Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 1 & 2 – Anime QandA Review (Collab with Irina!)

(Guest Question Asker: Irina from I Drink And Watch Anime)

Matt, what even is this show? Wait I know what show it is I watched the first 2 eps too for the purposes of this collab, but you know, drinking…! Hi Irina! Welcome to Anime QandA! We’re talking about Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, which I kinda forced you to watch…

Haha, you say “forced”, I say blackmailed…. We’re all friends here. So this is what having friends that aren’t a construct of my own mind feels like? I like it!

So on first glance, some people may think this is just a loli, ponyplay, idol hell mashup but how would You describe the show? Well I know you’re just asking for the benefit of the readers and also because it’s kind of a staple of my reviews, but it’s about a starry eyed country girl ‘Special Week’ whose moved to Tokyo to attend a school for horse girls and live out her and her mother(s) dream of being the best horse girl in Japan!

‘I wanna be the very best…’

And when you say horse girl we’re not talking centaur’s now are we? No, not as such, these are just otherwise normal girls’ who also have horse ears and a horse’s tail. Oh and they run really fast too!

Certainly helps if you’re going to be a race horse girl!

***cough ponyplay cough*** Listen, I’m much too innocent to even know what that is…

Now tell me honestly, what made you want to watch the show in the first place? Cute girls! It’s why I do most things, also if they’ve got a monster girl edge then bonus!

I’m really into their hair, or is it their manes?

And did the first two episodes live up to those expectations? Well, if we’re talking about expectations of plot and character the only thing I had to go off for this series was the MAL synopsis which even now still just reads “based on the mobile game” so my expectations were pretty much zero. But it met and exceeded my expectations for being a show about cute horse girls!

My money is on the protagonist!

You downloaded the game, didn’t you? I would have if I had a Japanese iTunes account or could read Japanese…

This sort of freaked me out but what did you think of the fact that the girls seem to only have been given racing names? I think it’s cute! They’re all named after famous Japanese racehorses such as: ‘Silence Suzuka’, ‘Symboli Rudolph’, ‘El Condor Pasa’, ‘Air Groove’ and ‘Vodka’. I don’t know I just get a kick out of otherwise normal looking girls having weird names. Is that a new fetish? Uh-oh…

Irina likes Vodka, the drink not the horse.

Speaking of Uh-oh – I had a coach like that…. Yeah, I’m not sold on the coach character, I mean he at least seems less creepy in episode 2, but I mean way to get me off base right away with a character by having him rub ‘Special Week’s’ calves without her permission—twice!

Bad touch!

So why do they run in high heels? Maybe it’s like a handicap to make the sport more difficult? Though I think if the show never explains it it’s probably just someone likes girls in heels. Yeah I can see why that might seem like a bit of an unnecessary addition.

Yeah, that does sound like something their coach would suggest. I’m surprised they’re not running in mini skirts…yet… Oh it’s probably going to happen, unless the opening credits is just for illustrative purposes I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up running in their idol costumes at bigger events.

Elite athletes.

Do you have a favorite character so far? If the wikipedia page is anything to go by there is going to be a lot of characters in this show. So given the only two who’ve received considerable screen time so far are ‘Special Week’ and ‘Silence Suzuka’ it has to be ‘Special Week’! Ha – I knew it!

She’s just so ‘special’, she makes me ‘week’ at the knees…

Man, horsegirls sure are nice and optimistic! Well I don’t think that they’re all just nice and optimistic, we get that one girl in the second episode who tries to take down ‘Special Week’ in her debut race. And I think the supporting characters all have pretty distinctive personalities, but I mean yeah… it’s not like we’re going for deeply flawed and complex characters here.

You can tell she’s the antagonist because of the eye patch!

Yes the one clear antagonist is not nice. So what does “Eclipse first, the rest nowhere” mean? That the Japanese are bad at English? No, I mean I get it’s their school motto and it’s something of an inspirational quote but I think all it means is, be better than the best and leave the rest in the dust? Though it’s kind of a harsh motto if they’re trying to promote camaraderie and teamwork too. Oh that makes much more sense, I thought it was some type of deep astrophysics theory…

Google translate only gets you so far.

What’s with all the idol shows? Ah yes, probably the most unnecessary part of the show. After each race the top 3 horse girl’s perform a ‘winner’s concert’ which is basically just an idol show. I know ‘idols’ exist in various sports in Japan, like ‘Shogi Idol’s’ are a thing, but I don’t think they go as far as singing and dancing on stage. I guess this show just wanted to have both sport and idol related things in the show. Plus if it’s the voice actors singing the songs then more money from selling CD singles!

I mean of course every horse girl race turns into an idol concert.

That would be funny since we know the characters lip syncAre you buying the soundtrack? Wait did you already buy the soundtrack? I don’t generally buy Anime soundtrack’s, at least not new, just wait a couple of years and you can get them so much cheaper from second-hand sites!

What are you hoping to see in the rest of the season? I don’t know, I’m honestly not looking that far ahead. I’m just happy to take it episode by episode just like I was with Laid Back Camp–oops! I probably shouldn’t mention that show around you! Never heard of it…

It’s a sport anime, see?

Since a ‘career ending injury’ is a super common sports anime trope, do you think a girl will twist her ankle (running in high heels ‘n all) and will they have to… dispose of her like they do with race horses? Off to the glue factory with you horse girl! Or do horse girl’s get turned into something different, like lube maybe?–Oh that’s dark and perverse even for me… I take everything back – this show is pure brilliance!

Good advice. Wait, why are you looking at me?!

I take it you recommend the show? You could pretty much just look at the poster or any of the screenshots to know whether this is the show for you, it’s cute horse girls and I love their character designs and personalities, this is just totally my kind of anime. It’s not perfect and I do wonder how far they can take this show’s concept but I’m along for the ride! Ride – I get it! I smurt!

Now if you want to know whether I recommend the show over unnecessary explorative dental surgery without anaesthesia, you can find out in our exciting review of episode 3! Coming soon!

I wonder who these girls could be? Such flawless disguises!
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8 comments

  1. Reblogged this on I drink and watch anime and commented:
    You know what’s better than writing posts about anime? Getting someone whose talent you admire to write most of them for you. No one tell Matt he’s being tricked!

    Somehow, I got Matt to agree to a full season collaboration with me where I get to sit back and feed off his skill and creativity for weeks on end and all I have to do in exchange is watch an anime about cute horse girls… Wait, oh no, did I get duped again? It’s normal when someone asks for your social security number before a collab, right?

    So for our first post, we’ll be covering the two fist episodes of Pretty Derby!, well Matt will be, I’ll be asking occasionally snarky questions. Here we go!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is my favorite show of the season so far. I just like it. I could use a little more background info on the world they’re in, like in ep 3 they say that Special Week is the only one who can go for the Triple Crown, which I’m guessing is because she’s in class 3, and that’s kind of equivalent to 3-year-olds, which is the age of horses in the Triple Crown. But they don’t really make that connection, nor say what classes the other horses are in (like why do Vodka and Daiwa Scarlet call Special Week “senpai”, even though Vodka is in Class 3-A?).

    I do think it’s fun that the girls in the series have similar hair color to the horses they’re named for.

    Liked by 1 person

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