2020 NHK Trophy: Thoughts on Men

treblemakerem

On the Ice
Joined
Dec 24, 2014
I said it in the thread, but I think Yuma is the real deal.
The others underperformed but I still liked the performance from most of them. Japan has a lot of depth considering Yuzu and Shoma weren’t even here and I really appreciate the good skating skills and style. Really enjoyed this event even though I had to stay up until 4 in the morning 😴
 

ladyjane

Medalist
Joined
Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
I found it to be enjoyable, especially since the best came last. Yuma was on fire, and had a fantastic skate. A pity there were so many axels singled out among the men. However, to me the Japanese men - even with mistakes and under performing - are always a joy to watch. A pity of course that Yuzu and Shoma weren't there, but they had an excellent replacement in place!
 
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KiraraChin

Medalist
Joined
May 5, 2018
Yuma's victory was well deserved, as well as the GOE on his jumps, but his PCS as usual were terribly inflated...
In a fair world, Kazuki and Keiji would be getting the highest PCS in that field, even with messy skates. Like it happened in Ladies, they gave very low PCS to pretty much everyone, apart from their fave. Poor Sota got one of the lowest PCS of the event, I don't believe he deserved that.
 

gsk8

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Country
United-States
From Tanaka
“It’s not the placement, but there was a lot to do coming into the Free and there were so many things I didn’t get right,” said the 26-year-old. “I landed one quad, so it was a step forward from yesterday. Missing the Axels is a terrible outcome. I popped the Axels and the coaches said the back outside edge going into takeoff was a bit weak.”
 

Colonel Green

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Country
Canada
A disappointing event other than Yuma, who is a marvel and looked like he was in a different competition entirely compared to the rest. He's Shoma Uno with much cleaner jump technique.

A shoutout to Lucas Honda for doubtless ruining so many people's predictions (mine included).
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Yuma was absolutely outstanding. That 4S to open his FS was one of the best I’ve seen. His jumps are clean and excellent technique (love the knee bend and flow he gets on the exit) and he shows wonderful extension in his arm movements and has beautiful edges. I know a lot can happen but I would say he is definitely a contender for the Olympic podium. Just a wonderful skate.
 

draqq

FigureSkatingPhenom
Record Breaker
Joined
May 10, 2010
Yuma has the brightest future with the security of his jumps and the great, almost Oda-like ride-out from his jumps (if not better in some instances). I hope they continue to develop his second mark because he still skates like a junior - not a lot of interpretation or artistic impression, but a lot of technical impression to make up for it.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Yuma's victory was well deserved, as well as the GOE on his jumps, but his PCS as usual were terribly inflated...
In a fair world, Kazuki and Keiji would be getting the highest PCS in that field, even with messy skates. Like it happened in Ladies, they gave very low PCS to pretty much everyone, apart from their fave. Poor Sota got one of the lowest PCS of the event, I don't believe he deserved that.
Yes, what did Sota ever do to make the judges hate him so? :( Falling doesn't justify it.
Yuma has the brightest future with the security of his jumps and the great, almost Oda-like ride-out from his jumps (if not better in some instances). I hope they continue to develop his second mark because he still skates like a junior - not a lot of interpretation or artistic impression, but a lot of technical impression to make up for it.
PCS scoring here was too closely tied to TES. I think the gulf between Yuma and the rest was created mainly by his clean skate. It's nice that JSF values cleanliness and consistency but the two scores should be more independent.
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Yes, what did Sota ever do to make the judges hate him so? :( Falling doesn't justify it.

PCS scoring here was too closely tied to TES. I think the gulf between Yuma and the rest was created mainly by his clean skate. It's nice that JSF values cleanliness and consistency but the two scores should be more independent.
I like Sota a lot but it wasn’t just a fall. He had errors on 5 of 7 jumping passes.

He erred on all three jumping passes in the SP but still had the 5th-best PCS considering that.
 

Stank Face

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
I agree with those who said Yuma needs to improve his performance and interpretation, but one of the reasons his PCS was the highest by several points is because he had the best skating skills in the field. In fact, he has some of the best skating skills in the world. He skates extremely fast, and his knee bend and edges are incredible. His SS should be in the 9s if we’re being honest and judging him like he isn’t brand new to Senior. The problem is the SS score has always kind of been the base mark for the rest of the components for some reason, meaning there is never much variation between the individual components. If someone scores in the 8s for skating skills, most of the rest of their components are going to be in the 8s. Usually the transitions mark is the lowest. Actually, Yuma’s program had quite complex transitions and choreography (courtesy of Lori Nichol). I would have scored his SS in the 9s, his TR and CO in the high 8s, and his PE and IN in the high 7s or 8 max.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Yuma's victory was well deserved, as well as the GOE on his jumps, but his PCS as usual were terribly inflated...
In a fair world, Kazuki and Keiji would be getting the highest PCS in that field, even with messy skates. Like it happened in Ladies, they gave very low PCS to pretty much everyone, apart from their fave. Poor Sota got one of the lowest PCS of the event, I don't believe he deserved that.

I am not sure I agree completely as to favoritism being the real cause of this difference.

First, it was obvious from this competition that Japanese federation was only willing to reward essentially flawless performances Yuma/Kaori with good PCS/GOE. Had Kazuki (and especially Keiji who has the SS that JF loves) been clean their PCS would have been very high. They prefer clean performances and believe petformances with pops/ falls don't deserve high GOE/PCS.

Second, while I don't love Yuma (especially this year, I was more into his skating last year) you would have to be blind not to see that he really is exceptional in all PCS categories except for performance. I think Keiji and Kazuki are better performers (Yuma's face shows no emotion) , but they don't have better SS than Yuma, better executed transitions, better posture, or better musicality. (Keiji's SS and posture are equally good..Kazuki and Keiji's musicality are equally good but they aren't better and with mistakes the marks went down)

JF is harsh on its own skaters and that is probably disheartening for the skaters, but it also lets them know exactly what the federation wants them to do in order to get higher scores. The skaters on the podium were correct (as in ladies) and I don't think we can worry too much about the relative scoring. Japan fed has a message for its skaters.. be clean, have great SS, have few technical flaws and you will be rewarded.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Quick note about my favorite Shun. He really wasn't even close to his best here. I love that kid but injury is really taking a toll. His SS looked worse, his posture looked worse and his programs aren't doing him any favors. That being said, I still believe in him and love his skating for some reason??? His little face looks so crestfallen when he makes mistakes. At least it looks likes he has a supportive coach. He has to stop throwing in jumps like that, but I don't think he is going to stop that YOLO attitude so I just wish him recovery and success.
 
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Stank Face

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
I am not sure I agree completely as to favoritism being the real cause of this difference.

First, it was obvious from this competition that Japanese federation was only willing to reward essentially flawless performances Yuma/Kaori with good PCS/GOE. Had Kazuki (and especially Keiji who has the SS that JF loves) been clean their PCS would have been very high. They prefer clean performances and believe petformances with pops/ falls don't deserve high GOE/PCS.

Second, while I don't love Yuma (especially this year, I was more into his skating last year) you would have to be blind not to see that he really is exceptional in all PCS categories except for performance. I think Keiji and Kazuki are better performers (Yuma's face shows no emotion) , but they don't have better SS than Yuma, better executed transitions, better posture, or better musicality. (Keiji's SS and posture are equally good..Kazuki and Keiji's musicality are equally good but they aren't better and with mistakes the marks went down)

JF is harsh on its own skaters and that is probably disheartening for the skaters, but it also lets them know exactly what the federation wants them to do in order to get higher scores. The skaters on the podium were correct (as in ladies) and I don't think we can worry too much about the relative scoring. Japan fed has a message for its skaters.. be clean, have great SS, have few technical flaws and you will be rewarded.
I agree with your assessment of what JF wants. However, they’re ultimately shooting themselves in the foot because they don’t play the political game like RusFed and USFS do. JF shouldn’t lowball/undermark their skaters in PCS because it gives permission to the international judges to do the same. If you don’t show any love to your own skaters, then how can you expect judges from other countries to show your skaters love? When RusFed judges give Trusova 66 for PCS, even with 4 falls, it’s ridiculous and unfair, but it gives judges from other countries the impression that she’s actually deserving of such scores. Whereas when a federation scores a skater relatively low for PCS, it gives the impression to international judges that said skater really isn’t that good and isn’t deserving of anything higher. Figure skating is as much, if not more, about how a skater is perceived as it is about what they actually do on the ice. JF seems to forget that.
 

Stank Face

Rinkside
Joined
Nov 28, 2020
Quick note about my favorite Shun. He really wasn't even close to his best here. I love that kid but injury is really taking a toll. His SS looked worse, his posture looked worse and his programs aren't doing him any favors. That being said, I still believe in him and love his skating for some reason??? His little face looks so crestfallen when he makes mistakes. At least it looks likes he has a supportive coach. He has to stop throwing in jumps like that, but I don't think he is going to stop that YOLO attitude so I just wish him recovery and success.
Why do you love Shun, but not Yuma? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can love whoever you want. I’m just curious considering you said yourself that Yuma has great skating skills and Shun’s aren’t the greatest. And I won’t comment on Shun’s spins lol
 

AlimaAsh

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 21, 2018
Quick note about my favorite Shun. He really wasn't even close to his best here. I love that kid but injury is really taking a toll. His SS looked worse, his posture looked worse and his programs aren't doing him any favors. That being said, I still believe in him and love his skating for some reason??? His little face looks so crestfallen when he makes mistakes. At least it looks likes he has a supportive coach. He has to stop throwing in jumps like that, but I don't think he is going to stop that YOLO attitude so I just wish him recovery and success.
YOLO attitude is a great way to put it :laugh:.

I guess it’s good for him to be so determined (TAT would love him) but it wouldn’t hurt him to be more strategic and realistic with his layouts. Like, there was literally no reason to go for three quads in this field, he could have been easily third with a clean program with one quad :bang:.

I’m saying all of this, but I hope Shun has a great recovery and will be able to skate as well as and the way he wants to.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
Why do you love Shun, but not Yuma? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You can love whoever you want. I’m just curious considering you said yourself that Yuma has great skating skills and Shun’s aren’t the greatest. And I won’t comment on Shun’s spins lol
His spins are atrocious aren’t they :palmf:. He was really trying to get enough rotations in each position for level 4s this time, but he was so slow.About your question, I can be objective even about skaters that I love so I realize that objectively Yuma is a better skater. I enjoy his skating, but it feels without soul this year. I think he is striving for perfection and leaving out the heart right now.Which is likely just one step on his journey as a skater, I will likely love him again soon.

My love for Shun really comes from three things. First, I feel he is the underdog and has no idea how truly talented he is. I feel motherly toward him and want him to succeed. I love a humble nerd and he is one. Secondly, he is fearless. Thirdly, when not injured his jumping skills are really unparalleled. I believe he can land a 5T or a quad axel. If you don’t believe me look at his LP at JGPF last year, and see how much time he has left in the air when he finishes rotating those elements. Finally, he skates with his heart on his sleeve. Basically, I have adopted him in my heart and the ugliest spins won’t remove him from it. :hap10:
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Actually, Yuma’s program had quite complex transitions and choreography (courtesy of Lori Nichol). I would have scored his SS in the 9s, his TR and CO in the high 8s, and his PE and IN in the high 7s or 8 max.
Nailed it. Yuma has the best skating skills and the best packaging. Other stuff, not so much. The other men and many of the mid-ranked ladies are not getting quality choreography (innovative, showcasing their strengths, but most importantly with high TR/CO scoring potential). I know not everyone gets access to Nichol/SLB/Tom Dickson/Richaud, but surely the domestic choreographers could make a bit more effort? As for SS, yeah that's the skater's responsibility.
First, it was obvious from this competition that Japanese federation was only willing to reward essentially flawless performances Yuma/Kaori with good PCS/GOE. Had Kazuki (and especially Keiji who has the SS that JF loves) been clean their PCS would have been very high. They prefer clean performances and believe petformances with pops/ falls don't deserve high GOE/PCS.
I'm not sure if that's a good strategy in the long run, though. Wasn't there some argument in another thread that US ladies are stalling because their overemphasis on clean skates discourages skaters from attempting and getting habituated to high-difficulty elements? (Although that didn't stop the guys and girls here from trying lots of quads/3As... maybe because they know that it's an inevitable requirement to be at the top internationally.)
My love for Shun really comes from three things. First, I feel he is the underdog and has no idea how truly talented he is. I feel motherly toward him and want him to succeed. I love a humble nerd and he is one. Secondly, he is fearless. Thirdly, when not injured his jumping skills are really unparalleled. I believe he can land a 5T or a quad axel. If you don’t believe me look at his LP at JGPF last year, and see how much time he has left in the air when he finishes rotating those elements. Finally, he skates with his heart on his sleeve. Basically, I have adopted him in my heart and the ugliest spins won’t remove him from it.
Count me in as a fellow Shun fan! Faves don't have to be perfect, just have special qualities that speak to you. Shun reminds me of pre-Sochi Hanyu (or current Trusova), supernatural potential that hasn't been fully realised yet. Improve consistency, refine the non-jumping areas and he will rise very quickly. Side note, Shun shares a certain aggressive skating quality with Kao (reminds me of some Russian young men), but is a bit more grounded and doesn't make as many mistakes (when not injured).
 
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