Hallmark Channel's movie Love on Ice was recently accused of being a blatant rip-off of popular Japanese anime Yuri on Ice. The channel has now responded by dismissing the accusations and pointed out a few key pieces of evidence that exonerate the channel of plagiarism.
Fans of the immensely popular Japanese anime Yuri On Ice recently became quite vocal about their displeasure, claiming Hallmark Channel's Love on Ice relies on a plot that has been lifted from the anime. Thousands of anime fans claimed Love on Ice stole the complex and beautiful relationship between two figure skaters that the anime explores.
Fans of Yuri on Ice took to Twitter calling Love on Ice a "whitewashed" and "homophobic" rip-off, reported Kotaku. The website has reported that a Hallmark Channel's representative has reached out to them and categorically noted that Love on Ice has no connection with Yuri on Ice. The representative mentioned that nobody on the movie's team had ever heard of the anime.
Love on Ice is a new film that is set in the town of Lakeview, Michigan. The story's leading female character, 28-year-old Emily James, works as a waitress. However, during her spare time, she coaches figure skating to kids at the local ice-skating rink.
Although there's nothing spectacular about the character on the outside, Emily did participate in the Olympics about eight years ago. Unfortunately, figure skating is a young man or woman's game, and at 28 years of age, despite her grace and agility, Emily has aged out. However, with the entry of Spencer Patterson, things change for Emily on the professional as well as emotional front. Patterson, initially just a handsome stranger in town for Emily, happens to be training her former student, Nikki, for an upcoming competition at Midwest Regionals.
Patterson is in town for Nikki, but he urges Emily to get back to professional skating. With her heart pinning for Patterson, Emily starts training for the competition. When Nikki's mother hears about the developments, she pulls out Nikki from Patterson's training but eventually returns her to him. Love on Ice is expected to offer a heartwarming look at the professional training as well as the matters of the heart between a teacher and his student.
On the other hand, Yuri on Ice beautifully portrays the complex and messy relationship between a figure skater and his newfound coach. The anime's lead protagonist is 23-years-old Yuri, a Japanese figure skater. After a disastrous loss in a competition, Yuri is considering ending his still-young career by announcing his retirement. However, after watching Yuri's viral video, Victor, a 27-year-old figure skater from Russia, ends up becoming his coach.
The painfully short 12-episode anime just ended its first season. However, it has managed to capture the attention as well as the hearts of thousands of anime fans. Yuri on Ice deals with the world of figure skating, a subject and backdrop rarely dealt with in Japanese anime. Although Season 1 of Yuri on Ice doesn't explicitly portray the love between Yuri and Victor, the sexual overtones cannot be missed.
After the news about Love on Ice hit the internet, anime fans started complaining about the alleged similarities. Surprisingly, an online petition was filed demanding that Hallmark Channel take down Love on Ice. The petition, created on January 2, has garnered more than 3,600 signatures.
The petition reads, "It is obvious that Hallmark is making a movie very similar to the hit anime, 'Yuri On Ice' created by Mitsurō Kubo."
Incidentally, an IMDb page of Love on Ice has reportedly existed since August 2015. Moreover, the movie is apparently based on an adult romance series about a gay hockey player finding love. Experts argue Hallmark Channel simply didn't have time to plagiarize the Japanese anime because Yuri on Ice premiered in Japan on October 5, and according to Bay Today, Love on Ice was already being filmed in early November.
「Love on Ice」という海外のドラマ、ユーリと完全に別作品だと私は思うし、面白そうなので期待しています！ドラマでも何でもフィギュアスケート作品は作るのが大変だと思うので、めちゃくちゃ応援したいです！
— 久保ミツロウ (@kubo_3260) January 3, 2017
— 久保ミツロウ (@kubo_3260) January 3, 2017
The anime fans caused such a storm that Yuri On Ice creator Mitsuro Kubo posted a tweet. Translation of the tweet implies Kubo said Love on Ice is different from Yuri On Ice and asked fans to calm down. Kubo added that he finds Love on Ice's premises interesting and supports the Hallmark Channel's movie.
[Featured Image by Mitsurō Kubo/Yuri!!! On Ice]