What’s it about? In a far off fantasy world, a young man named Yuuki awakens with memory of little other than his name. He awakens to a beautiful maiden who calls herself Kokkoro and tells him that she has been tasked with protecting him on his journey to see Princess Ameth. However, this will be a difficult journey, since Yuuki lacks understanding of even the most basic things.
Princess Connect! Re:Dive opens with a POV shot of a beautiful girl talking directly to the camera as Yuuki lies barely responsive on a bed in a picturesque sci-fi/fantasy-ish setting. A few minutes later, there’s another, almost identical POV shot of another beautiful girl talking to him at the top of a picturesque hill.
“Ah,” I thought. “It’s one of those shows.”
You know what I mean. An anime based on a gacha-based pretty girl collecting game, where the point is more to show off all the beautiful ladies you can recruit in the game and attract existing fans of the game than anything interesting or appealing to newcomers. The kind where there’s a bland protagonist for things to happen around, while a dozen or more girls worship the very ground he walks on and do everything to progress the story, only for Potato-kun to deliver the final blow in the end and get all the credit. The kind that we lambaste season after season as they keep making more because let’s be real, that shit is a license to print money.
But then a pair of wild-eyed wolves come running up and drag a helpless Yuuki away, and I snicker and think, “Okay, that was a funny gag. A lone bright spot.”
And then it happens again. And I realize, “Oh no, I don’t hate this at all.”
What’s happening here is that Princess Connect! Re:Dive has a sense of humor about itself. One that goes beyond boob jokes and clumsy moe girls. One that includes the protagonist’s amnesia wiping his memories so thoroughly that he tries to eat a coin instead of pay for things with it. One that’s actually funny.
Things started to make a little more sense when I found out that the writer and director for this gacha adaptation is none other than Kanasaki Takaomi, best known for the irreverent isekai comedy KonoSuba – God’s blessing on this wonderful world!! While I never cared for KonoSuba – the comedy was too mean-spirited for my taste – I can see that Princess Connect! Re:Dive is in good hands.
It’s not just the comedy, either. Princess Connect has multiple chances to be skeevy, but never gives in to temptation. Pecorine may be bathing in her first appearance, but she still has her top on and the camera only shows her from the back in a wide shot, with her knee-length hair obscuring anything that could be construed as sexy. There’s nary a gazey shot to be found other than literal POV shots, and even those are neutral.
The girls’ costumes are cute and, while not exactly pragmatic leather jerkins and steel plate mail, don’t leave me downright scratching my head. It’s more along the lines of peasant tops and floofy skirts than battle lingerie (I’m looking at you, Endro!). It’s nice, actually.
Even though I am attracted to girls, I’m also easily alienated by most anime girls designed to appeal to straight men. I don’t like having boobs thrust in my face or young women who act like helpless babies in the name of cuteness, and the intersection of those two things consistently makes me turn away in disgust. Since Princess Connect treats its female characters with a modicum of respect, I can actually enjoy how cute they are and appreciate their appeal.
Unless something pops up, this is my last review of the season. This may be the first time I actually liked every show I reviewed, even the ones I didn’t expect to. While things may be crap all over the world, I can take comfort that at least we have a really good season of anime.