“Not your average smile”

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.

9 Comments

    1. It definitely was a hidden gem and I’m glad I picked it up after seeing some of the reaction faces and gifs flying about. Its impact was probably helped by the lack of competition this season to compare with, but it doesn’t take away from the overall entertainment value.

    1. Yuuki was hilarious for me, but that’s probably because I love low-brow humour and you don’t get better than an MC who is anything but a proper MC haha. Also jokes based on his muteness – i.e. the guild training episode – and that implied vore bit with Pudding-chan wouldn’t have worked as well as they did without his, erm, unique personality 😛

  1. Huh… A final impression of Princess Connect! Re:Dive? To quote Pecorine, How crazy is that?

    Back when you established the Spring 2020 season schedule, I was hoping that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic wouldn’t affect Princess Connect! Re:Dive‘s overall production. More so after Railgun T and Gundam Build Divers Re:Rise season 2 announced delays with upcoming episodes (both being rescheduled for July), leaving PriConne the only ongoing anime in my Spring 2020 watchlist. Fortunately, the PriConne anime completed its run with minimal to no ill effects(?) from the pandemic.

    And with the pandemic basically upending the old normal as we know it IRL, perhaps it’s good to step back and find some comfort in familiarity. Whether it’s the show’s comedic moments and facial reactions evoking KonoSuba, or the Gourmet Guild enjoying the simpler pleasures of life–delicious food and close companionship. Not that the show’s lacking in mysteries and an overarching plot, which does catch up in the season finale. Hope the next season (if ever) delves into the world Yuuki and company are in, and why they are there. (Though it’s a good bet the response would be, “Play the mobile game!”, if not for the fact that there’s no EN version of the game as of this post. And I have a hunch PriConne‘s gacha system might be similar to Granblue Fantasy anyway. Same publisher/developer, after all.)

    However, if there’s any downside to this anime adaptation, I can’t help but check the series’ Fandom wiki constantly just to keep track of the new characters (and even background cameos) that appear. Though that should be expected considering the mobile game is basically a “waifu collect-a-thon” turn-based RPG. That said, some characters’ voices were instantly recognizable, such as Yui Horie’s Belfast Saren, Sora Tokui’s Nico Rima, Ayaka Ohashi’s Uzuki Hatsune and Kana Asumi’s Nyaruko Rino, to name a few. (Also, Sora Amamiya as useless goddess ghost girl Miyako.)

    Man, I’m gonna miss hungry genki girl Pecorine, “Best Mom” Kokkoro with her weekly “0x0” faces, tsundere catgirl Kyaru (Western localized name be damned) and even amnesiac hero Yuuki-kun.

    Incognito
    1. The utter lack of info (barring names and personalities) on any of the characters definitely hurts the show, but IMO it’s only really felt if you’re looking for something more than easy entertainment. PriConne’s strength is its slice-of-life-esque comedy, anything more is just gravy. If or when it gets a sequel (leaning towards the latter personally) I expect it to be more story-focused though considering how the past two episodes played out.

  2. At the start I was very put off in how little brain functions Yuuki has (just a bit above vegetable), but it turned out to be rather funny in the end. Perhaps a take on those yes-no options you get in games with a silent protagonists? Or it could also be poking fun at the bland MCs we tend to get lately. Dial it to the max! OxO

    Watched to get to know the three girls since I saw them on mobile game collabs. Ended up having a lot of fun along the way. There are a lot of characters and I think they did a good job in getting their appeal point across. Am satisfied enough with what they showed of the characters. Though I would’ve loved it if they elaborate more on Yuuki’s family. I mean his big sister constantly gives his little sister concussion without a single thought! Would love to see the story behind them.

    Edible insects are a curiosity. Have a friend who wouldn’t try a cricket dish. Funny thing is he caught a grasshopper and ate it when he was small. Can’t blame the cat girl for not wanting it. XD
    I think her friends near the tree would love it. My cats love grasshoppers and crickets.

    theirs

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