Uma Musume: Pretty Derby – Anime Series Review

Episodes: 13

Genre(s): Sports, Slice-of-Life, Idol

Aired: Apr 2018 – June 2018

Also known as: ウマ娘 プリティーダービー

Summary: In a world where high school horse girls compete against one another in races and then perform in idol concerts, the protagonist, Special Week, hails from the countryside and is determined to become the number one horse girl in Japan.

Review: Uma Musume has received a lot of undeserved flak during its run. But at its core, the series is a straightforward show about friendship, rivalries, and screaming athletes. So you know, just another sport show except it just happens to revolve around horse racing and the horses have been deliberately reborn as cute anime girls.

Horse racing has cultivated a negative image for quite some time by now since its associated betting location is popular among middle-aged bums and deadbeats. Yet Uma Musume manages to turn horse racing into something exciting and emotional to watch. Cute anime girls tend to have that sort of effect for some viewers.

It’s Team Spica!

Now there are people who claim that the series isn’t anything deep and I would tentatively agree. However, Uma Musume isn’t just about horse girls racing and singing. The series actually follows the real-life races rather faithfully with the exception of one particular horse girl not dying as a result of a tragic injury. This is where the series somewhat dips into alternative history, but I have no qualms with a girl surviving instead of dying. Anime is better, or at least lighter, than real life in that regard.

Uma Musume also pays homage to the relationships between different horses as well as showcasing attention to detail. The real-life Special Week and Silence Suzuka, for example, had different coloured hooves so that’s why they wear different coloured shoes during races. And then there’s the carrots as meals, the horseshoes as support for their shoes, the old-fashioned telephones to accommodate the placement of their ears, and so on.

Teio is actually the son of Rudolf IRL, so Teio is earnestly trying to earn his father’s approval in the anime. Of course, the genders were changed. Gold Ship similarly is descended from McQueen and attempts to grab McQueen’s attention through clownish antics. Teio subtly spells this sort of dynamic out in this particular moment.

I have also heard individuals complain about how the series has too many genres with horse girls running races as athletes as wellas singing songs as idols.

Now you listen here and you listen good. That’s about the flimsy excuse I’ve heard for someone to bow out of watching a series. Deciding everything through genres is silly. There are tons of entertaining shows with an excess of genre labels slapped on. People who hate CGDCT shows might find one that actually clicks with them, too. What I’m trying to say is you shouldn’t get so hung up on genre and shouldn’t make excuses. It’s fine if you don’t want to watch this show. I personally think you’ll be missing out but I’m overly attached to this polished, shiny sports show. But don’t hide behind weak pretenses, please.

The eternal rivals, Scarlet and Vodka.

That’s right, I really got into this show! There are several episodes that made me tear up! Be that as it may, I recognize that Uma Musume is not the best show. The fact that Trainer doesn’t really do any sort of coaching and comes across as a creep is very off-putting and probably the biggest reason why I hesitate to recommend this series. But I sure did had a lot of fun watching Uma Musume. Personally, Gold Ship is my favourite girl by far. If you watched this series, then I’d love to hear your personal favourite characters!

I’m in love with the OP, “Make Debut” and I have listened to it for hours on end. The ED is also quite catchy. Ah, and the song that originally played in the 2017 trailer reappears during…well, I’m not going to spoil things for you! Just watch Uma Musume!

How scandalous!

We only get subtext when it comes to yuri, but sometimes that’s all we need. Anyone who tells you the presence of a named male character ruins the show is a yuri purist and those sort of opinions are hilariously close-minded. Don’t listen to them. These girls are definitely into each other and Trainer isn’t romantically interested in any of these high school horse girls.

All in all, Uma Musume is an average sports anime that is both pretty and fun. I’m not as sold when it comes to the gacha game, but watching the series helped kept me happy during these trying months. Hopefully the series brings you joy, too.



9 thoughts on “Uma Musume: Pretty Derby – Anime Series Review

  1. Trainer Guy’s bad habit aside this is a surprisingly incredible anime. One of my favorites of 2018. The races shown on screen were intense, most of the horsies were wonderful and there was enough Yuri goodness to the point goggles weren’t necessary.

    Special X Suzuka’s journeys were wonderful and exciting to watch, Gold Ship is the breakout star of the show.and I would have loved to see more Hishi Amazon. So sexy.

    Of course we cannot overlook the awesomeness that is children raised by two moms once again playing a role in an anime. Unfortunately we’re still waiting for that one show with both alive and well…besides NanoFate and perhaps Miss Kobayashi and Tohru.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, those moments were bad but OVERALL I really liked the series. No googlea needed, I agree, but some may contest that statement since they want queed romance to be quantified and certified and ugh.

      I agree here, too. Hishi Amazon was a total babe!

      Mmmm I didn’t mention it but yesssss two mommies. Unfortunately, like you said, one is MIA once again…
      Those two count, yeah, haha.


      1. Tis a waste of time dealing with people who cry “bait” every 10 seconds or have extremely high romance qualification thingies…Can you believe some people are so in denial they don’t think Ellie from The Last of Us is gay? so yeah, not worth it.

        Amazon needs more love.

        One day we will have that dream anime starring a lesbian couple/family and their daughter(s)…or son. Let it not be said that I am narrow-minded.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No kidding. It’s actually ridiculous.

          Mmmmmmmm she’s great off-the-track. Ouch, that was a low blow. But there’s just somethint about her. What a loveable underdog.

          Hey, either would be swell in my book. Let’s keep hoping!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. See, I like shows that mix genres. It makes them more interesting, I think. Plus, you could amke arguments for most shows having multiple genre types that could apply at different times.
    Regardless though … part of me kinda wants to watch this. I’ve been slowly sold on it more and more as it goes along. I was put off the monster girls thing by Monster Musume, and that sort of spilled over into the kemonomimi genre for me. Interviews With Monster Girls and the positives I’ve seen noted about this helps repair that a little.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No, I expected it to be something rather different than it was. That was silliness on my part as it transpired, but hey ho. You live and learn, and truthfully, it would be ridiculous of me to let that colour my views on the whole genre permanently.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. For what it’s worth, the sales predictions have Uma Musume tracking as the highest-selling show of the season, and by a pretty comfortable margin. Now a big part of that is because they announced that people who buy the discs are going to get bonus codes for the Granblue Fantasy mobage (the advantage of both being owned by the same company), but it was already tracking pretty well even before they made that announcement. I really should try to carve out the time to watch it….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful news I wasn’t aware of. And hmmm I’m sure those bonus codes were at least partially responsible but that’s marketing for you, I guess.

      Mmm I hope that you can and that you enjoy it!


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