Follow TV Tropes


Anime / The Price of Smiles

Go To
An Anime First sci-fi action series from Tatsunoko Production.

Far away from Earth, humanity has colonized a brand new world. But no matter where humanity goes, war follows them.

Two kingdoms sit on the brink of war. The prosperous and happy territory of Harlant is preparing to fend off an invasion from the neighboring territory of Grandiga. But the war is far away from the mind of obliviously happy Princess Yuki, and her longtime bodyguard Joshua intends to keep it that way.

But the truth can't remain hidden forever. Tragedy will soon illuminate Yuki to the true hostilities of war.

The Price of Smiles (Egao no Daika) debuted during the winter 2019 season, to celebrate Tatsunoko's 55th anniversary.

This Anime Contains Examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Stella Shining
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: They are called Theurgears.
  • Anyone Can Die: Starting with Joshua in episode 2, the show repeatedly proves no named character is safe.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Huey asks this to Stella in response to Pierce's death at the end of Episode 7:
    Huey: At times like this, you can't do much but smile. Right?
  • As You Know: The conversation between Izana and Harold in the first episode is a blatant example, with them discussing in detail what the main energy source of their world is and how the previous king and queen died.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Almost none of the scenes in the opening are even possible by the end of episode 2.
  • Big "NO!": Yuki, when she discovers Joshua's corpse.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Yuuki succeeds in her plan to shut down the Chrars. But all but 2 of her close friends are gone, and some of society is naturally pissed she sent them back to old Earth level tech.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: Izana dies on the same day his second child is born.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: In spite of how he previously expressed annoyance to it, Lune uses Joshua's Catchphrase in episode 6, probably as a way to honor his memory.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Yuki discovering Joshua's death.
    • It just keeps getting worse for her, as episode 4 has her witness the tragic consequences of her naivety, and episode 6 has her betrayed by her entire court. By Episode 10, all of her closest advisors at the start of the show except Leila are dead. And even she dies in episode 12.
  • Breather Episode: Episode 7 focuses on Stella and her squad setting up a farewell party for Pierce, who has been discharged due to his injuries in episode 6, and then the party itself. The episode contains quite possibly the most comedy in the whole show, and even with a few morose moments of reflection, the whole tone is much more lighthearted and hopeful than the other episodes. Which makes it all the more shocking and heartbreaking when this is subverted by Pierce's sudden death at the end of the episode.
  • Brother–Sister Team: The Vanquish siblings Lune and Yuni, who fight together.
  • Capture the Flag: Joshua challenges the Vanquish twins for a public match in this format after they question if Yuki is fit to be a ruler.
  • Catchphrase: "Passion and Will!" is Joshua's. His fellow soldiers aren't big fans of it. Until he dies, then they all take it up.
    Yuni: I really wish you'd stop shouting it over the comms, too. It gives me a headache.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Red/pink for Harlant, blue for Grandiga; both the mechs and the humans have characteristic color markings, as you can see in the page image.
  • Dead Star Walking: Yoshitsugu Matsuoka is well known for voicing MC's. His character is dead by the end of the second episode.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Joshua is built up like your typical Stock Shōnen Hero, only to bite the bullet 2 episodes into the show.
  • Dissonant Serenity: The way Stella smiles after missions that should be weighing on her mind unnerves Gail. She isn't even disturbed by the possibility of being ordered to kill Yuki, who is twelve.
  • "Everybody Laughs" Ending: The final scene has Yuki and Stella sharing a laugh with each other.
  • Faceless Goons: Subverted. The Grandigans are this initially, with their comparatively bland and generic uniforms, and none of their faces being shown. Until The Stinger in episode 2, that is, where a squad of the "enemy" gets upgraded to main character status.
    • This trope is also subverted later from a different perspective. Episode 5 has Stella's squad facing an Elite Mook who is treated just like any other enemy by the narrative, never showing his face and not getting any lines. The next episode reveals that the "mook" was actually Yuni Vanquish, a character the audience is already familiarized with.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Izana dies holding a photo of his wife and daughter, but not before sending Yuki vital information.
  • First-Episode Twist: Technically the second episode, but as you can tell from the several spoiler-tagged entries on this page, Joshua's unexpected death is this; it happens early and suddenly, and completely changes the course of the story.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Joshua, who is smiling when Yuki sees his dead body.
  • Gray-and-Gray Morality: Grandiga started a war against their neighbor country because they lack resources to keep their vast territory, leaving their people in a very poor situation they want to change no matter what. On the other hand, Harlant soldiers just want to protect their kingdom, but they spare no mercy for their enemies even though they know about their situation, and are willing to use some questionable strategies, like abandoning their capital to be captured so they can run away with the princess and strike back later, even though the princess in question preferred to surrender herself to stop the war at once.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Double-subverted: Joshua jumps in to save Yuni from a squad of enemy mechs, and tries to sacrifice himself by collapsing the tunnel they're in, but she drags him out at the last second. Shortly afterward, however, it turns out that he died of the seemingly-minor injury he received in the battle.
    • Played straight later when Izana, instead of escaping the occupied palace, transmits some top-secret intel to Yuki, knowing that the enemy will surely kill him for his trouble (which they do). Just to up the ante, this happens during an argument over whether to allow Lune and Yuni to embark on a suicide mission that they volunteered for.
  • Hope Spot: In episode 2, it seems as though Joshua will sacrifice himself in the tunnel to block the enemies path, but Yuni drags him out just in time. He even comments that he wasn't able to die, and makes a vow to rise above his father. Next time we see him, he has passed away in hospital from his injuries
  • Humongous Mecha: The mecha in the show are called Theurgears and they act as the main militant combatants on both sides of the war. Most of the soldiers are piloting Theurgears for combat, while some remain on foot.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Princess Yuki is kept completely in the dark about the true state of the coming war. Joshua's death is what finally tears the facade away.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Yuki and Joshua are acknowledged to be this by most of the cast. They have grown up together, and since both lost their parents, they are each the closest thing the other has to a family.
  • Love Makes You Evil: "Evil" is too strong of a word for a world of Gray-and-Gray Morality, but a recurring theme in the series is that good people can do a lot of bad stuff for those they love. Most of the cast have already lost loved ones and are willing to lie, steal, and kill in order to protect the ones they stil have. Even Grandiga's invasion of Harland is motivated by a need to feed its citizens. Similarly, Harland's most questionable actions are fueled by the royal's court's love of Princess Yuki.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature: Most are Japanese-sounding, but there's also a Joshua, and Yuki has the French surname Soleil. This is apparently the result of people from various Earthly nations colonizing the planet.
  • Nanomachines: The source of the Chrars seemingly perpetual energy turns out to be nanomachines from when the planet was terraformed. And they're running out.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Yuki's attempt to save a group of civilians does not go well. Not only does her order fail to save them, it costs an entire unit their lives in the attempt. She is naturally crushed by the whole ordeal.
  • Parental Substitute: After the deaths of the king and queen on a terrorist attack, Leila, who also lost her husband and daughter on that terrorist attack, became Yuuki's caretaker and maternal substitute.
  • Puppet King: Yuki is more of a figurehead, having no real authority over the kingdom’s running. To be fair, she's only twelve which is a bit young to be be running a kingdom directly.
  • Quantity vs. Quality: Grandiga has Quantity, Harlant has Quality. Both sides are aware that this trope is in effect and their strategies take it in consideration. Quantity is winning the day, however.
    Harold: The empire has materiel superiority. But our individual machines have superior specs and armaments.
  • Real Robot Genre: The Theurgears mecha are treated as militant weapons and usually fight in large armies like infantry units. There are soldiers who do fight on foot, but most are piloting the Theurgears because of their large size and arsenal advantage. There is some variations for their units, but those are only for the Ace Pilots. Otherwise, the design of the Theurgears generally remains unchanged for the infantry units and soldiers piloting them. There is also lots and lots of politics that is talked about in the show, which may make the anime seem more about the politics than the mechas themselves, since they are treated as just weapons of war.
  • Second Episode Introduction: Stella and her platoon are only introduced at the very end of the second episode.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Episode 7 entirely revolves around one side-character, who appears to get a happy ending of sorts, only to die suddenly via an almost-literal Bus Crash.
  • Skyward Scream: Yuki, following Joshua's death.
  • Stepford Smiler: In spite of the poor situation her country is in and the horrors of war she must witness, Stella is always smiling while talking about her missions. Gail concludes that she "is already broken" not long after meeting her.
  • The Stinger:
    • In episode 1, the soldiers of Harlant have a briefing, where it's finally revealed (to the audience) that the peace Yuki believes in is a lie. Harlant and Grandiga are already at war.
    • In episode 2, Stella and the remaining of her platoon are introduced.
    • In episode 4, the unit with the Vanquish Siblings is moving through the rain, while receiving news that the defensive line has been breached.
    • In episode 6, the Kingdom's top officials defying Yuki's orders and secretly spiriting her away to a refugee camp instead of negotiating a surrender is now being propagandized by the Empire as evidence of cowardice and treason towards her nation.
    • The finale shows life on the planet after the war. Yuki and Stella later meet and share a laugh with each other.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Episode 4 shows what happens when a very small military unit attempts a rescue mission in recently lost territory against a large army with no planning in broad daylight. Every single member is lost and the mission fails completely.
    • Early part of the conflict in general shows why quantity is a quality all of its own, and why the Zerg Rush works. It doesn't matter how technologically advanced and highly trained Harlant's army is, or how many clever ploys it can pull off, when Grandiga's army is only slightly worse in quality and far more numerous. Harlant eventually winds up in a non-stop retreat while delaying the enemy here and there, at best.
  • The Scream: Yuki, when she discovers that Joshua died.
  • The Unfavorite: As revealed in episode 7, Stella was adopted by a family happy to have her...until they had a biological child of their own. She quickly became regarded as just another mouth to feed and eventually ran away.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Princess Yuki has gone through a lot of traumatising events over the course of the show, and both episode 2 and 4 have ended with her screaming in despair and shock.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: After episode 2, episodes alternate between the perspective of Yuki and her minions, and Stella's squad on the opposing side.
  • War Is Hell: Best exemplified at the end of episode 2. Right before the ending credits, Yuki discovers that Joshua died. And after the credits are over, we get to see Stella mourning the deaths of her companions who were lost in the same battle as Joshua.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Stella has absolutely no issue stating she would comply with an order to kill the 12 year old Yuki when asked. She also has no problem casually pointing a loaded gun at Lila, a young girl, in episode 3.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Episode 6 does this in an almost cruel way. Yuki successfully pulls off a battlefield manuveur to stop the losing battle to reach Harlant, and agrees to surrender herself to Grandiga to stop the war and avoid the death of more people. But the court instead flees with her in the opposite direction against her wishes, leading to more fighting and her being labelled a coward by Grandiga.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Izana is told to his face by the occupying Grandiga forces that he's no longer needed. And decides to go out sending vital war information to the rebels.
  • Zerg Rush: Grandiga's main advantage over Harlant. Despite the inferior quality of their Chrars over the more specialized ones of Harlant, they eventually win battles with sheer numbers.

Alternative Title(s): Egao No Daika