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Uma Musume Pretty Derby – 07

「約束」 (Yakusoku)

Of all the real world events they had to make sure was faithful to the girl’s respective racehorses, they had to adapt Silence Suzuka’s downfall. Suzuka’s performance in the Uma Musume version of the Tennoushou is similar to the real Suzuka’s race at the 1998 Tennoushou where the racehorse’s fatal injury was televised as he limped towards the finish line. After Suzuka was amping up her eventual turn towards international races, it felt like they were hinting that things wouldn’t go that smoothly, though if you looked up Suzuka’s bio, her encounter with Tennoushou in the anime would definitely be alarming enough to sound off the warning sirens that her dreams were meant to be cut short.

There is hope that the anime Suzuka will be able to recover at a quicker pace since Special Week’s encouragement is gearing up to be the motivation that Suzuka needs to recover at least some of the strength she had before the injury. That, and the real horse died some time after the race, so as long as anime Suzuka’s injuries are limited to just waiting until the leg recovers enough to get back in the ring like Grass Wonder, the writers of Uma Musume probably don’t have it in the books to make her injury even more tragic than it already is.

There is also a sense of optimism with the unity that is behind Suzuka as everyone from Team Spica and Rigel was horrified at Suzuka’s injury, going out of their way to send her flowers in the hospital. The winner’s circle for El Condor Pasa was solemn as she was fully aware that her victory came at such a steep price, and her passion for just being able to race with formidable opponents is a mindset that goes entirely against the idea of celebrating a win like this. I was more curious about what Hana’s feelings on the matter were like as she was formerly a pupil on Rigel, and probably feels personally responsible for Suzuka getting injured with Spica. The trainer didn’t answer his phone when she called, but it is something that will come into the fold when she sees Suzuka or the trainer next time.

Of the horse-girls that took Suzuka’s fall the hardest, however, Spe-chan’s friendship with Suzuka made it hard to watch her react to seeing her friend limping across the race track, and chase after her to make sure she didn’t fall to the ground. She was already trying to encourage her trainer to let her have another chance at a national derby after losing another time against Seiun Sky, but her priorities are shifted in a different direction now that the person she looked up to, idolized, and was close friends with has a career-damaging injury. Not just that, but because they both inspired each other to such a high degree, its even worse for Spe-chan to have heard every time Suzuka swore she would make it big on the international circuit only to see those dreams dashed. While Spe-chan’s eating habits had made her resort to eating her woes away, Suzuka’s injury will play a strong role in how Spe-chan shapes herself up to try and match the speed and caliber of her best friend who will have to put her ambitions overseas on-hold.

ED3 Sequence

May 7, 2018 at 12:02 pm
  • May 7, 2018 at 12:49 pmPanino Manino

    I’m missing out the Uma Musume bandwagon, right?
    I’m thinking that I should start watching, it is good/cute?

    And question: when a “horse girl” breaks her leg, she is sacrificed?

    • May 7, 2018 at 1:15 pmChoya

      It’s a pretty solid racing show that is cute yet also engaging. Much of that is owed to how the show is dedicated to focusing on the girls having to compete and race regularly, overcome obstacles, and chase goals, and the amount of attention to detail there is to how closely the girls match their real life counterparts (since the girls are named after and inspired by real race horses).

      Luckily, a broken leg isn’t a death sentence for the girls on the show like it is in real life. In the anime, Grass Wonder has a leg injury, but is still able to heal up and train in order to get back on the field to race once-more. Silence Suzuka might not have an easy time getting back on the green or being as fast as she was in this episode’s race, but we haven’t had a case where girls are sacrificed or put down like actual race horses with leg injuries.

      • May 8, 2018 at 11:53 amMagnus Tancred

        The difference between Silence Suzuka and Grass Wonder is that IRL Grass Wonder recovered from her leg injury and continued racing. The second half of the previous episode closely mimics her first post-injury race– finishing fifth in the Mainichi Okan (yes Silence Suzuka won that race IRL). If they follow through with that, Show Spoiler ▼

        As for Silence Suzuka, I doubt they’ll kill her off. IMO the worst that could happen is that she’ll never be able to race again.
        She might get depressed, but her friends will help her through that. Who knows, maybe she’ll become a full-time idol, realizing her wish “to be a horse girl that can make people dream” but in a different way. :)

    • May 7, 2018 at 2:41 pmLonghaul

      If you are concerned about the idol stuff, it’s pretty much nonexistent after the first episode.

    • May 7, 2018 at 6:22 pmstarss

      It’s great for a relaxing breather. It’s bright, happy, with just the right amount of conflict.

  • May 7, 2018 at 1:45 pmAoihoshikage

    Wow, that scene where Spe-chan chased down Suzuka got me ever so slightly choked up (friendship FTW).

    Speaking of real world events, apparently the anime has followed the real world so far: The real Silence Suzuka planned to run/win the 1998 Tennoushou and then head to the Japan Cup afterwards. During the ’98 Tennoushou Silence Suzuka did open up a 12-length horse lead until he suffered his career and eventual life ending injury. I’m hoping the anime ends with a more positive spin on Silence Suzuka vs what happened in real life. Seems to be the case so far, but I’d hate for such a happy-go-lucky anime turn into another race/sports tragedy anime. Anyway, just my two cents.

    • May 9, 2018 at 1:43 pmChoya

      Hopefully it’ll retain an optimistic mood and not bring Suzuka’s career to a close like the ’98 race did to the real horse. It was really emotional to see Spe-chan help catch her as she fell, and the staging behind the scene was very impactful.

  • May 7, 2018 at 5:48 pmzztop

    Some Uma Musume worldbuilding details were released during a livestream event.

    These include:
    - Normal horses don’t exist in that world
    - Horse girls are like elves (ie a special existence)
    - No Uma Shounens/horse boys exist, it’s just girls
    - The fathers of horse girls are secret
    - There are cases of relationships between horse girls and humans

    PS. A game version is currently under development.

    • May 9, 2018 at 1:54 pmChoya

      It was a great read. I figured the phone game was already wrapped up, but it looks like it’s still in production, and would probably be released after the anime. It does leave me thinking about what the world’s history must have been like with all of the horses replaced with horse girls, and reminds me of the direction Centaur no Nayami took with the lore of its characters’ genealogy.

      One thing that I am curious about that isn’t in the article is if the time that Uma Musume takes place in is in present day. Many of the anime’s events align with the late 1990′s, but some like Vodka and Gold Ship are from after that stretch of time, so it seems more like a Fate universe where allusions to real/fictional characters are brought into present day standards, except with horses from the 90′s to now.

  • May 7, 2018 at 6:21 pmstarss

    Choosing the best horse girl in the academy and injuring herself in the middle of a race is an obvious twist to include and add more conflict to, but damn the execution really makes it great! And yes, the events mirror what happened to the real Silence Suzuka too. Even when having an injured leg, he wanted to keep going! Even when the handlers tried to take him off the track, he initially refused! I imagine that must’ve been devastating for his fans.

    • May 9, 2018 at 1:47 pmChoya

      It must’ve been rough to have been in attendance of that race, especially if you were a fan of Suzuka’s. While the anime does align with the whole cliche of having a talented best friend get injured terribly, the way they presented it was effective in making her quick decline shocking, and it matches her namesake to have been the one to get injured.

  • May 7, 2018 at 6:51 pmDave

    I was kinda waiting for them to shoot her to be honest…

  • May 7, 2018 at 7:21 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    When her eyes suddenly went wide and she started to slow down, but was otherwise still going, I was actually afraid they would do something else to accommodate an actual death, like Suzuka was pushing herself SO hard with her running that she had a heart attack or something, which would then end up causing her to trip and such. x_x

  • May 7, 2018 at 7:54 pmWanderer

    What happened in this episode is a tragedy, plain and simple. No one won with this. It is a terrible event that hurts them all.

    • May 7, 2018 at 8:29 pmstarss

      I wish they would show the consequences. What’s gonna happen to the value of this business? Will this give the academy bad PR?

      • May 8, 2018 at 10:57 amMagnus Tancred

        The Academy would only receive bad PR when injuries during races occur much more often, as it gives the impression that the Academy prioritizes results (and profit) over the girls’ health and well-being.

    • May 9, 2018 at 2:04 pmChoya

      Yeah, even though everyone had to finish the race, no one was in the mindset to celebrate, especially since all the girls introduced so far have stressed the importance of friendly competition and admiring rivals for their abilities.

      • May 11, 2018 at 11:30 pmWorldwidedepp

        When i saw the Real Life Horse races, something come into my mind. The Anime here should avoid on all points to show an tactic like some “Horse jokes” used here (if it was him/her or the horse itself, do not matter) from pushing the other horse away or push him so strong that he fell.. or change direction from the inside suddenly to the outside to prevent get overtaken (as we see sometime in Formula One, too)

        this is unfair sportsmanship, sure it can be allowed but in my eyes, this has nothing lost in the Anime, when friendly competition is put so high.. no even archenemy should use this “dirty tactic”

      • May 11, 2018 at 11:34 pmWorldwidedepp

        Also the Leg Injury of Silent Suzuka here now put her dreams on race in Overseas to hold for now. With her injury her main focus is now recovery and will miss her last race before she go away… Her Dream racing overseas are on hold.. not necessary broken in pieces

      • May 11, 2018 at 11:36 pmWorldwidedepp

        But on the other side, perhaps she got “tired” of always winning and no one could real hold up with her

        real competition.. Well now she has an handicap…

  • May 8, 2018 at 8:09 amVaans

    When Suzuka’s shoelace became untied, I had a bad feeling. And sadly, I was right. It was a big impact to everyone. Luckily, she only got a fracture.

    Hopefully, with this development will see Spe-chan improve herself to be as fast as her close friend is and leave Seiun Sky, El Condor Pasa, and others to dust.