Wonder Egg Priority is a unique anime in more ways than one; the first seasonof the 12-episodeoriginalCloverWorks anime has been shocking but unexpectedly heart-warming and insightful as well. While it's hard to tell if the psychological fantasy anime will have a Season 2, it's completely understandable if you can't get enough of it. And if you haven't watched it yet, we have gathered some reasons why Wonder Egg Priority is totally worth watching.
But first a little overview: Wonder Egg Priority follows Ai Ooto, a 14-year-old girl who becomes reclusive following the suicide of her only friend, Koito. Things change when Ai is allowed to buy eggs for a mysterious entity. These hatch in her dreams, revealing a nightmarish world, inhabited by young people, mainly girls, who have committed suicide.
In this already surreal premise, Ai must fight monstrous creatures which are only disguised as supernatural. In truth, they are anything that can hurt a young person irrevocably, especially if support isn't available: bullying, mental illness and abuse of all kinds are a few of the issues Ai's charges faced when alive. By killing their metaphorical monsters, thus releasing them, Ai comes closer to saving Koito.
Here are some reasons why the show will steal your heart:
1. The Characterisation and Character Relationships
Ai is a young teenager who loses her will to go about her everyday life since Koito dies. But the show doesn't reduce her grief. As is the case with most young people, Ai isn't grieving all the time. Even when she cannot go to school, she still enjoys things and has likes and dislikes – like her signature yellow hoodie with the sunflowers.
Her relationship with her mother, who is bringing her up on her own since her divorce, is complex: they do love each other, but her mother doesn't know how to help her, and Ai doesn't know how to let her try. When Ai's mother starts dating Mr. Sawaki, Ai's school advisor, possible crush, and perhaps the only person who knows the reason behind Koito's death, things become even more complicated.
But it's Ai's relationship with her new friends that really makes Wonder Egg Priority shine. Our main character isn't alone in her wonder egg adventures. Soon enough, she meets girls in a similar situation: Neiru the head of a company populated by some of the most intelligent people in Japan; Rika, a former child star who struggles with her home life; and Momoe; a queer girl who wants to be perceived as her true self. These girls have also lost someone important, and endangering their lives in the dream world is their way to retrieve them.
Each girl has a unique personality that feels realistic, even when not entirely original. Neiru is a serious and very private person who was brought up with little affection, but her relationship with the other girls allows her to show a tender side. Rika was done and said bad things but she's trying to do better and this friendship might be what keeps her going. Momoe seems the most functional, but she's also struggling and the fact that her new friends are the first to treat her as a girl is very important to her.
As the episodes progress, you really come to feel for all girls and want them to succeed.
2. It Offers a Unique Take on the Magical Girl Trope
It would be a bit far-fetched to call Wonder Egg Priority a Magical Girl anime, but the elements are there: a girl squad fighting monsters, even having magical pet companions, with their stamina and overall constitution improving as the show progresses.
But like Maho Shojo Madoka Majika before it, Wonder Egg Priority deconstructs the magical girl genre. Our main characters aren't superheroes in magical uniforms. They are real girls, whose appearance and way of self-presentation tell a lot about their wants, their personalities, and insecurities.
Unlike the often selfless, extremely virtuous heroes and heroines found in many shonen and shojo works, Ai, Rika, Neiru, and Momoe are only human. Sure, they fight for what seems like a noble cause, but their ulterior motives aren't entirely selfless. Most of them want to bring back the person to the death of whom they think they might have contributed – even though this is not necessarily the case. Neiru in particular, claims to have a completely selfish reason for hunting monsters in the dream world.
The episode where Acca and Ura-Acca allow the girls to just have fun for an afternoon, and the girls' toying with the idea to stop saving others and just live their lives, is a really poignant moment; one that shows us how fighting monsters, no matter how noble it is, won't leave anyone unscathed.
3. It Tackles Difficult Topics in a Respectful Way
Many things could go wrong in an anime that has suicide as a main theme. Wonder Egg Priority manages to handle not one, but several dark topics, and handle them well for the most part. Sure, someone with similar experiences or expertise in mental health will find pitfalls, but these are much less prominent than in other anime.
In Wonder Egg Priority suicide, self-harm and abuse are serious topics, not meant to be played for laughs. What humor and lightness the show has to offer comes from the interactions between the main characters in their relaxed moments.
The fantastic elements, such as the dream world and the whole concept of wonder eggs, don't romanticize these issues. Rather, the monsters the girls fight, which they know all too well from their real-life experiences, are a reminder of all those dangers a young person might face and never recover from. Our main characters might have actually been the young people they fight for. Rika, for instance, almost loses her will to live in one episode and is saved by her friends.
Even that, however, isn't too idealized. Like Fruits Basket, Wonder Egg Priority shows that getting support and starting to live fully is always preferable to death, but neither does it condemn those who did die, having no support nor does it suggest that healing is an easy process. It's messy and it doesn't always look linear, but it's worth it.
4. It Combines Genres in Interesting Ways
When the girls are in their own world, having fun together and experiencing everyday problems, you might think Wonger Egg Priority is a slice-of-life work – if you exclude the detail of Neiru's creepy genius company, to which we'll get back in a moment.
When the girls fight deformed, monstrous creatures, Wonder Egg feels like pure horror – but not the horror the relies on gore and jump-scares. It is almost entirely psychological since all the monsters represent real, traumatic events… until a totally illogical, purely horrific thing happens to Momoe in Episode 10.
Then, there's the idea of girls purchasing eggs from two sentient mannequin dolls, and gaining access to a dream world where the laws of nature are of little importance: this is surreal, isn't it? Well, it used to be, until creepy technology which has everything to do with Neiru's company suggested this could be sci-fi after all.
It's hard to pin Wonder Egg Priority down, but this is part of the charm: it borrows from many things and becomes something that is entirely it's own.
Looking at the posters and other publicly released media about Wonder Egg Priority, you wouldn't think just how traumatizing it is. The characters all look gorgeous with a unique build and style, tempting you to think this could be your average shojo, then violently reminding you that it isn't.
In the dream world, the style changes utterly and becomes surreal and nightmarish. The Wonder Egg team has managed to use the right style in the right situation so that the girls' everyday life is juxtaposed with the horrors they are experiencing strikingly.
The sound is no less well-done. The opening theme, "Song to Leave Home" is very nostalgic, and fits the show's permeating sadness. The voice acting is also extremely well-done with fresh voices who are interacting very well together, to the point that the actors voicing our four main characters also sang the opening and closing songs as a group.
Even if the show isn't for you, the art definitely makes you want to look at it one more time.
After this overview, there's no need to repeat that Wonder Egg Priority is worth watching. It should be noted, however, that it's not for everyone, nor any moment in life. Several triggering topics are shown or discussed, with suicide, rape, self-harm, and violence being the most prominent. Viewers who are sensitive to these topics should not watch this anime.
But if you don't mind seeing such topics discussed, there is nothing not to like about Wonder Egg Priority.