Cactus Matt and I are continuing our joint watch of Uma Musume Pretty Derby and bickering about it. I’m having a lot more fun discussing the show than watching it! In case there’s any doubt Matt is in Bold! 

Let’s get things started!

And I made it to ep3. Yay! (Not that you had much of a choice, you’re stuck here with me and this silly little show until it ends, or you do, whichever comes first!)

So far, I still can’t see this show as a sports anime. We’ve now seen the girls karaoke practicing their idol routines as much as we’ve seen them practice running, possibly a little more. With the addition of the expected idol costumes, complete with frilly petticoats, corsets, garter belts and high heel pumps for races, it is becoming less likely that the author wanted to share his deep love of running with the world and more likely that someone is trying to tap into the brony Otaku or furry Otaku demographic (or both).

The funny thing is, I’m most definitely neither of those, I’ve made fun of both of those types of people in the past (not that I’m one to talk) but I really see the appeal of these ‘horse girls’, to me it’s just more of an extension of ‘cat girls’ in anime, it’s not really about the horse aspect, it’s just girls that have something different about them that makes them interesting to look at! Although… the fact that they race and there’s a lot of horse-racing centric lore and activities around them means there is an in-universe reason for them being horse girls aside from just making a loose animal human hybrid.

Aren’t cat girls also for light fuzzy fetichists? You know, anyone who thinks the addition of some type of animal feature makes a character design more cute or interesting?

Maybe, though I’m always fond of the animal traits being something less about their appearance and more about their nature. Like in the first episode when Special Week kicks the pervy trainer like a horse would kick someone. Hmm, I feel like we’re getting off track here, no pun intended.

nothing out of the ordinary here…

The weird part is, as I was watching the friendship scenes between Spe (yup that’s how the show abbreviated special day, sounds a bit like a bacteria _ I like it) and Silent Suzuka, I was really reminded of another show, more precisely Uta no Prince Sama. In fact there are a lot of similarities. The worst part of most otome adaptation reverse harems is the MC. They are usually bland insipid characters meant to be perfect blank slate audience surrogates. The are so boring. Sometimes they are given a superfluous best friend in an effort to make them seem more fleshed out. At times this show feels like watching a series full of Otome heroines. I don’t think Spe-chan is boring at all, but Silence Suzuka definitely is. I kind of wish like any other of the horse girl side characters were her roommate, but I guess that’d make those quiet scenes in the room together too loud?

She is guys, Spe-chan is super boring….

look, we can’t all be interesting…

I was disappointed that a random extra with a leg injury was introduced (that was quick), it seems  they are not in fact shot and made into lube when they can’t run, but I’m still holding out hope. I like that they’re gradually expanding the universe of the show with these little details, like I’m sure it was mentioned for a reason, it might not come up again and maybe it was there to show the sport does cause injuries or maybe Spe-Chan will get an injury before a big race! (Because something like that is bound to happen, either that or she’ll get a dreaded ‘cold’!)

I also see the over eating made a comeback, complete with hilarious distended tummy. It’s less prevalent and much more justified than in the camping show but we’ve now had as many binging scenes as racing ones. I think you may be right Matt, this feels like a fetish. I’m just glad none of the other characters drew attention to it as a negative (even though it’s probably not the best for an athlete to do so – or maybe it is I don’t know anything about sport). But yeah, #bodypositivity?

Wait are you talking about the scene where she looks like a snowman but snaps back into shape a minute later or the fact her skirt didn’t quite fit and kept getting open at the rear end?

Sometimes you eat a lot and your stomach bloats out, but it was more for illustrative purposes than being realistic. I don’t know, I just thought it was good that she likes to eat and no one’s making a big deal out of it (until they do, which the probably will).

I don’t think they will. I think it was a throw away gag and just a busukawaii moment. I really would be surprised if it was plot relevant.

the trainer tension subplot on the other had is probably going to be important(ish)

It’s so hard to tell what’s plot relevant in this show! Like so much of it could be foreshadowing things, and some of its obvious like how they keep mentioning the importance of the ‘Eclipse’ saying on the school President’s wall, but so much of it could just be throwaway things that don’t ever come up again. I’d like to pretend like this show had a reason for many of its moments, but I guess it’s too early on to see if it’s a show that wants small moments like the aforementioned ‘eating a lot’ and ‘not quite fitting into her racing costume’ to become plot relevant or just a running gag.

Thank you Dawnstrom for explaining that saying to me! I would NOT have looked it up on my own. I think the costume and the bloating are two seperate things. I can just see the staff room with – we need a cute joke here – let’s make her little tummy all round – guffaws!

I thought the costume being too tight was going to directly affect the race, like her skirt was going to fall off and that would cause her to get embarrassed and run even faster toward the goal, but I guess that’s just me…

I thought it would also come back and have a visible impact of some sort but I guess not yet? Ohhh maybe they’ll go all Degrassi on us and Spe’s pregnant! Man how Canadian can I get?

I’m hoping Suzuka is a real girl and those ears are fake…

I’m thinking eventually that other big team is going to get mad about losing all their members to derpy team but everyone is unfailingly sweet and nice so far. Except her eye-patch wearing nemesis! Don’t forget about the nemesis! (Who was nowhere to be seen in this episode, but still).

Nemesis will have a break the haughty moment and become nice too….

There was a nice bonding moment between the coach and Spe after her 3rd place loss, but since it involved a depicted groper alone at night with one of his underrage victims, it was hard to consider it truly heartwarming.

Yeah, I still don’t like him either.

Though speaking of that scene, he says he wishes he trained her harder, I do wonder if that’s going to push this series more in the direction of a sports anime or if we’ll just end up at a training camp that’s conveniently near a beach or a hot springs.

Ohhh I can see that. I guess I’m ok with a training camp but it seems a little early in the season for it.

to be fair my workout clothes look a lot like that too

All in all, I’m either getting numbed or the show is *growing* on me, but I find it increasingly palatable. Don’t get me wrong – literally parading high school girls like show ponies is still a very creepy notion to me and in fact shho ponies are a sad and distasteful notion to me to begin with but the show itself is mostly harmless. It’s a lot less frustrating than Yuru Camp which had some brilliant moments and was obviously put together by very talented people but got bogged down and became difficult to stay awake through if little anime girls aren’t enough to maintain your interest. I figure it’s like watching that shiba inu channel if you don’t care about dogs – must be brain numbing. I can watch it for days….

“Must love cute anime girls” But yeah, the ‘parading high school girls like show ponies’ part, feels the most unnecessary part of the whole transplanting horse-racing tropes to horse girl racing. Also if we’re continuing with comparing real life horse events to the one’s the horse girls partake in, does that mean the Idol shows they perform are like dressage events?

I have never seen dressage… It sounds like one of the signs that humanity has declined though.

It’s like tap-dancing for horses, except a hundred times less interesting.

This show is fluffy superficial fare that errs more on the side of brainless fun that anything particularly unique so its failings seem easier to excuse. No one tell Matt, but I don’t hate it…

Well there’s still 9 episodes left, so plenty of time for that!

still creepy….

23 thoughts

  1. That was a more in-depth post than I expected about this show. I’m not watching it and I don’t really to even start the first episode given I already know I won’t watch it, but this was an interesting discussion and made me want to see some of the scenes at least. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 1. Don’t underestimate the race-horse otaku angle on this show. I hear from people who care that there are a lot of allusions to their real world counterparts (e.g. Special Week’s mum really died and s/he [don’t remember real life gender] grew up alone without other horses around). A lot of things aren’t in there for plot, and I’m pretty sure race results reflect real life events, too. I’m not going to research whether Special Week ever had a loose-fitting saddle in a race s/he lost; I don’t really care.

    2. Sometimes antropomorphing things and animals as girls is just mascot culture. Among the things that have been turned into girls are Lovecraftian abominations, cockroaches, guns, and soda cans, after all. I’m waiting for toe-nail clippings…

    1. I know a lot of people are rushing to explain that there is no fanservice angle but I’m sorry, I still think at least part of the marketing strategy here hinges on a certain percentage of the viewership having a particular fetish. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, mind you.
      I wonder if they’ll kill off Suzuka when he hits 4 years old? That’s sort of the best known fact about that horse from what I could tell…

      1. I’m not saying there’s no fanservice angle. Anthropomorphising racehorses as girls regardless of their original sex is significant in itself. There’s a definite objectivation angle going on, where there’s a free-flowing continuum from cuteness to sexualisation; it’s complicated. In fact, I’ve said on DerekL’s blog that this show reads more like an idol series than a sport series to me (which in itself implies objectification).

        I don’t think it’s the sort of show that kills anyone off, but who knows? I wouldn’t put it past PA Works to do something like that, but I doubt Cygames would be very happy. (On the other hand, Cygames seem to be adventurous themselves.)

        1. I would respect the risk. But I also very much doubt it. I believe something like 70% of racehorses are stallions so there’s definetly an underepresentation there. I dort of wish they would have tried to include jockeys somehow.

          1. I considered this… and shuddered.Suddenly, Uma Musume would be competing with Darling in the FranXX

          2. Interestingly, though, there were those ominous words of Suzuka’s ex-manager to her new one: “Reign her in, okay?” Or something to that effect. And then Suzuka’s joining a new team because “she wasn’t allowed to run the way she wants to…” I didn’t know about the wounding and death, but in retrospect it’s… more ominous.

  3. Ha ha!!! Definitely sounds Fetishist to me! They definitely seem to be covering their bases with the fetches as well! Why stick to just one when you can throw and FEW in there? Lol! And Irina, I LOVE the Degrassi reference! GO CANADA! Lol!

  4. Isn’t this show just a “cute girls being cute” show? They’ve got tails and funny hair and weird shoes despite human feet and they run really fast, which mostly seems to be for laughs. Trying to decode some drama out of this might be trying too hard.
    As for the anthro thing… all children in Japan are born Shinto, which is an animist religion, where things have souls and will talk if you just believed in them enough. A lot of the Ghibli animation is about that feature of their culture, and the frequent stories with fox girls and tanuki are straight out of their folklore for 1000 years. Cat Girls are just an extension of the inari shrine fox girls rather than the sexual fetish necessarily. It probably became that when you combined the folk characters with teenage and college libidos and all those doujin conventions like Comiket twice a year.

    1. Ridiculously overthinking anime is sort of my schtick. Blog would be a little empty otherwise.
      I appreciate the Shinto angle – have a couple of psts about it on here somewhere but it’s a little naive to think these isen’t a bit of sexualization going on in a lot of these shows. If nothing else, the promotional material is often explicit so on some level the marketing is intended to speak to a certain demographic if not exclusively.

      1. Agreed. The sexualizing is going on, but the good news is men grow out of it. The head pats take over, but I appreciate the looks of the lady coach in this show. Reminds me of Revvy 2 Hands in Black Lagoon, all growly and bad tempered.

  5. Hmm … I fit into both the brony and furry category, so if it’s that demographic that the show is trying to attract, it’s not working as yet, at least with me. Though, there are reasons for that. Even putting aside the creepy sounding nature of parading the girls, I’m a little gun shy on the whole animal/human hybrid shows as Monster Musume. I was kinda hoping that one would be far more allegorical and far less (read as ‘not at all’) what it was. Which sucks, because it makes shows like this a bit more of a hard sell for me, and I’m sure that i’m likely going to miss out on at least one good show as a result.

      1. I did indeed, though as you say, they weren’t strictly anthropomorphised in the same way. That one I only really stumbled across because it was randomly drawn in my review tournament too, so wouldn’t necessarily have started it otherwise.

        In the past, I’ve enjoyed a few shows with anthropomorphised characters too. Spice and Wolf and Our Home’s Fox Deity spring to mind for example. I’m sure I’ll get over it all sooner or later mind you, as letting the disappointment of one show ruin others without watcing them is rather silly. Until then though, something really has to catch my interest 🙂

        1. I really loved my beloved merboy short anime Orenchi no Furo Jijō…it may be somewhat Hoyay – it’s also super weird. But I really liked it and the entire series is like 26 minutes…

          1. I’m actually aware of that one. I think I’ve only seen a couple of episodes, but it’s definitely on Crunchyroll. That was about the freeloading merboy, right?

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