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Hey, so remember how I have said for a while now that “The Promised Neverland” holds the spot for best first episode of all time? Yeah, there might just be a new contender in the category.
CloverWorks feels like a rising start when it comes to animation studios, in much the same way the MAPPA did half a decade prior. They have certainly proven themselves time and time again, with shows like “Bunny Girl Senpai” and “The Promised Neverland” already under their belt, and with a solid start to this season’s “Horimiya.” I give the credit to the studio as a whole with regards to “Wonder Egg Priority” for the simple fact that, outside of a scant list of episode credits, director Shin Wakabayashi has little to nothing under his belt.
This is not to say that he is doing a bad job, far from it. In fact, much in the same way that I felt like “The Promised Neverland” was an easy contender for anime of the year at the beginning of 2019, This series is clearly positioned in the same way. With that being said, lets discuss some of the reasons why.
Bullying is a topic that gets brought up a lot in anime, and I think for good reason. A lot of anime is targeted at kids, and bullying in school just so happens to be an issue that kids can relate to, so it makes sense. However, bullying is rarely ever as minor of an issue as someone getting pushed on the playground. In fact, it can often times result in someone’s suicide, which is the situation our main character Ai Ohto finds herself in, as she attempts to bring her friend Koito back to life by saving other girls from their trauma.
The through line in “Wonder Egg Priority” is that all of its main characters have lost someone to suicide, and it is implied, though not directly stated, which I suspect will come into play much later, that by buying eggs and saving the girls inside them they will eventually be able to bring their late friends and family back to life. The most interesting cases so far are Ai herself, whose friend is implied to have been caught up in a scandal with the school councilor, along with Momoe, a masculine presenting girl who seems to have lost her first girlfriend after she confessed to her.
While its safe to say that most would probably put this under the genre label of magical girl, and while it does seem to borrow a bit from shows like “Madoka Magica” the series has already come very much into its own. there are a lot of shows that bring up the topics of bullying and abuse, but very rarely is it done well. The best example that comes to mind is the second season of “March Comes in Like a Lion.” What a lot of people tend to forget is that stuff like this often happens in silence, with very few people aware of what is actually going on, which is why it makes sense that the girls are transported to a dreamlike world to fight the enemies which are appropriately named “Seeno Evils.”
The show’s main character, Ai Ohto, is also extremely well written. In particular, her Heterochromia is an excellent visual characteristic that accomplishes a number of things. First, it gives her an immediate, stand out characteristic that makes the show that much more memorable. Because of this, it would also explain pretty reasonably why she would got bullied, as kids tend to latch on to things that are different about one another.
Lastly, her eyes serve as a great visual metaphor for a number of things, including how she can see both the real world and this new and exciting dream world, and how these can often blend together in dangerous ways. It could also represent the two different versions of herself that she sees, one that is a victim and one that is a savior.
How such an insanely good series came together is seemingly out of nowhere is still a ways beyond me. But, I will say this much: Given its current trajectory, this is on course to be an amazing series, and maybe even one of my favorites. However, only time will tell.
How do you all feel about “Wonder Egg Priority?” Let me know in the comments below.
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