Hallmark Says They Did Not Copy Yuri On Ice, Had No Idea What It Is

Hallmark Says They Did Not Copy Yuri On Ice, Had No Idea What It Is

Fans of blockbuster queer ice skating anime Yuri on Ice were enraged this week because they believed an upcoming Hallmark movie, Love on Ice, copied the anime’s premise and name. On Twitter, fans called Love on Ice a “whitewashed” and “homophobic” Yuri on Ice rip-off.

A Hallmark representative told Kotaku nobody on the movie’s team had ever heard of the anime.

Love on Ice is an upcoming Hallmark movie about a female skater who falls in love with her male coach. Its description reads, “Former figure skating champion. . . gets an improbable 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.” Its IMBD page has existed since August, 2015. The novel it’s based off was published in 2009.

Yuri on Ice, centered on a disgraced male skater’s intimate relationship with his male coach, started streaming in the West early October. “Love on Ice” is also apparently an adult romance series about a gay hockey player finding love.

And yet, a January 2nd Change.org petition demanding that the Hallmark Channel take down Love on Ice garnered over 3,600 signatures in just two days. “It is obvious that Hallmark is making a movie very similar to the hit anime, ‘Yuri On Ice’ created by Mitsurō Kubo,” the petition reads. Thousands of outraged tweets accused Hallmark of copying Yuri on Ice, with several hundred describing it as a white, heterosexual mutant clone.

In a tweet, Kubo asked her fans to calm the fuck down:

Last night, after Kubo tweeted about the show, the petition’s author told Kotaku that she no longer believes Love on Ice is a rip-off: “With more evidence I received, I don’t believe that, no,” she said over Instagram.


  • I get that these things are bigger in Japan but I’m pretty sure here and in the US it would take me quite a long time to find somebody who knew what Yuri on Ice was if I just started asking random people on the street. Kotaku is the only media outlet I read that has ever mentioned it.

    I get that it’s a hit as far as romantic comedy anime series’ go but that’s a niche within a niche genre in the west. Not at all surprising that nobody working on this movie has heard of it.

    But I guess it’s easy to forget how small your fandom is when you’re part of it – I’m always vaguely surprised when somebody hasn’t seen a cult movie that I’m into, even though there’s actually nothing surprising about that at all.

    • I’d argue that anyone following anime as they air has probably had some contact with it.

      But I’d also agree that’s a small subset even of people who’d consider themselves anime fans.

  • What’s funny is that Love on Ice is most likely going to make more money (especially if it releases on Valentines Day).

  • We’re only 5 days into the new year and already the internet is being irrational and stupid…

    • It’s only homophobic if it’s actually ripping off the anime, which is a big if.

      That disclaimer aside taking a story about a homosexual romance and changing it to be about a heterosexual couple is somewhat homophobic, as changing a characters race can be racist.

      • It would only be homophobic if the reason was “we don’t like those god damn homosexuals!” and racist if the reason was “we don’t like those damned Japs!”. But that aside, yeah, this film is definitely not a rip off of Yuri on Ice. If you tell them “B-B-But it was the biggest hit of the Fall 2016 anime season!”, they’ll reply “What the hell is an anime?”.

        • The argument is that it’s generally along those lines, but people say it’s for other reasons which marginalises stories about those groups.

          That said I really don’t think that’s what’s happening here, all hypothetical.

      • It’s not even an ‘if’. It’s outright impossible for Hallmark to have green-lit and started pre-production on a project to capitalize on fan reaction to something that didn’t even exist at that point.

        It really is just a case of fans thinking that the object of their fandom is more popular than it is, and the tendency to believe that the thing they’ve seen first was created first. (Seen all the time when you play old music to kids, when it’s been covered by newer artists.)

        • For the record I don’t think it is a rip off, especially with such age edit title. Just explaining how it could be homophobic.

          It is possible that it was an existing project that got anew push due to the perception of the anime, but it’s pretty unlikely and certainly not ethically I just in that case.

  • I’m sorry, but the creator of that Change.org petition, as well as all those who signed it really need to take a look at the recent fake news debacle and actually research before you start throwing accusations! I mean seriously, one simple Google search revealed this was a thing for years.
    So many people seem far too eager to now to find offence in something and attack it. That and throwing around a bunch of -ist and -phobic buzzwords.

  • It’s a damn Hallmark movie….

    Even if it was a rip off, a Japanese anime with a gay theme, should not be threatened by an American made for TV movie targeting senior bloody citizens!!

  • Special snowflake fankids make me laugh.
    This 90% different thing that existed first must be an evil rip off…
    Not the first group of whiny fankids to declare this.

  • Looks like generic hallmark fare to me, these “enraged” fans need to take a seat and be quiet.

  • Big fan of yuri on ice, don’t think this is a ripoff, more like marketing people going what have subject have we not shamelessly beaten to zombification in the rom com rom drama category, I imagine both of these were inspired by the previous winter Olympics, but anyway, a movie by hallmark? I can already tell you which of these has the better story! (Hint it’s not written by hallmark)

  • “Oh, it’s about Russians!” I only had the vaguest awareness of this from word of mouth, and didn’t get why a BL series had yuri in the title.

    Now I’m wondering how many of these over-reactionaries called it a bait and switch at first.

  • Iv been coming to kotaku for years this is the most comment’s iv ever seen in a post

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