These horse girls are off to the races in Uma Musume Pretty Derby, a new anime series that's part of a new mixed media project from Toho Animation, Lantis, and Cygames. It just follows a group of normal, average, everyday girls who also happen to be thoroughbred racehorses. Yeah, you read that right. Horse girls.
Uma Musume Pretty Derby follows a horse girl named Special Week who lives in the countryside and moves to the big city in an effort to attend a school that's all about racing. She and her teammates work together to one day take the Twinkle Series circuit by storm, one day becoming Japan's "number-one horse girl."No, I'm not making that up. This is a real anime series. But thinking about it, it's nothing any stranger than we've seen before. It's nearly Keijo!!!, the excellent boob-and-butt-bouncing sports show that travels down an almost identical path. It's a pretty cute and novel idea, especially since the Kentucky Derby is this weekend (and I live in Louisville!) and the horse racing season is about to start.
But I don't care anything about horses or racing, or sports at all. What I do care about, however, is Uma Musume Pretty Derby. It's hard not to, seeing these cuties learning to race together and use their own special talents to become the best runners they can. I care because the show gives me a reason to every week, and I keep coming back for more.
And the internet is going crazy about that "horse girl anime." No one is quite sure what to think of it, because it by all accounts sounds like it shouldn't exist. "Girl horses" who are essentially runners working together to become the best in Japan? It makes zero sense, right?
But it works. Keep in mind, these aren't your typical My Little Pony-styled horses. They're anthropomorphic horse girls with adorable little horse ears and bodies that resemble regular humans through and through — they just look like horse people!
There's one other aspect of Uma Musume Pretty Derby that you probably didn't know about: surprise! They're also pop idols. In addition to competing in races, the horse girls also sing and dance together. After her horse races come to an end, main character Special Week jumps on stage to perform a song you can sing along to at home. It's impossibly cute and pure, and while the whole "idol" culture thing may be a little difficult for some to get into, it's one of the most fun-loving shows you could tune into this season, even if it is a little strange.
If you're into anime weirdness but think you might not "get" horse racing with cute girls, throw that line of thinking aside and jump into it wholeheartedly. There is a lot of love for this quirky adventure, and you'll find yourself getting further and further into Special Week's story. To get started, head to Crunchyroll, then come back and tell me you didn't immediately fall in love, too.