Cactus Matt and I are continuing our joint watch of Uma Musume Pretty Derby. I’m beginning to think we are going to make it to the end of the season! As usual Matt is in Bold! 

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
let’s get this show on the road!

OK it was a comeback you should probably call it that but I’ve wanted to use that line forever! You dork.

We’re coming into the final leg of Pretty Derby and all our racer girls are getting ready for their big moment! I tried very hard to make a relevant intro. Imagine me saying that in an announcer voice. I don’t even know what your normal voice sounds like, but I’ll imagine all the same. Intros are hard, that’s why all mine are the same. Sometimes I don’t realise how easy I’ve got it…

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
I however, am bad at screencaps

I gotta say, if Steins;Gate 0 is redefining the cliffhanger game, Pretty Derby is doing a great job with opening tags. This week again, we had a few beautifully crafted mostly silent minutes before the opening credits that really got me psyched up for the episode. I really appreciate that. These little touches really how the skill of the production. It was gorgeous, probably among my favourite ‘cold opens’ from a show this season.

So first half is yet more training. Training pr0n is my thing but are you getting fed up? Eh, I’m kind of numb to it now, it’s fine~. Matt is fighting hard to avoid admitting that sports anime are the bestest. It’s ok. We won’t judge you… Hey, you joke but the anime I’m looking forward to most next season is Harukana Receive and that’s absolutely a sports anime!

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
I’m sorry, Matt thinks you’re yucky

This was a very Suzuka centric episode. She’s my favorite so that makes ME very happy but… But you know I’m not a fan, I mean I didn’t not enjoy the fact that she was front and center here if that’s a consolation, that’s gotta be some sort of improvement, yeah? I will win you over. Someday you will find something to appreciate in calm, kind, beautiful girls with a fragile side…

You mentioned the flash forward last week. It’s a little tough for the audience to really get a feel for it but they once again insisted that it’s been over a year since Suzu’s injury. I really like how they are showing us that it takes a lot of time and effort to recover. However, I can’t help but wonder what everyone else has been doing all this time. I guess it’s difficult for a show that wants to have an ensemble cast but also is a solo sport. If I were writing this show I’d have made the sport a relay race, I think that’d be a lot better for the whole ‘team’ aspect. But this show’s pretty keen on sticking to the whole ‘it’s just like the horse races of old—except horse girls!’ Yeah, I don’t think pretty derby ever really managed to get the entire team dynamic to work in a convincing way. Your view would probably have worked better.

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
and she was never seen or heard of again….

I feel bad for Sun Visor. That’s just a terrible name. It’s probably based on a real horse but ‘cmon…it’s bad. Yeah… Sun Visor is going to be nobodies best girl… (prove me wrong internet, prove me wrong!) There have been a lot of non best girls in this show. Every rival of the week has been pretty disposable.

Trainer is the best! Yeah, alright fine he’s a good guy. I gotta admit I did shed a tear when I saw him crying after Suzuka’s win. And then when she said when would count on him. It was the adorbs.

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
just so sweet

This may have been my favorite episode. The training was great, the little cute touches of Suzu and Spe looking out for each other (pulling up the covers) were sweet without getting saccharine and the race was really exciting. This said, I know we don’t look for the same elements in an episode, what did you think overall? It was definitely the most emotional episode so far, and from that perspective I appreciated it. But it did have the least amount of comedy and ‘cute girl’ moments (at least as far as I can remember). But I don’t really see this as a cute girl show anymore, I stopped seeing it as that a while ago, it’s a sports anime, and my favourite kind of sports anime—one without sweaty men! Meanwhile I still don’t see it as a sports anime. The main draw is definitely not the love of racing. I would put it clearly as a cute girls show with idols that run instead of sing. Come now, Spe-Chan and Suzuka love to race! Do they? I mean they love to race together. Sometimes the show seems to concentrate more on their relationship than on the sport… Well if it’s not the sport that they love, Spe-Chan at least loves to run, so by extension having a profession that allows her to run as fast as possible and (presumably) make money and success from it is something sports-related. Maybe? I don’t know… I’ll defer to your judgment on whether it is or isn’t since you’ve watched a lot more sports anime than me. Differing to my judgement on genre distinctions is foolhardy. I’ve already written a couple of posts on the trope and conventions that I generally associate with the sports genre – the importance of hard work, team building vs friendship, ensemble casts, the complexe rival relationships… None of those are really present here. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a sports anime, it simply doesn’t have the particular elements that I gravitate towards so the associations are different in my head.

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
I,m not saying there’s no team dynamics at all…

The ball is over in Spe’s court now. They made a huge deal about French pony being just ridiculously overpowered, not sure what Spe’s chances are. On the one hand I want her to win so she can keep her promise and happily ever after….On the other hand, Spe’s ultimate defeat at the Japan cup would be a considerably more interesting. It would be more interesting, but I don’t know if the plan for this show is to end with a single season, I assume it is—though I could be wrong! It’s hard to know what this show is going to do, it’s never adhered to a specific narrative formula, at least not one I’m aware of. Though Spe-chan beating Broye would pretty neatly and conveniently get her to the point of being “Best Horse Girl In Japan”. I should have rephrased that, it would be interesting and a nice risk on the part of the writers to end the show on a loss. The dramatic climax and potential lessons to be learned would be a bit more unique that way and it would make the series more memorable in my opinion.

uma musume pretty derby episode 11
cool cap right?

I have a few extra screengrabs this week!

21 thoughts

  1. They hyped Broye to hell and back but if you ask me I think Suzuka’s faster. Thing is, after one year out of the game her track record must look like shit. I bet even the other Spica members have more races won than her at this point. But if we’re talking speed alone, I honestly believe Suzuka tops all this ponies, Broye and even Rudoft included.

    1. I don’t know enough about racing to know if track record is important. It’s true that aside from the injury, Suzu has been pretty unstopable

      1. Track record is really important. Specially winning G1 races, which are the ones of the highest level. This kind of race hierarchy also exists in the show. It was explained in episode 2 if I remember correctly. Needless to say, after being out of the game for so long, Suzuka’s track record doesn’t look so good in comparison to everyone else in the team. She only won one G1 while Spe has two G1 victories and we’ll have three if she wins next episode. Also Suzuka only has three G2 while Spe has four.

        Fortunately for Suzuka, her racing style and the fact the she has beat really strong horses like El Condor, Grass Wonder and Air Groove has made her extremely popular despite not having the best track record. It was the same in real life. Take a look at this. It’s a extract from a horse racing blog:

        Japan’s bitter frustrations in the Arc live on, and so does the frustration of this racing fan, for I’ve never been able to forget Silence Suzuka. He was a most-intriguing horse, a horse of unbounded talent who had a front-running style that was so exciting, so brazen, even, that his form has grown more fascinating with the passing of every year since his heartbreaking death. Let him be remembered for what he did 15 years ago. Let him be remembered on Friday and ever after.

        A horse that compels such an emotional reaction has to be very special.

  2. Suzuka episodes are good. I like her better when she doesn’t say things like that she wants to make people dream (dream of what? I suppose it’s a ganbatte-thing?), and she just enjoys running. You can really see her get into the zone, when she’s running.


    Also, have to share something I never noticed about Gold Ship and now wish I head. She’s wearing those headphone-like things to cover the place where her ears would be were she not a horse girl. Everyone else covers the area with air, but not Gold Ship. No. Accessories for her. I can’t believe I never noticed.

      1. I can’t believe what a perfect fit that is! (Also: typo in my post “hair” –> “air”. Sometimes typos change the meaning to something that doesn’t make sense.)

        (Another thing someone noticed: the show removed two strokes from the kanji for “uma” because the horse girls have only two legs and not four – which inspired the “legs” on the knaji.)

  3. There are enough Rie Kugimiya fans that someone will have Sun Visor as their favorite character.

    It’d definitely be good if there was some team event that was coming up that we could root for Spica or Rigil. Earlier in the season they made a big deal about having more than one girl in a race because someone would have to lose, but I think they’ve been working on that kind of attitude so it wouldn’t be so bad.

    I definitely think Special Week has a chance against Broye. She’s definitely not out of her league, since El Condor Pasa ran close with her, and Special Week has at least tied El.

  4. I like how that one gif above the comments section separates it self from most animes, in stead of being late and running with a piece of toast in her mouth, it’s a freakin carrot XD XD

  5. Ha ha! I like that Matt made a point of saying that we don’t know what your voice sounds like normally, so we can’t pretend that you’re announcing. I WAS THINKING THE SAME THING!! And, I want to watch this show now, just so I can make Sun Visor my FAVOURITE! I will flood the internet with my love for her, GO SUN VISOR!! 😂😂🍻

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