Uma Musume: Pretty Derby [Review]
“In a world very much like our own, great race horses of the past have a chance to be reborn as “horse girls” – girls with the ears and tails of horses as well as their speed and endurance. The best of these horse girls go to train at Tokyo’s Tracen Academy, hopefully moving on to fame and fortune as both racers and idols. Special Week, a high school horse girl from the countryside, has just transferred to Tracen, and she’s determined to fulfill her promise to her mother to become the best horse girl in Japan. On her way to school, she takes a pit stop at the race track and instantly falls in love with Silence Suzuka’s style, becoming determined to race on the same team as her.”-Anime News Network
Who would’ve thought that horse racing could get so intense and competitive? Uma Musume took the anime world by storm and blew everyone away with its passionate story about Special Week, a horse girl aiming to be the best in Japan. On her way to becoming the best, she goes through many trials both physically and mentally giving the anime the feeling of a shounen anime but not as dragged out. Though towards the second half of the show there are a few time skips that pass without warning, which does disrupt the flow of the anime. Other than that the anime as a whole does a great job of developing both the story and the characters at a good pace.
Artwork & Animation:
Right from the get-go, I fell in love with the character designs of the overall show, the horse girls would, obviously, have horse-like traits but even Trainer’s hair would imitate a horse’s mane, which was a nice touch. But let’s talk about the dynamic animation of the races, each and every race had me clutching my hands. Though the animation and artwork were very simple and aren’t anything special, the composition was what made each of the races special. There were rarely any recycled scenes and the camera works displayed the different position and the angles helped the audience to understand the position each horse girl was in. And so in the composition aspect, Uma Musume does an excellent job.
The thing I love about Uma Musume are the horse girls because all of them are based on real racehorses, most of which raced in Japan. While Special Week is our main character and leads most of the story, there are a lot of other characters to look for such as the all the girls from Team Spica and Team Rigil.
Sound (OST & Voice Acting):
Uma Musume’s opening theme is the perfect song to get you pumped up for the rest of the show, the use of trumpets and timpani gave it that “Derby” feel which then transitioning straight into the idol music was a great way to tie in the horse race and the idol performance. The races were accompanied by a nice array of orchestral pieces, bringing the intense emotions from every race.
Uma Musume was such a joy to watch from beginning to end. The fun training session and the intense races both had me wanting more and more. Although I would’ve loved to see a little bit more of the idol portion of the show it was still cool to see the victory performances.
Overall: Score 8
Uma Musume is packed with both intense sports action as well as cute characters paired with a great soundtrack that implements both a neo-classical style with an idol style twist. And literal Dark Horse in the anime season and with a mobile game already out, there is more Uma Musume to be had!
Best Girl: Silence Suzuka
Of all the girls, Silence Suzuka is the most dominant but she’s also the one that had the most dynamic character development.
Honorable Mention: Gold Ship
Ok so I haven’t done this before but Gold Ship is too good to not give her a shout out. How can a single horse girl be so entertaining? Well watch the show and find out!