I cant lie I made the mistake of writing off Uma Musume as a show to be skipped up until just a week ago when I tried starting the first season. At the surface there are a lot of reasons it seems likely to failthe biggest being 1 girls with animal ears and tails and 2 game sourcematerial. Empirically you are probably okay to skip shows with either one of those qualities so youd think you can skip one with both. Yet you like previous me would be making a mistake skipping Uma Musume. This show is not great in spite of these qualities but rather because of these qualities and it is made possible by what is clearly a LOT of love and attention from its creators at every level of detail. The thought put into season 2 in particular results in one of those rare gems of a show that has you laughing while you cry and wishing it would never end. Ill start with the above points that stood out most to me prior to watching the show. It is really easy and usually fair to see a show with a bunch of cute girls with animal ears and tails and call it gimmicky. Uma Musume is not a show about girls who just happen to have horse ears and tails it is a show about horse girls. Why do they all have such crazy names? Because theyre horse girls. Why do they love carrots so much? Because theyre horse girls. Why do they all run in competitions? Because theyre horse girls. Why do they sometimes struggle to get into the starting gate? Because theyre horse girls. Why do they do idolstyle dance performances after each race? Probably because theyre horse girls not 100 sure on that one Im not a horse expert. But these things along with many others are built in to the show in the dialogue the plot and the characters themselves. I dont necessarily recommend looking up the real horses that the girls were named after it can be pretty depressing but many of their behaviors and many of the plot points were derived from a horse that really ran the racetrack. Regardless of whether you think that is neat or not it does serve to give an element of unpredictability to many of the stories and personality to the characters. If somehow all the horse girls in Uma Musume were suddenly not horse girls but regular girls it would be a fundamentally different and less interesting show. As for the game source material the problem you expect a show to run into when it is based on a gacha game is almost always going to be lack of substance. And it makes sense if you go off source material only you might have nothing more than a few Ultra Rare JPEGs and some voice lines to make up a character. In that sort of situation it is up to the anime creators to fill in a lot of blanksespecially with two full seasons so far of content. On the other hand you can imagine these circumstances may allow for greater creative freedom than is ordinary if the creators will step up to the plate and I can only imagine that is exactly what happened. The director Oikawa Kei clearly deserves the maddest of props and has made his way straight to my favorites Im also a huge fan of Hinamatsuri. Just about every scene was so packed full of layers of entertainmentthe main story happening in the foreground while jokes and gags constantly fill the background. Running gags that go on for entire seasons USUALLY get old about half way through but there are actually just SO many that are placed with such precision I found myself laughing throughout. At the same time moments that seem like they should have been cheesy were insead incredibly hype or emotional. Even the trainer character who is clearly a standin for the player character in the game adds to the story and has meaningful interactions that keep him from feeling like a completely flat selfinsert character. Uma Musume actually makes it feel that if the team is talented enough to get creative and REALLY make the show their own plus with the budget of a gacha game backing the project gamebased anime may not just be viable but preferable to some of the other adaptations weve been seeing. There is definitely plenty to say in terms of praise for the show and I think that most everything Ive mentioned applies to both season 1 and season 2 just not to the same extent. I liked season 1. It was enjoyable for many of the reasons I have written above but if it were just season 1 I would not have gone to the effort to write a review. But season 2? Season 2 took what was already a pretty good show and upgraded nearly every part of it like Ive never seen upgraded before. You get upgraded main characters upgraded side characters upgraded main stories upgraded side stories upgraded rival club upgraded comedy upgraded drama you name it. All somehow while maintaining the shows identity and feeling. It is clear that an incredible amount of thought and planning was had on what could be improved or fixed up going into the new season. That along with the density of content really made me feel like the people making this were putting as much effort into it as their characters were putting into winning their races. I absolutely loved Uma Musume and would be ecstatic to hear a third season announcement. I have no doubt they could take even any of the side characters cmon Twin Turbo from either season and if the same amount of love and attention is given make something awesome again. My recommendation is that everyone check out the first season. If you for some reason HATE the first season okay it isnt for you probably. But if you like it at all get ready for a treat in season 2 and hopefully season 3 someday.