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Uma Musume Pretty Derby – 13 (END)

「響け, ファンファーレ!」 (Hibike, Fanfare!)
“Echo, Fanfare!”

Ever want to see some of the best horses in Japan square off against one another? Uma Musume has you covered with its last episode covering a match with a pool of the most popular characters from the series pitted against each other. For the horse-racing aficionado, it’s a dream match between highly coveted horses as each are neck-and-neck and charging to the finish line. It’s inoffensive and mainly aims to reinforce how important the relationships the horses have are in motivating their drive to win, but it’s a nice way to cap the series off on a good note.

While it does remind us how performance isn’t always a guaranteed ticket to success considering how even the most talented girls can easily lose a race by a wide margin, the largest treat from this final episode was how much it showed Team Spica’s development up to this point. Gold Ship really is a saint as the only member of the original team left, but seeing members start to show up slowly and surely with the Trainer’s poorly-made flyers and eye for talent is inspiring given how it all paid off with Silence Suzuka and Special Week going on to winning prestigious matches for the team. The time skip near the beginning of the episode shows every member of Spica gaining a victory in the process, showing that the team effort from the team as a whole had come so far from where they all started.

An exciting prospect the episode gives us is how they leave the door open for more material and stories to be developed from the first season. These 13 episodes have been, for the most part, Special Week and Silence Suzuka’s story, putting nearly all of the spotlight on the high and low points of their pursuit for glory, but during this episode, it showed how much potential the other members of Spica had at having great stories if they were ever to do another season. With future material dedicated to Vodka & Daiwa Scarlet’s rivalry, the relationship between Gold Ship & Meijiro McQueen, Rudolf’s growth as she looks over her pupil, Oguri Cap’s bond with her old friends, and even a shifted focus on Team Rigil, it has enough to work with to be as engaging as this season, and gives us more time to embrace the series before the phone game is released in the future. Add to that the new horse girl who goes through the same “vetting” that Spe-chan went through, and the door is definitely open for the world to be expanded on further with any future content from the series.

Epilogue:

Final Impressions:

Uma Musume had a lot to live up to considering how absurd the concept had seemed from the beginning, but it exceeds far past the expectations that were placed on the show. A show about real life horses that appear as cute anime girls racing around a track and performing a victory concert after every match sounds as shameless and crazy as it gets, but Uma Musume goes against the grain by transforming what could’ve been ridiculous into an enthralling and heart-felt sports anime. The bond between Special Week and her teammates in Spica, Silence Suzuka in particular, is tightly-knit as they work to help each other grow as a family unit that sprints together towards their goals. Each of the races are surprisingly tense and exhilarating with how much build-up there is until the races’ climaxes, and the anime is quick to drop the idol business as to not let it bog down the episodes with filler or songs galore. Despite many of the derbies on the show being based on Japanese horse races from the late 1990′s, knowing who wins ahead of time doesn’t impact the show’s strength in completely sucking the air out of the room for the cast and audience as the girls are seconds away from the finish line. It’s a light-hearted, cute, and fun sports anime to follow, but will also sneak up and surprise you with how good the story is. The high quality of Uma Musume‘s races, characters, and narrative make this anime an exciting watch, and has me looking forward to any future material to come from the series. Until then, have a special week!

June 18, 2018 at 11:56 am
16 comments »
  • June 18, 2018 at 12:18 pmURGH

    Sports animoo of the season, no questions asked.

    • June 18, 2018 at 5:55 pmTrippwire

      More like ani-neigh, methinks

  • June 18, 2018 at 1:31 pmArche

    Anime of the season for me. Went in for the ridiculous premise and at the end found myself agreeing with the blog posts about how exciting the races were in spite of how much of a given the results were

    • June 19, 2018 at 6:29 pmChoya

      With Uma Musume, I came for the goofy concept and stayed with how well-done it ended up being. Having two episodes to start with was great in getting audiences on-board with how the show goes beyond it’s initial impression

  • June 18, 2018 at 5:11 pmSmokex365

    Zero expectations of anything good and fully expecting to drop it going in. Ended up as one of my favorites this season and even got a few emotions out of me.

  • June 18, 2018 at 6:03 pmstarss

    Is it wrong say that I consider Coach to be another main character just as much as Spe is?

    I said this before but I can’t believe how good this show became. It’s not doing anything innovative but what they are doing with what they have is excellent.

    • June 18, 2018 at 6:52 pmArche

      Trainer was a pretty well-done character, especially for the only significant male in the cast.

    • June 19, 2018 at 1:15 pmURGH

      Tarou finally got his big break.

    • June 19, 2018 at 6:35 pmChoya

      The trainer is definitely on-par with Special Week as a major character since much of the show is about his journey after Spica’s initial failure prompted a rehaul to help reinvigorate his motivation to make a comeback as a reputable coach.

      Going from having no reign on any of his pupils to actively encouraging them to do better and winning Toujou’s respect was as much of the show’s focus as Special Week’s rise to prominence. It was definitely poignant to see him tear up when he saw Spica all doing so well in the dream match.

  • June 18, 2018 at 6:59 pmKarmafan

    Its amazing how some shows with ridiculous premises (before the season starts) can sound so bad and yet turn out to be so much fun to watch. It might be Girls driving tanks (Girls Und Panzar), Girl witches in WW2 (Strike Witches), Kids playing MahJong (Saki), and many other weird concepts that we come to love.

  • June 19, 2018 at 11:46 amdual1020

    The concert scene really reminds me of Idolmaster.

    Overall i am happy with the series, and i hope another season will be made.

  • June 19, 2018 at 11:54 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Gold Ship is truly best horse girl.

    • June 19, 2018 at 6:43 pmChoya

      Gold Ship is the best. I love how funny and enthusiastic she is throughout the show as she motivates Spica, and how spunky she is with trying to ignite a rivalry with McQueen. I need to catch up with her Youtube channel.

  • June 19, 2018 at 6:23 pmvanfokerdumplestein

    I definitely put myself in the minority by picking Umamusume as my most anticipated show of the Spring season. After watching all the way to the end however, I can safely say I do not regret my choice one bit, as it had no difficulty surpassing all my expectations and then some, making it one of my all time favorites.

    I was so overjoyed after learning that there was going to be an anime, and even more so that a reputable studio like P.A. Works would be handling it. This charming series deserved nothing less than the love and care it received. Hopefully, there will be plans for a sequel in the future.

    P.S. I got my wish granted. That was “Umapyoi Densetsu” playing during the ending credits.

    • June 19, 2018 at 7:48 pmstarss

      Man the trailer from 2 years ago. Looking back I realize just how AWKWARD that is! Whoever was in charge of developing all that for a coherent, respectable anime series should get some kind of award because they made ALL the right decisions to get rid of select elements from the trailer, and keep and/or alter others! And “Umapyoi Densetsu” playing over the final end credits brings it full-circle, making you sit and ponder all the changes this franchise went through to the finish line.

  • June 21, 2018 at 9:44 amMagnus Tancred

    I had zero expectations going in, not even knowing about the PV that was released two years ago. If I did, I might not have given this show a chance.

    Kudos to the director and writing staff for a well thought-out series.

    Minimizing the idol parts is a wise decision– the girls are athletes first and idols second, only getting the chance to perform onstage after winning a race. Besides, with only 13 episodes, it’s better to focus on certain aspects and make a good story, rather than try to cram them in and result in a show that’s mediocre at both sports AND idols.

    Special Week is a good choice for a main character. While the “ganbarimasu” (“I’ll do my best”) type of character can be annoying at times, Spe-chan has a good mix of quirkiness and actual talent to justify being the heroine, unlike say, Kancolle’s Fubuki or Cinderella Girls’ Uzuki.

    The lack of fanservice is a plus rather than a minus. I believe it boils down to two things:
    1. PA Works is confident enough that they don’t need cheap tricks to woo viewers;
    2. Making it G-rated allows it to appeal to a broader audience, rather than just anime watchers

    P.S. I still stand by my evaluation of Grass Wonder having a “notice me sempai Special Week” thing going on. :D

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