Score: B

One thing I appreciate about Uma Musume’s habit of switching protagonists is that it at least keeps the focus on the same team. Thank goodness for Team Spica. If we can’t keep Special Week or Teio as the main character of the show then at least keep them around as supporting characters! Admittedly I would probably love another season with either of these two as the leads, but that’s just not how it is going to go. Instead, we got Kitasan Black who has the unfortunate honor of losing two races in one episode!

A nice and sweet girl

I don’t actually want to pick on Kitasan Black here. She is a really good girl who is incredibly helpful. She has the qualities you’d expect from a main character in this show. It was nice seeing her help out an old lady…or pull a truck! In terms of popularity in that shopping district she’s probably #1! There’s no question about Kitasan Black being a hard worker who manages to keep people around her smiling. And she’s got good taste in being a big fan of Teio. These are good qualities and reasons that I enjoyed her in the first episode. They could do a lot worse than focusing on her.

That didn’t work out

The downside of course for Kitasan Black are…the actual results. Losing the first race set the tone and kind of surprising considering the ways the past couple seasons have opened up. I guess they did want to leave an impression and have Kitasan Black being a contrast to those that came before her. Things weren’t looking good as the episode went along. You don’t have the Derby in the first episode and have the main character actually win that defining race. That’d be fine for an OVA episode, but this is the start of a whole season. It just didn’t feel like they were building up to a win.

And they weren’t. Nothing really changed from when she got utterly demolished by Duramente. I respect the Trainer’s perspective in focusing on what Kitasan Black is good at instead of trying to overhaul her style in a short period of time. But in a sense, there’s no surprise that the results would be the same then. There was no strategy or change in Kitasan Black outside of maybe some extra stamina. In that sense I’m kind of disappointed in the Trainer. I feel like during the first two seasons he was much more aware of the need to be ready. They knew Duramente had the same kind of “late dash” as Special Week, but the best strategy in place was to just manage Kitasan Black’s pace. No shock that she got overtaken hard at the end.

Nice to see the old cast again

It does make me wonder where this season will go. Most Uma Musume seasons do have a dark period for either the main character or her co-star. That dark period is usually all surrounding a major injury or disease. But instead we’re just starting out with the darkness! I mean Kitasan Black could even feel it going into the Derby that she wasn’t going to win. She did recover a bit at the festival and tried to feed off that atmosphere. But in a sense that might have done more harm than good since she appeared to get swept up in that atmosphere and lose her pace.

The bigger issue though is I don’t feel a specific winning trait for Kitasan Black. Special Week had her incredible late charges. She had to work around things, but she had that card to play. Teio is an overwhelming speed demon that just feels impossible for even late chargers to overtake. But Kitasan Black is just kind of fast. She’s good enough to stay near the front at the start. But if she wasn’t the main character I’d say she’s the type to just say “impossible” and fall back as the real main character powers past her. I guess having her pick herself up after these depressing defeats will be the main focus for her arc. But I feel like giving the main character some wins and then knocking them down is better than starting out with the knocking down.

Seems like a decent friend

Not much to say yet about Satono Diamond. Seems like a good friend and is sweet enough. She’s clearly got plenty on her own plate with overcoming some family jinx and such. So at least her character journey seems a bit easier to predict. She just seems generally nice and pleasant. Not much there yet. But this first episode was more about her friend than Satono Diamond herself. I guess we’ll see how she handles seeing her friend struggle and fail. And since she’ll be starting her career a bit later we can see how she rises and if she can reach the goals she’s set for herself. Nothing bad to say there. But I just don’t have much to say about her at this stage outside of that.

Now there’s a wall

This was an ok start to the third season. I’m sure it’s intentional for it not to have the same victorious punch as previous series. You don’t start off the show with the main character losing two huge races by accident. I can’t say that choice has me unbelievably hyped. But I’m willing to give this series a shot and see how this plays out. Probably not covering this one for the season. But I did want to comment on this episode.

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An older member at 25, yet a new addition to Anime Evo. Recently graduating University and in the difficult point between school and a true career. Anime being a salvation and blogging a good way to put all those hours of writing essays to some use. Enjoys talking about series, yet not taking on so many that the quality dips. A Canadian who enjoys his anime and hearing what others think about the series he enjoys watching.

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