This week’s episode is the start of both the emotional and action climax for the entire series—and boy does it work.
Looking back on season 2 as a whole, it’s hard not to compare it to season 1. The first season was little more than a series of one-off episodes—cute, funny, and basically fanservice for those who played the games. It touched on the various side stories in the game while doing its best to avoid the main plot altogether. This left it feeling like a show in limbo, one that couldn’t move to the natural climax it hinted at right from the start—ie, the showdown between Pecorine and Karyl/Kaiser.
Season 2, on the other hand, is a different beast altogether. The show has been much more focused on fleshing out the relationship between Karyl and Pecorine, with neither of them wanting to upset the equilibrium they are in but knowing that the secrets they carry will have to come out eventually. Their growth and development this season have all been for the sole purpose of making this episode (and the final climax at large) hit as hard as possible on an emotional level.
In terms of narrative structure, this season has been different as well. While we’ve still had a few one-off comedy adventures, the show has been good about adding in more serious elements while introducing (and re-introducing) the characters that are important for this climax to work. Big players like Kasumi and Yuni got full episodes dedicated to themselves and their connection to what’s going on with the world. Meanwhile, numerous other characters from across both seasons have been popping in and out of various episodes. And despite them having only a line or two with each appearance, it nonetheless makes the world feel much more interconnected—which in turn makes cross-guild team-ups like the Kasumi, Yuni, and Tamaki party in this episode feel all the more natural .
Sure, on its own this episode is already a feast for the eyes with action and drama galore. But what moves it from good to great is how it builds upon everything that the previous episodes have established. The episode is able to focus on the spectacle because we already have a firm grasp of everything else—from the characters and the stakes involved to smaller things like why there are talking rocks and what it means for Yuuki when his princess powerup magic circles go all wonky as well.
And, I’m not going to lie, for the first time since I’ve started watching this show, it legitimately had me on the edge of my seat, totally invested in the plight of our heroes and cheering on their fight in the face of ever-increasing odds. And hell, there’s just something great about ending on a hero shot with Pecorine taking back her name in defiance of both Kaiser and her own fear that has me pumped for what is to come.
• Kaiser’s lips were out of control this episode.
• Early on in my time with the game, I ran a team of Miyako, Kokkoro, Shinobu, and Pecorine (along with Rino), so this episode was pretty fun for me.
• Miyako is best ectoplasm.
• So Labyrista isn’t dead but she is unconscious and being used as a puppet—either that, or corpses retain their powers…
• I’m upset that Little Lyrical didn’t kick any ass. Sure, they’re kids but a single shadow should be nothing to them—especially since even random towns are able to defeat them.
• We saw a lot of characters in this one but I don’t recall seeing Twilight Caravan at all. I hope that means they’ve got a big part to play later in the climax.
• Christina is also notable in her absence.
• I wonder, are we supposed to believe Twinkle Wish is dead or will they appear further into the climax?
Princess Connect! Re:Dive is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
Richard is an anime and video game journalist with over a decade of experience living and working in Japan. For more of his writings, check out his Twitter and blog.