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Video Game / Uma Musume

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Eclipse first, the rest nowhere

In a world very much like our own, great race horses of the past have a chance to be reborn as “horse girls” – girls with the ears and tails of horses as well as their speed and endurance. The best of these horse girls go to train at the Japan Horse Girl Training Center Academy (Tracen for short), hopefully moving on to fame and fortune as both racers and idols. You take on the role of a rookie trainer working for Tracen Academy and help your horse girls fulfill their long-awaited dreams.

Umamusume: Pretty Derby is Cygames' horse-based training and racing game available on Android, iOS and PC (via DMM). The game was introduced in 2016 with a fast-paced trailer by P. A. Works, who would go on to do its anime adaptation in Spring 2018. In the interrim before the game's release, the project also launched three manga: Starting Gate! Umamusume: Pretty Derby, focusing on Special Week and Silence Suzuka's life in the school, Haru Urara Will Give Her All!, about the titular loveable loser training to become better throughout her racing career, and Umayon, a Yonkoma gag strip based on the anime. After a series of delays, the game released on Ferbruary 24th, 2021.

The game was a surprise Sleeper Hit, reaching 3 millions download milestone and earned 100 million dollars near the end of its first month. A Korean version, published by Kakao Games, was released on June 20, 2022. A Traditional Chinese version, published by Komoe Game, was released June 27th, 2022. Plans for other overseas releases have not been officially confirmed.

You can find tropes about the manga adaptations here, while the animated version can be found here.

General Tropes

  • Ambiguously Brown: Hishi Amazon has a rather prominent tan.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Although Tracen is full of quirky students, they are based on legends of Japanese horseracing history. The Disco Dan in red was too fast to follow others. The gray-haired Big Eater led the second horseracing boom in Japan. The idiot Class Representative is almost unbeatable in the sprint race. And the crowned Large Ham was undefeatable for an entire year. Oh, Haru Urara is an exception.
  • Christmas Episode: In December of the senior year of the training story. If you meet enough fans and some additional requirements, your horse girl's unique skill level rises.
  • Competitive Balance: Beside their numerical stats, each horsegirl is assigned ratings ranging from G to A (S rating is only attainable from gameplay) for turf, racing length, and racing style preferences. While these ratings somewhat reflect the history of the actual horses, some (especially Haru Urara) are put there to ensure that every one of them are viable for their story modes and Player Versus Player. Furthermore, the outcome of Player Versus Player can also be influenced by randomly-assigned pre-race conditions, enabling statistically inferior horsegirls to win from stronger ones.
  • Cool Mask: El Condor Pasa wears a 'racing horse' mask all the time, although her character is more in line with a luchadora.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Sakura Bakushin O's storyline hinges on this: she's a strong contender for the title of best sprinter in Japan, but her lack of stamina means her dreams of participating in the more prestigious races (most of which are on the long side) can't go anywhere. Poor Trainer has to deal with this without breaking her heart.
    • In-game however, Bakushin can have the maximum rank for Mile races quite easily, which is better than Curren Chan.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Daiwa Scarlet and Hishi Amazon have these.
  • Denser and Wackier: Many of the characters' wackier traits show up more often (or only) in the game, such as Rudolf's terrible puns, Maruzensky's reckless driving and outdated teen slang, and Bourbon's ditziness.
  • Dream Match Game: Of Japanese racehorses, although they are depicted as cute girls.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Several girls have this, most notably Haru Urara (sakura petal pattern on her iris) and Meisho (star-shaped pupils).
  • Expressive Ears: Unsurprisingly, horse girls have this.
  • Fictional Sport: The Twinkle Series itself, combining aspects of track and field with the terrain of horse races and idol culture.
  • Food Porn: A good portion of the cast is made up of big eaters, highly-skilled chefs or gourmets, so there are numerous detailed depictions of food - especially, but not limited to, carrots and sweets.
  • Fragile Speedster: Since they are based on thoroughbreds, many of them suffer health problems.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: At times, some named horsegirls can be seen running (and sometimes winning) in races they would normally have no chance of being competitive in. This is especially glaring in dirt races, where there should only be relatively small amount of horsegirlsnote  able to competently race in that.
  • Gender-Blender Name: there are girls with masculine name abound, most conspicuously Narita Brian and Symboli Rudolf.
  • Genki Girl: Tokai Teio and Haru Urara are energetic and friendly.]
  • Girls Love Chocolate: You can raise your girl's motivation level with parfaits or cupcakes.
  • Hot Springs Episode: When you train your horse girl, you and her draw lots in January of the senior year. If you win the special prize in the draw and meet the Golden Ending, you go on a trip to a Ryokan Inn with her.
  • Idol Singer: The top scorers have to perform a Winning Live after their victory. Official tournaments also have the girls dress in their performance clothes when they run.
  • Image Song: Almost every playable horsegirl has her own.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Seiun Sky and Nice Nature's storylines include jabs about how their rivals (Special Week and Tokai Teio, respectively) feel way more like real main characters than they do. Sky plays it as a joke about Spe's lofty dreams and Nature has a major inferiority complex and sees herself as a side character to people who "shine" like Teio; neither of them know these two actually are the main characters of the anime.
  • Lethal Joke Character: Haru Urara is the legendary lovable loser of the horse racing community, with her real life counterpart having retired with an infamous record of zero wins in 113 races. The game has a bit of fun with this, giving her lower stats than everyone else and training milestones that mostly include participating and getting more fans, not actually winning races. But since they couldn't make her completely useless, she was given very good ranks in short races on dirt tracks, a combination that's practically unique to her and very rare in a circuit that glorifies longer races and turf. On one hand, she finds herself trailing behind on the vast majority of races like she's supposed to... but if the situation does arise, very few can compete with her.
    • Of course, then Smart Falcon and Agnes Digital were introduced and they quickly proved to be a much better dirt racer in almost every aspect...
  • Little Bit Beastly: Horse girls are easily identified by their tails and ears.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: In this case, every horse girl is named after actual Japanese race horsesnote , and it doesn't matter if they were male or female. The ones named after females wear bloomers in training, and the ones named after males wear shorts.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: Some background music tracks for races are quite a bit longer than the races themselves, which seldom last longer than three minutes without the use of the fast-forwarding features.
  • Oral Fixation: Narita Brian always has a twig on her mouth.
  • She Knows About Timed Hits: There are two official tutorial videos. Both feature horse girls explaining the game's system.
  • Troperiffic: The trailer distilled its premise to amazing levels in the short two minutes it lasted. Personified racehorses? Personified racehorse idols? Figure skating personified racehorse idols? Schoolgirl Series and Sports Story gags in the middle of it all? The trailer features all this and more.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: In February of the senior year of the training story. If you meet enough fans and some additional requirements, your horse girl's unique skill level rises.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: There are a surprising amount of real-world events written into the plot and events of the game, but the game in general is a light-hearted wish-fulfillment piece of fiction. In the end of the day the real life history will make way to tell a good story, else the narration will go to dark places.

Alternative Title(s): Uma Musume Pretty Derby