Princess Connect Re:Dive Final Impressions + Season 2 Anticipation

Princess Connect, Re:Dive (Priconne for short), is an Anime produced under Cygames Picture, which is also the subsidiary of the main company that produced Priconne, Cygames. The Anime aired 13 episodes from April to June during the Anime Spring 2020 season.

After the Anime aired along with a season 2 announcement, 2DTalk staff, Producer, Xirius, and a newcomer, Pops finally had the time to discuss their final thoughts and anticipations on the Anime.

For background: Xirius wrote an article explaining his mid-season thought of the anime. You can refer the staff list here.

(Warning: Contains Minor Spoilers)

Final Impression:

Main location for the Anime, Capital Landsol

Producer: So, what were your thoughts on the Princess Connect anime? I find it enjoyable. For me, I definitely enjoyed the Anime a lot. The execution was nailed very well, especially since this is one of the few mobage or game adaptations that actually was really good.

Xirius: As a person who hasn’t delved deep into the Priconne story, I find the anime very entertaining, heartwarming, and enjoyable. Comedy was well executed, and the pacing was very smooth, for the most part. Action scenes are pretty flashy, which makes it quite a spectacle to watch. Slice of life moments, combined with the distinct, brightly colored animation, makes this anime very memorable.

Pops: I barely heard of Priconne before some friends asked if we all could watch the show together. After watching it, I can say that it was very enjoyable. It didn’t bring forth anything new or groundbreaking, but it showed itself to be fun to the average viewer. The mix of the slice of life genre with a fantasy action world, and colorful artstyle make this show very fun to watch.

Producer: What mobage and game adaptations need to understand, especially when they make it into an Anime, they need to create a balance of pleasing both the fans and the non-fans of that specific franchise, especially if Anime is one of the main ways to spread word of a specific franchise. 

Producer: Some few bad examples would be: 

  • Persona 5
  • Kantai Collection
  • Nekopara
  • Touken Ranbu (ufotable)
  • Azur Lane

What they all failed to accomplish beyond the not-so-great plot, is pretty much the lack of balance between both the fans and the non-fans. Most of them are leaning towards appealing mostly to the core fans of that franchise. While some franchises intention might be just for those core fans, I personally feel it’s a wasted opportunity to not try to bring in potential new fans.

Xirius: To add on that, another recent example of a mobage adaptation that mainly appeals to the core fans is the FGO Babylonia anime. As much as I like the FGO Babylonia anime, it is not a good adaptation in terms of getting the freshly new audience to understand & immerse themselves in the story. Most of the beginning story arcs (“Singularities”) are skipped in favor of adapting a highly requested (& highly loved) story arc. As a result, the adaptation only appealed to the fans of FGO, but not bringing in new fans

Producer: Yeah it does feel weird seeing FGO just adapt one of the later chapters of FGO, but I heard that it can be treated as a standalone plotline. However, I don’t think that’s exactly the case, but I don’t play FGO so can you confirm?

Xirus: While some may believe that the singularities can be standalone stories, it is misguided as the overarching story builds upon the previous stories, from lessons learned, to the revelations. Furthermore, the eventual Final Singularity adaptation without potential new fans knowing the built-up context from previous Singularities would only serve to reduce the impact of the story climax.

Reflecting Back:

Producer: When I heard about the Princess Connect Anime announcement, I was expecting a similar adaption to the main story itself, but when I read the story, I wonder how they would also accommodate the non-Priconne fans. I also jokingly joke that the western Anime fans wouldn’t enjoy the Anime.

Producer: Once the anime aired, if I were to describe Princess Connect in one line as a player myself, it would be “I didn’t order this, but I love it!”

Xirius: After viewing the Priconne anime, I was impressed by the amount of effort the anime took to appeal to both core fans and potential new fans. The fun slice of life moments gave the characters their moment to shine, which helps the audience to get attuned with them easily. Additionally, those moments slowly develop the fantasy world, without being presented with large amounts of information all at once. This, in turn, allows the audience to immerse themselves to the fantasy world without being overwhelmed. Taking the extra mile to bring in the freshly new audience to the franchise signifies a successful mobage adaptation.  

Kyaru gif. Sometimes the little details do show a lot.

Producer: While the Anime wasn’t an iteration of the main story, the story did definitely give a different take as it also did integrate non-main story characters into the Anime without forcing it in.

Xirius: Yeah. Especially since each episode is basically a “Girl(s)/Guild of the week”. For the most part, those are done well since the characters are introduced smoothly. After being introduced, the characters take the spotlight to present their personality. Some, even going as far to chew the scenery *chuckle*. (ex: Rima, Aoi)

Producer: While of course, it isn’t a perfect Anime, it doesn have some fair share of its flaws. One main complaint is that not every character that was revealed didn’t officially show up in the Anime.

Pops: One of the biggest writing aspects used was Priconne’s wide range of characters. Every episode would show off a few new characters for the viewer to take it. The episodes were put into a short arc where you can watch them without much context on the rest. This made it more approachable to casual viewers, and added a bigger world to the show.

Pops: However, having a wide range of characters is a double-edged sword. A wide cast of characters allows a more unique world, but it also decreases the amount of character development that those characters can have. The show took advantage of their strengths and were able to match the many characters with the writing, without having too much impact on their own development. This allowed the main characters to develop and flesh out through the side characters, further improving the enjoyability of the show.

Behind the Scenes:

A Behind of the Scene image directly from the Cygames Pictures article

Producer: Also, I managed to find these Priconne Behind The Scenes articles in English. Initially, I found them in Japanese, but wasn’t aware of an official English translation version of it until pretty recently.

Producer: Looking back at the article before and after watching the Anime, I definitely noticed some of the aspects that they were talking about, such as the CGI and understanding the “mindset” they mentioned in regards to the expressions of certain characters developing over time.

Pops: I read the articles. They reminded me that animation in general, requires a lot of planning and work. It is not easy to create quality animation. There is storyboarding, voicing, and many other parts that all require proper coordination. I hope that people will acknowledge that, and give some credit to even mediocre animations. I’m glad the animators of priconne have put in a lot of work to make the show enjoyable for many.

Xirius: As I read the articles, the look of the Princess Connect anime, it is reassuring that Cygames Pictures allow the CGI to be a contributing component of the whole anime, according to Yoshinori Nakano. Combining the strengths of 2D animation & 3D CGI animation to form this cohesive, high quality animation was quite ambitious. While some CGI parts do look janky, like the knights CGI, other parts, like the shadows CGI, show how CGI animation, when done right, can be an effective tool to bolster the animation presentation. 

Producer: I also noticed that their objective with the Anime is, quoting from Shun Kashima, the managing director of Cygames Pictures, “to make it something that can be enjoyed by players of the game and new fans alike.” Similar to the earlier idea that Priconne did so well is also part of their main vision when producing the Anime.

Producer: While we didn’t go too much into details, I also highly recommend the reader to also check it out in the references on the bottom.

Season 2 Hopes & Expectations:

Producer: To be honest, I was already anticipating a season 2. laugh

Xirius: Same here. Especially considering that some of the characters in the opening didn’t get any screen time at all chuckles.

Producer: F in the chats for Kasumi, Nozomi and Monika. laugh

Xirius: Considering how the final episode for season 1 turned out, I’m hoping that season 2 will remain consistent in the storytelling without revealing too much. That being said, they should balance the fun, heartfelt moments to the heavy tone of the overarching story. I believe that Cygames Pictures will be able to not only deliver, but go above and beyond.

Producer: Yeah, I hope they continue doing what worked well for season 1 for season 2, unless they wish to take a 180. I sometimes wonder if the production originally planned for Season 1 to be longer. It does explain the “extra” characters not shown in the Anime.

Monika, one of the few characters that unfortunately did not show up in the Anime despite being teased

Pops: I do not want to get my hopes up too high. The 1st season was right above average in terms of overall enjoyability. The ending of it however, put on a heavier, overarching plot that went against the normally upbeat style. The overarching story has me expecting that the 2nd season will unpack and expand on those ideas. If the show failed to do so, it would be disappointing. If the show decides to keep it’s “1 substory per episode” type of writing present, then I hope they will at minimum have a story arc dedicated to conquering the overarching narrative.

Conclusion/Wrap up:

Xirius: The Priconne anime, while has its share of strengths and flaws, was very enjoyable. Knowing that a season 2 is on the horizon, I’m sure we cannot wait for its eventual release.

Producer: I’m pretty sure it’ll be as great or even better as season 1.

Xirius: Indeed. But it is best to temper our expectations at the end of the day. And as we get closer to its release, we’ll be onboarding the hype train. *chuckle*

Producer: True

Pops: I hope that the next season of Princess Connect will exceed my expectations.

Kokkoro’s Stamps as an approval of your hard work

References:
Behind the Scenes Part 1 (English)
Behind the Scenes Part 2 (English)
Season 2 Announcement Trailer

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