Earnest, sincere, message apprropriate. And despite this it's not a really bad anime. The sub-plots are for the most part better done than the main one. The biggest problem is that the main theme of this rather wakward anime is done in capital letters.
The action sequences were OK, characterizations OK, the story was OK. Along with the theme the writing tended towards heavy-handed. I did watch all 12 episodes and I enjoyed a couple of them, and tolerated the rest. If the writing had been more subtle it might have risen to a competent military sci-fi anime.
The Price of Smiles is a story that focuses on two characters of opposite sides of the army that towards the end come together for the grande finale. Or at the very least I would say a grande finale but it was rather underwhelming when taking in the scope of all the events that take place leading up to it. The series starts with immediate attachment to a character, the chivalrous knight type, to one of the two main heroines but tragedy takes its course and ends up starting a rollarcoaster that has no control where it is going. With that said I am impressed ultimately by the start but was left with a stale taste in my mouth for the end.
Story | Story wise it was decent and did as a story should, it had a shock and awe pull that brought the watcher in and kept riding that train all the way up the mountain that is in fact the story. Now sadly the events that took place at the end were underwhelming with the dynamic pull the story had but it is the only fault I could notice after watching it. The developement and understanding of which the world the story takes place were all phenominally performed and done so I definitely have no regrets watching it for that alone. Due to the ending however I must only give it a 7 of 10 because the ended was unexpectedly tame for how the story started and progressed.
Animation | Art style was good, not the best mind blowing artwork but certainly not the worst by any comparison. Art focused on the two sides of the story from dark and stern colors that were the "antagonists" and bright and warm colors that were the "protagonists." We can see the veriation of this also by the choice in the military uniforms of the two sides as well. Warm colors (red, orange, yellow) were only actually seen on the protagonists side while the cool colors (blue, green, purple) were seen on the opposing side's uniforms. So the animation and art were rather well done and let the watcher know which side was which in how things were progressing. Due to this I give an 8 of 10.
Sound | Now sound was tricky but overall excellently chosen, executed, and over all recieved. The sound for the opener and the closer songs were selected and perfect in doing so as well. The songs were fitting for the story and the sound that was in those songs made a feeling or thought of rebirth which was what this anime ultimately focused on and ultimately utilized to its fullest. For that I give sound a solid 9 of 10. Perfectly done.
Characters | Characters, now this is something that actually left me a bit dissappointed. We had the two characters go through critical stages of development and a change is completely seen in both of them but with that change I feel one was wholesome and the other rather hollow. I won't reveal which character was which with this review but I much preferred the change in one and not the other and sadly due to the change made that progressed the story not actually feeling wholesome to the entirety of it I must go with a 7 out of 10 for that. As great as it is, it left an overshadowed developement and also hindered the ending quite a bit to do so as well.
Overall & Ending Note | Overall I give this anime a 7.75 of 10 score. An average of the four prior scores and if I wasn't averaging I'd drop it down to a 7 of 10 as an over all score. Animation and Sound were phenominal while story and characters were lacking. The ending of the anime was a let down again but the start was amazingly executed. Is the anime watchable and bearable to get through, yes most definitely it is. However I would not rewatch this anime as the show will be feeling a "meh" after one watch that leaves a sour taste in one's mouth. However let me leave you (the reader) knowing that I do feel this anime is worth the watch, at least once if anything else.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review of Egao no Daika (The Price of Smiles).