While spring hasn’t been the best of seasons for anime of late thanks in part to Corona-chan delay shenanigans (alongside the ubiquitous talk of quality decline), it certainly isn’t immune to featuring a few diamonds in the rough to help paper over the pain, and case in point is Princess Connect. Sure, PriCon isn’t exactly the best or most stupendous of shows to grace our viewing screens, but between the manner of its presentation and the quality of its execution, it resulted in (for me) one of this season’s most pleasant surprises. And sometimes such surprises are all you really need.
The important thing to know about PriCon is what it isn’t: serious. Or at least for its vast majority. Although ostensibly adapted from the Cygames mobile game franchise, PriCon is a rare breed of game adaptation, effectively sidelining its central story in favour of a largely original slice-of-life tale emphasizing characters over world changing plot. Our designated MC Yuuki is the hero of the world, the saviour of all—and also lacking any memory (or cognitive function) capable of fulfilling that role. It’s the job of loyal retainer Kokkoro to help get Yuuki back up to snuff, except she’s not that adept herself, and when catgirl mage Karyl and glutton cutie pie Pecorine join the party, super important saving the world tasks are quickly sidelined in favour of weekly adventure antics. You’d think it’s simple promotional material at its core and in a sense you’d be right (at least if you want any sort of information on PriCon’s world and its numerous female acquaintances), however that would be selling it short when it’s in these weekly adventures where PriCon truly shines.
What arguably transforms PriCon from basic animated advertisement to enjoyable weekly entertainment is imagination. Thanks to Cygames giving Konosuba director Kanasaki Takaomi some serious room for manoeuvre in both directing and script composition, I’ll be damned if we didn’t get a Konosuba imitator replacing Aqua-isms and Darkness masochism with adorable elven :X faces, catgirl craziness, and a hilarious focus on food and cooking. Make no mistake, PriCon is no equal to Kazuma and friends, but it goes above and beyond what you’d typically expect for a similar show. From pure slapstick comedy (looking at you and your monster approved taste Yuuki) to fantastic character chemistry and even more ridiculously funny scenarios (yes Karyl, bugs are indeed a delicacy), PriCon gave us more entertainment than we likely deserved, and even found the time to also throw some seriously impressive animation into its cooking adventure mix to keep things spicy. While true those familiar with the game will get the most out of this (particularly when it comes to each of the show’s girls), PriCon offers enough to ensure everyone, no matter their familiarity, will get something for their investment.
While certainly not the end all be all of game adaptations (or fantasy comedy for that matter), PriCon is just the latest anime example showing how a little imagination and well thought out execution can go a long way towards turning an otherwise bog-standard premise into something relatively unique. From food-based comedy to character banter and all manner of moeblob waifus in between, PriCon was a welcome oasis in the desert of 2020 spring, and an optimistic hint towards what’s possible for future game adaptations.