(if you are a Russian speaker, feel free to view my Russian account on LJ for your convenience: http://darya-ye-noor.livejournal.com ) PRINCE ICE WORLD. Golden Week (April 30th, May 3rd and 4th, 2012). Shin-Yokohama.
I went on 30th to both shows. Prince Ice World corps de ballet was actually quite good. Not just luxury costumes but also the quality of skating. Many guys landed triples and Nanri (? not sure about his name)- a 3A. Honda also didn't play safe and showed his abilities. British acrobats didn't impress me much. They did lifts and spinning lifts that many pairs can do now in competitions. But pairs can also do other stuff, like jumps, spins, footwork, etc. Well, in Japan there are simply no pairs, so acrobats were more or less on topic. On average competitive Japanese skaters looked a tiny bit fresher in the morning show, probably because it's still tough to skate two shows a day. Akiko skated tango in the morning and her WTT gala EX in the afternoon. She did what she planned without super mistakes. Kanako skated her quicksteps EX in the morning where she landed 3T-3T and her WTT gala EX in the afternoon. Her skating is quite rushy, even Liza looked more feminine in her tango. In the second finale she played a joke and went for 3S+ a bunch of doubles, so- a 5-jump combo, and she fell on the last 5th loop. Never mind, everybody laughed. I saw her coach Yamada near the arena and later inside. Probably it's because Kanako is still young and needs a coach support even in shows. Or maybe Machiko was simply having a good time in the arena. Shizuka was usual- an ice princess left and right, unlikely I will ever see another image of her in the future. Machida skated his samurai stuff, landed a 3A and other triples. Kozuka also skated his Cello in both shows. His jumps were more solid and confident than at WTT or Worlds. When he was doing an eagle, he winked to the audience that he was passing by. Lol. In both finale he tried a quad, the first one he fell heavily, the second- landed two-footed. Daisuke skated Mambo in the morning show. He landed two combos 3L-3T and 3F-3T plus and amazing 3A. In a finale he landed an iron 4T, clean and fair. In the afternoon show he skated his new EX "Sweat". It was definitely inspired by Joubert and Amodio WTT gala stuff, with slutty crotch moves, seductive steps and a ridden up T-shirt that exposed Dai's tummy and underwear. No way you'll see it on J-TV news clip. Lucky me I saw it live. But what the hell. It's almost summer now. Nobody wants to be serious in summer. His new EX wasn't downloaded with super elements like a quad or 3A, but the purpose of that EX was different a priori. Maybe it was created by Kenji overnight specially for PIW shows only. In a finale he too tried a quad, but unlike in the morning show it wasn't super clean- step out and two hands on the ice. After the show skaters had time with fans. I asked Kozuka who he winked to when he was doing an eagle and he said- to me. The way how fast he found the answer that I obviously asked for means he knows how to do both- how to wink and how to flirt. What else a 23yo man is for. Good work, loverboy! I first didn't know what to say to Daisuke. That thought that he was the true World champion was for weeks in my head. But I think Dai was hurt in Nice and I didn't want to bring that negative memory in that PIW festive event. On the other hand, how can any of us know for sure what he thinks or feels. Maybe he wants to hear that he was the true champion in Nice. One thing to know it or read about it in media or on message boards. Another thing is to hear it live and straight to your face from a person. Guess what. When the time came up, my subconscious took the lead. I assumed the authorty to speak from an international community and, unlike with Kozuka, I switched into English and said "Daisuke, we love you. You are the true World champion." ... And I felt a relief and pride that I said what I wanted because I said the truth and voiced the opinion shared by so many people. At first he looked slightly surprised that someone addressed to him in English in that 99.999% Japanese Skate Center. He listened, then smiled when I finished, said "arigato gozaimasu" and shook my hand. He had a very warm hand. A 0.00001 of a second later I took his pic. The way how happy he looks assured me that he was glad to hear what I said: http://s014.radikal.ru/i327/1205/08/9a9747186e63.jpg
Here's more pics from PIW: www.twitpic.com/e/2f36
and a fanvideo: www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqp9Ln1CoGE
Corps de ballet in PIW was keeping on showing their tricks. That Nanri dude landed successfully 3A in finales as a matter of fact, he also did 3t-3t combo, and some other male skaters did triples too. How many ice skating shows you know where a corp de ballet skater, without even a solo number, lands 3A? Not many. Kobayashi was a true Team Spirit leader and a popular guy. Honda was Honda with all his masculinity style of J-Yag in full set. Shizuka was busy with parading her dresses one after another, while her skating was the same as for the last 6 years: 3S, a 2A-3T combo, a spin, ina bauer, end. Lovely and cute but when you watch the same stuff for 6 years, it can bore you. Akiko was almost always clean but she didn't challenge super elements like Kanako. Murakami had at least one combo in each program, either 3T-3T, or 3S-2L-2L. In the finale Friday morning she landed a 7-jump combo just for a joke but the last loop was two-footed, so she stopped. Still her presentation skills are quite poor, and her entrance to the jumps is not beautiful at all. I saw Miki in the backstage but she didn't take part in a show. Machida was always clean in all jumps, including 3A (but he made mistake in a finale yesterday). He has a good show feeling and great contact with the audience. It was especially important on the last two days when Mao and Kozuka was not around, so Machida had to take the lead, after Takahashi of course. On Thursday Dai did the morning mambo with 3F-3T, 3A, 3L-3T with no problem. In a finale the quad was two-footed. In "Sweat" in the afternoon 3A had a step-out, as well as later a quad in a finale. On Friday Dai rocked. Mambo was with three combos: 3F-3T, 3A-3T, 3Lutz-3T plus the great quad in a finale. The "Sweat" had 3F, 3A, 3Fl, then a quad in a finale. As I mentioned the new EX is not overoaded with super combos. Because it was created specially for summer shows I believe, with all that take-it-easy-and-enjoy attitude. I think he will show it in China, where I hope the rules are not so strict, so you guys might see the new EX on youtube. I wanted to wish him to wim the gold in Sochi, but he interrupted me after the phrase "kin medaru" and said "Gambarimasu!": http://i075.radikal.ru/1205/b0/f241a4611ade.jpg
What a great answer to Chantrolls' rants that Dai's mindset is set for silver. I also wished him to enjoy the summer and have a nice holiday. There won't be any FS shows for a while in Tokyo and around. But we all deserve some rest. Otsukaresama.
DREAMS ON ICE. June 2012. Shin-Yokohama.
I went to the Saturday evening show "Dreams on Ice." I didn't plan actually, but when they added Dai to the cast at the end of May, naturally I couldn't resist. The only question was when, and while I was cleaning up my schedule, the tickets were sold out. But there is always the way out. Also, I heard that they sometimes sell tickets without seats in Shin-Yokohama Skate Center just before the show. Anyway, I had no ticket at all, so I would be happy to get in no matter with a seat or without it. I couldn't make it yesterday or on 16th morning. So I went to the ticket office on Saturday during my free-time at around 3pm. The window was shut down literally with the iron curtain, a few ladies were waiting in a line, the written note was telling that the sell will start at 5pm. I couldn't come there at 5pm, so I came when I got free but it was already around 6:30pm, the start time of the show. The ojisan in the ticket window was speaking on the phone and gave me a sign to wait. I didn't want to wait and it seemed like there was no tickets afterall, I was late. On the corner near the traffic light right next to the convinience store 7/11 there was an easily-recognized broker. Those guys are usually keeping a ticket in the hand and are always standing back to the officials. He was dealing with a 17,000 yen stuff and I am sure he would be happy to sell it at a cheaper price because the show has already started. Nevertheless, I gave him two banknotes of 10,000 yen and said some local equivalent of "keep the change" (well, in fact there is none since here there is no such a thing as tips, but you can always say what you mean). I CAN'T STAND ticket brokers! That's why I always treat them like dogs- giving them cheap digs. I am sure he was happy. Nasty people doing their filthy "business". In Russia they are like parasites, making business almost officially. I still remember Moscow Worlds and all negative stuff that those morons created around tickets sales. Once again I use the moment to tell a thank-you to Plush fans in Moscow who helped me to get an OCG card after I failed to buy Worlds tickets from Japan. The 40+yo guy in a black jacket and glasses who I dealt with today sold me the ticket that he bought in a Family Mart in Musashi-murayama-shinmei-ten, I have no idea where exactly it is. It's still in Tokyo prefecture but near Saitama? Anyway, it's not even near Yokohama. Probably those guys have a headquater there. It's not a very common thing in Japan- ticket brokers, I mean compared to Russia. But occasionally they do exist.
I entered the arena when the entrance of skaters was going on. While the staffer was showing me in the dark where to go, I had to go down to minami-arena and pass people, then again a ticket check before I entered my area, and all this was in the dark, blah-blah. So, I coudn't see well the whole entrance procedure. Narumi fell from a throw jump, as usual. Hanyu fell from a quad. Takahiko Mura landed his fantastic 3A and 3F. Dai landed his classic combo 3F-3T, then 3L and performed a very fast combo-spin. Chan fell from 3F, first he fell on a butt, then he turned around somehow and ended up lying on his tummy face down, then he tried to jump into a spin or whatever, but he landed on the knee. Boys did an eagle, girls- a spiral. That is what I could catch while talking with the arena staff and trying to get to my seat. Finally, after the entrance was over, I could reach my chair.
Baby Shoma Uno was as cute as always, his feature element- Klimkin eagle with a 2A right after was adorable. Many junior skaters did well today, girls including. They were all ice-princesses, which always bores me, but comparing how meh-ed their elder sisters did later, the youngests were kicking around quite well, all of them: Imai, Sato, Soji and especially Miyahara, very confident, with a full set of 2A-3T, 3F-2T, 3L. Risa Shoji had the most beautiful jumps of the night- a terrific combination of lightness, highness and length. Watching Hino it's hard to believe that once he was over Hanyu. They guy is simply walking on the ice, trying to land something and to look entertaining. Kenji Tanaka presented his new SP, did everying almost clean, no combo though, and caused the first ovation. Daisuke Murakami, the dude with edges, is trying to be the second Daisuke very hard. He presented a shorten version of his new FS, quite elegant but far from clean- started well but then fell down from 3L and he twice double-d what was supposed to be 3A. When I saw Tatsuki Machida, and knowing his easy-going nature, at first I thought he was going to perform some parody on Dai's EX "The Crisis". The same shirt, the same pants, even the same posture at the beginning. And then- well, that was a perfect blend of passion, where a fun guy is still trying to sneak with his light-minded nature, and then again a storm of emotions. Everything was clean, all his jumps, 3A included. The magnificent performance of a young prince who deserves a much better place in team Japan than just a spot for 4CC. Pretty much the same can be said about Takahito Mura. What a shame that Japan can send only three spots to Worlds. Mura's 3A, one of the the highest and most powerfull 3A ever, would be a jewel in any event. His style is different, he is mature and masculine, very cool and that is his way to express himself. Mura and especially Machida got the hugest ovation of the night that got later beaten only by Daisuke.
Kozuka skated the same style that he skates for years, could be enjoyable and fun with his footwork in sunglasses. But all those shaky landings, on combos, 3A and even solo 3L, don't speak well for the guy. In PIW in May he looked a little better and I had a hope that he will recover after a disaster season. But it seems like no radical changes are happening. Well, it's June and who knows what will be at JN when the team will be decided. Kanako challenged a 3L and a 2A-3T combo, and failed on both. The first lutz was butterflied, the combo was 1A-2T. She was so awfully upset that she couldn't focus after that and just kept skating mechanically, probably thinking what the hell had just happened. Narumi-Tran presented their new SP. The twist was okay, the side-by-side jump: both oops-ed. Narumi fell again on a throw jump. Miki looked beautiful and skated her "You must love me" stuff clean. But what she skated was in a la Arakawa set- 2A, 3S, a spin and postures. Hanyu was probably the biggest disappointment for me tonight. The set of jump was 3T, 3A, 3Loop, 3S, all clean and fine, yet no combo and no quad, which wasn't like that in last summer shows. But that wasn't the main reason for my upset. What kind of EX is it? I have no idea who contributed more in this EX, either Kurt or Orser. But Dear Uncles, he is just a kid! No need to dress him up in leathery-like pants and a silver jacket like a hooker. And surely no need to give him some lousy music, dancing cheap tricks, then undressing him till undershirt, "drawing" heart and throwing the clothing around. Come on! Send him back to Bestemyanova&Bobrin. They did an amazing job with him last season. Hanyu's talent is much worthier than some showy crap. Caro butterflied 3L, did 2L instead, 3S with step-out and two hands. Chan landed 3F and didn't fall, then landed two 2A, what he skated made me miss his Rach EX that I saw at WTT. Both Caro and Chan are World champions, who should think well when they are going with shows to Japan. Even junior skaters challenged more serious stuff here, not all of them succeeded everything, but they all challenged. Such lousy performances from both World champions is simply unacceptable. The audience was very supporting, with Italian and Canadian flags, and you guys with WC gold medals should have worked hard to pay people back. Akiko skated her new EX "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", fell down on 3F, 2A was okay, then 3S with step-out and two hands on the ice. Dai skated the tango Primavera Portena and it was one of the most sensual tango that I ever saw live. The audience was bewitched, following his each move and didn't even dare to breathe. All set of 3F, 3A, 3L was there cleanly delivered. In a finale boys jumped, girls spinned, elder boys Dai, Hanyu and Kozuka all landed beautiful 3A. Chan chose to join the last group with elder girls, not boys, Akiko, Kanako, Miki, Caro and spinned with them. Then- bowing and fireworks.
It's not enough to visit one show only. So I am a little disappointed that Dai was put on the list so late. I can't make it tomorrow, unless some emergency happened and my personal stuff will by cancelled. Then I'll go to the arena to deal with my beloved broker. If you decide to visit the show tomorrow morning, just keep in mind that the ticket office opens not at 10:00 but at 9:30am. The arena is cosy and small, with the perfect location. Have fun. I am jealous.
PRINCE ICE WORLD. July, 2012. Nishi-Tokyo.
Prince Ice World corps de ballet should tour internationally, more. Today I saw the same program that I saw in May, the one that the created for PIW 35th anniversary. But it was such a pleasure to enjoy this feast of youth, energy and optimism. With speed, triples, even trixels, creativity and huge desire to work. If most skaters worldwide woudn't take it lazy after getting major titles, and thinking that now they should be paid just for titles, who knows maybe the popularity of the sport wouldn't be where it is. Nanri with 3A, Junko with 2A at the age of 39. Who else among female skaters of 39yo does it? Great work, folks. In the morning show Honda did 3Tand 3S, good eagle and spin. In a finale he tried 3T-3T combo but the second jump was with two hands. In the afternoon show he skated Tosca with vocal, 3T with a step-out, 3S done. Arakawa did what she usualy does: 2A, 3S, spin, spiral, ina bauer. The set that she will be probably be doing until she is 45, I guess. In the afternoon show both jumps were with mistakes: 3S- fell, 2A- step out. Ota is one of the skaters who doesn't need any jumps to deliver. She did 2S in the morning and 2Loop in the afternoon but it wasn't her main forte. She still has one of the most magnificent layback spin with terrific posture and soft crystal arms. Her bielman spin with one hand is a never-come-true dream for a lot of competitive skaters.
Most of guest skaters did quite well today. Except that I am not sure what Chika Suguri showed. It was like an ice aerialists with a hoop or somesuch. Risa in the morning tried 2A-3T but the second jump was singled, then 3F, 2A, beautiful bielman, in a finale 2A-3T clean. In the afternoon everything was clean, including combo 2A-3T. She is beatiful on the ice, with clean lines and lightness, but she is a little slow I think. Kanako skated two different programs in two shows, in the second she tried to be lyrical but couldn't. And that's the thing that disturbs me the most. Her skating skills are not that beautiful in the first place, plus this lack of presentation makes things look even worse, which is quite upsetting. She is a very talanted hard-working girl who does need a good choreographer and a better coach who will polish her rough stuff. And she needs it now. In the morning she did 3T-3T, 3F, 3S-1Lo-1Lo, the spyral was awful. She also did rocking camel, the element that is not often performed nowdays, but both legs were < and ^ accordingly. In the finale she did a five-jump combo 3S+4 2Lo. In the afternoon the set of jumps were 3Flutz, 3S-2Lo-2Lo, 3F. Ando skated the same program with two diffrent musics: one in the morning and another one in the afternoon. If the arena technicians accidentally mixed the musics up, nobody would notice, including Miki. She did 2A, 3S, in the afternoon she fell on the second jump. In the morning finale she tried 2A-3T but it looked like she started falling down in the air on the second jump.
Tango duel. Plush and Dai. Both skated tango. Dai- passionate, sensual, mesmeric, with virtuoso legs and charisma of a man who expresses himself through art while staying shy and humble in real life. Plush- seductive conqueror who doesn't take "No" for an answer, powerful and controlling, with super command of ice. But he turns into gentle chevalier when he sees the object of his desire. What tango lover to choose is the matter of preference. Which means one thing- the fight for gold in Sochi will be in TES entirely. It also means that the zamboni-dude won't medal at all in Russia. My guess the podium will be shared between two Japanese and Plush. Yuzu will likely get a bronze. Who will get a gold- the TES will decide. Today Plush outskated Dai. Dai has been skating in shows non-stop since WTT with no holiday at all. At the same time Plush got a crack in his hand's bone in Italy and he was skating with a bandage. They were both fast, with fast spins: layback and ikebana for one guy and for another. Dai had better footsteps though with his virtuoso legs. Plush jumps in spins were at the height where Chika Suguri used a securty rod with her hoop. In jumps. Morning. Dai: 3F, 3A got doubled and step out, 3L. In a finale he tried 4Flip but heavily underotated and two-footed. Plush: 3T, 2A, 3Loop, 3A, 3L. In a finale he tried 3A but doubled it. Afternoon. Dai: 3F, 3A underotated and fell down, 3L. In a finale he tried 4Flip again and fell. Plush: 3T-3T, 3A, 3Loop, 2A, 3A, 3T, in a finale- 3T. The audience was louder, younger and genki-er for Plush. Dai stayed longer on the ice to collect more gifts/flowers. Go figure.
I am not available tomorrow. I will be on PIW on Monday for both shows too. Then I'l update you. http://twitpic.com/e/2h3e Day 2.
Yuzuru was having a good time with the audience, funning around, etc. He skated that trashy program that he presented at DOI. On Monday morning show he did 3T, a very good 3A, 3Loop was UR I think and shaky landing, 3S. All the rest is just cheap tricks, even the jacket was "forgotten" both times to catch extra attention from the audience. Yuzu is TOO GOOD for such stuff. Oh, please throw this crap away and create something worthy for the boy that underlines his terrific talent. In a finale he landed a clean 4T. In the afternoon show he did 3T, 3A too deep sit, 3Loop, 3S with step out. In a finale he tried 4T and fell. He also hugged Plush and bowed for him deeply, like a pupil to a master. He was the last to leave the ice after time with fans. Then, before to go, he again landed 4T clean, tried to do it in combo but the second jump was with mistake.
Today no tango duel. Plush skated Storm, maybe because it's still tough for him to perform 8 shows straight, and the first show starts at 6AM his body(Moscow) time. In fact there wasn't much left from the last season SP. Spins were for level 1 maximum and looked heavy. The footsteps were similar to showy tricks that Yuzu brought from Canada. Jumps in the morning: 3T-3T, he doubled a planned 3A but later landed 3A (deep sit). In a finale- 3T heavy landing. In the afternoon 3T-3T, 3A good and 3L, in a finale again doubled a trixel. He as always has the most powerful command of ice but when the program is empty, it doesn't help much. His Roxannes on Saturday were waaaay better. On Saturday he won the duel. But Monday belonged to Dai.
Dai won in both TES and PCS. His tango had no crossovers, each movement was meaningful, jumps were out of nowhere without preparation and right after the landing- a layback spin or steps. His hair is longer and in this condition it's even more obvious that it's his independent organ: he moves the head left but the hair moves right, or vice versa. It moves together with violin' strings. Jumps were 3L, good 3A, 3F. In a finale he rotated fully a 4LUTZ. Yes, it was lutz, I was sitting right behind the place where he jumped it, the lutz edge was clear. Not flutz but clean lutz. Both jumps were fully rotated in the air and very light, as if it wasn't a quad lutz at all. He landed and.... fell both times. Still he showed that he can do that. On Sunday show he landed 4lutz successfully, but on Sunday I wasn't there.
The audience was very supportive to all skaters, but Plush fans ruled. www.youtube.com/user/MegaLetstalk/videos
THE ICE. July 28th, 2012. Osaka.
I visited two Osaka shows on Saturday. They introduced two junior skaters in The Ice. Both were tiny good thumbelinas with quite confident skating. Marin Honda in her azure blue dress landed 2A and 3T. Her legs position in Y-spin and biellmann are practically the same as in Lipnitskaya stuff but with the lesser number of rotations, for now. Eriko Yamakuma landed 3L, 3T-2T, 2Loop, 3L, fell on 2A. But at the end she challenged 2A again and landed successfully. She had a amazing layback spin, biellmann and dougnut spin, as well as fast footsteps. I hope they both will keep it up when they grow. There was only one pair- TakaTran. In the morning show they skated their new SP, made a 3twist, in a side-by-side 3S she had a step-out. The 3F throw jump was two-footed and step-out. In the afternoon they showed their EX with 3twist, a throw jump 3L got flutzed and ended with the fall. In a finale she tried 3F throw again and landed it. Shibutani skated their latin 100-times-seen stuff and was boringly meh-ed. Davis&White were just good. They showed a piece of their last season FD and got the ovation both times. In some news clip, which is a hard-to-judge-by thing since it's just a few second montage, I thought Meryl looked a little less inspiring. But in reality everything was fine. She was in a pale-blue dress which fits better a terribly hot summer weather than her royal purple stuff that she wore at competitions. Generally I don't like Tessa's a Meryl's outfits. They usually don't flatter their figures. But this time the choice was right, she looks light and feminine. The only flaw was in the afternoon show, when she didn't do her hair after the dance battle. So she skated with some housewife's hairstyle, which wasn't the good thing for such a gorgeous music and performance.
Boys with the boys' number was some kind of discovery. There was two much dancing "on the floor" where Charlie and Javi turned out to be the worst dancers, while Yuzu, Kozuka and Alex- the best, with Yuzu as a frontman. Jeffrey Buttle is now a better choreographer than a skater I think. He obviously lost his technical skills long time ago and in fact he was just a quadless champion in the first place. Nevertheless, it was some kind of charming to observe his efforts. In the morning he landed 3F and 3T, the 2A was with a shaky landing. Too many postures, waving arms and strokes, spins were slow, as well as the music choices. Jeremy was in the good mood all way around, a little stiffed knees but edges were great. The music choice was meh but since he was enjoying the mannerism, so that's fine. In the morning he landed 3Loop, fell on 3A, then doubled his flip. The combo spin was not a good one. When he changed the leg into a camel position he almost stopped and could rotate only once, so he moved into a sitspin in order to save the combo. In a finale he challenged 3A again and landed it. In the afternoon he again doubled a trixel, then he did 3F, the 3L was flutzed and step-out. Javi in the morning showed probably the worst performance among all EXs in two shows. A good deal of the music he was sitting on the floor, nodding his head and that is all. I don't know what concept such an EX represents. He was in some country shirt which is like 2 size bigger that he needs. I first thought that he put on weight, but then I realized that it's just that big shirt thing. He landed 3S and then he tried 4S but made it a triple, the 3A was good. In a finale he tried 4S again and fell. In the afternoon he skated his last season SP. The 4T was with step-out, then he did 3L and singled a trixel. In a finale he tried 4T, two hands and step-out. Kozuka skated his new progs and the second one in the afternoon show was especially good. Relaxed, full of steps and transitions. In the morning 3L was with step-out, 3S just from steps with no preparation, probably that's why the jump was too low (for him), he tried 3A from steps too but doubled it. In the afternoon he did 3S and 2A. His new hairstyle is questionable, I think the classic way suits him better. But why a 23yo man shouldn't try something new for a change. Like his mambo finale with Jeremy in cowboys outfits/hats where they ended up hugging and smelling each other in a la Brokeback Mountain. Lol. Mura changed in a super good way. He is clearly under Dai influence, which is hard not to be when you had such a leader in your team. I saw this influence in Tatsuki, in Murakami in DOI. Now Mura absorbed what he needed and with his natural masculinity the result became any girl's dream. The skating was with music, good work of upper body, beautiful hands, relaxed, with soft but iron muscle. He remains special, i.e. himself, in spite of all influences, and that's the reason why he stands out. In the morning he landed 3L, 3T, his hugest 3A, 2S, nice combo spin. In a finale he singled a trixel. In the afternoon he skated his new SP Pasadoble and it's different than all that reddish-false-passions stuff that many of us would expect from a hispanic thing in FS. Here he comes as a more reserved dancer, more elegant and proud. He doubled a quad, then he did 3L, fell on 3A, did a la Kim camel spin. In a finale he tried 4T again and two-footed it. Hanyu skated his new SP both shows, which slightly made me happy since I am not a big fan of his new EX to say politely. Well, of course his SP is better if you compare it with his new EX. But if you compare it with his last season progs, soon you might feel angry. It seems to me that both Canadian dudes eather still haven't realized who came to them, or they just put Yuzu on conveyor job and simply manufacture his new progs without getting into his individuality and the client's needs. If the things keep going like that, I want JFS to take him out of there a.s.a.p. In the morning he did a good 3A, nice spins, fell on 4T and did dogeza again as an apology. In a finale he did 4T with step-out. In the afternoon he landed 4T successfully, did 3A, 3L. In a finale he twice challenged 4T, first time- step out, second- landed clean.
Girls' number "Ave Maria" was very graceful and refine. In the morning Nagasu did quite low 3T, then failed 2A, her biellmann with two hands was good. In the afternoond she skated a new SP, did 3F, 2A but she got slow and tired at the end. Kanako screwed her morning performance. She fell on 3F and after that she failed her combo, did 2S-1Loop instead. It's not the first time when she can't keep it up after she failed the first element. The same thing happened in PIW and DOI, so her team clearly should do something. In the afternoon she did what she planned: 3F, 3S-2Lo-2Lo, 3T, ugly spiral and spin. I already wrote about her SS, so no need to repeat the same thing since there is no changes for good. Leonova put on weight terribly. She presented her EXs in both shows and both were Morozov trash. In the morning it was some image in headphones and orange underpants, landed 2A and 3T, legs were like sticked to the ice with no lightness at all. The same set of 3T and 2A was in the afternoon show with some French stuff and all-black outfit. She had a duet with skinny Yuzu. You get the picture. Sotnikova was introduced as a condidate for a medal in Sochi. The girl has grown up! She is stunning and glowing. Her new EX in the morning didn't have any empty place, plus all parts of body were involved in music. It was almost provokating, especially in that gorgeous outfit. What a great EX for almost always boring galas. Her jumps are huge, they are high and powerful, not the way like girls usually jump. In the morning she landed 3L, 3F and 2A as a matter of fact, amazing spirals, spins and beauty on the ice. In the afternoon the set was 3L, 3Loop, 2A. She skated her last season SP Bolero that they adjusted for ice shows. I think they should keep it as an EX because it suits her terribly well. Adelina, Mura and Davis&White were my favourites in The Ice shows. Mao skated Mary Poppins in both shows. She spoilt her fans with last season EX Jupiter which is hard to beat. Her new EX is lovely and cute. But you don't need to be Mao to skate it. Risa Shoji can skate the same EX, and many others. It seems kind of too simple for Mao, I mean the choreo and concept. The elements in the morning were 2A with the umbrella, a very good 3L, then she doubled her loop and fell on 2A. Her combo spins didn't have enough rotations, but I think it's because of her long big skirt. In the afternoon she did 2A with umbrella, 3F, 3loop, 2A and a combo spin. Mao&Jeff was a dance of an uncle introducing his niece to the world. Or I am just a Maozuka rooter. One very positive thing is for sure- Mao looks genki and very healthy. She didn't put on weight, her muscles just became stronger. Maybe her practice with that Hungarian dude worked, or maybe she ate a lot of buckweat porridge known as grechka in Russian cuisine. She said in the afternoon iterview that it's one of her favourite dish. She mentioned that it's cooked in suihanki (rice cooker) the same way as rice. But nobody uses a suihanki in Russia. Mao probably brought some storage of buckweat groats from her last trip to Moscow and now cooks it in suihanki. Lol. Well, whatever the reason is, Mao does look good. She called Adelina Adelina-chan. Adelya said that Mao is her idol and Alyona admired Mao's 3A. They were both invited to The Ice as Mao's rivals in Sochi. Both said that they would do their best to get the spots there. Adelina's English is not confident enough yet. She used notes, and I assume her roommate Alyona helped her to make them (thanks, lady). But what the hell, a lot of 16yo skaters don't even bother to give interviews in English. She also was very grateful to the audience who was very supportive to all skaters.
Narumi won the dance battle in the morning over Adelina and Mao, who tried to get it a al Jackson in sunglasses copying his moonwalk. Meryl won in the afternoon over Hanyu, who was in a white skirt, a pink blouse and a hot pink hair ribbon. Then he got topless. Well.
In general there's a little much fluff in the show. Probably that's why I like PIW more, because there's more FS sport than FS fluff. Plus team Japan is fully presented in PIW, unlike in The Ice and FOI, where it's impossible due to agents rats' fights. Still it was fun and I would visit more than two shows if they were in my city.
============FRIENDS ON ICE. August 2012. Shin-Yokohama.www.friendsonice.comDay 1.
I was late for the evening show and entered the arena when a group numer of MWO participants were going one. Quite sweet and cheesy, Shizuka did 2A, but guess when the audience exploded: when Kulik did his jump in spin at the level above the arena-area seats. And that was just the beginning (I mean Kulik, but I didn't know that at that moment). There were some group numbers in the show. Miki and Shizuka skated in dark-blue dresses, but Miki had sleeves while Shizuka didn't. They did their usual stuff of 2A and 3T, at the end of the number Miki fell with no reason. Not a good idea of Miki-Shizuka duet. Arakawa is much more elegant and Miki looks like klutz next to her. In the second half Akiko and Honda skated the Irish Riverdance stuff (with Dai dancing at the backstage, lol). He was in some hispanic pants and white shirt, she was in some a la tango-dress (for Riverdance, haha). They were actually good together, clean and synchronized. They had that "pair" moment, so rare collaboration among single skaters. The peak in group numbers was of course Swan Trio of Miki, Dai and Shizuka. All three I assume represented different concepts. Miki was some kind of caricature of Black Swan in that dress and tiara, which was a very good idea considering how much that music is overused in FS. Shizuka was some tech-classic hybrid, quite beautiful, and Dai just funning around with his hip-hop Swan. Yes, in that costume but with the current boyish hair-cut. Lovely! His spins were faster than Shizuka's and especially Miki's, but he fell on 3A.
Weaver/Poje skated rather trivial stuff and left all their speed and edges somewhere en route to Japan. Does she look wider or it's just that golden dress makes her look like that? In general they were rather boring. Even Babies Shibutanis were more inspiring at THE ICE. Pang/Tong are sometimes critizied for using the same style, usually classic music, beautiful dresses, etc. But the fact is they sell it. They are both average-looking. So, the strong music choice and outfit help then to deliver. Plus technique, which is there. The triple twist and 3S throw jump were clean, high and powerful. I like how he lifts her in masculine way and a second later- gently keeps her in his soft arms. They have it and I really enjoyed watching them.
Miki and Shizuka both skated what they usually skate- same set of 2A, 3S, spiral, spin, lovely dress and music, end. Yuka Sato didn't jump, her camel spin was good. Slutskaya tried 3Loop but fell. She did her bielmann spin (no changing leg though) and her a la bielmann-back spiral. Akiko showed her new prog. The dress was charming, the music- trivial. She did 3flutz, quite low and shaky landing, then 2A, 3F, spins were a little slow but 3S was very good.
Yamato Tamura is a fun guy who is still kicking around. He did 3L, deep sit and shaky, then a combo 3T-3T-2Loop also with poor landing on the last jump. But what the hell! The guy is 33 who retired competitions 9 years ago. Takeshi Honda skated Tosca, did 3T, 2S, 3S, nice spin and beautiful eagle. He seems like taking seriously the preparation for MWO. His jumps were less stable at PIW but now he looks much more confident. Good! Kozuka presented his new SP. Well, the music is very emotional and powerful for this introverted guy. But ironically he looks not that bad as someone might suggest. He may be not pulling this piece as a more extroverted skater would do. But it seems like the music itself is pushing him to "open up". It could be quite a good tactics. But with poor jump technique someone can't have high expectations. Today he two-footed quad and step-out, 3A ended up in a 1A, 3Loop- in a 2Loop. What kind of idea is it with this doughnut spin? That's horrible. Throw it away, guy. The biggest, and the most pleasant surprise for me was Ilia Kulik. I didn't expect anything like that. Who would have thought that this retired, and the most "old" skater in the cast would win the biggest ovation of the night that later got beaten only by Daisuke. What an edge on 3Lutz!. Then 3T and 2A, all high and big, sharp refined steps right on music, the perfect connection the audience, etc. Such a rare masculine style in modern Men's field that seems like will die after Plu and Joubert will retire. Real shame.
Daisuke skated his new SP Rockabilly. I assume the prog is undercooked yet. There are some empty "spaces" between elements and repetitive moves. But it's a solid tradidtion for Dai to present his new SP at FOI no matter how just-cooked it is. As well as to change his costumes . If he changes this claustrophobic one, I wouldn't mind at all. His challenged quad, it was underrotated, two-footed and step-out. 3L was good, as well as 3A in the second part of the program. With his artistism and feeling of music he can sell anything. But anything is not enough for his fans, whom his spoilt with SP masterpieces like Eye and Garden of Souls. He knows that too. So, I am sure the prog will be well-cooked by the first competition. Dai is actually enjoying himself very much in this new prog, which is nice.Day 2.
On the last day of FOI there was a line near the ticket office from the early morning. Some kind of camp with blankets to sit on, folding chairs, obentos, etc. People were waiting in a line for 4-5 hours in +35 sunny humid weather just to buy tickets for the last show, usually the most popular one. Nothing was like that even a couple of years ago. Now it's just crazy. And all this is because of Dai.
I think Weaver looks the same, maybe that golden dress made her look a little wider. Does Poje knows that he, especially as an ice-dancer, is not supposed to be on two feet that much, even in the EX? I never really like his posture, he seems like round-shouldered to me, not a guy with the royal back. In the morning they were pretty much the same as on Sat evening. But on Sun evening the accident happened. I think the strap that fixes his trousers to boots got detauched. So they stopped, he went off the ice to fix the thing and after a couple of seconds she started dancing on the ice with no music (not skating but dancing, like on the floor) to entertain the waiting audience. Ironically this accident provoked them to look more emotional later in the EX, especially her, and even speed finally showed up. Btw, speaking about ice dancing. The new World Figure Skating #54 magazine will be in bookshops from Aug 30. But they were already selling it in the FOI lobby. There on the last page was the announcement of the next WFS #55 that will be issued in November. It seems like Meryl will be on the cover, and if I remember correctly she is gonna be the first ice dancer who ever was on WFS cover. The most interesting part is that she is there alone, with no Charlie. Nobody needs Charlie on the cover, Meryl alone is enough. Rolf.http://s1259.photobucket.com/albums/...t=0b9091eb.jpg
Pang/Tong were refine and simply perfect. In all 3 shows that I saw all elements were clean, without any single mistakes. They are like authentic Chinese clock that never breaks.
Irina in both shows landed 3Loop successfully, did her classic bielmanns and spirals. In the evening she tried 2A but singled it. Miki is not in good form at all. It's not just her jumps, which were 3S with step out in the morning, in the evening she landed 3T and then again fell with no reason after the jump, then 3S and almost fell. In general she is very slow and heavy, with horibble spins and lines. She is still with no coach, which is odd considering her plans for the coming season. Arakawa was as usual, with the only difference that in the evening at Swan Trio she did combo 2A-3T. In the opening she used the acrobats rods that put her under the ceiling above everyone. And that is how she ended the opening: pointing with her hands on the skaters, as well as on the audience, like some kind of goddess in the sky. Oh my. That is not how people normally treat Friends, my dear Shi-chan. Akiko in the morning presented her new SP in a lousy outfit. She landed 3Lip and 3Flutz and I don't know for sure which one was the first and the second. Poor judges if she landed such hybrids at the competition. 2A had a second foot's toe touch a littlle. In the evening she skated the same stuff that I saw at Sat evening, in her peacock dress. Quite a tradidtional EX for always boring galas. But their Riverdance with Honda got literally "screamed" by the audience.
Takeshi is quite confident with his 3T and 3S, only in the evening show he singled 3S but later did it. I think it was his only mistake, not counting 3A that he tried in a finale but fell. Nice spins, eagle and split jump. Tamura was full of fun and joy, landed 3Lutz more than once and did 3T-3T-2Loop combo in the evening. Sasaki is a cool guy who simply represents himself on the ice. His 3L and 3F were fine, even with one hand above, 3A is not stable: doubled in the morning and step out in the evening. Murakami did his best to be impressive, but he was really slow. Did 3S, 3F quite good, a 3A with step out. Kozuka in the morning doubled his quad, 3A was shaky but on one foot and rotated, 3Loop- good. In the evening he finally landed a quad,a tiny shake but on one foot and no fall. Then he got inspired and did an amazing big 3A. After the SP he looked so happy, just blooming with the wide smile. During the lottery he said he was disappointed with his performance on the previous days, so last night he practiced a lot, and finally he did what he wanted. His new SP can be actually a good piece of work, I mean the spirit and interpretation. Kulik rocked as before. Oh those traditional Russian guys! How much I like their style on the ice. Tall, big, handsome, always confident, powerful and sportish. The Mister Athlete. The audience didn't want that blonde to go.
Dai in the morning in Swan Trio did 3A with two feet and step out. In SP a quad was rotated but two-footed and step out, 3Lutz was great, 3A with step out and one hand on the ice. In the evening the quad was there, I think he touched the ice with the second foot's toe, but just a little, then gorgeaous 3Lutz and 3A. His spins are very fast, nice position and simply marvelous, His new-element split jump is getting higher and higher. Then he kicked out in a dance finale that was choreographed by Miyamoto. Kenji showed up on the ice in the evening show and was dancing a little with the skaters.
* Collection of my posts on Goldenskate Forum.