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Uma Musume Pretty Derby – 03 »« Uma Musume Pretty Derby – 01

Uma Musume Pretty Derby – 02

「いきなりのデビュー戦」 (Ikinari no Debyuu-sen)
“The Debut Race out of Nowhere”

Special Week isn’t the only thing that was super fast this week; so was my first episode post! So much so that it came out right at the gate right before I found out that Episode 02 quickly followed. Pairing the two together was a wonderful decision as the second episode helps to alleviate any of the concerns that those might’ve had for what tone the show would be going with. Rather than attaching this to the first episode (apologies for flooding the main page with double the Uma Musume), it would do justice to how this one justifies its concept by backing it up with its investment in world-building and its genuinely great cast.

Continuing where the first episode left off at, it explains the mechanics behind the races and the hierarchy of groups that Special Week’s Team Spica has to contend with. Special Week’s first race was engaging as it showed us just what her resolve meant to her in trying to wing it with the strategy of going about it her own way, and presenting it as a straight-up race. If it weren’t for the horse tails and ears, you could mistake it for being a fun track-and-field anime with shades of peppy school life antics. The idol aspect could be fleshed out a little more because it does feel the most tacked-on, but it’s also easy to understand as it could be explained as a way for a horse-girl to have versatility with mastery in athletics and showmanship. There aren’t as many prominent athletes that are good musicians, but perhaps Special Week can bridge the gap with some practice and preparation.

One aspect of Uma Musume that is great is how nice the cast has been so far. Aside from the feistier characters, everyone has been helpful or supportive to Special Week as she transitions into her new life at Tresen Academy. Tokai Teio is pumped up about showing Special Week around at school and opens up to her about her admiration about student council president Symboli Rudolf, Symboli herself wants to back up Special Week in her efforts as she takes it upon herself to help her understand the lesson in the academy’s motto, Fujikiseki is familiar with Special Week’s history and wants her to integrate into her dorm with ease, and Gold Ship is just a delight to watch. Even the Trainer isn’t as uncomfortable as he was in the first episode, and wants Special Week to understand what he means when he tells her to go with her own gut for her first race.

The most impressive turn of events is how wonderful Silence Suzuka has been. She takes to Special Week way quicker than most model students in anime who are the object of the main girl’s idolization. Special Week sees her as the ultimate star, but in sharing her room and life story with Silence Suzuka, she receives something far more fascinating with Suzuka’s admiration. Even though Suzuka could easily use her star athlete status to be above everyone, she’s so enamored with the drive that Special Week carries enough so that she goes out of her way to give her a pep talk and call her “Spe-chan” before sending her off.

What helps the second episode gain so much traction is Special Week as a character. Her quirkiness as a “fish out of water” is a lot of fun, but at the same time, we understand why she has the drive and talent she came to the academy with as her training has kept her equipped with strength, speed, and resilience. This also lends itself to her own origin story as she grew up with the idea that her foster mother’s push to instill her training onto Special Week was to carry on her birth mother’s dying wish. Some of the girls within the academy are familiar with who her late mother is, and their kindness is in part due to seeing how she wants to fulfill her mother’s legacy, but the introspection that Special Week tells Silence Suzuka of hints at an underlying wisdom behind the goofy, ditzy image that her inexperience with city life projects. Where preserving her foster mother’s dedication to living up to her birth mother’s dream gave her the drive to become the best racer in Japan, and the talent she has to back it up is as strong as ever. It’ll be neat to see where the show goes from here, and if it’ll take time to delve into the backstories of the other girls in Tresen Academy.

ED Sequence

ED: 「Glow Up Shine!」 by The Cast of Uma Musume

April 2, 2018 at 11:41 am
21 comments »
  • April 2, 2018 at 1:31 pmbrajt

    I wonder if “where’s the father” issue will be addressed at all. Is he a horse or a human? Are there male horses in this world at all? Is he dead? Did he run away on the mother declining to take responsibility for the child? Did the mother remove him from her child’s life for any particular reason? Did she just use him for sperm and alimony payments, planning to raise the child with that second mother right from the beginning? Was it rather a sperm bank instead?

    Unless it was an immaculate conception.

    • April 2, 2018 at 5:56 pmstarss

      Are there regular horses in this universe too?? … are their regular ANIMALS of any kind?? I mean we know there are birds at least. This could be into nasty CARS-level question avalanches!

      • April 3, 2018 at 1:47 amGreyman

        Sheep. Right there in Spe-chan’s beckstory.

    • April 3, 2018 at 5:48 amAngelus

      Horse girls are named after both male and female real-life horses, which suggests to me that there are no horse boys. So there are still several possibilities:

      1) Horse girls mate with normal human boys
      2) Horse girls named after stallions mate (somehow) with horse girls named after mares
      3) Horse girls are genetically engineered and so don’t need to mate (or some other type of virgin birth)
      4) Assuming they have real horses in that world… no, let’s not go there!

    • April 5, 2018 at 8:55 amChoya

      It wasn’t until I wrote everything out when I realized that there were regular humans in that world, including the trainer. The horse girls all looked like regular people, so it didn’t seem weird, but now that it’s all in the forefront, this society is very strange. Regular people are either doing their everyday thing or becoming trainers while horse girls are valued for their athletic skills.

      And then there’s reproduction where if it’d count as bestiality for a human to reproduce with a horse girl or if it’s just a way of life. It was highly developed and thought out in Centaur no Nayami, but because the mythos here either hasn’t explained it or doesn’t need to because it’d be inconsequential to the plot, it just feels weird that you have this world where horse girls are their own species who are treated differently, yet would have to reproduce somehow.

      Maybe it’s what caused Special Week’s mom to die in child birth and society has this whole oppressive Darling in the Franxx method of reproduction and child rearing. Maybe I’m just overthinking it and it was from complications because humans procreate with horse girl families all the time without issue.

  • April 2, 2018 at 5:56 pmstarss

    Oh good! I wondered if you knew the 2nd ep was up!

    I like the energy the OP and ED have. I do have a hang-up with one-cour anime in general about how they deal with large casts: flash their names on-screen for less than a second repeatedly. … that doesn’t effin HELP me!

    Also I researched some of the horses these girls are based on. As expected, most of them are from Japan exclusively, and some of them are even dead by now. For someone who doesn’t even bother following horse-racing in real life, I wonder just how engrossed in this show I’ll be. Eevrything so far seems as standard as they could be, for this premise.

    • April 2, 2018 at 7:58 pmAoihoshikage

      Dude, now you’ve got me looking up the Uma Musume race horses. Hopefully the history of these race horses didn’t spoil anything in this series. One things for sure, Uma Musume horses are all gender bent.

      I know what you mean by getting engrossed with certain shows. When I watched Yakitate! Japan years ago, I got into a bread baking craze. I still occasionally bake breads, cakes and pastries because of that show. Amanchu got me to put scuba diving on my bucket list of things to do. Amanchu season 2 will probably push me over the edge to get an actual license. After finishing Yuru Camp last season, I ended making a list of hiking trails and camp sites I’m planning to visit/re-visit. And Yorimoi got me thinking about visiting Antarctica until of course, I found out how expensive such a trip would be *so expensive my body rejected it*. Well, it would be the trip of a lifetime if I ever decide to sink that much money into such a trip (minimum $5k for a subpar cruise ship!). I suppose a new strategy for me is to get hooked on Uma Musume and then go bet on the horse races at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. If I’m lucky, I’ll win enough money for my Antarctica trip (or end up draining my bank account)…

      Watching Anime is dangerous, in more ways than one…

      • April 4, 2018 at 10:01 amstarss

        I may blame this show for making me addicted to betting on races lol. :D

    • April 5, 2018 at 9:05 amChoya

      They keep showing the names of every horse girl, yet I can’t help but feel like I’ll just forget them until they become more present in the plot or if they were eccentric enough to stand out. The funny thing about it though is how the names of the horses are based off of real life race horses, so looking up the names and seeing their record or whether they’re still alive or not is fascinating. Wonder if we’ll ever get Cloud Computing in the series?

  • April 2, 2018 at 5:59 pmstarss

    I liked how at the end Trainer admitted out loud that he forgot to train her in dancing! Haaaa. :D Best joke!

  • April 2, 2018 at 5:59 pmTrippwire

    “The one with the fastest hooves will win. That’s what Pretty Derby is.”

    I hate you. I hate you so much right now.

  • April 3, 2018 at 2:54 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    http://randomc.net/image/Uma%20Musume%20Pretty%20Derby/Uma%20Musume%20Pretty%20Derby%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2022.jpg

    I loved the flashback of showing Special Week’s foster mother training her and getting beat up doing so (obviously being a normal human), lol.

    • April 3, 2018 at 9:23 amstarss

      I like how her foster mother is dressed like a farmer who owns a pasture, like she’s training a real horse for the races! They try to find as many girl/horse parallels as they can and it’s really cute!

      • April 3, 2018 at 11:36 pmMagnus Tancred

        It’s likely that the foster mother is the trainer for Special Week’s biological mother.

    • April 5, 2018 at 9:06 amChoya

      Yeah, where she tries to keep up, but every time she either runs into a tree or falls off. The best one is definitely when she doesn’t anticipate how hard Special Week would tackle her.

  • April 3, 2018 at 4:24 amMakoto

    “The one with the fastest hooves will win. That’s what Pretty Derby is.”

    Nailed it!

  • April 3, 2018 at 2:43 pmac

  • April 4, 2018 at 10:15 amAnonymous

    Still trying to get into the series, but I hope to give it a chance. Look at SoraYomi when it first came out.