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Umamusume Game Primer

Given a merely 10 days since launch as of this writing, there has not been a lot of detail writeup yet. Why? Probably because we’re all busy playing the game, and the developers have not released the game early enough to professional media types (the folks that work behind sites like gamewith/etc) that the pros do not have it all up yet. And if Japan authorities are behind, it’s free for all on twitter in terms farming various nuggets of info. EN players have to farm it from the game and social just like JP players.

This primer is more for new players–I will still skip the “download Japanese game” portion because that is the same for every Japanese mobile game on Android and iOS. The PC version will be available from DMM in a week or so, to get that, use the Princess Connect Redive guide. For helpful links, read this post.

What is Umamusume?

It is a Cygames franchise about raising racing horse girls (horse henceforth). Each horse is based, in various degree of looseness, on existing race horses in Japan’s horse racing scene and history. Best example primer I can give is this ESPN short. This article is about the video game, but there are some TV anime stuff related to this which gives you a crash course on the setting and some characters.

There are many horses in Umamusume. They are all Japanese race horses (but their heritage do span across overseas). There are 70 of them on the official site. They are all voiced except 4 (who are not debuted). The game do not yet feature all 70 of them as far as we know.

What is Umamusume game?

TL;DR: It is a raising/breeding game with a social/team competition component.

TL;DR2: It’s Priconne x Shiny Colors

It is a raising game with a competitive stats “racing” component. Players control a set of racing horses and a set of support horses. The goal is to make the best states on your horses, and then they can go on to win races. The actual racing part is just back end math calculation (think rolling the dice in Risk, but with 4d chess variables with different horses, and a pretty visualization). Almost all the game play is in how you run a raising scenario.

It’s just like IDOLM@STER Shiny Colors, but for people unfamiliar, you pick a race horse (or idol), select some support horses to go with that race horse, and you go through a period of up to 72 turns in order to complete the scenario. At different points in the scenario you have to clear various objectives–usually winning or placing above a certain place in a race on a certain turn. All the races in the game are loosely based on real races, or actually based on real races–just like the horses (if their rights owner let Cygames do it).

At the end of the scenario, either you win or you lost prematurely, you end up with a “raised horse” which can be used in PVP races, as well as daily races (basically 3 free races to earn money or support points), clear races in the main story, and for “breeding” (I guess it’s called inheritance system). Completing the full training gives you a horse that has more stats, since you had more time to train it.

What’s the gacha system?

The racing horses are rated from one star to five stars, and the gacha system drops horses based on 1* to 3*, 3* being rarest. You can upgrade racing horses up to 5*, including all 1*. To upgrade them, you need to feed it money and memory pieces from the specific horse. When you roll a horse you get some pieces for that horse, and if you roll a dupe you get some pieces for that horse plus a horse token, which can be traded for memory pieces of any horse.

Racing horses with more * level gets more powerful–higher stats, mostly. You can also “social link” or affection-up with them, by using them in races and in the horse raising scenario, as it unlock the character story for that horse. You can also rank them up using drops from races which give them more skills.

Support horses are ranked R, SR, or SSR. For each dupe up to 5 you can level break 5 levels. SSR by default caps at level 30, SR at 25, R at 20. Dupes beyond the 5th card can be sold for other tokens. Support horses are used during the raising scenario (currently, the URA racing scenario) to help you increase the stats on the race horse. Leveling up support horses gives them more powers, and you can do so using support points, money, or via use in the raising scenario.

As for rolling gacha, there are one pool for race horses and one pool for support horses. They are separate. You can spark at 200 rolls for race horses and 200 rolls for support horses. You can only spark the banner at any time, which is its own thing that you ought to read closely before trying for it. Besides that, both support gacha and race gacha follow the “150 for 1 roll, daily once paid 50 for 1 roll, 1500 for 10 roll with guaranteed 2*” model. Just remember the pool is separate for their sparks.

Racing horses can also be obtained through trading in memory pieces of a specific horse at certain quantities, starting at 50 for 1* horses. I’m assuming they’ll follow the Priconne template and allow this for all non-limited horses. You can buy memory pieces in the shop for all non-limited horses currently, and it has an incremental system where the first 25 pieces for a horse costs 1 chess piece, the next 25 cost 2, etc, up to 5(?), which is the prices for all subsequent memory pieces for that horse.

For support horses, there isn’t an obvious way to obtain them besides rolling, but you can get free ones from events and the main story.

What do you do in this game?

For most people, this means raising a horse or three or fifteen, or all of them. In reality, this is a raising game with a breeding component. Each turn in the URA scenario you pick one action, and bare the consequences of that action. This is also one of the more random raising game I have ever played, and while some random events do benefit you, most do not. A lot of the randomness comes in how horses win races–skills have to proc, your horse have to have the right gate, the other horses can’t be blocking yours too much, your strongest opponents might also be blocked or not, your horse might have a bad start out of the gate, whatever. There are so many ways you can lose a race, and generally completing the scenario means you have to take first place in a series of races against 16 opponents. Oh, there are also the usual raising game negative events too. Managing a kid through high school is rough, even if she is a horse!

Every time you start the raising scenario you have to pick 2 horses to be your horse’s ancestors, and some traits from those horses (and their grandparents, so 6 total) will get passed down to the horse you are raising. In the URA scenario, this happens on the 2nd and 3rd April First Half turns. Raising horses through inheriting is very important because not only you can get some limited/rare skills, but you can also increase the horse’s basic parameters, like their innate strength and weakness versus different track types and race strategy. Unfortunately, the way skill passes down from one horse to the next is largely random.

But because it is only largely random, there are things that are not random in which you can manipulate.

Once you produce five raised mares, you can put them in the racing team and start to enjoy that side of the game.

Or, read the Japanese explainer.

Lastly, the horses do a music number after some races, which you can unlock. Songs have interchangeable vocals!

No really, what do you do?

First, reset marathon for what you want–I actually recommend rolling support first since it feels like good support makes the game notably easier, even if you have fewer strong horses to raise. It’s more fun when the game is not nails-tough, trust me. Once you get some good supports, get your guaranteed 3* race horses and roll the race horse gacha once so you get some 1* and 2* horses too, because some of them are pretty good. This game is so easy to resemara, since the menu has a build in player data wipe plus a tutorial skip.

Follow 10 players with good support cards, pick an easy horse–I recommend Sakura Bakushin O, Mayano Top Gun, Silence Suzuka, or Special Week–build a support deck, and go raise her.

When you set up your raising scenario you can also breed from other player’s horses (with a fee). May be worth it sometimes!

Repeat until you get tired of losing, move on to another horse, and keep doing it until you get a feel how the raising game works. Meanwhile, collect support points and money, and upgrade your support cards too.

Multiplayer

TL;DR: Circles are guilds, PVP as much as you want, free bonus.

Players in Umamusume can form “circles.” Circles are basically guilds. Players in the guild collectively earn scoring (in terms of fans) when they raise horses. Later on they probably will introduce team racing.

Individually, there is some kind of ladder (also like Shiny Colors) where you assemble team of horses in a showdown with random opponents. It is set up as a ladder. Each horse is assigned a point value based on how powerful it is, and players are assigned a letter grade based on the total point value of their racing team. Players around the same letter grade then randomly match with each other. You can initiate a race using racing points (which recovers one point per 2 hours, up to 5 total). The race is consisted of actually 5 matches: Long, Medium, Mile, Short, and Dirt Mile. When you build your team you have to put from 1-3 horses in each of the matches (most people are only class 2 so only 2 horses per match), and each match unfold with the horse winning the race winning the match. After 5 matches the player with the most won matches wins the race.

Win or lose, all that matters is the loot that drops (random) and the highest score (when you win against the toughest team). A ranking is generated about once a week and reward is given out to players based on the high score. Players can also advance in class based on their high score ranks, which unlock more benefit.

In addition, there is a bonus to your support horses based on the strength of your racing team. So there is no reason to not put up a team (and let us beat on it).

Anything else?

There’s so much more to say about the game, but I’ll let the people making money or fame from it do the talking. I got horses to raise, I don’t know about you.

I’ll leave you with this.


Newsletter, Mar. 2, 2021 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-03-02

The experiment continues for the third time.

I had to tear myself away from Umamusume to do anything related to proper life-based responsibilities, yet I still don’t have enough time logged for a game that I spent so much time thinking about.

This Past Week

I am not much of a Nintendo person but Project Triangle Strategy is the kind of game that tickles my pickles. The demo is out on Switch so give that a try.

The new trailer for Dragon Maid S is sublime. That’s what the S stands for. Seiyuu hip-hop rhymes I can get 足りない!There was also an announcement stream. Anyways, July season looking good!

Netflix you crazy.

Otakon can pay its bills.

Couple items I left out from last week – Nanasis movie preview, Netflix being less crazy – WIT animation academy.

Hmm. Yes, Kurocon activities are afoot.

AEG LMAO – they’re going to branch into concert promos in JP?

Rieri , or Rie Takahashi, launches solo music brand.

On the Mind

Horses. Lots of horses.

There are horses on my phone. The pre-launch live stream has a lot of good overview of the gameplay. It still retains the Dire1 soul, making this the most IM@S game outside of IM@S. Only if Shiny Color could be like this…

I have written the primer on my end. That and all the links should get you started assuming you know how to install/play Japanese app games.

Do you remember Kurt Schilling? Really should take a page from Masahiro Tanaka all day everyday man.

Less horse, but I hope the best for Ogata.

I watched the Zombieland Saga live stream. It was a lot of fun–in a musical kind of way. If anything I think that is the best format for anime-oriented seiyuu unit content, but it’s asking a lot of them. Traditionally anyways. There were some news that came of it, and they performed the upcoming OP and ED during the show too.

On the IDOLM@STER front, Lisani Live had some of the best musical performances from both CG and ML. Rock the Beat Harmonics was chillingly solid and showed off Kiyono Yasuno’s voice really well. Rock arrangements of Dear and Airu were mind blowing. The timeshift for the show lasts till Friday, on Nico, Stagecrowd (recommended), and Streaming+.

Datte Anata wa Princess dropped for Popmas, well… Not that I have any time to play this game with Horses all day everyday.

Mushoku Tensei finally got started, although, dang, underage kids trying to do sex things can be a bit iffy. In retrospect it was done as much class as it could have been. I mean, is this a PG-13 series or what? R? Rating it R would be safe.

Events

Kadokawa Light Novel Expo…I guess starts Friday and runs for a while.

milet has a live stream for her concert on Saturday, will be good I hope.

Show By Rock has its big festival on Sunday.

Personal Note

Get your COVID vaccine! I got my first shot.

Where I live, we got a ton of snow during February–this Feb is one for the record books. I’m glad we’re done with snow this year, or about to be anyways.

Singaporean MC-personality and my friend Ash landed a gig for AnimeJapan this year, cheers for that! Look forward to it at the end of the month.

Long Reads

If you haven’t, this documentary short from 2016 details Haru Urara’s story. (I guess Masa is a fan of her). ESPN 30 for 30 does some cool stuff. I guess it’s more like a short watch than a long read.

For a real read, check out Megumi Hayashibara’s new book. It’s in English as a simul-pub in JP from Yen Press. Probably a must-read for seiyuu types like myself…after the horses are done running… Here’s a promo message she recorded for us.


Umamusume, the Game

Umamusume Pretty Derby is a media-mix franchise that has a series of character songs, two anime series (more like seasons 1 and 2), and now a F2P mobile game. Turns out, the game is really great. [The official EN name going by CR is Umamusume, without the space.]

I will just focus on the game and not the meta nor the nitty gritty. Well, I can link to the nitty gritty. Reddit and the Reddit-attached discord server are two places anyone can start (especially in English). It’s not clear which JP game site is the go-to, but the usual suspects are posting about it. There is a lot to the game that is still not yet unearthed, some parts of it we don’t know how it works, etc. Anyways.

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Newsletter, Feb. 22, 2021 Update

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Omonomono Newsletter, 2021-02-22

The experiment continues.

RIP Daft Punk? But the Clock of the Cinderella never stops ticking.

The real joke is RIP Daft Punk vinyl prices. Ye gads.

This Past Week

I talked about D4DJ First Mix in general but finally, Waipa talks about his work in the anime! It’s in this week’s D4DJ presents Peaky P-key no SaichoutenMix. Miyu and DJ Wildparty have met from way back, and it’s rare that these DJ gets the backstory spilled out this way. The full thing is available free: here (need VPN or region-bypass plugin for Radiko), or check it out on Spotify, Amazon or Apple podcast.

I was able to catch some of Bloom, the Hololive idol concert thing. Really not that bad, but this is at the same level where I can see how some other groups (namely: well-stocked Chinese companies and vtubers) can do just as good if not better of a job. But it’s evaluating the situation backwards to think that, I think. At some level this is the way a properly postmodern regurgitation would feel like. It’s easy to look at the output and say how it would be written as a SQL statement, but the management and creation of the database is magnitude harder. That said, I am not really familiar or vested in the the characters (and maybe not even the performers) so it really is not that appealing. But then again…this is its own thing that will appeal to certain folks.

Hosoda’s new film gets a sneak peek here.

Hironobu Kageyama’s birthday was 2/18! More over, check out this video talking about JAM Project 20th anniversary and their new docufilm. For some reason they got Angela’s Atsuko and Masayoshi Oishi as MC–anisong’s biggest shittalkers. Sure is weird. Also this article IN ENGLISH!

Checking out on Zaiko was the eufonius anniversary concert stream and it was pretty chill and got all the hits. A bit short but also pretty spot on. That falsetto sure is something.

On the Mind

I had a lot of good memories surrounding the Crest series–Crest of the Stars, and then the Banner of the Stars. They are a series of SF novels from Hiroyuki Morioka. If you copied the form of LOGH and made it more superficially interesting in line with modern popular SF, this will be what you get kinda. It’s infrastructural, it’s a bit 40k in space, it’s about relationships that otaku will care about. While the anime adaptations have come and went for over 20 years (goddamn it has been that long?) the light novels recently have been rebooted by EN localizers J-Novel Club. In fact they have been retranslated and it has made past volume 3 of Banner, which IIRC was how far the original official EN translation went. Volume 5 just recently came out, with part 1 of volume 6 in prepub.

Sunday nights anime watching has becoming a bit of an experience this season, between Attack on Titan Season 4 and Mushoku Tensei. While I never did the GoT thing on Sundays, I get that same vibe with these two. I just don’t get the “water-cooler” talk for these shows. It’s like you either get smug light novel/manga types or very, very deep and wide pool of plebs like myself enjoying the ride. Unfortunately many don’t watch the shows right as they come out.

Lots of event backlogs this week, despite being more of a light weekend for most. Going to churn through that…maybe catch the 8bitstory BAC show?

Was there supposed to be a Kurocon announcement? LOL.

Coming up in a couple days is the launch of the long-awaited Umamusme mobile game (which will be on iOS, Android, and DMM/PC). Watch the launch live stream?

Events

Zombieland Saga streaming event on 2/27. Then they have a stage at Anime Japan, which is all virtual, at end of March.

The big show this weekend is LisAni Live 2021. I probably will try my best to watch it all real time, but we’ll see. Unlike Animax Musix, anyone can watch these, no geo restrictions. Of course, CG and ML are representing so that makes it a no-brainer.

May’n is celebrating her 15th anniversary this year and she is doing 5 monthly concert streams. Saturday is her 2nd one.

Taketatsu Ayana is doing 3 showings on Sunday. It’s an online concert but, well, it’s Ayachi style.

Asaka and Yurucamp is a winning combination this weekend, too.

Personal Note

The extremely cold temps hitting Texas (cold for Texas) causing power outages affected me also indirectly, because of friends and family out there in the cold. Learning about the details of this is just extremely sad. Say what you will about how authoritarian governments and communism can make countries ineffective internationally because so much energies and overhead spent on dealing with polity, there’s something to be said when unregulated rampant greed dressed as capitalistic policy undermines a nation’s fundamentals. The money it cost to fortify the Texan power grid against cold is a tiny fraction of costs inflicted on blackouts of numerous factories and interruptions of businesses. Worse, almost the exact same thing happened 10 years ago. If the government isn’t willing to fairly referee and revise the rule book for the best net outcome, it is it still even capitalism? This is literally the case of spending a big fortune to make a small one, just backwards. [BTW, that’s a saying I learned from Everquest (any Enchanters…), thanks Log Horizon.]

The scary thing is how a certain philosophy of greed has really taken hold the momentum for change in the US government. It’s one thing for Texas to struggle with this, but the fear is it will merely be a reflection of other crises the country have to deal with in advance, that nothing happens even after those bad events happen.

In a lighter note, Priconne Fest came and went–it’s the first in-person type festival the series has had. Too bad the live concert segment was postponed? Bummer. This past week was pretty crazy for me on PriconneR just because of the EN new level cap, event, and the festivities in JP. Now there’ll be horses on the plate… Ugh

Long Reads

Budding sensation of the Hanshin Tigers talks about it in English. Jerry Sands plays the outfield and the fans enjoy this emotional guy on the field (for NPB standards), aside from his raking. Anyways, this NC native kind of made the meme circuit in 2020. Like many hitting prospects of the modern era, they’re kinda, uh, chonk.

And then, there’s this short one.

Somewhat more on topic, here is the TL for Noriko Hidaka’s Famitsu interview having reaching 40 years in the biz as of 2020. There are 2 parts, and the same person is translating the interview for Kouhei Tanaka also in the same issue (and also 40yrs).


Omonomono Newsletter

While I’m sitting home, working from home, and eventing from home under this COVID-19 scheme of things, the world keeps on ticking. Just because life may have paused somewhat for me, the world has not. Which is just to say, I feel like this blog could use a change.

I thought about doing a newsletter type format thing for this blog for a while now, and maybe that makes more sense. Of course, to make a proper email newsletter, it’s a different type of syndication. I will probably still post the letters on this site for posterity sake. It is going to have a similar voice.

Nonetheless a newsletter format of journaling seems a bit more appropriate for the things I’m thinking about. It takes a lot of time to germinate ideas worth the while for public posting, and then survive the iterative review I do. It’s not like my unpublished draft count is going down… Only a portion of what I write is gets published in the end, no matter how stream-of-conscious the rambling gets. I don’t have a formal clipboard process but that might change as a result?

In short, below is an example from this week. I’m not committed to a set schedule, but I’ll aim for a weekly schedule. I’ll post them in the emails at least, and probably on the blog too, as I go. You can subscribe to it by entering your email below. At some point those emails will go out, when I figure out how this works anyways. Meanwhile I’ll post them on the site for now.

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