358th G-View: Uma Musume -Pretty Derby-

Here we are taking a look at an anime not many knew what to expect from when it premiered, especially after the first two episodes. Well I am here to help give newcomers who were somewhat turned off by the first two episodes but hoped for it to get better deep down. This is Uma Musume -Pretty Derby-

Uma Musume -Pretty Derby-.png

Genres: Animal Girls, Comedy, Sports, Tournament.

Themes: Horse Girls, Kemonomimi

Number of episodes: 13

G-Rating: 9/10

Plot Summary:In a world very much like our own, great race horses of the past have a chance to be reborn as “horse girls” – girls with the ears and tails of horses as well as their speed and endurance. The best of these horse girls go to train at Tokyo’s Tracen Academy, hopefully moving on to fame and fortune as both racers and idols. Special Week, a high school horse girl from the countryside, has just transferred to Tracen, and she’s determined to fulfill her promise to her mother to become the best horse girl in Japan. On her way to school, she takes a pit stop at the race track and instantly falls in love with Silence Suzuka’s style, becoming determined to race on the same team as her.
Special Week taking a call

Lead Horse, Special Week.

First of all let us answer the question of what kind of anime Pretty Derby is. It is not a het harem idol show centered around a male trainer with some racing here and there as some detractors who gave up immediately would have others believe. It is at its core a competitive track and field (or in this show’s case derby) sports anime that on rare occasion remembers the mobile game it is from has idol elements. The show follows leading ladies Special Week, Silence Suzuka and their fellow athletes from Team Spica along with their rivals Team Rigil having fun during their spare time and training their pretty bodies off when it is “Go time!”.

Pudgy Special Week

Five of the seven members of Team Spica from left to right: Vodka, Silence Suzuka, Special Week, Gold Ship and Daiwa Scarlet.

Let us briefly talk about the fun times. The horsies do their thing like having casual and competitive conversations, eat a lot (some more than others to the point of blessing viewers with precious pot bellies like Special up there) and having personal fun times with their destined beloved to name a few activities. The rest of their time is spent training both their upper and lower bodies hard for big races. This being a sports anime viewers can expect our heroines to go through many physical, mental and emotional trials and tribulations from the unpopular “fear of weight gain” (which in this show is handled much better than in idol shows or other anime episodes with that trope) to losing confidence in one’s ability to be a winner. The show has lots of fun in casual moments and takes itself seriously when it needs to. Similar to other anime where stuff like historical figures, animals, vehicles, weapons, soda cans etc. are turned into cute and sexy girls each horsie is based on real life professional derby horses and several of their career paths is a combination of real life race results and original material.

Hishi Amazon racing

Favorite side-horse Hishi Amazon.

Also like the aforementioned shows there are many other horse girls besides the lead horsies from Team Spica such as the ones from Team Rigil like Hishi Amazon up there and others. Some of them get enough time to show their coolness while others show up once in a while or are background characters. The usual for shows like this based on media with large casts.

Special Week dominating

Special Week competing in a race.

The main attraction for many who stuck around were the intense races. These is further enhanced by the quality animation that greatly captures the sense of speed as the girls run with all their might to the finish line. Like I said above the show at its heart is a track and field sports story centered around running. However, because it is an anime there is of course some kind of supernatural ability. In this case the horse girls having the power to tap into the Speed Force ala the DC Universe Speedsters but not as advanced. Some of the horses have that ability to achieve superhuman speeds and seeing them go full throttle is quite the sight. Every single race in every single episode delivers heart pounding excitement…provided the viewer is into seeing hot girls running at an almost breakneck speed. The adrenaline rush during the races is off the charts! Also because this is an anime viewers get to hear the racers’ inner monologues while planning their strategies. The soundtrack along with the OP and ED are nice, especially during races.

Before we get to discussing the horsies’ roles let us briefly address the elephant in the room for the Yuri Nation.

Trainer being tortured again

Trainer Guy’s casual time.

When it comes to the trainer named Trainer (I call him Trainer Guy) one would initially believe him to be a het harem lead. On the contrary, the relationship between him and Team Spica is strictly professional. In fact, the sole crush he might have off screen is a human woman. Anyway when not checking out potential new Team Spica members’ leg strength and getting brutally kicked for it he takes his job as seriously as he can and guides the girls to victory the best way his training methods can achieve. Basically he is not so bad. Just gotta put up with his bad habit.

Silence Suzuka supporting Special Week

The lead duo and main couple, Special Week and Silence Suzuka.

As mentioned above most of the horse girls, especially the lead duo, have physical and emotional obstacles to overcome. Special Week is not a prodigy who wins all her races. Far from it. She goes through many struggles to try and achieve her goal to become the #1 Horse Girl in Japan. The same goes for Silence Suzuka. Despite being a incredibly talented racer she too is not flawless and has her own demons to combat. Now although they are the ones who get the most character development that does not mean their Spica teammates do not get any. On the contrary they all have a character development arc, just not as in-depth as Special’s and Suzuka’s. The others’ are simpler but still effective for viewers who pay attention. Unsurprisingly what all the girls’ arcs have in common is yuri shipping gold…that’s both figurative and a literal pun. So much to work with on the show to the point of not needing goggles at all. Like I said before each horsie has their significant other.

Overall Uma Musume -Pretty Derby- surprised the heck out of me. I came in expecting a fun show with some nuisance I could tolerate and ended up with one of my favorite anime of 2018. Most of the horse girls are fun to watch, the story is a really good sports anime with the lead duo having their ups and downs, the races are heart-pounding and intense, the animation is nice and no goggles are needed for Yuri fans. Also the few horse like traits the girls have besides their ears and tail is that they eat a lot of food with carrots mixed into them and they put on horseshoes on their shoes before each race giving them galloping sounds when on the move. So long as viewers do not give up early and can tolerate horse girls along with some familiar trope subplots found in idol shows such as weight issues then I highly recommend the show.

PS: Pay close attention to Special’s family. Viewers who saw a certain Antarctic anime will understand what I mean.

Gold Ship cheering on Special Week

PPS: The breakout star of the show is unarguably Gold Ship. Why? Because viewers will have no idea what she does next. She is unpredictable in the best ways. There are only two recurring traits with her. One involves a certain brain game and the other her…other.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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30 Responses to 358th G-View: Uma Musume -Pretty Derby-

  1. Bayuro says:

    I really enjoyed watching Uma Musume every single episodes. Every pair of team Spica are close enough to be canonized like Spe-Silence Suzuka, Gold-McQueen, Vodka-Daiwa etc.

    I also enjoyed the rivalry of Special Week, Seiun Sky and El Condor Pasa. Unfortunately for Special Week, she yet to beat Grass Wonder. If there’s gonna be a second season, at least I want to see her beat Grass Wonder at least once.

    I also enjoyed the antics of Gold Ship and Mejiro McQueen so with Tokai Teio with her intense crush to Symboli Rudolf. Haru Urara perhaps the cutest looser I’ved ever watched.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Jack Cactus says:

    Gold Ship and McQueen is the ultimate couple of this show, none shall deter my opinion. 🙂

    And yes, Gold Ship is the best horse girl..

    Liked by 3 people

  3. cirno9fan says:

    It was terrible. I really was disappointed in this. It could have been better. Too much focus on losing.

    _ And now for reality _
    It was amazing. It got hard to watch at points, and it DID trek down a trope I just don’t like (It was handled well, just…it’s something I don’t like. It’s not a slight against the show itself, it just is a personal gripe.), but it was all handled well and nothing really overstayed its welcome. The ships all stayed in full force too, none of the ship hopping that has gotten so popular recently it seems, and like you said, No Goggles Necessary (NGN..wonder if that could become a popular acronym?). Suzuka and Special’s relationship was such a joy to watch~ And it was really neat how they went with the two moms thing and never downplayed it in any way.

    The finale was absolutely amazing and ended the show on such a great note~ Was especially nice to see that parallel to when Special first began her journey. Very nice tie in to the beginning of the anime! Also, the Trainer guy was great! I never had an issue with him. I only worried about him before the anime aired. After the first two episodes, I realized what his role was. His relationship with the trainer lady was kinda adorable in its own way too ~

    My personal favorite was probably Teio, but the whole of Spica + El Condor were all fantastic amazing~ (I liked others too, but I’d say they were the top of the bunch. Was sad that Haru never got her chance to shine outside being something of a mascot, but she kept up such a positive demeanor it was impossible to not like her~)

    PA Works nailed this show so hard!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This honestly turned out to be a really great sports anime. Unlike with quite a few such ones, or competitive idol series like Love Live!, they don’t need to have a reason to race like “Oh no, our school is going to be crushed by meteors if we don’t win!” (exaggarating a lot, but basically), and instead, each of them either wants to win for their own personal goals, and keep racing after that, or not want to lose to their rivals, or some even just like racing, and want to continue it. Thanks to that, it comes pretty close to what actualy sports are like, I would assume. Sure, team sports have a somewhat different vibe than individual sports like in Uma Musume, but still. Grounded reasons are good immersion, basically.

    And thanks to those reasons, the fact that they show the girls lose, and fail, along the way, and the fact that they don’t give up after those losses but keep going on, you can’t actually tell as easily what the outcome of each race will be. Sure, towards the end, you mght expect wins after a lot of losses, but still…the exact way the final race ended, for example, came as a complete surprise for me. A good surprise, in it’s own way. But that all helps, alongside the excellent music/sound usage and pacing, to make each race a spectacle in itself, exciting to the last moment.

    Also all the girls are cute and adorable in their ways, which is always great! And there’s basically no annoying characters indeed, as even Trainer Guy is a decent enough person despite his leg-muscle groping tendencies.

    All in all, a great show!

    …That I’ll miss now that this season is over.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. OtakuGamerGirlT says:

    This show really turned out to be more than I expected, and I’m so glad it did. There was so much right with it and not much wrong, which is impressive. The result of the final race was surprising, but fitting so it’s not as surprising as I initially thought. I’m glad they all got to race together and achieve their dreams.

    I loved every ship, but my favs were definitely Special and Suzuka, plus Gold and McQueen. Those were the two couples that were so strong, they might as well be canon.

    Trainer was a great trainer and despite his bad habit, you could tell how much he cares for his team. So, he was an alright guy to me. Also, I was kind of rooting for him and the Rigil trainer to hook up, maybe in season 2?

    Overall, I really enjoyed Pretty Derby and I wouldn’t mind having another season, so let’s hope the rumors are true. Definitely one of the best this season.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Rory says:

    Can you imagine dropping this incredible show after only a couple of episodes? I mean fair enough if it didn’t really hold any appeal. At least nobody went on a tirade about how the people enjoying this show are terrible yuri fans, and that they should just drop the show…
    Jabs aside, Uma Musume went above and beyond my expectations. The races were intense and thrilling, Trainer Guy turned out to be a decent character aside from his bad habit and the horse girls are all amazing.
    Special Week and Silence Suzuka’s relationship is great, as too are all the other potential ships. Definitely have to give special mention to Gold Ship and Mejiro McQueen.
    Special Week’s family giving this show an unexpected connection to A Place Further Than the Universe also has my approval.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Why yes. Who could possibly have done something so nonsensical?

      Oh yes indeed.

      Special Suzuka and Gold McQueen were the top two couples for sure.

      More shows featuring or starring two mom families in the future please! Hopefully where both are alive.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. LuzeriP says:

    This is definitely one of my favorites this season. Beautiful animation, all horsie girls were cute and likable. I liked the intense races and the drama. And you’re right, no need for yuri goggles, love is in the air. My top 2 ships are Special x Suzuka and Gold Ship x McQueen (that hug in the end).

    Since the gay PV from 2 years ago I know the anime would be gay too (the comic also gay). But I’m not gonna lie, the Trainer Guy and from the first 2 episodes, I felt a little discouraged. Thank God the Trainer Guy wasn’t so bad after all. I wish him happiness with Rigil’s trainer. I’m hoping for season 2.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. tbiscut74 says:

    I really liked this show! I wont say much since most have already said what i feel, ie trainer guy turning out to be a descent guy, Gold Ship is best horse and ship, how i ship trainer guy with Rigil trainer, and hopin for a season two. A good show all around! This is the only sports anime i ever watched.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. yurimylove says:

    well written review! There’s one thing I really like that’s not often seen in sports show, is that the horse girls all compete in pretty dresses (however unrealistic/non-aerodynamic they are) as opposed to generic track suits/uniforms etc. they you normally see in more realistic sports events.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Platon says:

    I enjoyed the show, it was that kind of show, you need when you just want to sit and relax, have some tea and put on a warming smile. The main male character was actually fitting to the show more then I imagined. And I feel like we get nice last episode with no need for another season, just give us more shows like this and we will be happy.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Gomezio says:

    I wasn’t particularly fond of Gold Ship at the start (not that I disliked her, she just didn’t leave much of an impression), but once McQueen showed up, their interactions were easily my favorite part of the show. Like many others, trainer had me hesitant at first and it wouldn’t have been the first anime related to racing in some way to be ruined by such a character (looking at you, Two Car). But luckily he was fairly limited in terms of irritating moments. Spe and Suzuka were almost as perfect a pair as Gold Ship and McQueen and short of an explicit confession, this show had about as much as any yuri fan could want. It’s almost up there with Comic Girls in terms of best show of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. chikorita157 says:

    While the premise is silly, I definitely enjoyed the show with the exciting races and of course the cute horse girls and ships. I don’t get why so many people complain about the mere existence of the male trainer. Thankfully, he didn’t interfere with the pairings and it’s nice to see the ships play out, particularly Special and Suzuka along with Gold Ship and McQueen.

    The races are also good and exciting, although it can be frustrating to see Special lose so many times.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Lots to like about the show, even Trainer Guy to an extent.

      That’s the point. Special’s struggles is to show that not everyone wins all the time. Some have to work hard and stay focused to hopefully achieve victory and even then victory isn’t always guaranteed.

      Like

  13. K says:

    This series didn’t disappoint at all. It had everything; a good soundtrack, lots of likeable characters, a good story arc for a sports anime, good pairings and, of course, races that get the blood pumping. One of the tops of this season for me.

    It was interesting to see that Gold Ship was with Team Spica the longest out of all the others. That’s all.

    El Condor Pasa’s my fave outside of Team Spica, with Grass Wonder being second. Just sayin’.

    Special Week was a good protag who had lots more downs than ups when it came to her racing career throughout the show but those losses didn’t dampen her spirits for too long and even after achieving her dream of being the #1 Horse Girl in Japan, her passion for racing didn’t die down. In fact, winning just made more motivated. It helps that she has her team, her moms, her friends and Suzuka to help keep her dreams going for a long time to come.

    Like

  14. Remy Fool says:

    I also was surprised at how well Uma Musume turned out. Still, I saw more detractors than supporters within the aniblogging community…

    Ah, this series really made my weekends a lot brighter. I’ll miss it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      I deal with enough negativity being a wrestling fan to bother looking around most anime blogs and such. Not my concern. That’s why the number of anibloggers I pay a visit to is less than 10.

      Me too. Let’s hope for an eventual animated continuation of some kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. MaeveTheFox says:

    This makes me so happy. I’m glad I stuck through after the first couple episodes, the show changed so much. I feel like thr first three were written with a whole different show in mind. Especially remembering the way the very first trailer was.

    I hope more people decide to take the plunge and watch, it’s such a fun ride.

    Vodka & Scarlet forever ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Niji says:

    Thanks to the gay ice skating scene in the first trailer, my eyes were peeling for Rudolf x Oguri Cap. Turned out these two didn’t have any interaction with each other at all. Of course there’s Teio, but I’m not sure if I’d ship her with Rudolf after learning in real life Rudolf’s supposed to be Teio’s dad (but who cares). I was hopping they would give more screen time to Oguri, she’s so fun to watch. Aside from the many plot-convenience materials they used in this anime, I enjoyed it (mostly thanks to Gold Ship and Mcqueen). Fingers crossed for a sequel!

    Like

    • OG-Man says:

      I’m sure there were more peeps who wanted to see Rudolf and Cap snuggling in the anime because of their scene in the game trailer.

      Here’s hoping we get a sequel.

      Like

  17. Pingback: Uma Musume Pretty Derby | The Otaku Judge

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