- Titles: WonEgg, WEP, WONDER EGG PRIORITY
- Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Magical Girl
- Episodes: 13
- Studio: CloverWorks
Sometimes life can be terrible. It can. It can feel like a bottomless ocean filled with pain and remorse. It sort of feels that way for Ai at the moment. Her best friend, maybe her only friend, just committed suicide. A seemingly senseless act. and Ai is now left behind, all alone, trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle that has no picture. Why did Koito have to go? Was it Ai’s fault? Ai wasn’t always the best possible friend. At least, that’s how she feels. And there’s no one left to talk about it with. Her mother and teacher, the one she has a crush on, might have been options but they seem too busy getting to know each other instead. Besides, she hates Mr. Sawaki now. He knows something about Koito and isn’t telling her. There is some good news though. Maybe, just maybe, Ai could bring her friend back. See her dearest wish come true. But wishes are never free, and the more important they are, the more expensive. For instance, you could find out that your wish wasn’t even what you wanted to begin with.
I remember seeing the title Wonder Egg Priority when it was first announced before the season started. At the time there was no description and the poster image was just yellow. And I decided I wanted to see that show. Naturally, no one else was talking about it. But I loved the weird title and yellow poster. This was months before the first episode aired. In time, the poster changed to a picture of ai and then to the 4 girls lying in the garden the synopsis came in and people got a lot more excited. I was already at max excitement with the yellow poster though!
Wonder Egg Priority looks good. Let me rephrase that, it looks great! This is a lush, expensive and proficient production. The character designs are varied and detailed. The girls are given several looks throughout the series and the character models stay pretty consistent at all times. Backgrounds are similarly rich and the premise of the series allows for a large variety of very different looking settings.
Most of all, maybe, the animation is just fantastic. Mouvement is fluid and unwavering. Choreographies are interesting. Attention to detail extends to the animation itself as hair moves with the actions of the girls and clothes fold as they should. It all makes for a luxurious watching expression.
I also really loved the atmospheric sound design although the score was a little boring. I have absolutely no complaints about the voice acting but no one stood out for me. It was just a generally good cast. I think the visuals just overshadowed the rest of the production.
And, it was a sort of production love letter to the Maho Shoujo genre. Let me try to explain.
For instance, the girls are colour coded but in a much more subtle way than Magical girls usually are. They are have specific colour palettes that they play around with to their characters instead of a single colour. It creates a similar impression in a much more subtle way.
The antagonists and the other worlds, use very similar design elements to Madoka although the art style is completely different. What I mean is that the girls fights these huge, vaguely humanoid but sort of misshapen mixes of visual elements that also happen to be extremely colourful, which immediately reminded me of Madoka witches. And although the worlds they do into are often similar to the real world instead of some off collage dreamscape. they end up stained with colourful splotches and streaked with lines, like an art project.
However, the light and transitions are much more sombre and insistent. This reminded me most of Haibane Renmei and a little of Lain. Arguably, I may have been influenced by the themes and subject matter of Wonder Egg Priority that recall those of Haibane Renmei but I swear I saw some similarities in those occasionally harsh shadows outlining the characters’ features.
The art style on the other hand, strongly reminded me of Magical Girl Raising Project. And that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s a style that I like.
I don’t know if the production was actually a purposeful homage to other shows in the genre. Maybe these are simply production tropes associated with most Magical girl shows. Either way, I could see those references in it and it made me happy. It’s sort of a little meta easter egg.
Story & Characters
Wow, I went on about the production for a while. I liked it a lot. But it’s also because the story… How do I put this? In my opinion, there are two shows in Wonder Egg Priority. One is really good, well-paced, and developed, while the other seems slapped together at the last minute. And both interfere with each other.
The first show is about overcoming grief and to a lesser extent a coming of age. All the girls in Wonder Egg Priority have lost someone they care about and need to find a way to get over that pain as well as their own feelings of guilt towards that loss.
The most developed are Ai and Rika. Rika needs to learn forgiveness. Forgiving her mother for being disappointing, forgiving herself for being thoughtless. She needs to manage that forgiveness in order to move on and that’s what she’s fighting for. Ai is simply going through the stages of grief. When the show starts, she’s literally just lost her best and only friend to suicide. She’s just fighting to get through it.
The you have Momoe who is struggling with her identity. Trying to fit into a society that sees her as non-conforming and what that means. That is the coming of age bit. And it’s handled…o.k. You have to understand that Wonder Egg Priority might have a subtle production but it has a very blunt text. It’s pretty obvious with it’s messages and that can come off as clumsy occasionally. Momoe is a sweet girl that is mistaken for a boy a lot and this is causing her issues, especially when it comes to her sexuality. She’s straight, she goes on this cute little bit about how sexy Adam’s apples are but potential partners always treat her as a boy and she’s only approached by people who want male partners. This is a struggle. In her resolution, she meets a trans boy who is still very female-presenting and he’s interested. He’s the only boy that has been interested in Momoe.
There’s nothing wrong with this storyline per see. But it sort of confuses the issues. And I’m always a little wary when the othered characters only get with each other. What I mean is that the only two characters with gender issues in the show immediately get together and there’s no other option. I just think both their arcs would have been stronger with different partners.
And then there’s Neiru. She’s the least developed as most of her actual character is revealed towards the end of the series and she’s used as a teaser for potential future seasons (more on that later). Let’s just say she has a partial Pinnochio arc and leave it at that.
These individual character arcs, mixed with how the girls come together and interact, finding solace in each other, are the strongest part of the series. Like I said, it’s sometimes blunt, often clumsy but it’s also oddly caring and earnest. And it was a great show, until about episode 9 of 12. That’s when they decided that we needed another story for some reason.
All the sudden this exploration about the pressures, strengths and fragility of young women, needed an explanation. So they throw in a curveball slightly nonsense science fiction story right there. Complete with an evil robot incarnation of destruction that drives specifically teenage girls to suicide. The story was now about hubris and avoiding negativity from external sources instead of dealing with the one that wells up inside of us organically. There was also a weirdly misogynic line that explained that girls and boy suicides were different because boys are goal-oriented and kill themselves for a purpose while girls are just really emotional and get influenced by others… It was so weird to think that the people who were so earnestly trying to explore these girls, also wrote that line. It just doesn’t fit.
Now let me make one thing clear. I like science fiction nonsense. You are talking to a stan of Event Horizon. And I would have watched an entire series about Frill. However, when you introduce it to a story that already has all its themes in place and momentum going without taking the time to align it with the rest, it stops the story you already have going short and doesn’t have time to properly build a new one.
It’s a bad twist. Not because of what happens but because it interferes with the narrative rather than bring something to it. And it’s rushed making a lot of scenes tonally confusing. I could throw in Neiru’s background in here and pretty much say all the same things about it. However, I am very interested in the fact that the main character is called Ai (A.I.)…
So now we get to the last episode. Now you may have noticed that I put Wonder Egg Priority down as a 13 episode series whereas a lot of sites have it as a 12 episode series and a special. That’s because I watched it all in a row and didn’t realize that was the special. I knew a lot of fans had vocally hated it so I had decided ahead of time not to watch it but I guess Funimation tricked me. In any case, I didn’t hate it. Because I watched it all in a row not knowing anything about the last episode.
It should be said that in 13 episodes there are like 2 and a half recap episodes. One actual clip recap episode, a few that use clips for a portion of their runtime and about 20 or so minutes of the last episode is just a recap of what happened. That’ is a bit more annoying when you are watching them in a row. However, episode 13 itself was fine. There was a bit of closure seeing the girls after they had all completed their personal quests and how they had grown from it but remained true to their characters. I liked that. Neiru was just a teaser in that episode and if a second season never comes will be a useless plot point but all in all, I thought it fit in ok with the series.
You know, and OK extra 15 minutes or so to give us the epilogue.
I didn’t know this had been marketed and teased as an exclusive special that would expand the story and elevate everything. It didn’t. Like I said most of it was just a clip show, The rest was an epilogue, which I like but isn’t completely necessary and a cliffhanger which is never necessary. I guess I would have been mad as well if I was waiting for an epic movie and got a dvd extra.
In the end, of this very long post, this is my takeaway. as someone who really enjoys magical girl shows, I found Wonder Egg Priority to be brimming with elements I like and for a while, I thought it was wonderful. Then it lost its way. You could say the narrative lost sight of the priorities. Look, I’m not subtle either, OK!
You might like this anime if:
You enjoy “dark” or seinen magical girl shows. You like good production values in anime.
My favourite character:
Oh boy… I actually didn’t think of it. Momoe is my favourite of the four girls because she’s the everyman. I like everyman characters. In general, maybe Ura-Acca? He seems like a good egg.
Egg Nog, what else?
- Every time Ai gets hurt – take a sip
- Every time we see Koito (not her statue) – take a sip
- Every time Ai get angry – gasp!
- Every time anyone buys an egg – think about the mechanics of microtransactions
- Every time Acca and Uta-Acca are having a chat – take a sip
- Every time we see Mr. Sawaki – take a sip
- Every time we see the key blade – duck
- Every time Rika forgot her wallet – roll your eyes
- Every time anyone mentiones the “Adults” – I didn’t mention it in my review but you’ll know it when you hear it. In the early episodes, there’s this established pattern of mistrust and disappointement in the adults arund them. It’s sort of interesting.
- Every time Neiru and Rika bicker – take a sip
- Every time Momo doesn’t get mistaken for a boy – raise your glass
- Every time anyone mentions the “temptation of death” – take a sip
- Every time there’s a recap – might as well take a sip
- Every time everytime we see Frill – take a sip
- Every time we see Rika with pink hair – take a sip
I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.