Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky
|Pairing:||Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky|
|Alternative name(s):||Otayuri, the Hero and the Fairy|
|Fandom:||Yuri!!! on Ice|
|Archives:||Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky Works on AO3|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky, or 'Otayuri', is a non-canon slash ship in the fandom Yuri!!! on Ice. It is the second-most popular pairing in the fandom after the canonical ship Yuri Katsuki/Victor Nikiforov. While the two are only seen interacting from episode 10 onwards, their mutually supportive on-screen friendship and backstory in canon give fans plenty to build on.
Yuri and Otabek meet during the tenth episode of Yuri!!! on Ice, the episode in which Otabek is introduced as a character — Otabek had appeared before in the series, but not in a speaking role. After an initial encounter in the lobby of their hotel for the Grad Prix Final (in which Yuri demands of Otabek, "What's with you, asshole?"), the two properly meet when Yuri is cornered in the streets of Barcelona by a horde of rampaging fangirls, and Otabek arrives on his motorcycle to rescue him.
In the ensuing conversation, Otabek reveals that they had met once before, at the ages of 10 and 13, at Yakov Feltsman's summer camp in Russia. Otabek recalls that "Yuri Plisetsky had the unforgettable eyes of a soldier", and the two share memories of their early training. Afterwards, they strike up a fast friendship, talking and laughing together in a café.
During the Grand Prix Final in the final two episodes of the show, Yuri and Otabek cheer each other on, shouting "DAVAI!" and giving a thumbs up - something that is repeatedly referenced in fanworks about the two. Many fanworks also reference the fact that Otabek lost out on a bronze medal to Jean-Jacques Leroy in the final, making Yuri righteously angry on his friend's behalf and calling him "team 'Otabek got robbed'".
Additional material was also made available with the release of Yuri!!! On Ice's Blu-Ray in Japan. Firstly, there was a short clip of Yuri's exhibition routine, set to the song Welcome to the Madness —which had been previously released with the series's official soundtrack. This was accompanied by a short manga telling the story of how the exhibition routine came to be created. In the Welcome to the Madness manga, Yuri is shown talking to Otabek after the GPF free skate, then following Otabek to a club where Otabek is DJing, confiding in Otabek and sharing his dissatisfaction with the image he projects as a skater, and finally asking Otabek to help him create a new routine that Yuri feels represents him. Both the manga story and the Welcome to the Madness clip have been crucial to how the fandom has interpreted both characters and their dynamic together.
In the months following the conclusion of the first season of Yuri!!! On Ice, promotional material featuring both Yuri and Otabek was regularly released. They could often be seen together in posters. An early example featured Yuri and Otabek having dessert in a coffee shop as they listened to music together, while another showed Otabek and Yuri wearing matching tiger t-shirts, with Otabek being encouraged by Yuri to try katsudon during a visit to Yu-topia in Hasetsu. The frequency with which Otabek and Yuri appeared together in official art help to fuel an already active Otayuri fandom, with any extra information on their relationship and personalities quickly incorporated into fanart, fanfiction, and meta discussions.
In addition to illustrations, the popularity of both Yuri and Otabek as characters has been reflected on the official merchandise available for the series. While the most ubiquituous characters in merchadise have always been Yuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov, Yuri Plisetsky and Otabek Altin seem to have occupied a prominent secondary spot, appearing individually and together.
It's impossible to say conclusively whether the popularity of Otayuri in the Japanese (and Western) fandom might have contributed to the choice to feature them in promotional material and merchandising, but it is clear that their prevalence in both has been welcomed by fans and fueled the growth of their fandom.
Origins and Growth
The ship Otabek Altin/Yuri Plisetsky grew very quickly after Otabek's appearance in Episode 10 of Yuri!!! On Ice. Where there was little to go on about Otabek in particular, fans eagerly took to filling in the gaps with headcanons, fanart, and fanfiction. Fans looked to interviews with those involved with the show as well as to supplemental and promotional material for more about the characters and their relationship, and quickly adapted to new information. For example, from early on it was known from interviews that Otabek eschewed social media, which became a common theme in Otayuri fanfiction. Some authors also took this further and speculated that Otabek might be shy or reserved, and have a rich inner life and classical tastes. On the other hand, some authors preferred to build upon the 'bad boy' image suggested by Otabek as a leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding 'dark horse'.
Many fans's interpretation of both characters and their relationship was challenged and enriched by the release of the Welcome to the Madness clip and manga. After Welcome to the Madness, fans had a clearer idea of Otabek as a DJ with friends and acquaintances outside of Yuri. Fans also got to see them interact and behave as good friends, though they had only known each other for a few days. The circumstances surrounding Yuri's 'Welcome to the Madness' exhibition remain, as of 2018, an extremely common theme in Otayuri fanfiction, with authors exploring everything from the general growth of their friendship to detailed sexual scenarios.
There has been a great deal of controversy regarding the shipping of Yuri with anybody in Western YOI fandom. Otayuri shippers, as supporters of the most popular Yuri ship, have often been targets. The points of criticism are usually Yuri's age and appearance, and fall in line with wider fandom purity culture discourse on Western fandom hubs like Tumblr and Twitter.
Canonically, Yuri is fifteen for most of the series, and sixteen shortly after. The age of majority is different in Russia, where Yuri lives, versus the USA, where many (Western) fans live. Consequently, many fans disagree on whether a relationship involving Yuri should be categorised as 'underage' or not, since he is underage by a US definition but not by a Russian definition. Other fans will point out the power dynamics inherent in a relationship with a 16-year-old regardless of whether or not he is legally an adult, and will also point out Yuri's immaturity as shown in the series.
Ways in which fans have made their dissaproval known have included a "Shit List" being posted on Tumblr of authors who write Yuri under 18 having a romantic or sexual relationship, claiming that this was child porn and these writers were evil and should be shunned. Some authors responded with a challenge to write more Otayuri, known as "Shit Bingo". This has also led to a discussion of how we can disagree well within a fandom and the problems of fandom purity culture.
Yuri Plisetsky's birthday is March 1st, and Otabek Altin's is October 31st, which Tumblr user zairamariela7 pointed out makes Yuri a Pisces and Otabek a Scorpio. These are both water signs, and seem to correspond surprisingly well to Yuri and Otabek's personalities and relationship, at least in terms of fanon:
"my precious angels are such misunderstood creatures in this mad world but they FINALLY found their way to each other, my pure fish needs desperately the emotional security of his mysterious scorpion and vice versa, they complete each other so perfectly in this Earth and the whole cosmos, NOW IT MAKES COMPLETE SENSE WHY THEY ARE THE HERO AND THE FAIRY✨✨✨ also Scorpio adores the cute mad faces of Pisces, and Pisces loves that "bad boy" attitude of Scorpio IM DYIINNG"
Common tropes in fanworks
- Nicknames. In Otayuri fanworks, Yuri frequently calls Otabek 'Beka', and Otabek calls Yuri 'Yura', or sometimes Yuratchka, the nickname that Yuri's grandfather has for him. Due to Yuri's complex about sharing a name with Yuri Katsuki, Otayuri fanworks often feature Yuri being pleased that he is the 'original' Yuri in Otabek's eyes, with Otabek referring to Yuri Katsuki as the 'other Yuri' or by his surname.
- Age difference/Aged-up Yuri. Due to Yuri's young age (15/16 years old) in canon, many fanworks feature Yuri entering into a relationship with Otabek only when he is an adult by US laws, or Otabek wanting to wait until Yuri is 18 before they have a relationship.
- Hairplay. In canon, Yuri has longish blond hair which is tied or braided back into a ponytail when he competes. Many Otayuri fanworks feature Otabek playing with, combing or helping braid Yuri's hair. In others, Yuri will play with Otabek's hair or occasionally help him cut it.
- Fairytale references. One of Yuri's skating nicknames is the "fairy of Russia", while Otabek's is the "hero of Kazakhstan". Together, they are often styled "the hero and the fairy". Otayuri fanworks frequently make reference to this, either metaphorically or as a fairytale AU, such as Tales of Memory by howlingmoonrise or hood & glove by Fahye.
- From Almaty, With Love by BoxWineConfessions. Yuri spends the summer with Otabek in Almaty. (Slow-burn, friends to lovers)
- Golden Days by Ren. "Yurochka, I wish you wouldn't spend so much time with him. He looks like a delinquent." Yuri's grandfather doesn't approve of his grandson being whisked away by strangers on motorbikes, so Yuri introduces Otabek to him.
- write my name on your skin by RenaitAbeille. A soulmate AU where soulmarks appear one letter at a time, and when Yuri wakes up on his birthday and sees the letter O on his arm, he tries not to wish that it continues into Otabek Altin.
- Endurance and Peach Tea by chapstickaddict. It takes three years for Yuri to figure himself out and get his head on right. He drags everyone along for the ride. Otabek is the only one to go willingly. (Post-episode ten; Otabek has severe social anxiety).
- punch drunk (on those eyes of yours) by bonnia. Otabek takes Yuri’s face in his hands — gentle, like he always is with Yuri — and everything becomes quiet. (or: in which yuri is cursed with the gift of mind reading but cannot hear the one person he desperately wants to)
- melt me down by ohhotlamb. “Do you remember? In Barcelona? It’s been at least three years by now.” “Of course I do,” Yuri mumbles. “That was when we first started talking.”
- Gravity, Part 2 of Yuri!!! in Space by Fahye. His Grace the Archduke Yuri Plisetsky wins the Ballistic Grand Tournament in his debut year, at the age of fifteen. Things go downhill from there.
- the birth of comets takes place on the tip of your lashes by apollothyme. His second visit to an ophthalmologist occurs five months later. Just like during his first consultation, he doesn’t understand any of the medical jargon coming from the doctor’s mouth. Only now, after he’s done explaining everything in complicated, convulsed words, the man turns to Yuri with a smile on his face and explains everything once more, this time using terms Yuri can understand. Yuri listens. He bites down on his bottom lip and he does not cry.
- Two Make a Pair & the sequel: Come When Invited by mousapelli. It started out as a joke, socked feet on hardwood flooring, but somehow the pair skate became something much more for Yuri and Otabek in the end.
Fanart & Fancomics
- Otabek was caught ♥ by nikkiyan on tumblr
- gently tucks stray hair behind ear by shi-0 on tumblr
- Fanart by Lightning Strikes on tumblr
- Yurio learning how to friendship by randomperson27 on tumblr
- a rare lazy morning, a realization by hawberries on tumblr
Communities & Resources
- YOO I DID SOMETHING LOL by niquesmile on Tumblr. Posted December 26, 2016 (Accessed September 9, 2017).
- a confession (ft. otayuri) by krittlekrattle on Tumblr. Published December 15, 2016 (Accessed September 9, 2017).
- Yuri Plisetsky on Yuri on Ice Wikia (Accessed December 25, 2016).
- Otabek Altin on Yuri on Ice Wikia (Accessed December 25, 2016).
- Post by zairamariela7 on tumblr, posted December 20, 2016 (Accessed December 25, 2016).