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! 

For a second there I thought I wouldn’t have much to say this week but, shiz got real! Real indeed! “First things first I’m the realest” (That’s a bad reference and I feel bad)… You really should….

we’re all embarrassed for Matt

The episode started off somewhat scattered. I find Spe’s personality a little too inconsistent to truly form a strong connection with her. What do you think Matt? She’s got a lot going on upstairs, despite what you and others might think, I’m fully into Spe-Chan’s arc, even if she spends at least 50% of the show as an observer rather than an active contributor… I can totally relate to that… I’m not saying she’s dumb at all. It’s just that she handles situations erratically. I get she’s under a lot of pressure and tackling some serious situations but is she the type of person to see a setback as motivation to get better or to crumble at every loss? Is she the type to blame herself, others, the universe? So far, she seems to swing from one personality type to another (I’m not saying this is bad) and I haven’t been able to put my finger on the pattern which makes it more difficult for me to relate.  

They’re bringing back the eating disorder storyline, Spe is obviously an emotional eater with potential depressive issues, and as weight actually factors in heavily in her running and performance, this could be interesting but it seems way too dramatic for this show, doesn’t it? The weight gain is just to show a horse girl with a cute little pot-belly. I guess that’s a fetish for someone out there??? I don’t think so. They mention it a lot…

see what I mean?

Then again, they’re already whitewashing the horrors of horse racing, so they may be able to

make bulimia and anorexia cute too? It seems like a weird direction to go in, for me. Is it common? Everything cute girls do can be fetishised! Wait until ‘women being oppressed by the patriarchy’ can be turned into an anime! Oh wait, it already has, it’s called ‘Darling in the FranXX’! #boom

I haven’t seen Darling and the Franxx so instead – here, ship this…

For the most part, the first half was ok. The little retreat was cute but I was worried about Spe the whole time and then everybody talking about racing with Suzu sent even more warning bells… A storm is coming…

I actually liked the little exchange between the new girl and trainer. It was funny. It’s almost like having trainer being a human being and not a f**king one note pervert makes his character palatable, who would have guessed?!

yeah, I forgot to take a cap of trainer….

In all seriousness, though it had been telegraphed for weeks, the lead up to Suzuha’s inevitable injury was really quite suspenseful. I watched that race on the edge of my seat, cringing and half closing my eye with every change in tempo or close up on her feet. Kudos, that’s some great editing there and pretty impressive for this show. Somebody in the cutting room should really do a suspense/thriller type story next. It’s like watching a spectacular car crash only with the knowledge that everyone escaped mostly unharmed, that said, I’m super appreciative that the show finally went there.

Also, the visuals of Suzuha’s pained slow down right after her injury, incredibly reminiscent of an actual injured horse (helped by some great audio cues), where heartbreaking. I found it downright difficult to watch and was relieved when the scene was over. I don’t know, I kinda felt it was ~weird~ that Suzuka kept running even when she clearly sustained an injury, but then again I’m new to Sports anime… that’s right Irina, this is a Sports anime! As much as you’d like to deny the fact!

oh snap!

Tell that to all the CGDCT lovers out there who have told me Sports! Is by far the worst genre and they would never watch it ever. This said, horses at full speed often do that (not so much actual runners as you would see in a sports anime…cough) since they can balance out on the remaining 3 legs better than we can. You seem to know an awful lot about horse racing… I’m not so proud of this but I actually did horseback riding in my youth for years….yup for real….

And everything that followed was truly touching, if a little sad. It’s weird, it’s almost like we’ve reversed opinions on the show post Suzuka’s injury. I thought it was kind of lame, especially that flashback where Special Week rushes onto the track to “save” Suzuka from doing herself a harm, despite the fact that she’s basically limping by the time Spe-Chan catches her in her arms. I don’t know, maybe I’m just too caught up on Gold Ship, she’s best girl now, okay? Haha I know you don’t actually care… I like the other one (the new one – don’t remember her name). Maybe we did. I’m a sucker for sappy stuff, I’ve never hidden that. And I love friendship tropes – they’re a HUGE part of … cough Sports! anime cough…

sorry Suzu, Matt doesn’t care about your pain….

I really hope they don’t skip over the rehab and just make everything magically all better again. In one episode they’ve drastically changed the tone of the series and set up quite a few more sober obstacles to overcome which I think is quite interesting. I wasn’t expecting such a turn. Considering it took 7 episodes to get to something resembling actual drama, I wouldn’t be surprised if everything is A-O-Kay, next episode. After all, didn’t you see the end credit montage, she got like 15 flower baskets, that’s bound to remedy that fractured foot of hers! Either that or she just spends a couple of episodes in a wheelchair on the sidelines while things go on around her. I did see it!!!! I watch all the way to the end! Proud of me?!

OK, so the show got a lot less cute for cute’s sake and mildly pervy and a lot more sportsy and character driven so I like it a little more and Matt likes it less. For those of you keeping score at home that 3 to no freakin surprise here whatsoever… Hey, I like that it got less pervy too…uh huh (I added this while formatting – Matt didn’t et a chance to see it or respond!)



7 thoughts

  1. I don’t think this is a show that’s ever going to get as deep into any particular subject as anyone interested in that thing would want, especially given that it’s a show that’s being made as a tie in to a mobile game that’s coming out (that puts you in the position of Trainer-san). But I think it does well to look at a wide breadth of subjects.

    I think you can thank PA Works for things like the great animation for Suzuka’s injury. They haven’t necessarily brought their A+ game for backgrounds and atmosphere to this one, but I think they’ve still done a very good job for what the series is (and I cringe if I think about what it would be like if some studio like Silver LInk had done it).

    As for Suzuka’s injury, one of the things I’ve really liked about the show is that it has kept the races from feeling like they’re totally railroaded. Sure the results are frequently what we want, with Special Week and El Condor Pasa tying, or Suzuka destroying El and Grass Wonder in the other race. But until it happened, you could see that other things could happen.I also liked how Trainer equivocated on Suzuka’s possible recovery. It’s possible that she’ll heal just fine from a broken foot. It’s also possible that it will always affect her. I thought it was a good separation that Trainer was the voice of possibilities, and Special Week was the voice of hopefulness.

    1. Honestly, considering how low the general expectations were for this show, I think they are doing a pretty good job. I don’t really have much to complain about at all – which makes writing reviews a little tricky…

  2. 1. They’re not even addressing bulimia or anorexia. She’s just eating a log, and we get visual hyperbole. Enjyoing food is cute, but has consequences, and the tension between that is part of the moe staple. I don’t think any of the anime (not just Umamusume) reflect the dark side of this trope. That’s part of the objectification to be found in moe trope. It’s fun to watch them squirm because you don’t get how serious it can be: it’s 3/4 ignorance and 1/4 denial. It’s also hyperbole – nothing here’s meant to be the excess it looks like (at least I think so). In this case there might be a girs=horses joke involved; I don’t know if there’s a Japanese equivalent of “she eats like a horse”, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    2. Yes, the episode was quite uncomfortable to watch. They talked about accidents a lot last episode, and it’s Suzuka’s time to run… And then she fixes her sandal as the other horses pass her by. Oh dear, such obvious foreshadowing. And then that scene and Condor’s not-so-happy victory shot. (The power of friendship saves lives!)

    3. I always thought sports anime and shounen fighters are very similar, plot-progression wise: you fight them and then befriend them (or turn into rivals). A lot of similarity there. Umamusume still feels more like a sports show light, but it feels more like a sprots show than it did when it started out. (Thankfully they’re ignoring those winning lives for the most part.)

    4. Oh yes, Gold Ship is awesome (and makes a good team with the new girl – that fortune telling scene!)

    1. I agree sports anime and shonen are similar in many ways.
      I understand perfectly what both you and Matt are saying about the overeating and you’re both probably right, being much more familiar with the genre. But details like her skirt not fitting i her first race, or the now 3rd time we see her getting on her tip toes to weigh herself ( very classic eating disorder behavior….) and the insistance on liking her appetite with her emotional struggles makes me think they may be hitting at something a bit deeper. And for the record, I would absolutely love that to be the case, even if it doesn’t go any further. We lose way too many kids to eating disorders each year, it’ about time we stopped pretending they don’t really exist.
      Gold Ship is a great plot device!

      1. The tip-toes weighing scene is pretty much a genre cliché; I’ve seen it so often that it’s impossible to remember where (it’s just so common it doesn’t register anymore). The skirt thing is different, but it also felt a little odd. I remember wondering if the real Special Week ever had an ill-fitting saddle because they got the measurements slightly wrong, but didn’t do any research because I didn’t care enough.

        Dieting is one of my least favourite motifs in CGDCT shows, because it almost never goes beyond aww-it’s-cute-to-see-them-fret. It’s even worse in romance.

  3. Reblogged this on Anime Q and A and commented:
    Irina and I continue our “review” of cute horse girl show. It’s a non-stop thrill ride of adventure! Or just a bunch of drunken ramblings (I was the drunken one this time).

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