Princess Connect! Re:Dive
by Richard Eisenbeis,
How would you rate episode 3 of
Princess Connect! Re:Dive ?
In which our tragic villain takes center stage.
There are three plots in episode 3. The first is Pecorine becoming a waitress to pay for her excessive food addiction and then dealing with an unruly food critic in the episode's climax. The second involves Kokkoro trying to get everyone to form a guild with her—despite Pecorine's job and Karyl's objections.
But the real heart of the episode is Karyl's story. For the first two episodes, Karyl actively served as the villain—trying to kill Pecorine with first the mushroom creatures and second the dragon. However, seeing Pecorine overcome these trials has taught Karyl one very important lesson: Pecorine is way out of her league power-wise.
In a head-on fight, Pecorine will always win—no matter how many monsters Karyl brings to the party. Her only chance is to learn Pecorine's weaknesses and exploit them. To do this, she follows Pecorine around, spying on her. And, as expected, Karyl isn't very good at the job—in fact, if it were anyone other than the less-than-observant Pecorine, she would be spotted in an instant.
Of course, to really spy on Pecorine, all Karyl has to do is befriend Pecorine and spend time with her. As Pecorine sees only the best in people, she'd never suspect the ruse. However, this is perhaps the hardest thing for Karyl to do.
Karyl fancies herself to be a lone wolf—relying on no one but herself in service of her master. But this is clearly just a story she tells herself to cope with being alone. She wants the friendships others have but feels that serving her master—the one who gave her monster-controlling powers and wants Pecorine dead—is more important than her personal wants. Pretending to be someone's friend would just show her self-deception for what it is.
Because of all this, it's highly unlikely Karyl could even pretend to be someone's friend without actually becoming one—and this is the basis for her outward personality with the rest of the group. While Karyl appears to be your typical tsundere character on the surface, it's not that she doesn't know how to express love and thus it comes out in a backhanded way. Rather it's a protection mechanism for her very soul. Of course Karyl would try to keep the others at arm's length given her mission; it's really hard to kill someone you truly care about.
All this makes Karyl the most complex character in the show. Her own self-identity and self-worth are being constantly challenged by the mere existence of Pecorine and friends. And by the end of the episode, with the kill order rescinded (at least temporarily), Karyl has lost the biggest reason for keeping her distance—making her inevitable betrayal all the more painful for both her and the other party members.
• So I guess this is a food porn anime now.
• Best joke of the episode: the musical score when Yuuki meets the collapsed demon girl showing how differently they view what is going on.
• Second best joke of the episode: Kokkoro doing the anxious dance behind Karyl with the guild application.
• Pecorine's weak point is obvious—her obsessive eating. Get her when she's hungry or just poison her. Of course, Karyl is a bit too innocent to be playing the evil mastermind.
• This episode's “How crazy is that?” count: 6
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