‘Yuri On Ice’ Story Ripped Off By Hallmark Channel For ‘Love On Ice’? Figure-Skaters Yuri And Victor’s Relationship Stolen, Accuse Anime Fans

Patrick Frye

Hallmark Channel's movie Love on Ice is being branded as a blatant rip-off of popular Japanese anime Yuri on Ice by fans of the anime. Fans of the series have been quite vocal about their displeasure, claiming the movie has simply stolen the complex and beautiful relationship between two figure skaters that the anime explores.

Yuri on Ice might be a fairly recent and nascent anime. However, its fan base has been growing exponentially. Now, Hallmark Channel, the American cable and satellite television network that is owned by Crown Media Holdings, has come up with a movie titled Love on Ice. As expected, the movie is about the romance between two figure skaters. The movie's plot summary from the Hallmark Channel website sounds suspiciously similar to the Japanese anime that has the exact same theme, accuse anime fans.

The plot of Love on Ice, on Hallmark Channel website, reads as follows.

"Former figure skating champion, Emily James, now 27 years old and considered a relic in the world of figure skating, gets an improbably shot to reclaim skating glory when a young coach sees greatness in her. Together, they find their love of skating goes far beyond the ice."

On the other hand, Yuri on Ice beautifully portrays the complex and messy relationship between a figure skater and his newfound coach. The painfully short 12-episode Japanese anime's main protagonist is Yuri, a 23-year-old Japanese figure skater who is technically brilliant but lacks the subtle grace that figure skaters need. After a disastrous loss in a competition, Yuri is considering ending his still-young career by announcing retirement. However, Yuri's career and life take an abrupt turn when he requests Victor, a 27-year-old figure skater from Russia, to be his coach.

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Despite being a single season old, Yuri on Ice has managed to capture its fans' attention, and enthrall them with a brand new world of figure skating, a subject and backdrop rarely taken up in Japanese anime. Challenging many stereotypes, Yuri on Ice has managed to carve a niche and has already been voted as one of the most popular anime of 2016. Incidentally, the anime isn't just about the trainer and trainee. Yuri on Ice tackles the complexities of the heart that Yuri and Victor experience after they start collaborating.

While Season 1 of Yuri on Ice doesn't explicitly portray the love between the two, the sexual overtones cannot be missed. And this is where Hallmark Channel's Love on Ice appears to borrow heavily from the Japanese anime, claim fans. Although Love on Ice's coach is not a figure-skating star in his own right, the similarities are quite obvious and hard to ignore, claim fans of Yuri on Ice, reported Daily Dot.

Interestingly, anime fans are basing their accusations on a mere 30-second trailer that was released by Hallmark Channel last week. Experts, however, argue that Love on Ice couldn't possibly be a rip-off of Yuri on Ice. The trailer and a short plot summary merely indicate a fairly generic love story between a coach and his protege.

While superficially the plot of Love on Ice may appear to overlap with the basic premise of Yuri on Ice, experts argue Hallmark Channel simply didn't have time to plagiarize a Japanese anime. Incidentally, Yuri on Ice premiered in Japan on October 5. However, the anime has been one of the easiest to watch, being quickly dubbed or subtitled in English. Nonetheless, Yuri on Ice started gaining popularity in the U.S. only in November. According to Bay Today, Love on Ice was already being filmed in early November. Owing to the extremely short time-gap, Hallmark Channel simply couldn't have ripped off Yuri on Ice, argue experts.

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Interestingly, Yuri on Ice is about a male figure skater who is contemplating retirement because he doesn't believe in himself, only to be encouraged by an older male teacher. However, Hallmark Channel's Love on Ice has a male teacher and a female student.

[Featured Image by Mitsurō Kubo/Yuri!!! On Ice]