Follow TV Tropes

Following

Shout Out / Uma Musume

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/suzukagrave.jpg
The grave of the Real Life Silence Suzuka, adorned with an image and a CD of his anime counterpart
Advertisement:

The entire series is one big Shout-Out to Japanese Horse Racing, with the plot appearing to follow, mostly, the 1998 season (while pulling in Special Week's maiden race from 1997), then, from Episode 8, the 1999 season. A lot of little Real Life facts get reflected in the anime, to the point that, weirdly, Very Loosely Based on a True Story applies.

A Japanese Youtuber known as Anime Fan has released, so far, two videos covering real life facts that are reflected in this anime. A few of the prototypes of the main characters can be seen in action in this video. One can also search for the race record of every horse and look for videos of the races to see more of the originals.

Advertisement:

Characters and opening

  • Nearly all the horsegirls are real life racehorses, though most of the real life prototypes, including Special Week and Silence Suzuka, are, or were, stallions (male horses). They tend to be Real Life examples of Cool Horse, and in some cases "who of the horses is/was cooler" would be a cause for a flame war among racing fans. If you don't mind Nico Nico, you can see the opening with all the real horses here (lots of Freeze-Frame Bonus as many characters only appear briefly).
    • There is an indicator of sex of the Real Life prototype in character design: stallions have decorations on the right ear, mares on the left ear.
  • The design of the characters often references the prototypes.
    • Girls often have a white streak of hair, representing the white spot on the horse's head.
    • Grass Wonder even had a little brown dot on the white streak of hair - because the real Grass Wonder has that dot on the white areaa of his head.
    • Silence Suzuka is a redhead who likes to wear green ear covers. The real horse was red and raced in a green head mask that included ear covers.
  • While horses as teenage girls sounds like playing to otaku fantasy, the "teenage" part is pretty close to reality. A 3-year-old horse (as Special Week was in the 1998 season, which the anime is based on) is an "older teenager" in human terms, just like the anime character; a 4-year-old like Silence Suzuka is a "young adult". A Derby in most places, including Japan, is a race of 3-year-old horses, so it really is, in a way, a competition of teenagers (but mostly boys).
  • Special Week's mother (dam), Campaign Girl, did die shortly after the birth, and Special Week was manually fed by farm hands - on real life Hokkaido, too.
      Advertisement:
    • The trainer responsible for breaking Special Week in was a lady from New Zealand. The anime counterpart's step-mother has blond hair.
  • Grass Wonder was recovering from an injury during most of the 1998 season. She is shown with a bandaged leg in the first few episodes.
    • In Episode 6 she returns to racing at Mainichi Okan, as in RL. And fails to win, as in RL.
  • Haru Urara is a racehorse famous for never being able to win, yet keeping the pluck. The character reflects this trait.
  • Gold Ship is a funky, weird, unpredictable horse. His varying "facial" expressions were well reflected in the horse girl, and so is his general character (except the real horse kicks and rears and has hurt a few people, too, while the horsegirl just know some martial arts moves). The horse is also quite smart, so that Rubik's Cube in Gold Ship's hands does mean someting, too. (There is a Twitter account for the real horse, with a few more lively photos).
  • Both Silence Suzuka and Special Week race with different colored shoes since their real life horse counterparts had different colored hooves.
  • Tokai Teio teaches Spica girls to dance. Real life Tokai Teio could do dressage, which is basically dancing for horses. The anime Tokai Teio proudly does the Teio step... which was totally real, and for a racehorse, pretty marvelous.
  • Oguri Cap is a Big Eater. The real Oguri Cap, a racehorse, did love to eat a lot, too.
  • A friendly rivalry exists between Vodka and Daiwa Scarlet in the anime. The Real Life horses (both of them mares) also had an ongoing rivalry, competing against each other in a number of races.
  • There seems to be a pattern that a "descendant" looks up to the "progenitor" (more precisely, the girl based on the descendant looks up to the girl based on the progenitor):
    • Tokai Teio wants to be like the President, Symboli Rudolf, who is a Triple Crown winner. The real life Symboli Rudolf (who indeed was a Triple Crown winner) was the father (sire) of the real life Tokai Teio.
    • Episode 5 shows Gold Ship pestering Mejiro McQueen and wanting to run with her so much that eventually McQueen joins Spica. In real life Mejiro McQueen was the maternal grandfather (damsire) of Gold Ship.
    • Also in Episode 5, upon seeing Maruzensky, Special Week is stunned by her beauty. In real life, Maruzensky was the maternal grandfather (damsire) of Special Week.
    • A variation possibly occurs between Special Week and Silence Suzuka since their real life counterparts were siblings sharing the same sire (Sunday Silence). It makes it look like a younger sister (Spe-chan) looking up to their big sister (Suzuka). On the other hand, Sunday Silence was a major sire and has a few other children in the anime or game too, such as Admire Vega and Marvelous Sunday; "same sire" relationships are generally not considered to be serious in racing (unlike "same dam"). So the Les Yay reading of Suzuka and Spe-chan's relationship does not amount to incest.

  • The brief racing clips in the opening sequence refer to famous wins of the real life horses:
    • Vodka, a mare (female horse), pushing ''stallions'' aside in a breakthrough to win the 2009 Yasuda Kinen.
    • Gold Ship coming in on the inside (from 2:25, he is no. 14) to win Satsuki Sho in 2012.
    • Tokai Teio winning by a hair breadth in 1993 Arima Kinen and breaking into tears. In RL, it was the jockey who cried.
    • Mejiro McQueen's racing clip is too brief to identify with certainty, but it appears to be the 1990 Kikuka Sho; the umbrellas can be seen on the video at 2:58.
    • Suzuka's racing clips are not yet identified, but he (the real-life horse) raced like that (firmly in the lead) for most of the 1998 season. (However, there is a brief sequence of her winning a race in Tokyo in a G1 outfit. The real life horse never won a G1 in Tokyo).
  • There are other Real Life references in the opening. Notably, an aerial view of Hidaka Taiyo Bokujo, the farm where Special Week was born.

Race runs in episodes

  • The racing is pretty close to the historical 1998 and (after New Year in Episode 8) 1999 seasons, so for an unlikely source of (kinda, sometimes) spoilers, one can look at racing records. Here are links for the main characters; you can find the others on the same website:
  • The race in Episode 1, where Suzuka stars and wins while Special Week watches from the audience, appears to be Valentine Stakes, held on February 14, 1998, at the Tokyo Racecourse (which is the pictured racecourse). Suzuka is number 12 in the anime, as in the real race. This also means that one of the girls on stage with her is Horse's Neck, who was second in that race (and is not officially listed as an Umamusume character).
  • Episode 2 has Special Week's maiden race, which is taken from the 1997 season. Comparison video
    • But note that Queen Berry, the runner-up, does not reference a real horse. Some other participants are also clearly "fictional" (that is, not based on real horses).
  • Episode 3 covers two races, the Yayoi Sho (comparison video) and Satsuki Sho (comparison video). For Satsuki Sho, in the anime the girls do not wear their numbers this time, so for ease of viewing: Seiun Sky is number 3, King Halo is number 12, and Special Week is number 18.
  • At the end of Episode 4 Team Spica watches a televised race where El Condor Pasa wins. This appears to be the NHK Mile Cup, which he did win in RL. In the interview after the race, Hana mentions "five races, five wins", which appears to be true for El Condor Pasa at that moment (but the RL trainer seems to have been male). The interview is followed by an announcement that El Condor Pasa is going to run in the Derby, which takes the girls by surprise - and also takes viewers who read RL history as spoilers by similar surprise.
  • Nippon Derby in Episode 5 does not follow the real race... for a very good reason. El Condor Pasa did not run in this race in 1998 because he was not born/bred in Japan. But this rule was scrapped since, and the year in the anime seems to be 2018 (or 2020, if we judge by the calendar of weekdays). If the 1998 situation were happening today, El Condor Pasa would run. Who would have won is a matter of debate among fans, so in retrospect, the tie was probably the safest choice, but it did make for good tension even among viewers who looked up the real race results. There is a comparison video.
    • However, Yasuda Repeat, who is briefly introduced in the race then comes third and is seen in the winning concert, is fully fictional; there was no horse by that name.
  • Mainichi Okan in Episode 6 is, again, mostly played "by the book", though some horses who are not represented in the anime are replaced with those from a later timeline (including third-place winner). The important result, Silence Suzuka defeating El Condor Pasa who was never defeated before, is entirely historical. So is the moment when Suzuka does not stop running or a while after crossing the finish line (warning: linked video is a spoiler for race results).
  • Episode 6 also includes an eating contest that is a real-life race, but this time, from 1988: the 33rd Arima Kinen (note that the contest is also named "33rd"). As you can see the results of the eating contest broadly match the race results: Oguri Cap was first, Tamamo Cross second, and Super Creek disqualified. Video of the race.
    • A likely prototype of the prize plushie was found in a donut establishment located at Tokyo Racecourse.
  • The lineup of Tenno Sho in Episode 7 is heavily modified compared to Real Life 1998 Tenno Sho, with many girls from the cast added to the lineup instead of real horses that are not a part of this anime. This works really well, especially with El Condor Pasa who joined this race as a rematch against Silence Suzuka and got her win, but is obviously not happy about the way she got it. In Real Life, the rematch was planned for a later race, but Suzuka did not survive to join it. However, the main incident of that race is shown pretty close to reality: after taking an unrealistically huge lead and running ever faster, Silence Suzuka breaks down and starts to slow dramatically, closely following the race video including the large tree behind which something seems to happen; see the video from 4:50, slow-mo at 16:10. The ambulance, seen on the video at 6:17, also makes an appearance. But while the Real Life horse had to be put down because of the multiple fracture, the anime takes things Lighter and Softer, thanks to The Power of Friendship.
    • In Real Life, Silence Suzuka may have saved the life of the jockey, Yutaka Take, that day. Yutaka Take proceeded to ride Special Week, helping him become one of the great racehorses in Japan's history.
    The jockey for Suzuka, Yutaka Take said in a interview once that usually it would not be unlikely for a horse to fall down after breaking its leg while running, but Suzuka did not because he did not want Take to get hurt. Suzuka was known for being a gentle and friendly horse. He also seemed to know what the jockey riding him wanted and would follow orders well.
  • Episode 8 time-skips a few months, so it is unclear if Spe-chan had three victories that the Real Life horse had during this period (including Spring 1999 Tenno Sho). However, 1999 Takarazuka Kinen is "played by the book"; it even appears that at the moment when Spe-chan looks back, in Real Life the jockey (Yutaka Take again) looks back.
  • Episode 9 includes a televised L'Arc de Triomphe, played by the book as the 1999 race, except that Montjeu is renamed Broye. Genghis Khan, who was the runner-up for much of the race (though finished last), does not get named but gets a distinctive "ethnic" design .
  • Episode 10 starts with Kyoto Daishoten, where, indeed, Special Week came 7th and TM Opera O came third in 1999. It ends with Tenno Sho autumn, apparently played entirely "by the book" - though the moment where Seiun Sky says she does not like enclosed spaces and proceeds to walk backwards away from the starting gate is quite significantly downplayed from the rather funny (except for those involved) situation at the real 1999 race (starting after 3:25 and lasting about four minutes, with the horse, at one point, marching backwards while blindfolded). The moment before the finish, when several strong horses make their move at once, was quite real.
    • There is a minor change in Tenno Sho: Mejiro Ryan runs, taking the place of Real Life Mejiro Bright. (Mejiro Bright was a son of Mejiro Ryan).
    • In the middle of the episode, there is a montage of wins by other Team Spica members. This is an obvious Easter Egg; fans who like comparing the anime to Real Life Horse Racing are invited to work out which races are shown. To let you enjoy the task if you want, we place the solution under spoiler tags. You can use the website http://www.jbis.jp to find all race records.
      • The team has left a clear clue: the girls wear number bibs. This means, by the world's rules, that all races are non-G1. With this information, wins can be identified by comparing the race records.
      • Tokai Teio has two non-G1 wins under number 2: two-year-old newcomer, Chukyo, 1990 and Sanken Osaka Hai, Hanshin, 1992. Leave her alone for the moment, it will be clear later which it is.
      • Vodka has one win with number 9: Elfin Stakes, Kyoto, 2007. Moreover the runner-up had number 2 as in the anime.
      • Daiwa Scarlet winning under number 1 means her second race, Sports Hochi Hai, Chukyo, 2006
      • And now we can solve Tokai Teio, as Teio's finish marker is the same as Daiwa's, so it has to be the same racecourse, Chukyo. Moveover, on a race video from Chukyo, at 1:14 we can glimpse a very similar finish marker. Therefore, Tokai Teio's win is two-year-old newcomer, Chukyo, 1990 - his maiden race.
      • Mejiro McQueen winning a non-G1 race under number 6 means his maiden race, three-year-old newcomer, Hanshin, 1990. You can notice she is running on bare ground, not grass like the others. This is because that race was on dirt, not turf.
      • Finally, Gold Ship winning under number 4 means Cosmos Sho in Sapporo, his second race.
      • Note that all the races are early in the horses' career, some of them even maiden. Evidently they want the discerning viewer to feel that this, indeed, is only the start of glory for Team Spica.
  • In Episode 11 the race is, of course, fictional (as the real Silence Suzuka was not there to race). But it is loosely based on 1999 Capital Stakes (results in Japanese), a race that was indeed run the day before Japan Cup, and "Sun Vizor" is loosely based on Sun Flare, the winner of that race. The arrival of Broye to Japan is of course based on reality: Montjeu was certainly in the country by the time, having arrived to run in Japan Cup.
  • Episode 12 has Japan Cup 1999 played generally close to reality, though interaction between Special Week (number 13) and Broye (number 14, real name Montjeu) was emphasized for dramatic reasons. Licensing issues obviously played a role in limiting the display here, with the Winning Live lacking the holders of the second and third places.
  • In Episode 13, the races mentioned at the start are all real, and the snippet of the Arima Kinen for Special Week is close enough to the final race of Special Week the horse in 1999. As for the Winter Dream Tournament, it is indeed a dream race, including the best Japanese horses over three decades. They could never race together; for example, Oguri Cap died before Gold Ship was born. The idea is not new; a 2015 JRA video has a broadly similar lineup and may have been the inspiration for the anime race.
  • The first OVA: the race shown at the start, and then again close to the end, is the 1994 Autumn Tenno Sho, but it seems that Winning Ticket and Narita Taishin were switched around . The race that Rudolf watches on the laptop with the others, and that seems to have established "BNW", is the 1993 Japanese Derby.

Other fun real life references

  • In the anime, there is a statue of Symboli Rudolf at the entrance to Toyo Racecourse. There is no statue to the real Symboli Rudolf. But a statue of a horse in that location does exist (a better photo would be much appreciated); even the trees appear to be the same. The horse is not Symboli Rudolf and does not appear to be named. But in another location at Tokyo Racecourse, there is a statue of Vodka, apparently the one represented in the anime. Vodka was quite alive at the time the statue was placed there (no later than 2014); she had a few foals after that. In fact, statues to living horses seem to be common practice (Frankel was also quite alive in 2015 when he got his statue at Royal Ascot, and in fact Vodka had a foal by him that year).
  • In Episode 6, at Mainichi Okan, we see a man holding a full set of plushies of Team Spica horsegirls. Plushies of real horses are made and sold at races in Japan, and one did exist of Silence Suzuka.
  • In Episode 7, Trainer gets the girls to run to a hotel that has a hot spring bath. It turns out that the pictured hotel is real, called Tashuroya (Google Street View link), at the Nasu onsen (hot spring). However, the distance between Fuchi racecourse, to which Tracen is close, and Nasu onsen is about 180 km - so if this is canon, the girls, through half a day (starting at 3pm), have covered considerably more ground than a typical day of horse riding (when done without changing horses). Of course, unlike riding horses, they did not carry riders, but the stamina appears quite impressive.
  • That swimming pool at Tracen? A real feature of both JRA training centers. Yes, they have heated swimming pools for horses. (If you wonder what they are for, you can enjoy a relaxing video of a swimming Thoroughbred, though not in Japan.)
  • While not as severe as depicted in the Anime, the track Satsuki Sho is run on does have a significant climb before the finish.
  • At Satsuki Sho 1998, Seiun Sky needed a push to get into the starting gate (then proceeded to win the race). The horsegirl also gets a guy pushing her, complete with the original yellow safety hat.
  • The training match between Taiki Shuttle and Special Week was conducted on a uphill course covered in Woodchip where Special Week relaxed on afterwards. Both JRA training centers have a similar course and both are covered in the same material.
  • In Episode 9 the Spica girls swim in the ocean - keeping their heads out of the water all the time, just like horses.
  • In Episode 10 Special Week is shown pulling a large tire with Gold Ship sitting on it. Except the tire form of the sled, this is a real Japanese horse sport called ban'ei. (The tire form might be a Continuity Nod to the trailer, where the girls are shown pulling normal-size tires; note that tires of this huge size really do exist, they are for haul trucks).
  • Episode 13 was released on Father's Day and suitably includes a moving scene between Symboli Rudolf and Tokai Teio, with Symboli very happy that Teio has grown up to challenge her.
  • The unnamed Horse Girl seen during the finale is likely based on Kitasan Black, the 2017 Horse of the Year that just retired. He is the nephew of Special Week and Silence Suzuka.

Shout Out to other media

  • The French horsegirl Broye, seen racing El Condor Pasa in Episode 9, bears a strong resemblance to Oscar from The Rose of Versailles.
  • Episode 9 contains a possible reference to Episode 9 of the original Neon Genesis Evangelion series. (Might just be a similar visual gag, though).
Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback