Cactus Matt and I wrap up our joint watch of Uma Musume Pretty Derby. Apparently he’s sti talking to me…I’m as amazed as you guys are! Also this week TWIST: I’m in bold! Keeping you guys on your toes.
Ok this time it is the last episode for realz. We laughed, we cried, we got really confused and hung up on details. Matt put up with me for an entire season so this may be the very last collab we ever do… I had a great time! I had a great time too! Don’t worry we’ll collab again soon… Harukana Recieve anyone??? Yes and also (if Matt agrees) Any of you guys wanna join us on that?
The episode itself was pretty decent. I would says overall there were more highs than lows. Here are my thoughts on it. I eagerly await them!
LOWS: We spent a lot of time on ponies I had either never seen before or only seen once. For me those scenes were wasted and really felt like they were only there to pad the runtime. And there were a lot! It’s the Seinfeld approach to series finales let’s put every character that’s appeared in so it feels definitive. Mixed results herein.
Because we’ve only really seen Spe and Suzu race (and El, once), knowing about the other girls’ ranking and races felt out of context for me. I simply didn’t know what to do with the information. And again, quite a bit of episode time was dedicated to it. It’s like fan-service for statisticians! I take it back – it was hot!
We never saw evil pony again. That’s true, she’s definitely been sent to the glue lube factory. RIP evil pony.
That idol show didn’t have evil secret robot idols OR magical love happiness rays that make people fly. That’s the bare minimum I expect from my idol shows, so clearly that’s a fail. I did like that here was 50 singers on stage though – it’s an idol choir. An idol choir, that’s a new one for me too!
HIGHS: The humble beginning of team SPICA were quite sweet to watch and added some honest to goodness character development in the very last episode. I particularly liked that Golden Ship was the original pony. This hint at her stubborn but loyal nature made sure she ended up as more than a walking punchline. I always knew there was a reason Gold Ship was my best girl! I must have a sixth sense for loyalty in my anime waifus! I need to run my harem picks by you….
Not concentrating too much on anyone not only gave everyone a chance to shine but also kept things brisk and amusing. I don’t know if I’d agree with that as much, as far as episodes go I thought this was the least amusing episode so far… but I’ll get into my overall thoughts later, right now I’m content to just comment along with your thoughts like some sort of sports commentator. You didn’t like Vodka and Tiara adorably bickering the whole time. For some reason I thought it would be up your alley…
The trainers had an actual role to play. The fact that the show explicitly spelled out how much they cared about the girls a well as their own insecurities and shortcomings means that all the time spent on these two wasn’t completely wasted. They both made for decent supporting characters. Emotional support is just as important it seems, hard to disagree with that!
I LOVED that we don’t know who won the race. Just LOVED it. It’s honestly irrelevant to the narrative arc and having another round of dealing with disappointment would have felt out of place now. Interesting, that wasn’t the impression I got at all about the ending. Before the race began we had trainer-san mentioning that he wanted to see all of team Spica winning. Then as they approach the finish line it’s almost neck-in-neck with everyone. We cut to trainer looking on in disbelief and to my mind they were inferring that it was a however many way-tie for first. I like your take on the ending better though… My obliviousness really simplifies my life. This said, it would explain why everyone was singing…
THINGS I’M CONFUSED ABOUT: Spe and Suzu are supposed to be exceptional. Basically once in a generation runners. And although I can appreciate that everyone has off days, how did every girl in that race finish at more or less the same time? Doesn’t that make the girl stuck on the outside track the fastest. So far there has always been a considerable distance between first and last. I get the symbolism but I didn’t like it that much. See above thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts about this episode FYI… we’ll get to my mini-rant soon though…
THING MATT WILL DISAGREE WITH ME ABOUT: I kinda liked the trainer groping bookend…wait hear me out… Throughout the series it’s been thoroughly established that trainer deeply cares about the girls, their success and welfare. After 13 episodes, we’ve come to realize that he’s really not as much of a lech as the girls make him out to be and he honestly was just evaluating a runners potential. Recreating that first scene where we thought he was just some creepy perv and reframing it as a trainer who passionately loves his job and is constantly looking for his next pupil was rather nice and makes the whole series more wholesome in retrospect. Yeah, hard to disagree about that, it’s very clear he’s not the least bit interested in these girls in anything other than a professional sense. Trainer-San… All is forgiven! See even stubborn ol’ me can have a change of heart! I’m sorry to have underestimated you Matt. I thought your Pony Girl protectiveness would have put trainer-san beyond redemption.
I’m going to take the lead for a minute and discuss my thoughts with this final(?) episode. First of all, it’s almost like this was an OVA rather than an actual episode—as evidenced by the episode title card not numbering it as “#13” but rather “Extra”. But presumably this is canon and I’ll try and treat it as such… I agree it felt like an OVA but then again I thought the season finale was last week so I was already seeing it as an “extra”.
It was weird because so much of this episode felt like the show I ~thought~ it was going to be when reading the synopsis way back at the start of the season rather than the show it ended up turning into (i.e. a really really good one). Actually, it kind of felt like a movie adaptation of the series: playing up to various obvious character stereotypes, checking in with every character who’s ever appeared, the races were kind of dryly presented without the visual panache that some of the latter races had. And above all else, I felt like these weren’t the characters I remembered from last episode, with the exception of Trainer and Gold Ship the other characters felt like cheap one-note caricatures. Now that you mention it, I kind of see it although I feel the characters are underdeveloped so it didn’t bother me much. Also my favorites are Trainer and GoldShip anyways so…
Plus the idol stuff felt a bit more obnoxious and over-used and all-in-all I just wasn’t feeling this episode which is a shame because I had so much fun with everything else this show did. I intend to rewatch the series before I give a formal season review but as it stands this episode was the weakest in my opinion.
I still dislike the first one most and as far as a last minute ender goes, it was fine. Wow – this week Irina likes Pretty Derby more than Matt (this may have to do with expectations…) I guess I was expecting something more special, but what we ended up with was a “special”.
OVERALL: I liked the show but I think its technical merits outweigh its creative ones. This said, it had some sweet moments and a lot of attention to detail which I quite admire. For a mobile game commercial, it was pretty impressive. I have a feeling I will not remember much of it in a month or two. For sure, visually this show is gorgeous, in a way that’s easy to overlook because it makes it seem effortless. I’ll save my more detailed and specific thoughts for an eventual 20 Question Review on my site soon but to reiterate your thoughts… who would have thought that such a quality, polished product would come from such inauspicious sources. Cute girls doing cute things shows have rarely had such high stakes and sports anime have seldom been so adorable!
An here is one last gallery for you guys. I got some odd ones this week: