This episode of Price of Smiles is dealing a lot with the responsibilities in a war, the cruelty of it, and the good intentions one can have that end up hurting more people than planned. We also get to see the background story of a character I didn’t expect to see too much of. Let’s see what Episode 4 was all about!
Japanese Title: 希望の選択 (Kibō no sentaku)
Episode 4–The Choice of Hope
We’re back to Yuki who is still very much depressed about Joshua and his death and upset about not being told about the war. While she is grieving for Joshua and trying to figure out what to do next, the war is still going on and it doesn’t look too good for the Royal Empire. Layla is doing her best to comfort the Princess and also has a short flashback to her first meeting with baby-Yuki and what lead to it. Yuki then makes the decision to actively get involved in the war so she can make better decisions, since she is, after all, the Princess of this country. It’s just not as easy as she thought it would be…
Yuki is back
I somehow like her more than Stella and I missed her in the last episode. For now she griefs, she is sad, she has moments when she is talking normally and then going back to being sad. She is doing everything someone who lost an important person to them would do: grief hard, try to get back up and lead their life, never forgetting the person they lost. Yuki is the best.
Lots of war
If you haven’t noticed yet, I am not the type to be all too excited about war scenes, but I still think the scenes were well done and I could follow them good enough. It did make me wonder what kind of role the twins would be playing in the future. I also had this tiny cringe moment when Yuni thought back to Joshua, which mostly was because they didn’t even know each other that long? At least it didn’t seem to me like it and there she was talking about what he would do and that they should fight for him as well… It wasn’t even a necessary input.
Laylas background story
Woah, woah, woah… Did you see that? There were the fishes from the opening which Stella held. And then the girl looks an awful lot like Layla. Layla is even standing in front of that stone that apparently crushed someone below it going ‘St…’ which is enough of a hint to know that… Layla is Stella’s mom!? On another note: She didn’t seem to care much that her husband was dead, too? THAT should have been put in instead of Yuni talking about Joshua…
I don’t want you to fight them. I want you to save the civilians.
Ah, Yuki, bless your pure soul. Of course she thinks those two things are totally different. Instead of being a grownup and telling Yuki that it isn’t as easy as she thinks, Harold and Izana decide to follow her orders (after successfully ignoring the first one, about not using the new Chrar), teaching her the hard way that not fighting often also means losing because the other side won’t magically stop. That’s why wars are hard. Nobody can stop because the other side can’t stop either. It needs courage and war is very little about courage… In any case, there are more deaths on Yuki now and it feels like she might be breaking soon.
Themes and Trivia
One of the most striking lines in this episode was when Yuki shouted at her commanders: ‘They weren’t made for war!’
With every invention and new scientific break, there is always the risk of getting your invention/your findings used for the wrong things or things you do not support. Did you know that Einstein was a pacifist and always tried to push for peace? But his findings made it possible to build an atomic bomb. It wasn’t what he intended, but it happened, because people saw how it could be used.
Yuki also has these new Chrars, probably to just support her people in growing more food and then Harold and Izana go and build it into one of the war Mechas to kill people, because they need every advantage they can get… Yuki is too pure-hearted to understand the full cruelness of war yet, so she’ll have to learn. Fast.
I would say this is a rather angsty episode even if it had some wonderful moments. I am glad that Layla was able to comfort herself by becoming a substitute mother for Yuki. Yuki is very happy to have someone like her by her side and I can only pray that they don’t kill off Layla as well. Yuki really doesn’t deserve to lose another person that is important to her.
Until they showed how Yuki was grieving, I really still had some hope that it was all a bad cliffhanger and a misunderstanding about Joshua being dead. Now we know that he’s gone and I will be forever sad. I hoped so much that we would see him more and to be honest, his beautiful face in the trailer was one of the reasons why I wanted to watch his series in the first place. So sad.
Lastly, the story of Layla being (potentially) Stella’s Mom did take me by surprise, though looking at the characters now, they do seem similar in design. However, I still feel like we are waiting for the story to truly begin. There has been war, there has been some set ups and introductions but I feel like we only got some bread crumbs and will be pushed over the edge of the true story soon.
COMING NEXT: The Night of the Squad
The Price of Smiles
Winter 2019 | Anime Info | Simulcast