This surprise 2nd season came out of nowhere. It felt like a last minute bombshell announcement. According to my “dear sister” both the mobile game and a potential 2nd season were in limbo but thankfully both successfully released. However, we are here to talk about the anime sequel and find out if it was worth the wait as we take a look at Uma Musume – Pretty Derby 2.
Check out my review of the 1st season HERE and be sure to look up the Uma Musume: BNW no Chikai OVAs to learn more about certain side-horses who reintroduce themselves in the 2nd half of S2.
Genres: Animal Girls, Comedy, Drama, Racing, Sports, Tournament.
Themes: Horse Girls, Kemonomimi
Number of Episodes: 13
Plot Summary: The 2nd season follows Tokai Teio and Mejiro McQueen. Teio grew up as huge fan of Symboli Rudolph and made it her goal to follow a similar career path as her to become as good or better than her idol. Meanwhile McQueen continues her path to bring honor and glory to the Mejiro dynasty of top tier horses.
For the most part the setup is the same as the first season of Pretty Derby, meaning it is still a serious sports anime about racing horse girls who give their all on the track and go through many ups and downs throughout their journeys to become the best of the best…and once in a while sing on stage because idols are popular in Japan. It also takes parts of the careers of the real horses each girl is based on and combines them with the narrative of the anime. The idol stuff still felt tacked on but ultimately served its purpose of a tertiary thing in this series. The girls have their cute and funny moments for sure, which are great, but at the end of the day it is about the spirit of competition and quest for horse girl supremacy between friends and rivals.
The “Muri!” meme lives on.
The presentation is once again quite good, capturing the speed and thrill like a real derby but the camera were following the action close up rather than from a spectators’ seats. The excitement is further enhanced when the girls tap into what I like to refer to as the “Speed Force”. Yup. The same one from The Flash. The returning and new horse girls all have lovely designs ranging from cute, sexy or both. The soundtrack gets the job done fitting the mood.
On to the personal main differences. Last time I felt the main horses on Team Spica were all excellent while the side-horses were hit and miss. Most of the main horses from the first season return with some side-horses making small cameos here and there. The first major difference is how much I love the new side-horses this season. Every single one from Team Canopus to Mejiro Palmer were all excellent and each had their own arc. When the spotlight shone on one or more they grabbed the proverbial brass ring and flew to the moon. The new side-horses were that damn awesome! Special mention goes to a certain “heel”. Her arc was my favorite of the season because she was great with a blue cutie coming in 2nd. Even Trainer Guy was cool. I did not dislike him as much as some did last time but now that there were no new Team Spica members he did not make viewers annoyed by “checking” horses’ “leg strength”. There are two guys I did not care much for. I know the stereotype is guys are more analytical discussing sports but replace them with girls who did the same thing and no one would know the difference. Point being they could have had the pony fangirls do the same thing and it would have been the same. Point being those fanboys were kinda pointless.
Continuing the discussion of characters let us go over the new leads, former side-horses Tokai Teio and Mejiro McQueen. I will get to the point. Overall I thought Special Week and Silence Suzuka were better leads (Special is even a fantastic side-horse in S2). That does not mean Teio and McQueen were bad. Far from it. They were good leads. What got them over was the next big difference this season. There was strong drama in S1, yes. In S2 though…let me put it this way. It felt like life had it in for these two. As mentioned the anime takes parts of the real horses’ careers and blends it with the show’s narrative…but it seriously felt on multiple occasions like the world did not want these two to be happy. It made for a heart pounding journey no doubt but dang was it tough to watch at times, in a good way. Basically solid protagonists, EXCELLENT journey that may have had some similarities to Special’s and Suzuka’s but more than enough to be their own tale. The same can be said for the new side-horses’ journeys as I already mentioned.
When it comes to horse girls, Little Viktoria said it best, the two constants in the horse girl universe are, hardships to overcome and yuri. As a Gold McQueen supporter from S1 I was not looking forward to the possibility of McTeio becoming a reality. However, after seeing it to the end, I admit the relationship buildup was well done. So much so I recovered from Gold McQueen’s end. Besides, it was done a heck of a lot better than what happened in Love Live Sunshine S2. As much as I love Aqours’ animated journey that little smudge still irks me. Back to the gay horsies. Besides McTeio there are several other couples on the show besides Special Silence who managed to make a long distance relationship work. In short, plenty of cute soft yuri to be found.
Why did I enjoy Uma Musume 2 so much? An excellent main story, excellent side-stories, everything that made the first season great remained intact, including the yuri, and last but not least, THIS SEASON WAS SO GOOD I WAS EMOTIONALLY INVESTED IN A MINI-ARC ABOUT HAIRCUTS! I had a good feeling I would enjoy this season but did not expect to enjoy it so much it would become one of my favorite anime of 2021. I do not know if other fans will enjoy it as much as I did but you all came here to read my thoughts so there you go.
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