Yeah, yeah, my Hero Academia and Boruto are eating up most of your Shounen energy these days. But, let’s not forget about the sleeper hits that might be the next big thing in 2019.
Umamusume: Pretty Derby is everything I never knew I needed in an Idol anime. This show combines the sub-genre of cute girls endowed with animal traits with the precious beats of an idol on the rise. Released in simulcast. April 1st of 2018; Created by Toho studios which are also known for giving us that epic sports anime, Haikyu! and everyone’s favorite perfect student by day but a true weeb at home, Himouto! Umaru.
Pretty Derby’s origins are that of mobile game of the same name, the show itself doesn’t stride too far from the source. In a world where Horse Girls are prized for their speed and agility, we follow the journey of country horse girl, Special Week transfers into Tracen Academy; A school known for producing the top thoroughbreds both internationally and regionally. Because, you know, that’s all a Horse Girl is good for. Running as fast as they can and performing pop concerts in the winner circle. Special Week’s main goal, of course, is to become ‘The #1 Horse girl’.
Its absurd, its funny in a generic sitcom way, and has a bit of heart if it weren’t for the obvious tropes of idol anime. If you didn’t enjoy Keijo!!!! then this show is not for you.
I enjoyed the interactions of each girl encountering Special Week for the first time; especially SP’s meeting her idol, Silence Suzuka. If you haven’t caught on, Horse Racing is the sole focus of this show. The plot is fairly straightforward, so you could probably binge the entire 10 series currently with ease. Yeah, PD is kinda of a slow burner.
The animation is top notch, but not much variety in the winning idol performances. I find myself skipping that part as each winner seems to have memorized the exact, same, song which kinda let me down.
Despite this, I loved looking up each character’s name to find out what the history was behind each character. Like El Condor Pasa, an obvious American horse girl with spunk was the famous El Condor Pasa is a triple crown, Japan Cup winner in 1998. He was known as the best Japanese Racehorse of the 20th century. But, of course, reading up on the pasts of each horse girl might foreshadow what’s to come for the series later.
I have no doubt Pretty Derby will be a staple show for a while as Japan is very big on Horse Races. So, if you’re ready for some light-hearted laughter with and semi-serious training to be the “best” then Pretty Derby is up to your lane.
Continuing on the vein of absurdity and idol mashups .. …..
It’s been a long time since we’ve had an idol x magical girl combination of this scale of weird. Remember, Creamy Mami? What about Ai?
This story drops you right in the middle of an awkward idol concert for Magical Twin. Right off the bat, you’ll notice someone is really off key or just deaf from their own singing; That’s our protagonist, Saki Uno. But, wait! It get’s even better!
When the silent-ish heartthrob, Mohiro is kidnapped by what can only be described as steroid enhanced, squirrel people, Saki transforms into a burly, magical ….dude?!
I kid you not, I nearly hit the floor in a laughing fit when the transformation sequence happened. Not only is this poor girl transformed into a femme dressed, muscle beach looker, she has a yakuza-esque sidekick to guide her.
Also, there is no actual magical powers. There’s a lot of blood, some bullets, and lots more blood.
Did I mention her mother used to be a magical dude, too?
Without spoiling too much of show, just know that “Love Makes A Girl Stronger” is the best tagline to describe this show. I also secretly hope a lot more muscular cosplayers catch on this show soon.
The animation, again is top notch with a solid sound track of bubbly, idol tunes. Like the repetitive ” Love Me, baby” tunes or ” Together We Stand” kind of deal.
Created by Genco whose given us the Anime/Mobile Game, Magical Girl Raising Project. I’m not surprised they tried to concoct this ridiculousness.
I like to think this show is a love letter to the Magical girl genre with little references to the big three (Sailor Moon, Pretty Cure, Card Captor Sakura) to the weird filler episode of where did the budget go.
Again, this show is not that deep of a thinker; it pokes fun at the idol genre and magical girl genre, respectively. However, if brutal rescuing and pre-puberty drama with a splash of a love triangle is your bag, this show is for.
That’s all I’ve got for sleeper hits of 2018. All of these shows are now streaming on Crunchyroll, so go take a peek. Tune in next time when I actually review something that is worth your time.