Episode 12 – Princess Connect! Re:Dive Season 2

This, the final episode of Princess Connect! Re:Dive, is a roller coaster. It’s fast-paced, flashy, and hits all the emotional ups and downs you’d expect. It’s easy to get caught up in cheering for our heroes in their final battle and feel satisfied at the happy end they’ve earned.

Pecorine saves the people of Landsol, reunites with her family, and even manages to do it without killing anyone. Kaiser, on the other hand, is able to stand with her new friends, establish the personal connection with Kaiser she’s always wanted, and save Kaiser’s life—even if that means Kaiser will be imprisoned indefinitely. Lastly, Yuuki is able to do what he wasn’t able to do in the previous loop—put it all on the line for his friends and come out victorious. These are all good, solid endings to our heroes and their character arcs—and we even get a ton of extra fanservice As every character we’ve met so far shows up either in the climax or gets a little epilogue still-frame (or both).

Unfortunately, this episode comes with one major problem—one that has plagued the series as a whole on one level or another: It only really works beyond a surface level if you’ve played the game. For anime-only viewers, it’s got to feel like you’re missing major swaths of the story even as the main credits roll. You know that there is some sort of bigger tale going on with Kaiser, Labyrista, and Neneka but nothing about the specifics.

This hurts the anime in a massive way—especially as the series never truly dives into the main villain’s motivations. Oh sure, we are told Kaiser is tired from having lived the looping world so many times—and that she hopes to make a utopia. But what does this mean exactly? What is a utopia for Kaiser? Who is the “Minerva” she prays to and what part would Minerva play in all this? And what does pulling Sol Tower down have to do with anything? Heck, beyond the last reset (which was done for Yuuki’s sake) we don’t even know why loops occur in the first place!

Of course, mentioning important things in passing while never explaining them is hardly new for the show. What are the “Seven Crowns”? What does it mean to be a “Princess Knight”? How/why did Yuuki become Labyrista’s? These are important questions and not knowing the answers leaves more than a few holes in this episode’s climax.

Overall, the series has tried to make a show that works for both Princess Connect newbies and players of the game—and on some level it has. The emotional character arcs for the Gourmet Guild are well-build and well-defined. We’ve come to know their goals, motivations, and backstories—and it’s easy to root for them. However, the lack of a clear explanation for the setting and the villain’s motivations leaves the show with a giant hole in the middle. Though, given that this anime exists largely to get people to play the game, maybe that’s the point: “Confused? I guess you’ll just have to download the game then, won’t you?”


Random Thoughts:

• We never did find out what the shadow did and what the real kaiser did in the story overall. Oh well!

• Looking back, it’s odd but Kokkoro didn’t really get an arc. She was more just the kind, loving, straight-man.

• I don’t know why Little Lyrical of all possible guilds got so much of the spotlight in these final three episodes but the payoff of them getting to do a classic GINAX Pose was well worth it.

• I loved the effect of Jun’s platemail rippling like liquid from Kaiser’s attack.

• If you didn’t know that Jun was voiced by Ayako Kawasumihaving her do the classic Fate Stay/night Saber pose probably spelled it out for you.

• I am shocked that Twinkle Wish did not appear—implying they are well and truly dead. I did not expect that. Knowing that they are dead and not coming back makes Yuuki’s depression a few episodes back far more powerful. Unfortunately, at the time, the thought of the original game’s three main characters actually being dead was so unbelievable that I rejected the concept outright and all the drama was lost.

• All in all, this season was much better than I expected it would be. I had a lot of fun writing these reviews and I hope you enjoyed reading them just as much.

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.

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