A couple months ago, a friend of mine recommended me to a Japanese mobage called Princess Connect! Re: Dive. At first, it looked like a typical, generic anime-fantasy mobile game with female characters as a selling point. However, the game is developed by Cygames, who are well known for their unique and outstanding IPs, Granblue Fantasy & Shadowverse, even in the west. Even though I played a couple mobages (Fate/Grand Order, Girls Frontline to name a few), I was willing to try Princess Connect! Re: Dive. What makes this game stand out from the other mobages I played so far is the amount of voice acting, and cutscenes within the game. It is as if I was watching an episodic anime on a mobile game. While it in itself is not groundbreaking (since other mobages like Honkai Impact 3rd has its fair share of voiced cutscenes), it is executed well enough to make it stand out. From voiced anime cutscenes to unique ED songs, it really feels like I’m watching an episodic anime with a great amount of production value.
That being said, as a person who doesn’t speak Japanese, I wasn’t able to fully grasp the story of Princess Connect, leaving me relying on fan translations for better understanding. However, when I heard that Princess Connect is going to have an anime adaptation in Spring 2020, I was ecstatic since it will be easier to engage and understand the story and characters. Even though the anime is developed by CygamesPictures (Cygames in-house animation studio), I have some trust for that freshly new studio to deliver an entertaining anime. After all, the studio was behind the making of Manaria Friends, which has shown to have consistent good animation quality.
Since its anime debut on April 7, 2020, Princess Connect! Re: Dive (Priconne for short) garnered much attention from audiences ranging from the dedicated & hardcore fans, to the casual fans, while capturing the attention of the freshly new audience who never heard of Priconne. How does the anime achieve garnering attention and interest from those audiences?
First, the anime captures the attention of the hardcore audience (and, to some extent, the casual audience) by displaying familiar music, from the BGM, to the Opening Theme that was first shown in episode 2. Then, throughout the episodes, the anime displays the loading screen as the small transitions during certain scenes, which shows the in-game sprites of the characters. At the end of each episode, the anime shows the Kokkoro stamp, which not only alludes to the login bonus from the game, but also entices the viewers to stay tuned for the next episode.
Finally, the anime shows many cameos of various beloved characters from the game, from the most obvious, to the most subtle. Such familiarity through the use of music and easter eggs allows the anime to give reason for the dedicated audience to stay tuned for more episodes.
How does the Priconne anime capture the attention of, not only the casual fans, but also, most importantly, to the freshly new audience who’ve never heard of Priconne? For starters, the anime portrays itself as a fantasy/slice of life, which serves as an easy entry point for the freshly new audience interested in the anime.
While some fantasy anime shows would try to squeeze all the lore and the rules of the world in the first few episodes, Priconne takes the slow, but casual approach of immersing the viewer to the fantasy world through the slice of life moments. The slice of life elements is shown through the lens of the main characters: Yuuki, Kokkoro, Pecorine, and Karyl (Kyaru). From those slice of life moments, Priconne manages to subvert the audiences’ expectations through well-placed comedic timing. As such, certain scenes are built up through a momentous crescendo, only to have an unexpected outcome, leaving a memorable moment for the audience.
It is through those moments, the anime manages to entice the casual and the new audience in looking forward to watch more future episodes.
I’m looking forward to every Monday for the next Priconne episode. So far, the anime hits all the right notes. The familiar music, easter eggs, beautiful animation, on-point comedic timings, memorable characters and moments entices me, as a casual fan, to stay tuned for the next episode. Should this anime become successful in attracting new fans, maybe Cygames would sow the seeds for a future localization of Priconne to the west. But that’s only a pipe dream. Until then, I’ll enjoy what the Priconne anime has to offer!