Princess Connect! Re:Dive – Mid Season Review
For More Spring Anime Reviews check out our Spring 2020 Coverage Guide!
Synopsis: In the beautiful land of Astraea where a gentle breeze blows, a young man named Yuuki awakens with no memory of his past. There he encounters a guide who has sworn to care for him—Kokkoro, a lovely swordswoman who’s always feeling peckish—Pecorine, and a cat-eared sorceress with a prickly attitude—Karyl. Led by fate, these four come together to form the “Gourmet Guild.” And so their adventure begins… (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Princess Connect! Re:Dive turned out to be a real surprise when it first premiered in April. While part of the latest wave of mobile game adaptations, Princess Connect was decidedly anything but typical. Directed by the man who adapted Konosuba from Light Novel into anime form, Princess Connect felt so much more like a fun, bizarre fantasy comedy series with only the most trivial of hints left as to its original origins. The premiere was hilarious, with Director Kanasaki having taken much of his experience from Konosuba and reapplied that here. But while there’s a lot of Konosuba’s influence throughout this adaptation, it doesn’t feel like a total rip off. No, Princess Connect gradually comes into its own over the first six episodes, allowing each of its four main cast members to develop into fully fledged comedic characters that craft an intertwined dynamic far and away different from Konosuba, just one that continues to make use of similar comedic timing and surprise turn abouts in its comedic stylings.
Linny: Halfway through now, Princess Connect! Re:Dive continues to be a fun, if a bit uneven, show as we follow the various mishaps and adventures of our Gourmet Guild. While the show does tease some darker, plot oriented developments and twists behind the scenes, the show remains a predominantly light and silly comedy. It isn’t until Episode 6 that a more serious turn of events comes into play, with characters under attack by dark, twisted versions of themselves. Even with this new twist, it remains unlikely that Princess Connect! will ever be a truly serious story as even its most serious episode so far has still been filled to the brim with silly gags and goofy moments, ensuring that this is definitely something meant for a comedy seeking crowd.
Tom: Fans of the original mobile game are more likely to loath this adaptation for a few reasons. While the anime retains the colorful character designs, and features many of the various gacha girls available to obtain, there’s been little effort to follow the game’s existing narrative. In fact, the anime seems to almost dance around it, cutting out important plot-centric sequences and generally focuses on more whimsical and silly storylines. Then there are the characters. Knight-kun, as he’s known in the game, or Yuuki as he’s known in the anime, is an out and out idiot in this adaptation. Often he’s unable to form full sentences, where as in the game he’s but the player’s silent avatar. Pecorrine is so much more food centric in the anime, with the first episode even implying she’ll happily eat golems for sustenance if she has to. For any fans seeking a proper animated version of the game’s story you’re unfortunately out of luck. That said, I actually prefer this approach to adapting a mobile game into an anime. In truth, most mobile games either skimp on story or tell such similar narratives to each other that nothing feels original or worthwhile. When every season is inundated by an increasing number of mobile game adaptations that all basically feel like the same thing it’s instead refreshing for one to buck the trend and offer something else entirely.
Linny: What really sets Princess Connect apart is not just its willingness to turn a typical mobile game anime into an out and out comedy, but how so much of the brilliance of the comedy comes from its dialogues and execution. For example, you’d think the show’s running gag of the main male protagonist repeatedly being carried off by some wild beast or the other would get old fast but the show manages to up the ante every time we repeat that gag, never over using it and adding something new every time. Then there’s other examples; like this smaller joke about how a certain doctor has a guaranteed success rate of making her patients feel 30% better. Everyone repeats and believes this with confidence even though a mere 30% improvement for all cases does not sound like something you would wholeheartedly endorse for a doctor. It’s such a peculiar joke that helps to really sell the kind of comedy Princess Connect! offers.
Tom: All that praise aside, Princess Connect isn’t always in top form. In truth the show’s brilliance is primarily centered on Episodes 1 and 5. While the rest of the episodes are amusing, with a few stand out gags in each, the rest is of a sort of lukewarm quality. It’s not bad, it’s not amazing, it’s just okay. Part of the problem perhaps stems from struggling to find its footing with certain characters. Karyl, a cat girl that initially tries to act as a foe to Yuuki, Pecorine and Kokoro, our leading trio, takes time to grow into a unique character all her own. Initially she feels like little more than your typical tsundere, and it’s really not until Episode 5 that the show finally figures out what her dynamic with everyone else is. By episode 6 the show seems far more comfortable with who its characters are and how they interact with each other, giving me hope that this already enjoyable anime is about to get a whole lot better.
Linny: Indeed the more we get to spend time with our characters, the more endearing they feel. However, Kokkoro at this point remains the weakest character as her personality seems to be stuck as the subservient, precocious and devoted caretaker to our hero of questionable capability. Pecorine and Yuuki comparatively are definitely the main source of laughs. Yuuki’s limited vocabulary and innocent responses to everything land him in such unusual circumstances on a regular basis. Meanwhile Pecorine’s high energy enthusiasm combined with her skills and her naivety make for some hilarious situations as well. Heck, even the supporting cast offer up some great and unusual laughs. Highlights include an anthropomorphic llama who seems to be convinced that she is an undeniably gorgeous damsel despite often engaging in llama-like behaviour; or an extremely awkward loner who makes up her own friends and bestows them grand names like ‘Don’t Worry Friend Number 1’.
Tom: Princess Connect! Re:Dive might be lagging behind Kakushigoto for the top comedy spot this Spring, but it’s not a title you should skip out on either. There’s plenty of comedy, and while the show isn’t always in top gear, it hasn’t had an actual bad episode yet. Yuuki, Pecorine, Kokoro and Karyl’s antics together are a lot of fun, and even the weaker episodes have a highlight or two that remain fresh in my mind for simply how amusing those little scenes were. I feel for the fans of the Mobile Game though. I really do. It’s tough to see something you legitimately love not get the faithful adaptation you hoped it would. That said, what Princess Connect has become as an anime is something far more relevant for non-mobile game fans, and likely to boost interest in the game far better than a straight adaptation could have.
Linny: Princess Connect! Re:Dive is definitely not a flawless show by any means. As Tom mentioned, the show’s comedy fluctuates from episode to episode and the decision to divert so far from the source material probably makes this an unacceptable adaptation to fans of the origin material. However, if you enjoy comedies with peculiar characters and unique execution; such as really goofy looking wolves that keep dragging off a comatose hero, then look no further! Princess Connect! Re:Dive keeps things lighthearted and playful, making it a great fit for those who want an easy, gag filled watch this season.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com