A Flawed Gem
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Military, Drama, Mecha
- Airing Date : January 2019 – March 2019
- Producers : Tatsunoko Production
Egao no Daika Introduction and Story
Set on another planet in a science-fiction universe (that feels more like fantasy at times), Egao no Daika tells the story of a young princess, Yuuki Soleil, who has ascended to the throne after her parents' death. To make things even more complicated for the 12-year-old monarch, the neighboring Empire of Grandiga is invading Soleil and has overwhelming numbers, despite having slightly inferior technology. On Grandiga’s side, we follow members of the Buerger battalion, ace soldier Stella Shining in particular, who offer more perspectives on the situation.
Egao no Daika, in short, is an exploration of the morality and humanity involved in war from opposing sides of a conflict. That’s a pretty hefty subject to tackle, how does Tatsunoko’s 55th-anniversary project turn out? Read on to find out!
1. Strong, Impactful Moments
As you might expect from a serious military story, Egao no Daika has a lot of powerful scenes that make the series exciting to watch. While we won’t say it’s always consistent, the high dramatic points of the series—including a surprising number of character deaths—give many episodes a lot of tension that’ll have you waiting in anticipation for the next one. Having a connection to both sides of the war makes these all the more nuanced and interesting.
As mentioned above, one of the big selling points of Eago no Daika is that it offers the story from each side of the war, building a connection with both Princess Yuuki, her advisors, and military commanders and Stella’s squadron, led by the pragmatic and gruff commander Gale Owens who all have their own backstories and reasons for becoming a soldier. The almost per-episode narrative shift back and forth from Yuuki to Stella is the most clever aspect of the show and offers some insight into the destructive reality of war. Going along with that, many of the characters are also well done including many secondary ones like Gale and Izana Langford.
1. Mediocre Production Values
Unfortunately, despite being a project promoted as a special anniversary work for Tatsunoko Production, Egao no Daika’s art and animation quality are merely okay. Since most of the tension comes from the drama and story, as opposed to the action, it’s not a dealbreaker; but we won’t lie, we wish the battles had better choreography and that the CG elements were nicer in pretty much every aspect. On the flipside, some of the character designs and music are quite good, particularly the opening “Egao no Kanata”. As a whole, though, the overall technical craft is serviceable, but not impressive.
2. Underwhelming Conclusion
While the lead-up to the ending is generally well done and entertaining, we felt a bit nonplussed by the ending, although also relieved that it wasn’t a total downer, which seemed like a possibility given the show’s often bleak narrative. In short, the ending seemed overly convenient and safe, and a little cheesy. Although this far from ruined the show, we do think it’s fair to say that Egao no Daika started off stronger than it ended.
As a whole, Egao no Daika might not be a complete masterpiece but we do think that it deserves more praise for its genuinely great dramatic moments that made it a fun addition to last season’s lineup! If you’re a fan of military and/or mecha anime, we think it’s certainly worth at least checking out.
Did you enjoy Egao no Daika? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and be sure to stick around Honey’s for more of all things awesome, anime and otherwise! 😀