「初めての大一番」 (Hajimete no Ooichiban)
“First Big Win”

Right when Special Week was starting to build a following from her and Team Spica’s series of victories, she had her first defeat. Seiun Sky was able to avenge her previous loss to Special Week by going about a completely different strategy once they came up on the hill in a surprisingly thrilling race that would be Seuin’s grand comeback. It was the first time Special Week faced something as crushing as a loss as she heads to the venting stump to cry. There’s also another layer to loss as she interacts with girls who have dealt with injury on the track like Grass Wonder, whose leg injury lends itself to the idea that there are harsher consequences to making any mistakes on the field. Defeat is one thing, but it is far scarier for a horse to get long-lasting leg issues.

There is also some added tension as Toujou Hana puts the pressure on the Trainer to take his training more seriously than he did when he left if he wants his team and Special Week to succeed. Although he’s been telling the girls to go about racing with their own instincts, this mentality is most likely the problem that got the Trainer in hot water the last time he left the academy. It is interesting though how the show is introducing more dramatic elements because it seemed like it was getting too easy for Spica, and Special Week was having a hard time making the intense rivalries found in other sports anime. Seiun Sky is too lax outside of the field to gun for Special Week, but I can see her defeat sparking other girls to go after Special. To paraphrase Accelerator, some could be mislead into thinking that because her status is weaker, it means they are stronger.

On a brighter note, this was also the episode where Tokai Teio teaches Team Spica how to improve their idol game after Symboli Rudolf is repulsed by the fact that there are now winners who have no skill performing on-stage. It was funny to see how every other scene with Gold Ship has her distracted by other things such as trying to split a watermelon, solving a Rubix cube, and meditating during Tokai’s karaoke/dance lessons. There are also some humorous nods to the real life horses that the girls are based off of such as Special Week’s ability to gain weight at an instant.

But one interesting aspect of Tokai is how her aspirations steered towards wanting to be like Symboli. There’s an underlying feeling that even though Tokai says she shares Special Week’s goal of being the greatest, her desires are more with being able to match up to the level of prestige that Symboli has reached as the leader of the student council, and her aim to eventually run with her gives more meaning to her pursuit of what success means to her. And it makes it meaningful for Uma Musume to outright have characters who go beyond just wanting to be number one, and have their own personal milestones they want to reach with their peers and mentors.


  1. But one interesting aspect of Tokai is how her aspirations steered towards wanting to be like Symboli.

    Can’t blame Teio for wanting to follow in her “father”‘s footsteps.

    1. I do think the skirt did make her loose but not in the expected way. It didn’t fall off, but it was clearly too tight. If it was too tight it would effect blood circulation in her body. When sprinting like that even the smallest factor can change the outcome. She even wondered herself why she couldn’t run faster like she did before. Well, the skirt is the culprit

    2. Compared to the first episode’s thigh thing, they seemed to handle Special Week’s setback more maturely in the sense that her struggle was probably from discomfort in her clothes not fitting as opposed to a wardrobe malfunction.

  2. Magnus Tancred
    1. Loved how Gold Ship just winged it and went all out rather than collapsed. Where it shows that she might be unconventional in her performance and training, but very effective and efficient. Don’t know how the newspaper could say she was doing badly when she was really hyped up and doing handstands

      1. Apparently her real-life counterpart was well known for not taking training seriously, and being very unpredictable in races to the point of “being nowhere” despite having odds of 1.3 to 1 in one of the biggest races of his career. That eccentricity, combined with being one of the most successful horses in Japanese horse racing history, seems to be part of his popularity 🙂

  3. There’s also another layer to loss as she interacts with girls who have dealt with injury on the track like Grass Wonder, whose leg injury lends itself to the idea that there are harsher consequences to making any mistakes on the field. Defeat is one thing, but it is far scarier for a horse to get long-lasting leg issues.

    Since the names of this girls (some of them appearently ridiculous) are the names of real horses, I wanted to check for a bit. And now your words ring like a dark foreshadowing for certain characters, especially Silence Suzuka. Check the horse’s Wikipedia entry:

    On different matters, I still can’t understand the whole idol thing. Seriously, it doesn’t make sense. Would the fastest horse girl alive be ostracized because she isn’t a good dancer? Would talented performers never get a chance because they aren’t the fastest? I know that “putting idols into everything” is a classic fanservice move, but here I think it spoils what could be a fascinatingly weird combination of horse races and sports anime. Turning horses into “cute monster girls” would have been enough fanservice already.

    But perhaps it’s just me. I confess I’m not a fan of the Japanese idol trend.

    1. Reading up on horse knowledge, Silence Suzuka’s story sounds like it’ll be very upsetting around the end. Grass Wonder getting a temporary leg injury and Special Week’s weight gain were little tidbits, but it’ll be rough if they go into the horses that aren’t with us today.

      The idol aspect does seem like its shorehorned in to be more of an audience-grabber. If I had to search for a reason, it might be their equivalent of a horse show where instead of being examined for their walk, strut, or jump, it’s their musical talent.

      1. They kinda backed themselves into a corner with Silence Suzuka. It’s really cool to have her in the show because she’s extremely fast and it’s fun to see her destroy the competition. But the show wants Special Week to be “number one,” whatever that means, so common sense would dictate eventually Week will compete with and defeat Suzuka. Here’s the problem with that. They never competed in real life. Suzuka was already dead when Week started to compete at the same level. So it would feel kinda disrespectful to have Week defeat her when no one can say for sure if Week would have won in real life. Assumptions can be made, but… And note Suzuka was the most popular racing horse of its time and the fans were heartbroken when he died. It wouldn’t do to tarnish his name.

        So, it looks like the only way out is to play the injury card. It might not be as serious as it was in real life. Maybe just serious enough to have Suzuka out of the competition for a season or something like that. But yeah, I think they’re gonna play the card at the end. It would also be pretty emotional since they’re portraying them as close friends so it’d feel like Week is inheriting Suzuka’s goal of making people dream (what an awesome goal btw, much more interesting than just wanting to be “number one”).

  4. Finally! Some conflict that actually MEANS something, in this show!! While I don’t expect the apocolypse, for a while I was starting to think there wouldn’t be any huge growth in this show. I have a feeling Special Week is gonna get over this loss really quickly though.

    1. I’m glad they’re introducing conflict this early because it does mean that even if Special Week is gonna bounce back, it offers something more than just giving us episodes of the girls training, slacking off, or winning constantly. It also sets up an opportunity to flesh out more of the characters like Seiun Sky and her personal ethos of winning and losing to give Special Week something to reflect on after her first loss.

    1. Apologies for the spoilers. I amended the title to be a little more subtle about it.

      I wasn’t sure how seriously spoilers had to be taken for Uma Musume given that it is a light-hearted cute series and figured that details on character deaths, betrayals, or the results of large momentous races are the only ones that should be hidden, but I’ll try to be more mindful of not giving anything away in the future.

  5. After 3 eps this basically seems to be another ‘Weird premise, generic execution’ anime. It doesn’t do anything special, but it doesn’t suck either. It even made me laugh a few times, like with Golden Ship in the training montage. I have to say I’m glad it skimps on the idol parts to concentrate on the races and the characters. What I’d like to see are some more interesting races like that first one where the silver haired tough girl was using all kinds of dirty tactics to try to win.


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