Princess Connect! Re:Dive – Mid-season thoughts
Princess Connect! seems like your average isekai anime at first glance, but sets itself up to rise above its many predecessors. This article contains very mild spoilers.
The first thing you’ll notice about Princess Connect is the beautiful animation and vibrant colours that are etched within every scene. The characters look sharp and the fantasy world which they inhabit is every bit like a dreamscape. When it comes to production quality, studio CygamesPictures have definitely outdone themselves with Princess Connect.
The anime starts like a traditional isekai show where the main protagonist must learn the ropes of the new society he finds himself in. And in doing so, he finds a pack of allies that share somewhat of a common goal. For Yuuki’s case, he is reintroduced to the kingdom of Landosol but with absolutely no recollection of his past self or ambitions. The only thing Yuuki does remember is his name and that he is a swordsman. Accompanied by his helpful friends, Yuuki gradually relearns his identity and what exactly he was destined to do before losing his memories.
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The Adventure Begins
The anime starts off rather lightly, with Yuuki and his caretaker Kokkoro finding the way to the Kingdom of Landosol and eventually securing a place they can call home. Not much is given of Yuuki’s backstory or Kokkoro’s either. One thing is certain, however, Yuuki has a strong bond with someone who does not reside in the real world. Ames, the mystical girl who only appears to Yuuki when he loses consciousness, guides the wandering swordsman to the best of her abilities as vaguely as possible. For reasons unknown, Ames is careful in her word choice and refrains from telling Yuuki anything even remotely useful. It is quite infuriating as a viewer to be kept in the dark about the main details of the world of Astraea, but we must trust that it is in our best interest not to know until later.
The same concept continues among the rest of the characters as well. Pecorino, the swordswoman who excels in all-you-can-eat buffets is also shrouded in mystery. She carries around a massive longsword and is an all-around combat expert. She has tremendous strength that rivals her endless appetite and is always full of vigor, no matter what predicament she finds herself in.
Karyl, the last known member to join the guild is a sorceress who has alignments with another group that is against Pecorine. Not much is known of the organization she works for, but it is clear that they have a villainous aura that surrounds them whenever they are given screen time. At first, Karyl was a bit reluctant to join the gourmet guild, seeing as Pecorine is a person she was once tasked to eliminate. However, the antics and constant affection Yuuki, Kokkoro and Pecorine showered her with gradually worn down Karyl’s guard to the point where she would even eat an insect meal with them — of course, not of her own volition. Although she enjoys spending time with the gourmet guild, it’s clear that she’s conflicted with what group to side with.
A Light to Pierce the Darkness
Princess Connect also throws in a lot of characters and guilds in a rather short time frame. The gourmet guild is always running about in or outside of the kingdom, so meeting new faces and groups reoccurs in almost every episode. Not much detail is given on the minor characters, but that is to be expected given the amount of screen time they are given. Although there are some noteworthy ones that stick out like a sore thumb, like the Twilight Caravan guild with the crazed Eriko, or the beast lady Rima from Elizabeth Park, there are quite a few who are regrettably forgettable. Given the 13-episode run Princess Connect is given, it will be quite the accomplishment to give all the characters a meaningful contribution to the show.
The group is full of eccentric personalities that are indeed shrouded with mystery, but their difference in mannerisms is how the gourmet guild operates on a normal basis. As Yuuki slowly relearns his purpose as a swordsman, it is evident that the peaceful days of the gourmet guild are limited.
For half of the first season, we are left with minimal details that are far from enough to put anything of significance together. Still, despite not having a lot to work with, we know that Yuuki, Kokkoro, the voracious eater Pecroine, and the scheming Karyl have formed the gourmet guild and are simply enjoying each other’s company while hunting down minor level quests.
Their first antagonist, Christina, shows no remorse for the group as she crushes them easily before Yuuki unleashes his Princess Knight powers. It was a pleasure viewing the dreamy castle scenery and the water streams that remarkably looked better than its real-life counterpart, but Princess Connect surprised us once again with their marvelous battle scenes. The attacks by either side appeared to be devastating enough to level a skyscraper. They are packed with tons of visual explosiveness that it was extremely difficult not to rewind a few seconds just to view that attack again. It goes without saying that attack spells are spectacularly creative and goes above and beyond the expectations of a fantasy world bombardment.
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Second half onward…
The halfway point of the show indicated that an evil presence is among the new world that Yuuki resides in, and that group will eventually cross paths with them once more. The slice-of-life episodes were enduring, no doubt, but an anime with a progressive storyline appears to be in the works for Princess Connect. The show’s rather slow-paced beginning sets up the rest of the story to be filled with more action and, of course, significant discoveries that will certainly propel the show to much greater heights. Princess Connect has shown that it has mastered the art of comedy and likable characters. From here on out, however, it appears as though they’re prepared to prove that they can back it up and a solid storyline and reputable antagonists. Princess Connect is an excellent show for those who enjoy comedic, light-hearted adventure shows, visually stunning animation, relatable characters and some emotional scenes from time to time.
The anime is set to air its season finale episode by the end of June 2020, but one, or perhaps two, more seasons is probably needed to further unearth the mysteries of Princess Connect.
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