Thoughts on Men's FS at Japanese Nats?

Ali81

Rinkside
Joined
Feb 11, 2018
My thoughts are that the judges appeared to have worked quite hard to stifle Yuzuru Hanyu’s score. I mean you have one of the all time greats putting down a flawless performance at Nationals, just shower him with the max for heaven’s sake!
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Country
Japan
I think Japan has never looked stronger.
Yuzuru came back looking better than ever, despite not having a coach, brand-new programs, and not having skated for almost a year. His programs and performances were so impressive that I feel certain he now has the ability to beat Nathan at Worlds. I love his programs, and he really was incredible.
Shoma has improved so much. His short and free skates were messy, but he seems happier skating now than last year. Lambiel has really given Shoma a chance for his personality to shine through, and he's much more enjoyable to watch and seems more focused and dedicated. Shoma appears much more relaxed when he's skating and is a lot more fun to watch.
Yuma also had a rough free skate here, but he has so much potential. His speed is incredible, and his skating skills really good for a 17-year-old. He lands his jumps beautifully, and managed to not fall on a pretty bad quad toe in one of the most impressive saves of the season. He almost never falls on quads. He's going to develop into another Japanese superstar.
Right now, Japan is the team to beat. Assuming they name Yuzuru, Shoma, and Yuma to Worlds (if they happen), Japan will have a stacked lineup with the current top skater in the world, an Olympic silver medalist, and one of the most promising young skaters since Yuzuru Hanyu. They are going to crush Beijing 2022.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Country
Japan
My thoughts are that the judges appeared to have worked quite hard to stifle Yuzuru Hanyu’s score. I mean you have one of the all time greats putting down a flawless performance at Nationals, just shower him with the max for heaven’s sake!
I wouldn't say they tried to stifle Yuzuru, but he was underscored for several elements. The judges were SUPER stingy with step sequences - Yuzu got a level 3 for his free skate and definitely deserved a 4. Assuming he skates clean at Worlds (if they happen), it wouldn't surprise me if he set new world records with these programs. He's really incredible right now.
 

yume

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 11, 2016
Yuzu's FS is definitely my second fave long program from him. I love the music, the composition, the costume. I was expecting 220+ but anyway, it's Japan.

My favorite jumping pass is the the last one. 3A with twizzles + inside spread eagle exit.
 

Colonel Green

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Country
Canada
- Hanyu had his best free since 2017 Worlds, quite impressive. Perhaps the time away from competition (and training, for a while) was good for him. Given that he doesn't change programs frequently, I wonder if we'll see this free carry over into next season.

- Uno also looked quite good here, having settled into his coaching arrangement. Another one we hadn't seen before this event (indeed, not since last nationals). Not a huge fan of the program.

- Kagiyama was so close to that silver medal, but not today. Very solid, if not as good as NHK.

- Tanaka continues to pull out good performances at nationals after iffy early seasons.
 

el henry

Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
What can you say about Yuzu? A force of nature.

I still have a fondness for Rockin' Yuzu over classical Yuzu, but to come out with two programs like that:eek:

Shoma looks like he is having fun on the ice, and that's what I like to see. Of course, I've always been a fan of the Champéry team, so I'm happy to see him there and happy he's happy.

I still need time to warm up to young Yuma. He comes to play, that's for sure:biggrin:
 

gsk8

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Country
United-States
Hanyu explains a bit about his beginning pose in the FS :)
“At the beginning of the piece, I imagine that I am fighting,” he continued. “Then the part with the Biwa begins. This is not part of the actual piece and was cut in by me. It symbolizes that I actually don’t want to fight, but have to in order to protect my loved ones. The biwa as an instrument was best suited for this. I wanted to bring in typical Japanese elements with the traditional instruments. For me, it represents the battles of Kawanakajima where (Uesugi) Kenshin and Takeda (Shingen) fight each other. I developed many different versions of the piece, but since I’m not a professional musician, I just adapted it to the step sequences and my choreography.”
 

TallyT

Here for the High Lord of Extra
Record Breaker
Joined
Apr 23, 2018
Country
Australia
Jackie Wong called the program 'subtle and compelling' and for once I agree with him 🥰

I also really enjoyed Shoma's and I think Stephane has been good for him - we should also remember that although his coaching situation was better than Yuzuru's, again this was his first competition this year (actually I think since Worlds?) and he had to quarantine.
 
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silveruskate

On the Ice
Joined
Mar 20, 2019
I would switch Shoma and Yuzuru's PCS, as a Yuzuru fan that doesn't like Shoma much. Something about the program feels empty, but the jumps were perfection.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
Joined
Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
The judges were SUPER stingy with step sequences - Yuzu got a level 3 for his free skate and definitely deserved a 4.
He gets level 3s sometimes in his free skate, especially the last two seasons where he was injured/tired. Performance commitment and interpretation is marked through PCS, not levels (TES). A sequence can be snoozeworthy but still get level 4 if it ticks the boxes, and an entertaining one might not. I'm no technical specialist, but sometimes his footwork isn't that clean e.g. brackets or rockers look flattish or twizzles are choppy 3-turns. He has great flow, but that would be reflected in GOE/the SS component of PCS.

On a positive note, so happy we got treated to 2 new programmes (and practically clean at that)! Hope he keeps them for next year. I really liked the short - Yuzuru suits rock music really well, yet it's rare to see him skate to it in competition. The long is great too - Heaven and Earth is a bit similar to Seimei, but feels somehow more mature, like a historical epic versus mystical fantasy (I love both genres though!). The symphonic orchestration sounds more classically Japanese and gives off a more indigenous vibe than Seimei. Less like Japan viewed through the lens of an outsider, if that makes sense. For the first time in 5 years I also like his costumes! The SP one is my favourite of all (love a fitted jacket!) and the LP one is simple but effective with just the right amount of flow (I'm also a big tunic fan).

It was nice to see Shoma again too, evidently Stephane's group has been working away quietly in Switzerland :) The coaching vibe looks comfy for him. The rest of the men did pretty well, definitely better than NHK at least 😅 However, excepting Shoma and Yuzuru, I'm not sure how the Japanese and Russian men's fields would stack up against each other - they have similar maximum scoring potential when they're on, but are all a bit inconsistent or not at their best currently. Even the more consistent guys/potential heirs apparent like Yuma Kagiyama and Andrei Mozalev didn't have great Nationals...

I hope that Shun rests and recuperates and that Kao gets a handle on his nerves and tidies up the non-jump stuff... also whatever ails Sota, I hope he can regroup for next season!
 

nussnacker

one and only
Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 16, 2019
I think being alone and coachless, as well as having a very good break and rest did wonders to Yuzuru‘s shape. He clearly needed this time off and be able to work out what fits him best himself, just on his own.
He looked so ON, like he didn’t for a while.
Now Nathan should be shaking (that’s a joke, don’t take it seriously!), cause Yuzuru from yesterday is going for that third Olympic gold at full speed.
A true king!
 

TontoK

Hot Tonto
Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Country
United-States
He gets level 3s sometimes in his free skate, especially the last two seasons where he was injured/tired. Performance commitment and interpretation is marked through PCS, not levels (TES). A sequence can be snoozeworthy but still get level 4 if it ticks the boxes, and an entertaining one might not. I'm no technical specialist, but sometimes his footwork isn't that clean e.g. brackets or rockers look flattish or twizzles are choppy 3-turns. He has great flow, but that would be reflected in GOE/the SS component of PCS.
Thank you. Many fans do not understand this.

Step levels (and spin levels, for that matter) are not determined by how much we enjoy them.
 

Blades of Passion

Skating is Art, if you let it be
Record Breaker
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
- Hanyu had his best free since 2017 Worlds, quite impressive.
2019 Worlds, Skate Canada, and GPF were all better than this performance I think. He was squeaky clean on the jumps here, but there was less difficulty, and the program is his one of his weakest.
 

Colonel Green

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 3, 2018
Country
Canada
2019 Worlds, Skate Canada, and GPF were all better than this performance I think. He was squeaky clean on the jumps here, but there was less difficulty, and the program is his one of his weakest.
Being squeaky clean on the jumps is what I was talking about.

And this was not less difficult than the programs you list (other than the Final, where he did a quad Lutz; but he completely ran out of gas by the final minute of that performance, so there's no way that's better than this).
 

zanadude

Medalist
Joined
Feb 20, 2016
Being squeaky clean on the jumps is what I was talking about.
Hanyu cared most about using this competition to send a message of hope to the Japanese people. For this performance, making everything look good was a far higher priority that trying to max out the tech components. To everyone else, this was the free skate; for him, it was an exhibition.
 

readernick

Medalist
Joined
Dec 5, 2015
For the first time in 5 yeowever, excepting Shoma and Yuzuru, I'm not sure how the Japanese and Russian men's fields would stack up against each other - they have similar maximum scoring potential when they're on, but are all a bit inconsistent or not at their best currently. Even the more consistent guys/potential heirs apparent like Yuma Kagiyama and Andrei Mozalev didn't have great Nationals...
I agree with almost your whole post. But, I don't think the Mozalev vs. Kagiyama face off would be that hard to predict if they skate the way they have been this season. Kayigama errors here included a couple of doubles that should have been triples and a step out on a quad. This has been how he has skating all season. Almost flawlessly. Mozalev has been struggling. He fell 3 times at this competition. Plus, while Mozalev has some strong basics he isn't going to challenge Kagiyama in the PCS department. To me, it seems like the top internationally competitive men at these two competitions are the top 3 Japanese plus the fabulous Kolyada. After that, the level of either consistency or performance ability goes down radically.

I do hope both Mozalev ( whose tears really broke my heart) and Shun ( my child) have a better second senior season! They are both immensely talented.
 

lariko

Medalist
Joined
Jan 31, 2019
Country
Canada
I didn’t have a chance to see the competition, just a few separate performances, which is always more boring for me, but I was happy to see Uno again, and it overshadow everything else, particularly after pretty sad showing on Rus nationals...
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
Country
Japan
I agree with almost your whole post. But, I don't think the Mozalev vs. Kagiyama face off would be that hard to predict if they skate the way they have been this season. Kayigama errors here included a couple of doubles that should have been triples and a step out on a quad. This has been how he has skating all season. Almost flawlessly. Mozalev has been struggling. He fell 3 times at this competition. Plus, while Mozalev has some strong basics he isn't going to challenge Kagiyama in the PCS department. To me, it seems like the top internationally competitive men at these two competitions are the top 3 Japanese plus the fabulous Kolyada. After that, the level of either consistency or performance ability goes down radically.

I do hope both Mozalev ( whose tears really broke my heart) and Shun ( my child) have a better second senior season! They are both immensely talented.
I really have high hopes for Andrei and Shun. I think they probably should've stayed in juniors another year, but their quads both have such potential. With practice and time, they will definitely be successful.
 
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