2020-21 Japanese Ladies' Figure Skating

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
I think Wakaba is on a pretty good trajectory right now for the Olympics. The 18-19 season wasn’t very good (due to injury), 19-20 was way better and qualified for worlds (which was then cancelled...stupid corona) and now there’s this really weird season but luckily her attempts on the 3A get better each time. But yeah I agree in terms of the season strategy with peaking too early which unfortunately hurt her last time. At least this time there are 3 spots!
More than peak at nats i think shes trying to peak during the olympic season. Being able to skate layouts with 2 or 3 3As overall to full potential, consistently.

She's on the right path. 2018-19 season was rough because of injury. She still didn't implode at nats, ending 5th in a high level comp (top 4 finished above 220).
Last season was much better with silver at nats. This season she's consistently landing her 3-3s and started to land 3A. I believe next season she will be able to skate her layouts cleanly. She just has to figure how to skate a clean FP since she's more a SP skater than a FP one.
 

Li'Kitsu

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
So since she ended up with a -0.16 GOE, does that mean if it was judged clean then she would have gotten a 1.84 GOE on a beautiful 3A?

In real time during her skate, you can see the original points judges awared before the q call. It was around 1.84, so yes :)

As for the comparison with Young - I'd say Wakaba's 3A (q call aside) has better quality and deserves better GOE. She goes in with way more speed, gets better height and ice coverage and has more speed coming out too. Even her set up is shorter (it's still "long", but definitely not like Young's ^^").
 

Skatefan15

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 8, 2015
Even her set up is shorter (it's still "long", but definitely not like Young's ^^").
Wakaba’s set up for the short program axel was really nice, do you think she’ll add that for the free? Or do you think she’s just going to focus on landing it a few more times first?
 

silveruskate

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
No, that just means I like the rest of what she does very much.
On the points you made, I can't believe I'm saying this but I think Kaori is way better than a novice. She doesn't always get it right - Matrix for example is so difficult to perform to - but her Worlds 2019 SP was absolutely beautiful and her arm movements were so graceful. Same with her SP performance here. I'm not sure how she would have that absolutely divine 3F-3T timed to the music if she wasn't listening.

I'm just surprised that a fan would drag her so hard on literally everything to do with performance. Most critics wouldn't go as hard on her as you did in my opinion.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
On the points you made, I can't believe I'm saying this but I think Kaori is way better than a novice. She doesn't always get it right - Matrix for example is so difficult to perform to - but her Worlds 2019 SP was absolutely beautiful and her arm movements were so graceful. Same with her SP performance here. I'm not sure how she would have that absolutely divine 3F-3T timed to the music if she wasn't listening.

I'm just surprised that a fan would drag her so hard on literally everything to do with performance. Most critics wouldn't go as hard on her as you did in my opinion.
I was responding to a person who was trying to justify the huge scoring margin by listing everything Wakaba did wrong. I was countering that by listing the negative aspects for Kaori. I used some hyperbole I admit, but I stand by the main thrust of my comments. In my view Sakamoto is 2 skaters in 1. Her lower body is fantastic, but her upper body is terrible. Thats why all her routines are designed to hide her awkwardness. But I prefer fast, powerful skaters. And she certainly is that. Plus she has charisma and is fun to to watch. So in my view, while she deserves credit for her strengths, she should be docked for her faults, which never happens in Japan. Part of this though is the imbalance in scoring right now favoring tech over artistic /presentation. There is no point in having PCS if its just used to rubber stamp the tech content, especially now with the 5 scale GOE is already exagerating it.
 

silveruskate

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
I was responding to a person who was trying to justify the huge scoring margin by listing everything Wakaba did wrong. I was countering that by listing the negative aspects for Kaori. I used some hyperbole I admit, but I stand by the main thrust of my comments. In my view Sakamoto is 2 skaters in 1. Her lower body is fantastic, but her upper body is terrible. Thats why all her routines are designed to hide her awkwardness. But I prefer fast, powerful skaters. And she certainly is that. Plus she has charisma and is fun to to watch. So in my view, while she deserves credit for her strengths, she should be docked for her faults, which never happens in Japan. Part of this though is the imbalance in scoring right now favoring tech over artistic /presentation. There is no point in having PCS if its just used to rubber stamp the tech content, especially now with the 5 scale GOE is already exagerating it.
Fair enough. On the technical side I completely agree since the Lutz should be called. Performance, I think they should improve everyone else's PCS. Is it established that Kaori has these faults you're saying? Honestly I don't see it. In the end PCS will never make any fan happy, at least some days of the year .
 

Li'Kitsu

Record Breaker
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Wakaba’s set up for the short program axel was really nice, do you think she’ll add that for the free? Or do you think she’s just going to focus on landing it a few more times first?
I was honestly surprised she used the way shorter set up (even with a rocker in I think) in the SP! It looks really cool, so I do hope she keeps it... might depend on her progress until nationals I guess? And regarding the LP 3A, how the one in the SP went. And I really hope she lands it, because Bird set free clean with 3A would be amazing ^^
 

soccerjc77

Spectator
Joined
Nov 29, 2020
Marin Honda is still my favorite in this competition. Maybe, she doesn't have the technical content right now to challenge the top skater. But, gosh ! Her edge, skating and interpretation to the music are beautiful to watch.

I'm glad that she came back to the giving SP ! This was my favorite SP from her and I hope that she keep the giving for the Olympic season. This program is a masterpiece.

I wonder how Marin could upgrade her technical content ? She needs a jump coach because for the rest of her skating, she is the complete package for me.
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
In real time during her skate, you can see the original points judges awared before the q call. It was around 1.84, so yes :)

As for the comparison with Young - I'd say Wakaba's 3A (q call aside) has better quality and deserves better GOE. She goes in with way more speed, gets better height and ice coverage and has more speed coming out too. Even her set up is shorter (it's still "long", but definitely not like Young's ^^").

I know you’re a diehard fan of Higuchi but I kinda disagree here.

I don’t expect everyone to have the transitions of a Kostornaia or Mao’s double brackets or the ease of Kihira but neither You nor Higuchi hid the stalking of their 3A very well in the FS . Now, they’re not as bad with the telegraphing as Tuktamysheva or Nagasu but when they get more comfortable with the 3A hopefully they will be less obvious. I notice Higuchi did try some nice entry transitions into the 3A in the SP with a straight line pattern leading up to it so perhaps she modified it for the FS with just stroking into it and on a curve to bolster the chance of success?

As for the quality of jumps, as performed in the NHK FS, I would give higher GOE to You, even q aside. Higuchi’s free leg on the landing was a bit wild and would nix any bullets for landing position or effortlessness. You landed the jump more rotated than Higuchi, and because of this she was able to better check out her free leg, making the jump look more effortless than Higuchi’s and with nicer landing posture - Higuchi being a bit under had to fight on the check out to maintain control (when a skater is under you tend to see the free leg “push” off the landing leg’s knee and the free leg flies up a bit instead of checks out normally) ... it also looked like Higuchi’s timing was slightly lagged on the takeoff (the takeoff looked off - her step up into the jump wasn’t her usual height and the snap was a bit delayed resulting in the axis going a bit off on takeoff - she regained it in the air but by then the height was insufficient to avoid the q). Though all in all it was a very good attempt.

Given the telegraphed setups and You’s better landing and more rotation I’d have given You a +1 and Higuchi a -1. Had Higuchi achieved more rotation enough to avoid the q but still have everything else (ie the telegraphing and the slightly wild free leg) the same I’d have given it a 0. But it’s a bit of a moot point because I think had she avoided the q with more rotation she would have also been less tied up on the landing and checked her free leg more nicely, earning a +1 in my books.

But yeah, with that much telegraphing, neither jump deserves more than +1 if hit cleanly. If Higuchi hit her 3A with her SP setup that would eliminate the telegraphing and add an entry steps bullet so theoretically she could probably earn a +3 or +4 with an optimized 3A, but it wasn’t the case in this FS, IMO.

We saw in the warmup and in practices how well Higuchi can hit the 3A with minimal setup, and when she does I would agree it’s better than You’s. But I think the tech caller and judges got it right as far as the q call and the resultant GOE.
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
I know you’re a diehard fan of Higuchi but I kinda disagree here.

I don’t expect everyone to have the transitions of a Kostornaia or Mao’s double brackets or the ease of Kihira but neither You nor Higuchi hid the stalking of their 3A very well in the FS . Now, they’re not as bad with the telegraphing as Tuktamysheva or Nagasu but when they get more comfortable with the 3A hopefully they will be less obvious. I notice Higuchi did try some nice entry transitions into the 3A in the SP with a straight line pattern leading up to it so perhaps she modified it for the FS with just stroking into it and on a curve to bolster the chance of success?

As for the quality of jumps, as performed in the NHK FS, I would give higher GOE to You, even q aside. Higuchi’s free leg on the landing was a bit wild and would nix any bullets for landing position or effortlessness. You landed the jump more rotated than Higuchi, and because of this she was able to better check out her free leg, making the jump look more effortless than Higuchi’s and with nicer landing posture - Higuchi being a bit under had to fight on the check out to maintain control (when a skater is under you tend to see the free leg “push” off the landing leg’s knee and the free leg flies up a bit instead of checks out normally) ... it also looked like Higuchi’s timing was slightly lagged on the takeoff (the takeoff looked off - her step up into the jump wasn’t her usual height and the snap was a bit delayed resulting in the axis going a bit off on takeoff - she regained it in the air but by then the height was insufficient to avoid the q). Though all in all it was a very good attempt.

Given the telegraphed setups and You’s better landing and more rotation I’d have given You a +1 and Higuchi a -1. Had Higuchi achieved more rotation enough to avoid the q but still have everything else (ie the telegraphing and the slightly wild free leg) the same I’d have given it a 0. But it’s a bit of a moot point because I think had she avoided the q with more rotation she would have also been less tied up on the landing and checked her free leg more nicely, earning a +1 in my books.

But yeah, with that much telegraphing, neither jump deserves more than +1 if hit cleanly. If Higuchi hit her 3A with her SP setup that would eliminate the telegraphing and add an entry steps bullet so theoretically she could probably earn a +3 or +4 with an optimized 3A, but it wasn’t the case in this FS, IMO.

We saw in the warmup and in practices how well Higuchi can hit the 3A with minimal setup, and when she does I would agree it’s better than You’s. But I think the tech caller and judges got it right as far as the q call and the resultant GOE.
Higuchi seems to land the 3A better when she doesn't enter with too much speed and just lets her jumping power do it. Her last couple of comps she had step outs after fully rotating it, so I think she maybe overcompensated this time looking to find the sweet spot.
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Higuchi seems to land the 3A better when she doesn't enter with too much speed and just lets her jumping power do it. Her last couple of comps she had step outs after fully rotating it, so I think she maybe overcompensated this time looking to find the sweet spot.
Yeah I think you’re right. If you go into an axel particularly with too much speed it can throw the takeoff off because you need to transfer your forward momentum into upwards momentum. If you mess up the timing the jump’s height is compromised, and you risk UR or worse. It’s a work in progress but it’s nice to see her going for it and actually competitive again!
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Somebody called Higuchi a Japanese Tuktamysheva and I see why but it’s a different scenario. Liza HAS to attempt triple axels (plural) against the quadsters (and an in form Kostornaia) in her country. Higuchi needs the triple axel to have a shot of challenging an in-form Kihira but she can hang with Sakamoto who didn’t do any triple axel or quad - just strong jumping. Sakamoto was totally overscored on PCS but I actually think her lutz has improved more than others are giving credit for. Maybe it still deserves a ! but it’s not an “e” to me. I still can’t quite get behind Sakamoto’s skating though - it’s still too unrefined and the arm movements are still too mechanical and there’s an awkwardness about her. Some parts of her SP are just a little too wild - sometimes I couldn’t tell in her footwork if she was about to stumble or if was intentional. I will say though her speed has improved so much and she is more confident. And the distance on that 2A, wowzers.
 

nussnacker

one and only
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
Sakamoto was totally overscored on PCS but I actually think her lutz has improved more than others are giving credit for. Maybe it still deserves a ! but it’s not an “e” to me.
It's still an e, it's just the edge change happens last second, but still pretty visible. For Kaori, like Medvedeva, I don't think it's even fixable.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
I was honestly surprised she used the way shorter set up (even with a rocker in I think) in the SP! It looks really cool, so I do hope she keeps it... might depend on her progress until nationals I guess? And regarding the LP 3A, how the one in the SP went. And I really hope she lands it, because Bird set free clean with 3A would be amazing ^^
It was nice, but it also led to a fall on the 3A
Yeah I think you’re right. If you go into an axel particularly with too much speed it can throw the takeoff off because you need to transfer your forward momentum into upwards momentum. If you mess up the timing the jump’s height is compromised, and you risk UR or worse. It’s a work in progress but it’s nice to see her going for it and actually competitive again!
I saw a Japanese TV program where Rika spoke about this phenomenon. She says she never goes into her 3A at full speed because she will go off axis, but she prefers a quick set up and quick timing. I was relying on automated translation so I can’t say if my understanding is 100% correct. However, Rika has had time to perfect the tricky balance between speed, power, and control. I think Wakaba and You will get there eventually, too.
 
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herro

On the Ice
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
Can anyone else confirm that when Higuchi was taking off for her 3A in the free skate that she appears to accidentally graze the ice with her free leg as she is swinging it forwards? I was watching a low quality video on Youtube and kept repeating the take off on slow motion and she seems to catch the ice as she is getting ready to take off... but it could have been the video quality playing tricks on my eyes.

I've never had a 3A, but I can't imagine myself doing a successful 2A if my right leg did that before takeoff.
 

Lunalovesskating

Moonbear power 🐻
Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 3, 2018
Can anyone else confirm that when Higuchi was taking off for her 3A in the free skate that she appears to accidentally graze the ice with her free leg as she is swinging it forwards? I was watching a low quality video on Youtube and kept repeating the take off on slow motion and she seems to catch the ice as she is getting ready to take off... but it could have been the video quality playing tricks on my eyes.

I've never had a 3A, but I can't imagine myself doing a successful 2A if my right leg did that before takeoff.
Her second foot did not touch the ice. It was your video quality
 

Joekaz

On the Ice
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Somebody called Higuchi a Japanese Tuktamysheva and I see why but it’s a different scenario. Liza HAS to attempt triple axels (plural) against the quadsters (and an in form Kostornaia) in her country. Higuchi needs the triple axel to have a shot of challenging an in-form Kihira but she can hang with Sakamoto who didn’t do any triple axel or quad - just strong jumping. Sakamoto was totally overscored on PCS but I actually think her lutz has improved more than others are giving credit for. Maybe it still deserves a ! but it’s not an “e” to me. I still can’t quite get behind Sakamoto’s skating though - it’s still too unrefined and the arm movements are still too mechanical and there’s an awkwardness about her. Some parts of her SP are just a little too wild - sometimes I couldn’t tell in her footwork if she was about to stumble or if was intentional. I will say though her speed has improved so much and she is more confident. And the distance on that 2A, wowzers.
Kaori is one of those skaters that you can love and hate her skating at the same time. Lol
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
It was nice, but it also led to a fall on the 3A

I saw a Japanese TV program where Rika spoke about this phenomenon. She says she never goes into her 3A at full speed because she will go off axis, but she prefers a quick set up and quick timing. I was relying on automated translation so I can’t say if my understanding is 100% correct. However, Rika has had time to perfect the tricky balance between speed, power, and control. I think Wakaba and You will get there eventually, too.
Makes sense! I think part of the key to Rika's 3A is that she just kinda does it like it's any other jump in her program. Like there's no buildup or telegraphing saying "this is my big ticket element!" Kinda goes both ways for a viewer, if you like the anticipation and buildup, sometimes a telegraphed jump can do that, but a seamlessly done difficult jump with little set-up or a creative set-up is also impressive like "Whoa, that 3A came out of nowhere".
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Kaori is one of those skaters that you can love and hate her skating at the same time. Lol
I think I love her skating more than I hate it lol. She's one of those scrappy skaters, who isn't as elegant but she's trying. And at least if she can't be the most pleasant to watch, she can still make her elements more impressive. Even on her spins I noticed greater attack and speed. She's making technical improvements everywhere and that's nice to see.
 

Apple1078

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Marin Honda is still my favorite in this competition. Maybe, she doesn't have the technical content right now to challenge the top skater. But, gosh ! Her edge, skating and interpretation to the music are beautiful to watch.

I'm glad that she came back to the giving SP ! This was my favorite SP from her and I hope that she keep the giving for the Olympic season. This program is a masterpiece.

I wonder how Marin could upgrade her technical content ? She needs a jump coach because for the rest of her skating, she is the complete package for me.
Love Marin. She's not really a contender for anything but she's such a joy to watch.
 
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