「特訓ですっ!」 (Tokkun Desu!)
This was a relatively optimistic episode for Special Week, whose defeat against Seiun Sky only motivated her to try and take her training more seriously as she aims to lose weight and gain endurance. She was quite diligent with maintaining self-control over her eating habits that caused her to bloat up, but a bulk of her training came from the push that her fellow teammates placed on her as she faced Vodka’s rigorous work-out regimen, Toukai Teiou’s posture training, and Gold Ship’s enjoyment of seeing her free-falling off of a diving board.
Special Week’s big break this week comes from another defeat, although the close margin of her loss is enough to gather attention. Her solo race against Taiki Shuttle was prolific in that she was able to hold her own against Taiki with the techniques she had learned over time to slowly go neck-and-neck with her. It’s a testament to Uma Musume that in the process of showing us this race, it goes into in-depth explanation of the methods that a horse of Special Week’s stature would have to gallop and charge forward to conquer an incline as well as pick up speed. Even though she lost by a small amount, her effort attracted the attention of El Condor Pasa, and encouraged her to see her as a formidable rival.
It was quite a fun episode and luckily didn’t take itself too seriously after Seiun Sky beat Special Week. The training and racing segments were a lot of fun to watch, but it was also cool to see more of the side characters and how they tick. Team Spica’s plan for Special Week was funny with how aggressive Vodka wanted to work her and how Gold Ship kept daring her to jump into the pool. Haru Urara was a great addition to the cast with how cheery she was about her souvenirs, and Hishi Amazon was very funny with how she dropped the ball with waving the flag for the finish line. I’m wondering what foot in the door that Taiki Shuttle’s match and El Condor Pasa’s shoutout will have on the attention Special Week gets, but for now, Uma Musume continues to be a cute and engaging look into horse racing.