These fillies have definitely filled up at the anime trope trough.
Sometimes, it can be easy to turn a cynical eye to the production of anime and anime-style video games. Certain uninspired projects feel like they’re simply randomly picking an item off a list of popular themes and aesthetics to build themselves around, in a blatant attempt to milk a current trend.
Still, you have to respect the boldness when something comes about as a result of producers looking at that hypothetical list and essentially saying, “We’re going to do as many of these as we can,” which at this stage seems like a pretty good way to describe the newest title from video game publisher Cygames.
For the upcoming Uma Musume (“Horse Girls”), Cygames is taking a page from smash-hit Kantai Collection. But whereas Kantai Collection turned a bunch of warships into cute girls, Uma Musume bases its cast of young ladies on actual race horses, with each character sharing her name with her actual equestrian inspiration.
For example, below we see Silence Suzuka, who in addition to being a character in the game was also one of the many offspring of famed Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Sunday Silence.
▼ While the real Silence Suzuka was a male, all of the Uma Musume are girls.
With their ears and tails fluttering in the wind, the girls compete in horse-racing style foot races, with cheering crowds watching and, presumably, placing bets on them. Much like Kantai Collection started out with only Japanese vessels, so too does Uma Musume exclusively feature horses that were bred in Japan.
OK, so we’ve got animal girls, history-based anthropomorphism, and a touch of nationalism in the mix. But that’s not all, because the characters of Uma Musume are also schoolgirls, who live and study at the all-girls Japan Uma Musume Training Center Academy, where the game’s player is a teacher and trainer. Oh, and we should also mention that they’re idol singers, too.
And don’t worry, the fact that they’re horses doesn’t mean the game won’t show you them wearing swimsuits. As a matter of fact, the Uma Musume show a wide range of athletic abilities, including ice skating, with a dash of implied same-sex romance for good measure.
▼ It’s not entirely clear whether they have feet with toes, or need specially designed ice skates that fit over hooves.
And, of course, the cast has the requisite array of anime harem personality types, including the earnest, energetic type, the shy one, and a tsundere, who we imagine will at some point say, “It’s not like I’m not licking your salt lick because I like you or anything!”
Uma Musume is still in development, with no announced platform yet. Though most of Cygames’ titles have been smartphone releases, we’ll have to wait to see where the game eventually lands, and also whether all its time at the trope trough has given it the nourishment it needs to succeed, or simply made it too bloated to pass up its leaner video game rivals.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he thinks Fire Miss Lady, a horse he once bet on in Del Mar, would be a great name for an Uma Musume.