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Egao no Daika – 02

「戦乱の真実」 (Senran no Shinjitsu)
“The Truth of the War”

So, last week, Egao no Daika started things off with a round of exposition. They tried their best to make it organic, weaving it into the dialogue. This week, apparently they’ve decided it’s all too much work and too time consuming, so we get an info dump instead! Joshua’s backstory was unloaded on us all at once in a series of narrated flashbacks. It’s not exactly subtle, but it gets the job done, at least. We now know of Joshua’s tragic past, how he got involved with the princess, and the general foundation of his fanatical loyalty.

Per Shounen Manga Principle #47, now that we know Joshua’s backstory he’s allowed to die.

Now we know why Egao no Daika spent so much time developing characters and relationships in the pilot. Normally, in terms of power to hook an audience, characters are less effective than things like world and plot. Most people simply don’t easily form attachments to strangers and it takes time to develop characters and slowly have them worm their ways into our hearts. So most stories start with something more visceral, like a fantastical world or an intriguing mystery to bait audiences into investing enough time to actually care about the characters. But Egao no Daika really, really wants to kill Joshua (I’m assuming the monitors behind him were saying that he’s supposed to be dead) so we need to at least the barest of emotional connection to him (and the princess since, let’s face it, it’s more about her grief than his death).

Assuming that Joshua is dead For Realz, Episode 02 is a curious time to be bumping off a ‘main’ character (i.e. someone who shows up in the OP/ED). These kind of sudden turns of the plot are usually reserved for some sort of episode 03 twist (the most notorious modern example being Madoka Magica), but here we are with the plot hardly warmed up and we’ve already begun the body count. That said, I don’t feel like this was actually intended to be a ‘twist’. It was simply much too predictable. You don’t even need a high level of genre-savvy to see it coming because the death flag was raised so high and flown so proudly, even as of the first episode. Let’s see: he made a promise to return. He’s the childhood friend. He’s a potential love interest but he’s not the deuteragonist (spot taken by this girl). Other characters keep mentioning his recklessness. And most importantly, he wears red, so we can call him a red-shirt. He was doomed from the start, right? That’s why I felt this episode was less of a shock and more just taking care of obligatory business. Apparently, something terrible needed to happen to Joshua just to get the plot rolling. Again, it’s perhaps a bit heavy-handed, but it’s just the jolt needed to dispel Princess Yuki’s naivete.

That said, I would have liked a bit more world-building first, to see more of this kingdom and the façade they had constructed before it was shattered so easily. I mean, they were hiding an entire actual war from their monarch, which is tantamount to a coup. I would like to have seen more about how they managed to pull off that trick. But we’re probably going too slow already (one cour of anime simply is not a lot) and we’ve got to move on. At least Stella Shining, she of redundant names, was finally introduced at the end of the episode and maybe by episode 03 we can finally say that the cast is complete. It’ll have taken us uncommonly long to get there but hopefully it’ll be worth it as our protagonists at last earn their top billing and we can dive into the plot in earnest.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「この世界に花束を」 (Kono Sekai ni Hanataba o) by キミノオルフェ (Kimino Orphee)

January 12, 2019 at 9:37 am
18 comments »
  • January 12, 2019 at 9:46 amNamaewoinai

  • January 12, 2019 at 10:14 amWorldwidedepp

    Perhaps this was needed to explain why in Episode 03 this Princess here is now on an vedetta against this enemy country.. Because of her loss

    This speculation, but also cliche.. So something in between

  • January 12, 2019 at 11:01 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    In a way, I prefer them killing off Joshua this way rather than having us start in the middle of the war with Yuki and Stella already fighting, only to suddenly cut the momentum and flow of the series with constant flashbacks involving Joshua and showing us how he died, or even taking up an entire episode doing so. Get it out of the way now so the focus can be put more on the rest of the story.

    • January 12, 2019 at 5:15 pmPasserby

      I agree, but they could also have let Joshua survive a bit longer and kill him at some other opportune time. I feel sorry for a character so patently designed to die.

  • January 12, 2019 at 11:13 amEnan84

    We still don’t know much about the empire so I wonder: Are we the baddies?

    They gave Yuki a reason to bottomless hate the empire. So it plausible that the will reach her moral event horizon during the course of the story.

    • January 12, 2019 at 5:09 pmPasserby

      Nobody’s wearing skulls on their uniform so I can’t tell who’s the baddies.

      It’s entirely likely that nobody is the baddy. It’s a desperate war over dwindling resources. All sorts of things are done in the name of survival.

  • January 12, 2019 at 11:21 amEnan84

    https://randomc.net/image/Egao%20no%20Daika/Egao%20no%20Daika%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2024.jpg

    The kingdom wasted its development resources to build “death stars”, while the empire used theirs to develop pragmatic and efficient solutions to concrete problems. I like these subtle differences.

    Also we are still lacking in a proper villain; even the traitor had valid reasons. I maintain it’s the princess.

    • January 12, 2019 at 5:04 pmPasserby

      I don’t think it was exactly like that. The empire so the kingdom needed a technological advantage. And apparently the fancy energy source thing not only powered their mechs but also their agriculture.

      • January 13, 2019 at 11:56 amEnan84

        A war of desperation which no side doesn’t really want’s was my first guess too, but the princes reminds me too much to a certain scene in Code Geas.

      • January 13, 2019 at 11:57 amEnan84

        And yes, skulls on the uniform would make things much easier, the Japanese Anime Association should make them mandatory.

  • January 12, 2019 at 2:34 pmChris hall

  • January 12, 2019 at 4:21 pmNork22

    • January 14, 2019 at 1:29 amMagnus Tancred

      He already has a harem this season in Go-Toubon no Hanayome, with girls he already met:

      - Suguha (Ayana Taketatsu)
      - Hestia (Inori Minase)
      - Levi Kazama (ninja from Trinity Seven) (Sakura Ayane)
      - Assistant-san’s imouto (Miku Itou)
      - bridge bunny from Buddy Complex (Kana Hanazawa)

      LOL

  • January 13, 2019 at 12:01 amAkseyd

    Well, it was kind of weird jumping from the I got wounded, but we saved the day mood to the nevermind, we got fucked up hard, ended up retreating and childhood friend got killed offscreen, but I guess it’s to be expected with only one cour. Also, at least they repeatedly metioned how reckless Joshua was, and they were right! Dude got seriously wounded in his second freaking day in the front, should’ve bringed extra plot armor instead of a plushie.

  • January 13, 2019 at 2:06 amPuffles

    This series certainly has a few things going for it, like the unusual Joshua plotline and the flow of the mecha fighting, but overall I’d have to say it’s kind of crap. It’s corny – not the stalwart and strident corn of older mecha series, but the slick, oily corn of 2010s anime. The dialogue is dull, including exposition where characters flatly explain things to one another that both of them must already know. There are cliches everywhere. The mecha are colourful and move well but it reminds me of shows like Argevollen where we don’t get to see loads of cool gnarly mecha damage and destruction because it’s too difficult to show with CGI 3D models done on a budget. The worst part for me is that there aren’t really any engaging characters yet. Maybe if the princess develops a mean streak or something – but in a show like this I don’t really see it happening.

  • January 13, 2019 at 5:46 amDmonHiro

    Why do I have the feeling that the soil is dying BECAUSE of their super-special energy stone. As in “Leave that in the fucking ground, it’s SUPPOSED to be there!”.

  • January 14, 2019 at 6:47 amHenrietta Brix

    https://randomc.net/image/Egao%20no%20Daika/Egao%20no%20Daika%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2034.jpg
    That was visceral

    https://randomc.net/image/Egao%20no%20Daika/Egao%20no%20Daika%20-%20ED%20-%20Large%2005.jpg
    And Hayami Saori totally looks angelic

    You have my interest Egao no Daika. At first I thought it’ll be an anti-war story along the lines of Soranowoto but now…

  • January 16, 2019 at 7:25 amDarren Thong

    guess is just another Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi type of story , where they somehow kill off heroin closest partner in earlier episode but showing them “staying alive” in opening.

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