Forbes: Johnny Weir has attained fame as an Olympian figure skater, broadcaster, fashion icon—and now, as an anime fan. Weir binge-watched the figure skating anime Yuri!!! On Ice along with hundreds of thousands of others and became one of the show’s most famous fans.
I got the opportunity to sit down with Weir at Crunchyroll Expo and talk to him about Yuri!!! On Ice and anime fandom at large. Weir, wearing a black gown of his own design, spoke in the same expressive, entertaining style fans might recognize from his TV commentary.
In a previous interview, you said that Yuri!!! On Ice includes details that remind you of your own figure skating career. I’d love an example of what you mean.
Johnny Weir: In Yuri!!! On Ice, there are so many parallels to my specific journey and what I’ve gone through. Viktor’s rose crown—that comes from my final performance at the Olympic Games in Vancouver, where my big fan Machiko-san gave me a crown of roses. That is a very direct link from me to Yuri!!! On Ice.
The back-bending sliding move that Yurio does in his exhibition after the Grand Prix final that came out this summer, it’s my move and it’s no coincidence—Kenji Miyamoto, who was the choreographer for Yuri!!! On Ice worked with me as well.
The storyline of Yuuri changing coaches at 23, going to the Cup of China and the Cup of Russia, and moving to a Russian coach. That was me at 23—including going to the Grand Prix final. There are so many parallels with my own life. Seeing it unfold in anime, it’s wild! The greatest moments of my life are now at our fingertips for perpetuity.
Also, seeing different storylines and personalities of other skaters in the anime, definitely ring a little bit familiar to people I’ve grown up competing with. The hotel portrayed in Moscow is the actual hotel we stay at when competing in Moscow. The attention to detail is what really sold it for me. This is a story of all of our lives that’s now in anime. That’s why I respect it and why so many skaters respect it: because its attention to detail is so pure, and it’s so right on.
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Johnny / Viktor holding court at Crunchryroll Expo. Fan art credit: @niarnoonretfa. Photo credit: @gjapples. Via Johnny’s Twitter.