The competition, however, was anything but super as Hanyu won a nerve-racking free skate programme, littered with slips, blunders and stumbles by the leading contenders.
A day after smashing the 100-point barrier with a dazzling short programme, the 19-year-old Hanyu survived a fall on his opening quad and a touch down with both hands following his triple flip to win the gold with a total of 280.09 points.
His errors had opened the door for Patrick Chan to leapfrog him into first place but the Canadian failed to take advantage.
The triple world champion put his hands down following both his quadruple toeloop and triple Axel and also botched the landing on his double Axel.
The Axel jump has long been Chan's Achilles' heel and so it proved again on Friday as he was given 178.10 points for his flawed performance, earning a total of 275.62 - and squandering his chance to become the first Canadian to win the men's title.
"Oh my God, I was so nervous... I was so surprised," exclaimed Hanyu when he realised the blunders had not cost him the gold.
His coach Brian Orser celebrated back-to-back Olympic triumphs after guiding South Korea's Kim Yuna to the women's gold four years ago. He told Hanyu: "It's not over till it's over. A win is a win, is a win, is a win."
Kazakhstan's Denis Ten proved the surprise package of the night, skating cleanly to climb from ninth position to third and collect the bronze medal.
Twice European champion Javier Fernandez lost his chance of collecting a medal after an error dropped him from third overall to fifth.