Princess Connect! Re:Dive season 2
Pecorine continues her adventures with the Gourmet Guild, taking on quests from day to day while debating with herself how to get her kingdom back from throne usurper Kaiser Insight, and when she would reveal the truth to her guildmates. Karyl has her own moral quandry, as she's grown fonder of her guildmates, but is still serving as the Princess Knight of main villain Kaiser herself. And that's not even going into Yuuki and his lost memories, because what would happen if he regained even a small amount of those?
Princess Connect Re:Dive is a fun show. Oh, I can remember the day when our favorite amnesiac hero fell from the sky and was subjected to an abduction attempt by the most unlikely of criminal geniuses; derpy wolves. And if there is a show that seems to believe quite heavily in second chances....
Who's a good couple of boys? Oh, yes, you are. Both of you.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that the first season of Princess Connect Re:Dive was a very entertaining show, colorful and fun most of the time, but still with an underlying tone of menace. Even more surprising, the show had a rather high level of visual and animation quality, which isn't necessarily that common in shows based on gacha-based videogames. Or... just, well... videogame-based shows in general.
It's also worth noting that, since I watched the first season, I've also had the chance to play the game. The show, probably wisely, divides its characters into teams through the whole guild system that serves as the main work hub of Landosol. That being said, the show is still mostly about Pecorine, Kokkoro and Karyl, with Yuuki bringing up the emptyminded rear. Which is probably a slightly unfair assessment, since he has clearly come a long way since his initial scuffle with googly-eyed wolves and trying to eat money. (Not at the same time, mind you.)
When I watched the end of the first season, where we learn that Pecorine is really Princess Eustiana, whose parents are the rulers of Landosol, and where we also learned that Kaiser somehow usurped that position and has since tried to get her killed. And while there are other things going on in this show, the second season of Princess Connect Re:Dive continues the story of Pecorine and her attempt to reclaim everything she lost. This does include Kaiser's continuing abuse of her knight, Karyl, and how Karyl herself is suffering some serious loyality issues.
Of course, Princess Connect Re:Dive still holds its card very close to its chest, which can be kind of infuriating. I synchroed this show with Tim, and he hated the villain to a rather large degree. Kaiser isn't the first villain who seems like she's psychotic just for the sake of being psychotic, and while Kefka proved that this can make for great villains, I did agree that it would hardly have hurt the show if we got a little insight about why she is like this, or why Karyl would even be loyal to this (seeming) psycho. The little I know about her is something I didn't learn from the show, but game wikipedia pages, and even there, it's still a rather vague outline.
Secondly, people are probably not going to be very happy to learn that Princess Connect Re:Dive might also be another entry in the long line of isekai games. Or rather, there is probably a lot more of stuff like Sword Art Online in this game, as not only the male lead is trapped in this fantasy game world, but so is a lot of other people. The game has already unpacked a lot of stuff that neither anime season have brought up so far, which wasn't something I gave much thought in the first season, but seems all the more important now. By and large, the anime stands well enough on its own, although that patience got stretched a bit thin during the last couple of episodes.
Given that the show is also mostly about Landosol's royal family, that also makes one of the other main groups featured in Princess Connect Re:Dive its own royal guard, the guild Nightmare. This might sound like a sinister name for a guild, but out of its four members, three of them are very gung ho about justice and protecting the weak, as well as the royal family itself. Then again, the only member of said guild we meet in the first season is the fourth member, Christina. In said season, she seemed like some kind of anti-hero of sorts, there to be a test for our band of main character before casually dropping helpful hints, but as the second season -- and moreso the game -- shows us, this is not necessarily the case. She is a merciless warrior who is always looking for that perfect fight. She quite casually takes on missions from Kaiser, and sees no problems in her ruling over Landosol. But more than that; in the actual game, she tries staging an attack on a guild run by beast people despite knowing this will most likely start a war between the humanoids and the beast races, and she did this just out of boredom. And said beast races featured some of the game's strongest fighters, which you will also meet in this season. She isn't specifically evil, per se; She doesn't just kill for the sake of killing, but she is a good deal more colder than I initially gave her credit for, and her main modus operandi seems to be that she doesn't care what happens to everyone else as long as she gets her entertainment.
In a way, I'm glad that the show has characters that show such a wide range of personalities, because I'm not always demanding every single character to be pleasant to deal with. Interestingly, Christina is also intelligent, so when an episode feature a rather ambiguous story element where Nightmare's current acting captain, Jun, is seemingly attacking random innocents, her other guildmates worry about what they have to do with her now that she's apparently gone off the deep end, but Christina is the only one who actually doesn't buy it. Of course, this is where that pesky game story pops up again, because if you haven't played the actual game to any extent, you don't know who these people are, and you might not even realize you saw Jun before you actually thought you did.
The other, somewhat larger players for this season are Caon, the group working for the beast races -- with notable members like Makoto, Kaori and Maho. But more so Kasumi, who gets to be a part of a story arc that lends some more information about the mysterious shadows that were a threat even in the first season. Twilight Caravan makes a return showing too. You might remember them as the mad doctors who had a rather loose interpretation to whatever counts for Landosol's Hippocratic Oath. You might also remember Erika, our local yandere and creepy engagement ring enthusiast.
And it's good that we have all these episodes too, because -- like I mentioned earlier -- this season ends up with Pecorine squaring off to reclaim her kingdom, and while I certainly can't ding the action scenes on visual spectacle, both Tim and I felt that the show let that stuff run for longer than it needed to, and the main takeaway from everything by the time it ends is, well... a new story arc and the vague threat of another villain that might very well be even worse than Kaiser ever was, but it's also such a well-trodden hiker's path of JRPG victory tropes that isn't as much old-school as it is forehead-slappingly predictable. Let it be said, though, that the post-victory scenes are totally worth it, and that it doesn't spell the end of this franchise. Which is only logical, because the game itself has also not ended yet.
The first season was a great show. It had a fun and colorful beginning, a long string of character introductions and jokes, and then a bit of a truth bomb rounding off the season with nary a misstep in pacing. This season only has one misstep, and that is overestimating my patience for long, drawn-out fights with villains who has had most of their motivations sanded away. It's not a complete dealbreaker, granted, but it does put Princess Connect! Re:Dive season 2 in a slightly worse spot, especially if we aren't getting more of it animated. Or, failing that, I guess we also have the game now. In fact, I suspect the anime was created to drum up more interest for the game. In which case, well played, Princess Connect! Re:Dive season 2. Well played indeed.
A weaker four star than the first season, but I hope the show has the moxy to continue. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The violence is actually a bit harsher in this season, with people being wounded in ways that looks decidedly serious. On the flip side, since this season doesn't have a beach episode, there's even less fanservice than the relatively minor amount we got in the first.
Version(s) Viewed: Digital stream on Crunchyroll, Japanese with English subs.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Princess Connect! Re:Dive season 2 © 2022 CyGames Pictures, Bibury Animation Studio.
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