I asked the question then of whether Umamusume would have a decent story to tell in leading up to the promised race between Special Week and Silence Suzuka.
Along with some surprisingly solid character work, and an occasional moment that really resonated with me.
The writers worked with the “friends but rivals” theme of the show in some interesting ways leading up to Silence Suzuka’s return to racing, including Suzuka and Spe-chan training whilst the other was racing.
For much of the early show Team Spica would usually be trackside cheering their friends on, which meant that this late change to their behaviour felt significant and enabled some quite creative storytelling by cutting between them.
As for how the show ends, episode 12 Stage of Dreams is the episode that matters. Episode 13 Echo, Fanfare is purely for laughs with a “Dream Cup” featuring all of the rivalries within Teams Spica and Rigel in one race. Given the nature of the show, this could only end one way: a 13 way tie.
Because how else are you going to get all 13 girls on stage performing an idol concert otherwise? 🙂
Essentially, if you enjoy the first episode of Umamusume, you’ll enjoy the rest of it as a fun, throwaway show.
Here’s the OP/ED in one convenient video via Toho Animation: