Princess Connect! Re:Dive
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 12 of
Princess Connect! Re:Dive ?
“In which our heroes get a beat down”
In this episode, we get two things: Karyl confronting her own belief system and some new questions to add to the already large pile.
Last episode, Karyl had the ever-important “Hanz, are we the baddies?” moment--realizing that sicking a death-aura emanating monster upon a city isn't morally gray as much as it is downright evil.
Karyl has been operating from a cynical viewpoint. She has convinced herself that survival of the fittest is the only true law--i.e., that might makes right--and that those who are kind and nice are just weak fools. This allows her the moral wiggle room to exploit people by thinking that they deserve it because they left themselves open to being exploited. The problem is, over her time in the guild, Karyl has met tons of good people--the best of them being Pecorine.
Percorine sees it as her responsibility to protect the weak--which in this episode's battle means Karyl. So when the giant monster attacks Karyl, Pecorine puts herself in harm's way, taking the hits meant for her friend. She even takes off a piece of the armor protecting her and gives it to Karyl.
This action shames Karyl and her whole philosophy. She is not one of the strong: Pecorine is. Yet, does Pecorine use her power for her own gain? No, just the opposite. And it's not just a hollow platitude, Pecorine is clearly willing to die for Karyl. With this, how could Karyl not see herself as inadequate? We can only hope that in the next episode, it inspires her to be better.
As for the rest of the episode, it has one major issue. This is the series' penultimate episode yet it throws a lot at the viewer. Now, I'm not talking about the surface-level events of the episode. Our heroes do a mini-adventure, eat crepes, and fight a big monster--and when their best attack doesn't work, Labyrista has to step in and save everyone. What gets me are the pretty major questions this episode adds to the pile.
We're in the final two episodes. This is the time to give answers not add more questions. Yet, we get these big ones.
• Why can Yuuki write in Japanese (while everyone else writes in a fictional alphabet)?
• If Pecorine is the princess--which she obviously is--who's the princess other people mention seeing?
• Why did Yuuki's princess-boosting power fail?
And, of course, these are in addition to the many other mysteries the series has yet to answer.
• What's up with Yuuki's amnesia?
• Why won't Yuuki's old friends talk with him/fill him in?
• What even is Yuuki's power?
• Why is god being so damned cryptic?
• Who is Karyl's master/what is her actual plan?
• Will Karyl give up on her master and seek redemption?
• Will Pecorine take back her throne?
• Will Yuki get his memories back?
• Will Kokkoro… um… continue being a nice and helpful girl?
This is a lot to try and explore in a single, final episode--especially when you assume that there will be an action climax eating up a vast chunk of the runtime as well. At best, it will be rushed and at worst it will be nonsensical. It's far more likely that many of these mysteries will remain just that--which is probably a part of the plan.
When it comes down to it, this anime exists to make people interested in playing the game. While I don't doubt that the series will get a concrete ending as far as the current threat goes, if you feel you need to play the game to have your lingering questions answered, then it's a win as far as the creators are concerned.
And as for the current players of the game, I suspect that they already know all the answers to all these mysteries and view them as nostalgic flashes to their own past, in-game adventures--likewise getting them excited to continue playing the game. Another win for the creators.
When it all comes down to it this episode is somewhat hard to judge. As a normal episode, this one is better than most--it's got an exciting story with character-building moments for both Karyl and Pecorine. However, as a penultimate episode, it leaves more than a bit to be desired as the final episode is left to tie up an awful lot.
• At this point, I'm hoping the final episode is just a string of every character we've met so far coming to help Yuuki--as it would serve to at least justify their existence in the story beyond simple fanservice for players of the game.
• Yuuki once again meets god but the latter gives nothing beyond a few cryptic words.
• I always assumed there were two Princesses (with the other perhaps being Karyl's master) but the portrait shows only one child.
• Setting up Pecorine's armor a few episodes ago was a good Chekhov's Gun--especially when they further explain in this episode what certain pieces do.
• If Labyrista working at the crepe stand is supposed to imply she's been watching over Yuuki this whole time, she's not very good at it with all the danger he's been in.
• “How crazy is that” count for the week? 0
Princess Connect! Re:Dive is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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