Almost-Final Thoughts: Wonder Egg Priority
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There are a lot of shows where it feels fairly easy to parse out what exactly is going to happen. With slice of life shows, usually the character goes through some internal change that informs that they act moving forward. For romance, at least most of them, the main characters never actually end up together, or hold hands for the first time, but make no actual romantic progress. Shounen heroes usually end up saving the day, and inevitably set up for the next arc. “Wonder Egg Priority” is a different beast entirely.
Like, yeah, there was always going to be tragedy of some sort, some dark secret yet to be revealed, but this…this was not expected at all. I say that 100% in seriousness, cause the anime original nature of the show meant that even the manga readers couldn’t ruin it for everyone this time. Now, it is worth noting that the show is not technically over. It has already been announced that, in a little under a month, a special episode serving as the conclusion will air. There have not been any teasers about its lengths or content, at least as far as I’m aware, but that could always change. So, with that being said, here are my *almost* final thoughts on “Wonder Egg Priority.”
Wow, What a Story
I think it is fair to say that a lot of us make assumptions based on the generally jovial nature of a lot of anime. For example, Shounen anime is known for having a lot of moments where it looks like the main character is about to lose, but then suddenly finds a power within them that grants the ability to win a given fight. As for “Wonder Egg Priority,” a lot of those assumptions get thrown out the window.
Ok, well, maybe that is not entirely fair. It does still stick to convention in a lot of areas. The way it focuses on younger girls and their journey towards fulfilling a particular wish they have after completing a given mission is fairly reminiscent of a lot of other magical girl shows. However, where it does differ it its storytelling is in its focus on the specific experiences of younger girls.
“Wonder Egg Priority,” in this respect, chooses to focus on phenomena of teenage suicide, and specifically the things that drive younger girls to do this. Through the four main characters, it covers topics such as bullying, body shaming, gender and sexual identity, and sexual assault. While there are probably some blind spots as far as nuance goes, it does feel as though the show engages in these discussions fairly honestly and with a level of detail that definitely exceeds a lot of other shows.
Again, this is not to say that shows like “Madoka Magica” haven’t covered and engaged with these ideas before, but it is to say that the level of specificity, as well as the modern understanding of these issues, makes its stand out from its peers.
That Animation Though?!
Now, don’t misunderstand when I say this, because, after all, studio CloverWorks has absolutely had their moments when it comes to animation. “The Promised Neverland” looked amazing throughout its first season, and their were even some moments of standout moments in “Bunny Girl Senpai.” Hell, you could even argue that the final season of “Fairy Tail” was much better off because of their inclusion. However, when it comes to animation, they are not exactly the first studio I think of.
That being said, “Wonder Egg Priority” is probably some of their best work as far as animation goes. First, all of the characters have a unique and memorable design, even the characters that feel less important. This is true almost to the point that I feel comfortable saying that, if I did not engage with the series whatsoever for an extended period of time, and then came back I would probably remember just about every single character.
Second, the color palette for the show is absolutely incredible. One of the things that was initially very striking is how each of the characters have a unique world when they go to save a girl from an egg, one that reflects their personality and fears. Each of these worlds is drawn with almost an entirely different set of colors, AI’s being very drab and monochromatic in a way, and Neiru’s being a combination of reds and grays. Lastly, the fights that happen over the course of the show are awesome. Not only are each of the monsters uniquely designed, but the animation itself becomes very fast-paced and exciting.
I do have to take off a couple of points for the re-cap episode, however. It is understandable that production would have a lot of problems because of COVID, and so a certain level of time saving was probably necessary to even finish the series in the first place. However, having a re-cap episode in a one-cour series is just inexcusable. Not only does it feel incredibly lazy, it throws off the pace of the show right before the final third.
As I alluded to earlier, the ending…well, it happened. There is a lot I could say about it, but at the end of the day, the most fair criticism is that it just does not make sense. The pacing of the series at the beginning made it feel as though it was gearing up for a full 24-26 episodes with multiple arcs and resolutions. However, by the final third of the series, it feels as though all direction was just thrown out the window and the writers were just scrounging for a way to finish the series in a reasonable-ish manner.
Neiru’s story feels like the biggest loser in this. The show spends time building up her character as the odd-girl out of the group, slowly but surely building up this horrible relationship she had with her sister. Then, it just completely forgets about that narrative in order introduce this friend that has apparently been in a coma, and now suddenly she has the ability to travel across different dimensions, and also alternate dimensions are a thing?
If the one episode we are getting in June is supposed to be the true ending to the series, then I think it is safe to say that there will not be a satisfying ending to this series. Honestly, it does not even feel like another whole season would be enough to fix the problems the show has at this point. I stand by my initial impressions of the show that, based on the first few episodes, this series absolutely was a contender for anime of the year. However, what was once a promising new series with a noticeably different perspective turned out to be a middling and frankly confusing mess.
“Wonder Egg Priority” had a lot of promise, and I mean a lot. The first episode almost felt like a fever dream in just how expressive it was, both in its storytelling and animation. However, based on what it became, I do not know if I can, in good conscious, recommend this show without the caveat of expecting disappointment.
How do you all feel about “Wonder Egg Priority?” Let me know in the comments below.
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