetah print in the background), almost all his photos of the banquet have Yuri in them. Victor and Christophe are also thrown in the mix, but it's obvious that in almost every picture, Yuri is the main focus.
- In the after-credits, when an extremely drunk Yuri latches onto Victor and even humps on him during the banquet, Yurio looks frustrated and/or mortified.
- During his performance of the agape program, which he eventually finally perfects, we see the people he sees as inspiration for said emotion appearing in his thoughts, and they're presented in a certain order. First is his grandfather, who's unarguably his most loved person, whom is then followed by Yuri. Not Victor, Yuko, Mila, his coaches or even Otabek, but Yuri.
- The episode confirms that Yurio has indeed looked up to Yuri all along. The only thing left unconfirmed is whether he also has a crush on Yuri or not.
- Before the final episode aired, Word of God suggested to watch it closely till the end to know what does Yurio actually think of Yuri in an interview here◊. There must be a reason why Yuri of all people is concerned here, despite the fact that Yurio is also seen getting along with the other characters (noticeably Mila, Yuko and Victor), with Otabek allegedly being the first friend that he made.
- When Victor subtly implies that Yuri plans to retire, Yurio looks absolutely crestfallen, and even dedicates his performance to convince Yuri to stay and continue skating. While he does dedicate his free program to everyone he deems important, Yuri is the only one in his thoughts when he starts performing, which shows that Yuri is to Yurio what Victor is to Yuri; someone who inspires them, who they admire, and who they want to skate on the ice with. It's even possible that the thought of Yuri ending his career hits Yurio so hard that he breaks down into tears after finishing his performance.
- Note that when he learns of Victor and Yuri's engagement, he's partially upset because he may never get a chance to face against Victor (besides the reasons listed above). However, when he hears from Victor that he's going to compete again, Yurio is far more shaken up by the fact that it means Yuri might retire, which he immediately inquires Victor about with a fairly horrified tone and expression.
It's revealed that Yurio and Otabek knew each other from five years prior to the series when they were at a training camp together.
- When they decide to spend the day together, they are basically having a date◊. Just look at how happy they both look, Yurio is even smiling, something that so far only his grandfather and Yuri were graced with.
- Actually, this is also the first time we see Otabek without his usual straight face. This happens only one more time: while he is watching Yurio's free program. Yes, both times we see Otabek smiling it's because of Yurio.
- Recent official art shows them having another date◊ in St. Petersburg.
- Another official art gives us matching tiger t-shirts◊ and Otabek trying katsudon.
- The entire scene where they become friends is played as a shoujo manga.
- In Episode 11, Yurio shouts "davai" to Otabek before his short program and Otabek gives him a thumbs up in response. This is the first time Yurio wished anyone good luck before a performance, showing how close the two have gotten in a short amount of time.
- Also throughout the performance, Yurio can be seen smiling at how well Otabek is performing; which is an obvious parallel to when Victor smiled during Yuri's first time performing the Eros program.
- In Episode 12 the good luck wishes go the other direction — Otabek's "davai" is the only good-luck cheer that Yuri acknowledges (though it's likely he didn't hear Yuri), with a thumbs-up to match Otabek's in the previous episode.
- All this was pushed up to eleven by the OVA for Yurio's exhibition skate, "Welcome to the Madness," and the accompanying manga chapter. In the performance itself, not only does Otabek participate (like Victor did in Yuri's exhibition), but he rips off Yurio's gloves with his teeth at one point. In the manga, we see that Yurio is specifically inspired to include Otabek in his exhibition in a desire to best Yuri and Victor, whose "Stay Close to Me" pair skate is extremely romantic and intimate. They also sit pretty close to each other, Yurio blushes at one point when Otabek grabs his hand, and Yurio grabs Otabek by his lapels in one moment that makes it look like they're about to kiss.
- Aside from the usual Ho Yay between Yuri and Victor, there's also quite a bit of it from Minami towards Yuri. Minami's admiration towards Yuri is much like Yuri's admiration towards Victor (though Minami is more enthusiastic about it), and Minami tends to blush when looking at Yuri, even staring open mouthed at his lower back during the short program warm-ups. He even modeled his skating outfit after one of Yuri's old outfits, and his reaction to Victor putting lip balm on Yuri is rather suspicious◊. One can only wonder how Minami took Yuri slapping him on his back (and rather close to his backside), and whether he was jealous or turned on by Victor applying lip balm to Yuri.
- When Victor winks to a crowd, they all look absolutely smitten regardless of gender.
- Guang-Hong is a huge fanboy of Victor; in Episode 6, he immediately changes his mind about not going to a restaurant when Leo tells him that Victor will be there.
- Victor and Christophe get along well, and Christophe says he's motivated to do better because of Victor. Victor admits he can't imagine being in a competition without Chris. In Episode 12, Christophe looks annoyed while skating his free program when he sees that Victor isn't paying him any attention.
- Chris' mature eros attracting fans.
- Chris's introduction: he grabs Yuri's butt as a greeting and asks Yuri why he didn't invite him, which — if taken out of context — sounds like a proposal for a threesome.
- In Episode 6, during his inner monologue while skating his short program, Chris sounds incredibly excited by the idea of defeating Yuri. He also states that "[Yuri's] innocent sex appeal is a violent force".
- Christophe is back at it when he shows he still has pictures of his dance-off with Yuri on the previous year: they pole-danced together wearing only their underwear, ties, and socks. They are not shy about touching each other, though in Yuri's case it's because he's incredibly drunk.
- As of Episode 11, Chris may have a boyfriend, given how he greeted the man who entered his house/apartment in the flashback.
- In Episode 12, after Chris thanks Minako for putting a flower crown on his head after his free skate, you can see some male characters in the background looking just as smitten as Minako does.
- Leo and Guang-Hong make a cute pair too. When Leo skates his short program during the Cup of China, Guang-Hong is watching him with pure admiration, and even looks smitten, in comparison to the other skaters, since while they were also impressed, they didn't look as lovestruck as him. In turn, during his own free skate Guang-Hong imagines himself Taking the Bullet for Leo.
- On the official website, it states that Guang-Hong "yearns" for Phichit, implying that he may also have a crush on Phichit.
- Let's not forget Emil constantly trying to get Michele's attention. He could even tell from a distance that Michele was the one screaming after the latter got hugged by Yuri.
- There's also the fact that when Yurio asks them for Otabek's contact number, Michele replies that he only has Emil's.
- Phichit is a very kind friend to Yuri, and from Victor's narration in Episode 10, Phichit is the only foreign skater whom Yuri sees as a friend. They keep in touch and use Facetime to chat with Phichit, and Phichit serves as emotional support for Yuri, even telling him that Detroit is boring ever since he left.
- While Takeshi is married to Yuko, he has zero shame in admitting that Yuri was sexy when he skated Victor's program.
- In the Yuri!!! on Stage event, it's revealed that at one point Seung-gil got drunk and kissed Takeshi, of all people. Since Takeshi's married, Phichit immediately declares this to be adultery.
- He sounds mad at the “adultery” but how much do you want to bet that Phichit may of wished Seung-gil would of kissed him instead.
- In a rare example of Les Yay, there's some art by character designer Tadashi Hiramatsu of most of the female characters being rather clingy towards Yuko◊, with Lilia's expression being especially suspect.