Winter Is Coming

This may sound menacing in Westeros, but to the figure skating enthusiast it’s a promise.

Back in May, with the season barely finished, Yuzuru Hanyu started landing clean quad loops in shows, so Johnny Weir felt like penning the following tweet, which I find hilarious.

I hope Patrick Chan read it. Yes, apparently Patrick Chan will be back, to my supreme annoyance, ruining the scene for fellow Canadian Nam Nguyen and skating to Chopin’s Scherzo yet again.

Anyway, Yuzuru Hanyu is not planning to jump a quad loop in competition next season. What he announced is having three quads in his free program (last year’s layout before injury and surgery), which will be a trademark routine based on the life and legend of Abe no Seimei, an esoteric cosmologist who lived at the Emperor’s court during the Heian era.

Just like the average Westerner I had never heard of Abe no Seimei, so I rushed to learn about onmyōdō, about fox-people, general iconography, what people used to wear during the Heian era, as well as search for the Seimei shrine only to discover that I missed it by a mere 200 meters when I visited the Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle back in 2010.

Anyway, the music for Hanyu’s free program comes from the score of a relatively recent movie, Onmyoji, which I saw on Hanyu’s explicit suggestion last month.

I loved it. It’s funny, gruesome, romantic, dated and subversive. Basically there’s this very young, very good looking fox-guy (a kitsune) who is amazingly skilled at magic and serves the Emperor but mostly keeps to himself. In his house he’s constantly surrounded by magic girls (shikigami) and he also likes to spend a lot of time with noble friend Hiromasa who in turn is in love with a mysterious woman. Together they save the Emperor from evil Doson, an envious onmyoji with a thirst for power.

Now, obviously the benevolent but vulnerable Emperor is Plushenko, the shikigami girls must be the fans, Doson is Patrick Chan (complete with Kovtun, the mystical crow), while Hiromasa is clearly Javier Fernandez.



Unfortunately clothes from the Heian era not very practical to jump quads so Hanyu had to keep his costume simple, at least for the preview he offered during the shows in Japan last month. At first sight we were all a bit confused, because nobody could recognize the music and the costume looked dangerously sci-fi (I may have seen Blades of Glory too many times), but now we just can’t wait for winter to come.

You see, we’ve got the romance, the bromance, some magic, a flow of mesmerizing movements, some kyogen, some noh, a golden mon and ten thousand crystals sewn on a simplified Heian attire. What’s not to like.

Please enjoy Seimei’s dance from the movie.

And here’s Seimei performed at Dream on Ice last month.