Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 12 – Anime QandA Review (With Irina)

An Anime QandA review of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 12 (With Irina)

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 12 Collaboration featuring Irina (in bold) from I Drink And Watch Anime.


So this episode started out with a bookend with Spe’s mom echoing Spe’s own big city experience, I wanna say you thought that was adorable? Absolutely! How could I not?!

We check in with seemingly every horse girl that’s ever been on the show before the big race. All have words of encouragement for Spe on her big day. I like that so many of them are jealous of her getting to race against Broye, really shows that they’re a part of this world too–even if it’s in a cursory way. They’re passionate about the sport too–they’re just not as good as Spe-chan and Suzuka.

A challenger approaches!

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anime makeup look right. Broye would be so much cuter without that lipstick. I didn’t notice to be honest, maybe the Japanese think French women wear a lot more make-up? But speaking of Broye, I get why the anime showed Broye exercising in her room before the big race (to show that she’s a tough and intimidating opponent), but doing thumb hand-stands seems a bit ludicrous–even for this show!

Don’t challenge Broye to a thumb wrestle.

I did think upper body strength doesn’t seem quite THAT important but what do I know… I think it may have been to hype up her terminator type over poweredness. She turned out kinda average looking in the race though. I know Spe is supposed to be uber but since Spe barely wins all her races, it makes it look as if Broye is not that much more impressive than any of the other girls we’ve seen so far. This is a common complaint I have about Sports animes in general mind you. I agree it could have been a much closer race and that would have added to the believability of the scene, but I guess that’s the power of friendship… or something like that…

El Condor is obviously not telling her the right translation – why would it be a secret otherwise? El Condor is a master troll apparently. Hilarity always ensues when there’s a language barrier!

*whispering sounds*

Ok I need to get this off my chest – Spe did NOT say “Don’t get too cocky” she said literally “Victory is mine”. Why would they change that? I take it you speak a bit of French then? I’ve seen so many examples of the subtitles being different between what they’re saying in Japanese and what the English subtitles across pretty much every anime (it’s always small things though) I figure there’s a point to it. If I had to guess why in this instance they changed it I’d say while a Japanese person–and specifically a cute Japanese girl saying “Victory is mine” would seem embarrassingly boastful to a Japanese audience, it probably doesn’t have the same impact in English so they changed it to something that’d sound more unexpectedly boastful–hence the ‘surprised’ reactions from the other Western horse girls. Hey guys, you all get to be here when Matt learns that French is in fact my mother tongue and what I speak everyday. English is my third language which explains a few things… Oh wow! Mind blown!

Whatever she actually said it made the foreign horse girl’s take notice!

Have you noticed how often dead mothers don’t have faces? A lot of sun-glare on that photo… I wonder if that’s a respect thing in the Japanese culture? Either that or they didn’t want to make the audience think about a cute horse girl/woman being dead. Kind of a turn-off you know? I hadn’t thought of it that way, I sort of find the faceless thing more ominous/sad.

Heck of a lot of glare in here, huh?

I had forgotten this was also an Idol show! I actually don’t know your stand on idol shows in general. I’ve only seen a couple and eh~ they’re okay, I’m not a fan but I don’t dislike them either.

So you don’t wish the show had more of this aspect? God no. I came here for cute horse girls running and that’s what I got!

So this is the season (and most likely series) ender. What did you think? Didn’t you see the post credits scene? It’s not over yet! There’s still an episode next week! I know you’ve got a busy life but you really need to sit through the credits, Irina!


I did see the end credit scene. I thought that the notion that all the girls were finally going to race together was the perfect natural endpoint…. But yeah, I looked it up now and it’s a 13 not 12 episode show. Oopsies… It’s okay, I forgive you.

It’s ok, I can bounce back from this… Um, with only one episode left to go, how do you figure they’re going to wrap things up? Sudden murder suicide? That would be… different. But no, I think it’s probably going to be a very light-hearted episode, kind of like a celebration to all the fans of this show. By which I mean just wall-to-wall horse girls and shenanigans and silliness, so it will no doubt be my most favourite episode and your least favourite episode. Either that or Silence and Spe-chan finally elope and settle down somewhere in the countryside and make horse girls together… Don’t ask me how, they’ll make it work damnit! “Life, uh, finds a way.”

The power of friendship!

I don’t know about that. My favorite episode has probably been the festival one so I would love to see some more silliness like that. Maybe the trainers will get together, they’ve been hinting at it for a while… I almost forgot about that episode, damn, that was a great one wasn’t it? But either way I’m sure whatever they give us it won’t disappoint! Next week we’ll be on Irina’s site for the season finale, thanks for reading!

Previous Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Reviews:

Episode 1 & 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review
Episode 10 Review
Episode 11 Review

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!



Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 10 – Anime QandA Review (With Irina)

An Anime QandA review of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 10 (With Irina)

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 10 Collaboration featuring Irina (in bold) from I Drink And Watch Anime.

I learned my lesson last time! I just finished watching this week’s episode of Pretty Derby and I’m ready to ask some pertinent pertinent questions… Yup these are gonna be awesome interesting questions…yeah… Calling it now! Worst review ever! (I think I’ve made that joke beforewe’re off to a good start!)

In all honesty I quite liked the opening tag. Training montages are my thing but some people consider them cheap, where do you fall Matt? Well this episode had three montages in all! Which I’d say is overkill, but I mean it is a sports anime so it comes with the territory. Though the pre-credit stuff was all top quality, it succinctly got us up to speed with Spe-chan, showing how hard she trained only to end up coming 7th!

Train hard, pull big tyre.

I really liked how big a fail Spe’s first race was. Sports anime are basically just a series of defeats that lead up to one big win (or one small one). But, I do think the impact was lessened by the title of the episode. Maybe, but by the time the last race of the episode came up there was no doubt in my mind she was going to come first. I feel like it was a well-earned one too.

The little slice of life opening following the random girls around was really boring to me. Did you enjoy it? Lol, of course I did, it was like some wonderful drug.

New horse girls everywhere!

To me, the show hasn’t really given me any reason to care about the supporting characters. (Sure Gold Ship is really fun but she’s more of a running gag than a character and when she’s not doing something super weird and silly, she’s not that interesting). But you get attached to cute anime girls much more quickly than me, is Gold still your favorite? It doesn’t take much for me to get attached to a character in a cute girl show, but at the same time it takes a long time for me to warm to a character I wasn’t particularly fond of from the start. Yes, Gold Ship is still my favourite and likewise Suzuka is probably my least favourite. But I do agree they’ve kind of short-changed every other character’s development in favour of Spe-chan, but I guess that’s what happens when they’ve got so many side-characters, like they introduced at least 5 more horse-girls in this episode and they had all of one-line each! Why couldn’t that time be spent developing existing side-characters! (I have a soft spot for Suzu – probably cause she’s the one I relate to the most…)

To be fair, that’s a good way of getting Spe-chan to do anything. Food incentives!

Did you enjoy the homecoming? It was fine, if a little oddly paced. The fact it’s just her and her mother made it feel a lot slower than the rest of the episode, especially since there were so many montages elsewhere. I guess that’s what they were going for with the relaxed vibe, but otherwise I didn’t have any issues with it, nor did I think it was particularly ‘great’ either.


I didn’t really like the horseshoe scene either. Usually I’m all about these sappy moments but when the show really insists on the “horse” elements it makes me feel like I’m watching a thinly veiled fetish show that simply doesn’t speak to any of my particular kinks, you know? The only thing that scene made me wonder was whether actual horses exist in this universe and then whether horse girls were made by having a woman and a horse and I’ll stop now because I’m pretty sure that’s not what you asked! Or maybe it was? I swear I’m not into horses! Only anime girls!

Up for a game of “horseshoes”?

On the other hand I did really enjoy the wrap up. It was a fun race, I got some feels at it. Was it too sappy for you? I didn’t get any significant feels but it was very well put together, having Spe and Suzuka “race” each other, despite not being on the same track was very well animated, it kinda felt a bit more ‘cinematic’ than previous episodes, though I’m not exactly sure what I mean by that.

They’ll always be together, even if they’re apart.

A new record is pretty impressive, do you think she’ll be able to maintain the momentum? It was indeed impressive, I’m not really sure, I’m terrible at predicting things in sports anime. What do you think?

One thing I did notice is that while Spe is still thinking of Suzu and even changed up her big dream to include Suzuha in it, Suzu’s own dream will eventually separate the two. This is starting to look like a romance anime, your favorite genre right? You joke but I do like yuri anime and female x female romance, but I don’t see anything coming from it. This series is too chaste for that kind of thing.

“I want to be inside you” That’s NOT the actual next-line, but can you imagine?!

See I thought you had mentioned romance not being a genre you were interested in and now I look stupid. I guess it’s back to just me in the romantically challenged camp. You were half right, I just don’t like heterosexual romances in anime because I find them so ~mainstream~.

So Trainer is pretty neat, isn’t he. Have you forgiven him yet? Eh, he’s fine. More importantly, have you forgiven him?

I sort of forgave him episode 2. I kinda like the character and I find it weird that he gets quite so much hate. I know there’s this whole thing about never including male charas in CGDCT shows but it really doesn’t bother me. I like the diversity. Oh I don’t have a problem with men in CGDCT shows, just not a great look when the first man in this show is grabbing at an underage stranger. But yeah, I’m over it now, he has a proper purpose in this show and I don’t hold the harassment against him.

All those lollies are going to rot your teeth.

I mean Gold Ship has done her share of harassment as well so… Yeah but that’s different, they’re teammates, teammates always raz on each other, yeah? You’re the sports expert after all!

Yeah – not that much random unwelcome groping usually… or at all. Unless you count doujin… Now you got me thinking about the Uma Musume doujin I saw the other day… Ahem…

My face when seeing the Uma Musume doujin…

Overall rating for this episode? What we’re rating individual episodes now? If you want me to rate it against other episodes, it’s better than an average episode but not as good as the best. What about you, sounds like you had more issues with this episode than the last couple? It’s a sum zero I guess. Half of it was pretty boring and it didn’t seem to add much, I guess filler. The other half was cute and balanced enough to keep me interested. Although, if we are to be honest, if I didn’t write these, I would probably forget about the episodes pretty instantly. I have to really dig to find anything to say about them at all….

No comment.

We are in the homestretch – anything left you absolutely want to see before they wrap things up? Jell-O wrestling? But seriously, I’m happy for the show to just keep doing what it’s doing is there anything you’re particularly wanting from this show? Yeah – I want the one not super nice character to come back. I miss her. I’m not sure she had a name…

Thank you for joining us in our continued collaboration! We’ll see you on Irina’s blog for Episode 11 next week!

Previous Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Reviews:

Episode 1 & 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review
Episode 8 Review
Episode 9 Review

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!



Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 8 – Anime QandA Review (With Irina)

An Anime QandA review of Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 8 (With Irina)

Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 8 Collaboration featuring Irina (in bold) from I Drink And Watch Anime.

We’re back in the saddle! I’m sorry guys, this is going to be a rough one…
It’s okay I’m a rough rider (I don’t even know what that means… calling it now, worst review ever!)

This week, we saw Suzu work her way back into racing form, but it’s Spe who really struggled as she lost sight of her goals and herself! Is that a good synopsis? To be fair, it’s better than anything I could have come up with!

This week we had quite a bit of development from late comer Grass Wonder, so important question, what do you think of that name? Like all the name’s in this show, ridiculous and I love it. #420blazeit. Good, I’m not the only one who sees it.

Notice me sempai!

Giving a bit of limelight to Grass Wonder means less time for the other girls, are you OK with the show…switching horses late in the race (I warned you!)? I didn’t think there could be a horse girl with a more monotone cadence to her voice than Silence Suzuka, but Grass Wonder has her pipped at the post! (See I can do it too!)

I like monotones, don’t you? It’s situational, like obviously Kanna (from Kobayashi) is amazing but these ones are kind of boring… although I guess we can’t have all the characters be high-energy all the time, that would be get annoying too.

I quite liked the way Suzu and Spe’s relationship is being handled, what do you think? I do, actually. It’s not something I’m used to but it is something I can totally relate to. Being so obsessed with something or someone that you lose sight of yourself and your own identity in pursuit it. Good stuff!

♪ “but I won’t do that”♪

Would you change anything? At first I thought Suzuka might snap at Spe-chan for doting on her too much, but I think Suzuka is far too kind and meek for that. I guess if they’re going for that kind of storyline I would have liked Suzuka to be more active (either for or against this influx of attention) rather than do nothing, but I guess there’s still time for it to eventuate one way or another. I must say, Suzu’s enabling tendencies are part of what makes this particular dynamic more unusual to me, and more interesting.

Spe-Chan is just so effin’ hot for Suzuka.

It’s sort of common to lose yourself in a new crush, how do you think it will play out? Do I think they’ll have some sort of epic falling out, go their separate ways, sulk about it for a bit only to realise how much they need each other just before one of them’s about to go on to a big race? Yes, I think exactly that will happen. Maybe. I don’t know, this show’s kind of hard to predict!

Once again, the episode was centered around character development and classic Sports tropes, even showing some less impressive sides of Spe’s personality. I quite liked it so I’m assuming you didn’t. Was there still parts you liked? Wow! Harsh. I actually think this was my favourite episode of the series so far, and not because of parts that reminded me of sports anime (remember I’ve only seen like two whole sports anime, I’m hardly well versed in their tropes), but just how low-key and real some moments were, like after losing the race just the static shots of empty places round the school and Spe-chan walking alone at night. Contemplating who she really is and what she really wants.


Also if we’re talking about parts we liked, I always love the narrative implications of a time skip. And a 9+ month one in this episode, albeit it’s only used to accelerate Suzuka’s healing process, but kudos for showing the real-life implications of such injuries on a character and the people around them. I wouldn’t say it’s used ONLY to speed up the recovery. At the same time, as Spe is pouring herself into Suzu’s recovery, she’s slowly getting closer to Grass Wonder. We understand that they’ve essentially been having lunch and spending free time together for months now and that’s why the (pseudo love triangle) rivalry works. Grass isn’t just throwing a fit, her fairly close friend, who she’s been talking to and supporting daily for the better part of a year, doesn’t even take her into consideration.

Not that she was counting… (she was totally counting).

Those parting words of – I was able to run my best because I was running against you… are a particularly brutal jab when you take it in that context. Otherwise they would seem out of place and shallow. Yeah, I was all like “damn, gurl!” when she said it to Spe-Chan!


It also showed us the Spe has a tendency for self defeating behavior. She overeats when she’s sad or stressed which makes her slower. She ignores her training to help Suzu which makes it less likely that she’ll have a chance to run with her…so on. It’s a nice, relatable, meaty character flaw and I appreciate that it was shown to be recurrent rather than a fluke. Almost like this show is deeper than you first gave it credit for *nudge nudge*. Yes, everyone who thought this was going to be a deep psychological series was right!

Serious emotions.

What would you like to see next? Another beach episode? They did say summer is coming up again—maybe that’s the true reason for the time skip! I can’t say I go into a lot of CGDCT anime with a lot of ‘expectations’ of what I’d like to see next week beyond ~closer relationships~ between the characters.

I’d like to know what you’d like to see next week, Irina? I would actually like to see some development in the rest of the team. I don’t know anything at all about the other girls. Maybe a super goofy filler ep of a day in the life of Gold Ship and New Girl. I would also like to know what happen to one evil girl. Did they drown her? Probably, only nice horse girls allowed! Send the others to the glue lube factory!

Gold Ship is best (horse) girl.

Previous Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Reviews:

Episode 1 & 2 Review
Episode 3 Review
Episode 4 Review
Episode 5 Review
Episode 6 Review
Episode 7 Review

If you liked my post and want to support my content, please consider supporting my Patreon page, or donating by buying me a coffee on Ko-fi!



Uma Musume: Pretty Derby! Episode 1 & 2 – Anime QandA Review (Collab with Irina!)

An Anime QandA collaboration with review with Irina from ‘I Drink And Watch Anime’ about Uma Masume: Pretty Derby! Episode 1 and 2.

(Guest Question Asker: Irina from I Drink And Watch Anime)

Matt, what even is this show? Wait I know what show it is I watched the first 2 eps too for the purposes of this collab, but you know, drinking…! Hi Irina! Welcome to Anime QandA! We’re talking about Uma Musume: Pretty Derby, which I kinda forced you to watch…

Haha, you say “forced”, I say blackmailed…. We’re all friends here. So this is what having friends that aren’t a construct of my own mind feels like? I like it!

So on first glance, some people may think this is just a loli, ponyplay, idol hell mashup but how would You describe the show? Well I know you’re just asking for the benefit of the readers and also because it’s kind of a staple of my reviews, but it’s about a starry eyed country girl ‘Special Week’ whose moved to Tokyo to attend a school for horse girls and live out her and her mother(s) dream of being the best horse girl in Japan!

‘I wanna be the very best…’

And when you say horse girl we’re not talking centaur’s now are we? No, not as such, these are just otherwise normal girls’ who also have horse ears and a horse’s tail. Oh and they run really fast too!

Certainly helps if you’re going to be a race horse girl!

***cough ponyplay cough*** Listen, I’m much too innocent to even know what that is…

Now tell me honestly, what made you want to watch the show in the first place? Cute girls! It’s why I do most things, also if they’ve got a monster girl edge then bonus!

I’m really into their hair, or is it their manes?

And did the first two episodes live up to those expectations? Well, if we’re talking about expectations of plot and character the only thing I had to go off for this series was the MAL synopsis which even now still just reads “based on the mobile game” so my expectations were pretty much zero. But it met and exceeded my expectations for being a show about cute horse girls!

My money is on the protagonist!

You downloaded the game, didn’t you? I would have if I had a Japanese iTunes account or could read Japanese…

This sort of freaked me out but what did you think of the fact that the girls seem to only have been given racing names? I think it’s cute! They’re all named after famous Japanese racehorses such as: ‘Silence Suzuka’, ‘Symboli Rudolph’, ‘El Condor Pasa’, ‘Air Groove’ and ‘Vodka’. I don’t know I just get a kick out of otherwise normal looking girls having weird names. Is that a new fetish? Uh-oh…

Irina likes Vodka, the drink not the horse.

Speaking of Uh-oh – I had a coach like that…. Yeah, I’m not sold on the coach character, I mean he at least seems less creepy in episode 2, but I mean way to get me off base right away with a character by having him rub ‘Special Week’s’ calves without her permission—twice!

Bad touch!

So why do they run in high heels? Maybe it’s like a handicap to make the sport more difficult? Though I think if the show never explains it it’s probably just someone likes girls in heels. Yeah I can see why that might seem like a bit of an unnecessary addition.

Yeah, that does sound like something their coach would suggest. I’m surprised they’re not running in mini skirts…yet… Oh it’s probably going to happen, unless the opening credits is just for illustrative purposes I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up running in their idol costumes at bigger events.

Elite athletes.

Do you have a favorite character so far? If the wikipedia page is anything to go by there is going to be a lot of characters in this show. So given the only two who’ve received considerable screen time so far are ‘Special Week’ and ‘Silence Suzuka’ it has to be ‘Special Week’! Ha – I knew it!

She’s just so ‘special’, she makes me ‘week’ at the knees…

Man, horsegirls sure are nice and optimistic! Well I don’t think that they’re all just nice and optimistic, we get that one girl in the second episode who tries to take down ‘Special Week’ in her debut race. And I think the supporting characters all have pretty distinctive personalities, but I mean yeah… it’s not like we’re going for deeply flawed and complex characters here.

You can tell she’s the antagonist because of the eye patch!

Yes the one clear antagonist is not nice. So what does “Eclipse first, the rest nowhere” mean? That the Japanese are bad at English? No, I mean I get it’s their school motto and it’s something of an inspirational quote but I think all it means is, be better than the best and leave the rest in the dust? Though it’s kind of a harsh motto if they’re trying to promote camaraderie and teamwork too. Oh that makes much more sense, I thought it was some type of deep astrophysics theory…

Google translate only gets you so far.

What’s with all the idol shows? Ah yes, probably the most unnecessary part of the show. After each race the top 3 horse girl’s perform a ‘winner’s concert’ which is basically just an idol show. I know ‘idols’ exist in various sports in Japan, like ‘Shogi Idol’s’ are a thing, but I don’t think they go as far as singing and dancing on stage. I guess this show just wanted to have both sport and idol related things in the show. Plus if it’s the voice actors singing the songs then more money from selling CD singles!

I mean of course every horse girl race turns into an idol concert.

That would be funny since we know the characters lip syncAre you buying the soundtrack? Wait did you already buy the soundtrack? I don’t generally buy Anime soundtrack’s, at least not new, just wait a couple of years and you can get them so much cheaper from second-hand sites!

What are you hoping to see in the rest of the season? I don’t know, I’m honestly not looking that far ahead. I’m just happy to take it episode by episode just like I was with Laid Back Camp–oops! I probably shouldn’t mention that show around you! Never heard of it…

It’s a sport anime, see?

Since a ‘career ending injury’ is a super common sports anime trope, do you think a girl will twist her ankle (running in high heels ‘n all) and will they have to… dispose of her like they do with race horses? Off to the glue factory with you horse girl! Or do horse girl’s get turned into something different, like lube maybe?–Oh that’s dark and perverse even for me… I take everything back – this show is pure brilliance!

Good advice. Wait, why are you looking at me?!

I take it you recommend the show? You could pretty much just look at the poster or any of the screenshots to know whether this is the show for you, it’s cute horse girls and I love their character designs and personalities, this is just totally my kind of anime. It’s not perfect and I do wonder how far they can take this show’s concept but I’m along for the ride! Ride – I get it! I smurt!

Now if you want to know whether I recommend the show over unnecessary explorative dental surgery without anaesthesia, you can find out in our exciting review of episode 3! Coming soon!

I wonder who these girls could be? Such flawless disguises!

The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! – 20 Question Anime Review (Mild Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done!

What’s the show? The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done! (2018)

And what’s a ‘Ryuo’? Funny that you asked ‘what’ and not ‘who’?

Well was I wrong? Well, no. I just, eh, nevermind. So bare with me because things are about to get dry up in here…

Err, okay… be gentle? Aha. Erm—anyway, this is an anime about Shogi! If you don’t know what shogi is well… it’s like Japanese chess, only because it’s Japanese it’s absurdly difficult and abstract and impossible to grasp without a committed attitude, kind of like their language. Like I’ve tried to understand how a game of shogi is played and I’ve still got no clue, even after Wikipedia and Youtube vids and 12 episodes of this damn show…

It’s like Chess, except hard mode.

So it’s difficult, okay I get it. But what’s a Ryuo? Oh my god, you ask like it’s something that’s easy to explain, JFC… okay so, ‘Ryuo’ is a rank you can achieve by being ridiculously good at Shogi—a game that makes no damn sense—except there’s like this convoluted hierarchy of levels and it’s different for men and women, and it’s different depending on how long you’ve played for and oh no I’ve gone cross-eyed…

I think I’m kind of getting the picture… I’m glad someone is!


Right, so what’s this show precisely about? It’s about 16 year old Yaichi, the youngest ever Ryuo of Shogi and his various troubles navigating the world being the most famous face in the Shogi world…

Which means? Which means this is a harem, of course.

Of course, okay so I guess that means he has groupies and colleagues who are cute anime girls who want to bed him, right? Pretty much, except the majority of them are 9-year-old grade school girls.

It’s not what it looks like! I only met this naked 9-year old I’m pinning to the floor yesterday!

………………excuse me? Don’t pretend like you didn’t hear me.

Oh no, I heard you, I’m just having trouble processing what you said, it’s a harem of nine year olds? Pretty much, and maybe I’m being reductive but more often than not the show seemed too entirely hung up on its own giddy disbelief that they managed to have a show with multiple grade school aged love interests for their nerdy teenage protagonist and by extension their target audience.

His harem of 9 year old’s invades a livestream interview, the comments scrolling across the screen are pretty standard for internet comments.

—You’re going to have to break this down for me because I feel like I’m having a f**king aneurism. Listen, I’m not going to pretend like being judgmental about this kind of thing somehow makes me better than those who are into this, heck I’m into some pretty niche and uncomfortable fetishes, but here’s a show that unfortunately is an actually compelling “sports” anime about Shogi, and has deep characterisation and makes an otherwise impenetrably convoluted game seem exciting and accessible but simultaneously something to be watched with reverence and undivided attention. And then it goes on and slaps a really uncomfortable and borderline loathsome harem subplot atop it. And I’m not even talking about the 9 year olds

All tuckered out from playing Shogi all night.

Wait, what?—what do you mean by that? I mean, for whatever its worth the stuff with Ai, the 9 year old Shogi genius is handled well enough, it’s funny to see protagonist Yaichi be labelled as the ‘loli king’ by his colleagues and competitors and it kind of softens what could have been an uncomfortable plot point. Because I should stress there’s nothing inherently wrong with encouraging a youngster to pursue their talents and likewise their shouldn’t be something inherently perverted about a 16 year old Shogi champion taking on a 9 year old disciple who shows as much talent as Ai does.

It sounds slightly less creepy in Japanese, slightly.

I’m confused; you’re the one who brought up the 9 year olds? Why the sudden back peddling? Plural. As in multiple 9 year old’s who cling to Yaichi like he’s catnip for kids. I’ll admit there’s some laughs to be had by people’s reactions to his budding harem of grade school kids, but it just feels unnecessary for a show that has such attention to detail to its scenes involving Shogi.

Okay then, but there’s more isn’t there. You read the brief, good on you. And yes indeed there is more. It was between episode’s 5 and 10 I decided on a score in the mid seventies, but what happened in 10 & 11 brought down the score so severely I wondered if the show could ever recover.

Poor Ginko, why do the cute one’s have to fall in love with aloof, emotionally stunted assholes?

Go on… So, with the exception of some rarely scene side characters, Yaichi is the only male character, not atypical of a harem anime for sure, but because of this the show, whether it liked it or not, had to focus on female Shogi. Which made for some truly compelling and heart-breaking backstories for side characters such as 25 year old Keika, who’s on the verge of being too old to enter professional Shogi from her training group and the feisty 14 year old Ginko, who is considered the most talented female in Shogi attaining the title of Queen, but still not comparable to the men’s league because of stupid reasons.

Stupid reasons? Argh, I don’t know if it’s the show that I hate or if it’s the gender politics behind Shogi that I hate. Like, just because Ginko is female her road to becoming the best at Shogi is so much harder than anyone male. There’s some allegory there that I don’t dare touch btw.

Ginko is best girl, she’s my favourite character and I wish I could just watch a show about her…

There’s something else isn’t there, I know you’ve been wanting to talk about it since the start of the review. FUCK Yaichi, he’s a piece of shit protagonist. Like first 9 episodes he’s kind of bland, occasionally supportive but utterly clueless to the ‘true’ feelings of the women around him like your typical harem lead, but then episode 10 and 11 he goes and decides to treat every woman in his life like a piece of shit and then AND THEN the girls who’ve been suddenly treated so horribly excuse his actions by saying “he’s so talented and so important that it’s okay, he’ll come round and treat us good once he’s worked through his issues.” Um, no, he’s a c**t, screw him and his whole deal and believe in yourself not some holier than thou messiah complex asshole.

O…kay then. I wanted to like this show, but it went and fucked itself by being all about the least likable character in its line-up. Like seriously, Keika’s episode where she finds a letter written from her 10 year old self to her 20 year old self, presuming her 20 year old self has since fulfilled her dreams of becoming a professional Shogi player, only that’s far from reality is so beautifully heart breaking I have to wonder if this show (or the light novel it was based on) was heavily interfered with to fit some kind of arbitrary fetish quotient from a bunch of perverted producers…

You can do it Keika!

F—final score and recommendation? If you want to watch a great show about Shogi, you could probably do worse, just don’t watch 10 and 11 unless you like your protagonists to become absolutely irredeemable douchebags. The harem elements feel completely unnecessary in this particular show, and even if the loli content is usually played for laughs, your tolerance for this kind of stuff will determine how much you can enjoy it. For me though, it was the protagonist that almost sunk this shogi ship which is a shame because the female characters are really well written and extremely likeable. Not a winner; 62 out of 100.

There’s an eclectic bunch of rivals too, all of whom are more interesting than the protagonist.

Scorching Ping Pong Girls – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Scorching Ping Pong Girls.

***Note- If you haven’t read Irina’s review of Scorching Ping Pong Girls, it’s advisable to do so as her review leads into this one***

What’s the show? Scorching Ping Pong Girls (2016).

This doesn’t happen to be a hentai set in Bangkok is it? No! It’s a sports anime!

Oh god! Why are you watching sports anime again? You barely made it Haikyu season 1 alive what with your irrational and unexplained aversion to sport in all its forms. It’s okay this time; I’ve got a cute girl buffer to ease me in.


That sounded way dirtier than it should have. But really? You can watch this no problem because of cute girls, dude, that’s shallow, even for you. Listen, if I tell you the real reason I don’t like male oriented sports anime (and by extension irl male sports) but why this is fine, will you go easy on me?

Yeah, I suppose so, as long as it’s nothing stupid. No promises, but here goes. See, I grew up in Australia, a country so obsessed with sport that there’s multiple public holidays just for sports events. It’s safer to confess to being an atheist in public than it is to say you don’t follow sports. Sport is deep within the Australian DNA, and I’ve just never seen the appeal. Yeah, maybe it’s because I was a lazy, introverted gamer as a kid, maybe it’s because the kids who teased me in school were also into sports.

Yeah, we already know you don’t like sports, you’re just reading from the stereotypical nerd biography here, the question was why is this girl focused sports anime getting a pass whereas male sports anime undergo far more critical scrutiny from you? Because sport is about men, and I’m just a big self loathing male. Like the fact it’s taken us until 2017 in Australia for the formation of a National women’s AFL league (Aussie Rules Football)  is a travesty, but even then it’s still treated by the majority of the public as some sort of “lesser” event, like it’s some unbefitting niche that can’t possibly compare to men’s sport. I have zero interest in women’s sport but at least my reason is that sport played by either sex is boring to me, the majority of the public’s reason for not embracing female sport is a deeply rooted patriarchal oppression of women daring to doing anything other than being subservient to men.


I was counting down ‘til you brought up the patriarchy I knew it was coming. Oh shut up, so what if I’m a feminist?

Yeah, when it suits you… Excuse me? You think just because I enjoy watching ecchi and fan-service anime that makes me somehow less of a feminist? Actually you know what, this is a subject for another day, don’t get me side-tracked from the main point.

Fine, what point are you trying to make then? The point is, that even if other male sports shows are better written and have more nuanced characterisation than that of Scorching Ping Pong Girl’s, I have next to zero starting partiality for ‘the struggle’ of male athletes because they already start elevated thanks to male privilege, at least that’s how my narrow gaze as an Australian living in a country that deifies male athletes over everything else sees it. So that’s why it’s only natural I would gravitate towards the ‘underdog’ who in this case is literally the entire female gender at least as it comes to sports anime.


But it helps that they are cute girls, right? Yeah, so what? Male athletes are good looking, and in anime especially, why can’t the same be true for female sports?

I’m just saying, you talk a big game about feminism and oppression and all that, but I doubt you’d be going to bat as hard if this show weren’t cute girls… Fine, I’m shallow, I enjoy watching these aesthetically appealing anime girls play sport and work hard and get excited when they win and strive to do their best, what’s the problem?!


Hey, I’m not the one arguing with himself… Right, I sometimes forget that you’re just another voice in my head… Anyway, I don’t know if this will be the same for other people who don’t traditionally gravitate towards sports anime but I found the fact it was women playing sports a lot more compelling, even if it followed the same tropes and story beats as other sports anime.

Well now that we’re done learning more about how your brain works more then probably anybody wanted to know, let’s talk about the actual show. Hmm, ‘kay then! It’s about a Junior High Table Tennis Club, and specifically Koyori, a shy second year transfer student who has an intense love of the game which manifests in an innate talent that quickly makes her one of the top players in the club. Her rival, also a second year is Agari, whose popularity as the ‘ace’ of the team is threatened by the newcomer! See, Agari has always been in the sport because her parents pushed her to be number one, and the only thing she could be number one in is table tennis. She thrives off the ‘doki doki’ she gets from being praised as the best, but this new girl threatens to take her ‘doki doki’ away!


And what does ‘doki doki’ mean? Sometimes I forget how much of a ‘normie’ you are, it means heart-racing feeling.

So she only plays because she wants to be praised by people? At first, but there’s a lot of character development, Aragi goes through the biggest changes throughout the 12 episodes and ends up all the better for it. But everyone on the team has different reasons for playing. Koyori gets her ‘doki doki’ just from the thrill of playing the game and seeing the face of her competitor as they try their hardest to beat her.


And the other girls? Right, so there’s Hanabi, an energetic girl who is close friends with Hokuto who’s the cute and quiet one with her mouth always covered for some reason. Then there’s Mune or Munemune as she’s nicknamed, she’s a confident but sensitive gal with large breasts. And finally there’s Kiruka, a powerful player and captain of the table tennis club who enjoys punishing her teammates by making them wear cat ears.

A colourful bunch then. Indeed, and I love how the show takes its time in giving every character worthwhile and interesting backstories throughout the season and establishes connections between the characters. It makes the victories so much sweeter and their defeats all the more heart breaking!


So does this mean you now see the appeal of sports in anime?! Not really, sport is still inherently boring to me, but I would like it if more female sports anime’s were made, I’d be at least interested in watching those more than the male ones.

So… in other words… no progress has been made… I didn’t realise that was the goal here, I watch things, I like what I like, I don’t like what I don’t like. Besides it’s not like I gave season 1 of Haikyu a negative score I ended up giving it a score in the high 70’s, its just sport anime will always have a harder time getting through to me by default. Well unless someone makes an anime about WRC Rally driving, now that I could get into! Or an anime adaptation of Everybody’s Golf, I’d watch that too.


Fair enough—final recommendation? I don’t know, I mean Irina’s review of the show is probably going to be way more in line with the more relatable opinion on the show; she is totally into sports anime after all. If you’re fine with or just indifferent to sports anime it might be a harder sell unless you like a lot of the moe-character clichés that come with anime’s starring cute girls. If you’re a hard-lined sport hater like me though, I guess it comes down to why you hate sport, if you just hate it because it doesn’t appeal to you then there’s probably not much for you here, but if you hate it because the culture of men’s sport in the real world has alienated you from ever enjoying it then this take might be just what you need. A powerful serve! 85 out of 100.

Irina: Wow, awesome – that pretty much answers it all and so so much more! Thanks Matt!

Wait, what are you doing here Irina? Ah crap, now the review’s longer than 20 Questions! Do I get paid overtime for this? No, now be quiet and let Irina finish. Also, no problem, glad to have last-minute’d this almost a collab with you!

Irina: But on a serious note. Your particular vision of the Sports genre was fascinating to read and a stance that had simply never occurred to me. It’s quite interesting to see that aspects that attract me to the genre in fact deter you. For instance, Sports!! anime generally features the underdogs (like most sports movies as well) The idea of rooting for the little guy is quite central. But I never even considered the fact that even the least successful athlete is still considered somewhat elite in the grander scheme. Even though they are represented as losers and dorks in these shows still I’m glad you enjoyed Scorching Ping Pong Girls. Now to see what a hardcore Sports!! fangirl thinks….Guys? Let us know!


Teekyu! Season 1 and 2 – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Season 1 and 2 of Teekyu!

What’s the show? Season 1 and 2 of Teekyu!

Two whole seasons? You spoil me! What’s the occasion? No occasion, it’s just it’s another one of those 2-minute long anime’s so why not cover two seasons of 12 episodes each!

Fair enough. So what’s it about? Tennis!

Oh god, you’re reviewing another sports anime? You’re not going to have another mental break down like you did when you reviewed Haikyu!! Are you? Daijoubu daijoubu! This one has cute girls!

Of course it does. So how does a 2-minute long sports anime actually work? By being about almost everything except tennis! It’s a gag anime.

That’ll do it! I’ve never watched a show so committed to just doing whatever the heck they want, well maybe Pop Team Epic, but the short form nature of this anime allows it to throw a lot more jokes out and at a much quicker pace, so if one jokes lands flat you only have to wait another 3 seconds and there will be a new one to take it’s place.

Sounds kinda tiring. Yeah… it can be. The subtitles move so quickly as a result of the manic pace of the dialogue that unless you’re a really fast reader you might have to keep your finger on the pause button, otherwise you’re going to miss things.

But doesn’t that defeat the purpose of a fast-paced anime? Maybe, but I can read 672 words per minute at 90% accuracy so I don’t have any issue watching this show at its normal pace.

Is this a job interview all of a sudden? #justsaying

So it’s funny? It can be, extremely, in fact. Though I have a feeling this is the kind of show where you either connect with the humour immediately or it just falls flat throughout. But it’s the commitment and the rapid-fire line delivery that really helps elevated what could otherwise be considered just random nonsense.

And the characters? I know I’ve asked this before with regard to 2-minute anime’s but can you really get to know characters on such a short time scale? In this show, no, but they’re not really trying to be anything other than four high school girls who each have a clichéd stereotype to fill in order to mine as many jokes from the associated personality type. They are sketch show characters basically, it’s not trying to be anything deeper and it doesn’t need to be.

So no point in asking more about the characters then? The purple haired one is called Yuri, who’s the serious, straight man character; she’s kind of the audience analogue as she ‘reacts’ to the zaniness of her fellow Tennis Club members. The pink haired one is Kanae the most random one; she tends to do things that break conventional logic or even the laws of physics. Nasuno, the brunette is the spoilt rich girl whose immense wealth enables some of the clubs crazier ideas to come to fruition. And Marimo, the blue haired one is the pervert with a heart of gold.

Right. And what was that about breaking the laws of physics? I did say they do whatever the heck they want for a show, even if it makes no sense, if there’s the possibility of it getting a laugh then they’ll do it!

Can’t fault the commitment. So I take it there’s just the two seasons then? Haha… oh my no.

More?! As of the writing of this review there’s nine seasons plus two spin offs, which no end in sight!

Dear lord. But why didn’t you review all 9 seasons of the show? I mean I can’t imagine there’s much variation between them, from the sounds of it it’s just like a sketch comedy show? You really think I’m going to be able to keep up this review pace forever? Having a few short shows like this in the back pocket is going to make my job a heck of a lot easier than watching full-length series’!

Can’t blame you for that, I suppose. So which is better season 1 or 2. Easily season one; I had far more laugh out loud moments in the first than the second. Plus it seemed to have a slightly slower pace season two was on the verge of being too fast for me to keep up with. Though I did appreciate that season two had a bit more continuity between episodes, not that it made any more sense, just that episodes seemed to flow into one another in a nice fashion.

And does a show like this allow for a best girl? Pfft, of course! Where there’s girl’s there’s best girls.

Good to know? And this show’s best girl? Easily Marimo, can’t fault the lewd!

Probably should have guessed as much. Final verdict? If you have trouble keeping up with fast moving dialogue or need your comedy to come from personable, relatable characters and realistic scenarios, this is not the show for you. If you do however like things random and borderline insane and don’t mind ending up with a slight headache afterwards than Teekyu’s your show! Season one aces with an 89 out of 100, while season two couldn’t break the set but still delivered a great point with 82 out 100.


Haikyu!! – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Haikyu!!

What’s the show? Haikyu!!

Hmm, two exclamation marks… does that mean this is the second season? No, it’s just, okay I don’t know why they decided to stylise this with two exclamation marks but unlike other anime that add another exclamation mark to denote and differentiate a second season from a first this is assuredly a first season.

‘Kay… So what’s it about? Men’s high school volleyball.


Right. And why are you watching it? Your interests tend to be of the ‘cute girl’ persuasion. I don’t know, it’s highly acclaimed or something…

Why do I get the feeling you’re reviewing this under duress? It’s not like that, well, not exactly. I do admit a passing curiosity for highly rated anime, even if they are literally at the opposite end of my interest spectrum.

You don’t like sport? I like going to the Dentist more than I like sport, I like family gatherings with racist old people more than I like sport, I like stubbing my toe in the middle of the night so hard I think I’ve died more than I like sport.

Okay, I get it you really don’t like sport. Good, just so you know where I stand on the subject.

Loud and clear. So I take it this is a negative review. Ehhhhh, no, actually. *whispers* the show’s actually pretty damn good.


What’s this?! Shut up, I’m a deep and complex individual; I’m allowed to like things that I thought I wouldn’t.

No you’re not, you’re a pervert. So what gives? So like the writing in this show is really good, and it’s really funny and the characters are all unique and charming and charismatic in their own special way, plus it’s well animated…


That’s great, you’re broadening your horizons! BUT I DON’T WANT TO LIKE IT!

My god, you’re such an insufferable child. Just accept it and move on. I think you underestimate how much I hate sport.

No, no, I get it. So are we going to actually go into any detail about the show? Volleyball. High school boys. Underdogs. Ambitions. Ego. Teamwork. Camaraderie. Trying your best. Training. Defeat. Victory. Fight! Fight! Fight!


And the characters? Umm… Short ginger, good at fast… grumpy genius, team player need much. And the rest… bald and hyper… coachy mc coachface… grey haired one my irl waifu likes too much… blonde tall glasses… freckles mcgee… another short one and old young wuss brute… that’s all of them right?

This is really hurting you isn’t it? Please, I need my cute girls; all this testosterone is doing a number on my libido. Quick! Give me 50cc’s of ‘Yuru Yuri’, stat!

No! We’re seeing this through ‘til the end, whether it kills you. Rest assured it’s killing me, on my death certificate it will read ‘Cause of Death: Cute Girl Deprivation’.

What about the team’s manager, she’s a cute girl right? But a small refuge amidst an ocean of dick.


Now now, no need to be crude. What say you in conclusion? Haikyu’s good, great at times even. It’s not for me, that is for damn sure, but regardless of that I would definitely recommend the show to almost anyone. Most of the match’s go on too long but that’s of virtue of it being a faithful manga adaptation, personally I would have preferred it be 20 instead of 25 episodes but I’m probably in the minority with that opinion. And even with those ‘flaws’ considered it’s still worth a watch, even for the most ardent sports hater. It may not be an ace but it sure isn’t a foul, 79 out of 100.

Now, was that so hard? Maybe we can incorporate more of these sport anime’s into your roster of reviews in the future! Quick! I need a fix of cute girls, stat! Pump them directly into my veins, I’ll take whatever you’ve got, I’ll even settle for the cheap shit, yeah that’s right Kemono Friends will tide me over ‘til I get some of the real stuff.

Or not… My god, this has got to be your worst review ever. That’s not a question by the way, that is a fact. Ah… mmm, cute girls take away the images of all those sweaty sport boys… yeah that’s the stuff right there…