Umayon – Ep. 1 (First Impressions)

Remember Umamusume: Pretty Derby? That anime about anthropomorphic horse girls competing in races to perform as idols that was surprisingly pretty good? It’s back! Granted, this is a short anime spin-off and not a full on second season but it’s back nonetheless!

I’m not really sure what the current deal is with Umamusume. The show sold very well on disc, averaging at 18k per volume, but there hasn’t been any word of a second season. Meanwhile, the mobile game that show was promoting has been delayed indefinitely. Maybe this just isn’t a priority for developer and publisher Cygames, they certainly have plenty of profitable properties, but it’s nevertheless a bit strange. I can only look at Umayon then with optimism, that Cygames is still interested in making Umamusume a franchise and this series is a means for them to check for consumer interest.

As for Umayon itself, it seems to be a series of short side-stories. This episode, you have Special Week (Azumi Waki), Grass Wonder (Rena Maeda), and El Condor Pasa (Minami Takahashi) taking a test while Silence Suzuka (Marika Kouno) and Tokai Teio (Machicho) commentate on it like it’s a sporting event. A bit odd that this is treated as competition and but it’s a cute scenario nonetheless. I particularly love how Spe is all tired from last minute cramming and resorts to rolling a makeshift die to fill in the answers. Poor Spe. Maybe the next scenario will give her a more glamorous appearance.

With the short running time, anthology-based structure, and the more chibi-based art style, this series does feel more like an extra feature to the Umamusume Blu-ray than something you’d see on television/streaming. I think I would prefer something more along the lines of, say, Room Camp where the art style is kept the same and there’s more of a legitimate narrative. Still, this approach is fine by me. I’m enjoying this show regardless and it’s nice seeing Umamusume‘s cast after two years.


Thanks for reading!

Watch Umayon on Crunchyroll

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