Since Wonder Egg Priority, began airing on Funimation last January, it immediately became apparent that the original 12-episode CloverWorks anime defies strict classification. It’s about magical girls, but not exactly a shōjo. It’s scary, but not exactly a horror anime. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact that Wonder Egg Priority uses fantasy to talk about issues more terrifying than fictional monsters. In this article, we’re investigating the genre in Wonder Egg Priority.
This depends on your definition of ‘scary.’ Wonder Egg Priority is all about young girls’ mental health, and what might drive a person to suicide. Ai and her friends purchase wonder eggs and spend their nights in nightmarish worlds, where they must protect women and girls who committed suicide, from the monsters associated with their deaths.
But these aren’t supernatural monsters, although they take supernatural forms. What Ai, Neiru, Rika, and Momoe truly fight against is mental illness, bullying, extreme pressure, physical and mental abuse, and other issues that are often detrimental to young girls, especially when they don’t have a network of support. The friendship between the four main characters and their mission, is all about creating such networks of support, that can be lifesaving.
So yes, Wonder Egg Priority is scary, because whatever supernatural danger the girls fight against, has a real-life equivalent; bullying, abuse, self-harm, mental illness, and body image issues are all very real, and for many viewers, they will hit close to home, perhaps more so than paranormal, completely fantastical dangers.
We have just established that Wonder Egg Priority is scary in very real ways. When deformed monsters chase Ai across school corridors and other mundane locations, you’re bound to feel a little scared. However, the anime doesn’t exactly tick the boxes of some of the scariest horror anime of all time.
There are fighting sequences, injuries, self-harm, and images of death that should be noted, as they can be triggering to some viewers. But it’s not particularly gory like, say, Elfen Lied. A lot of the most violent events are simply implied and have happened off-screen so the violence we do see isn’t too graphic.
Nor is Wonder Egg Priority about some initially unknown supernatural terror, as is the case with Shiki and the When They Cry franchise. The world our main characters inhabit is scary, but apart from the eerie entities that offer them eggs and the dream words themselves, the supernatural elements are limited and serve specific purposes. The horror is almost entirely psychological. Psychological, then might actually be a good way to classify the show, used on MyAnimeList.
If you’ve read this far, you probably have formed an idea about whether Wonder Egg Priority is sad. It is definitely a drama in more ways than one, but sad is an understatement. The show is not merely ‘sad’ in a melancholic sense. Tragically and ironically, it’s about all these extreme mental conditions that society often brushes of as ‘sadness’ until it’s too late.
More than being just sad, Wonder Egg Priority tackles potentially triggering topics. It deals with these topics more respectfully than many other works. Still, don’t let the gorgeous character design, colors, and overall cuteness trick you into thinking this is carefree, cheerful content.
That being said, Wonder Egg Priority doesn’t let this sadness drag it down. There are still plenty of moments filled with humor, friendship, girl power, or simply the hope for a better future in which cycles of abuse and mental distress can be broken.
But every time the girls visit their dream worlds to protect other girls, we are reminded that, for some people, these cycles were not broken on time, stressing the need for society as a whole to do better for its most vulnerable members.
Is Wonder Egg Priority a Yuri anime?
Apart from Momoe, who is explicitly in the lgbtq+ spectrum, many of the interactions between the four girls could be interpreted as romantic.
Unfortunately, lgbtq+ identities have, at times, been played for laughs in anime, rather than explored in serious ways. So far, Wonder Egg Priority has handled this pretty well; Momoe’s identity is treated with respect and the other girls accept her without questioning.
Still, “yuri” might not be the best term to describe Wonder Egg Priority. In the past “yuri” could describe any type of intimate relationship between women in anime. However, since the 90s, the term shōjo ai (girl love) has been used to describe romantic, but not sexual relationships between girls, while yuri usually implies a physical element.
Of course, Wonder Egg Priority isn’t a romance, so there might not be a pressing need to classify it as such. However, since it does have lgbtq+ elements, shojo ai would be a more appropriate term, given the characters’ young ages.
A lot will depend on the second half of season 1 but to me, Wonder Egg Priority is one of the best anime of the Winter 2021 season. From the amazing characterization to the music and the overall aesthetic, this anime might well be a masterpiece. At times, it’s very difficult to watch, but there is always hope too.
That being said, I can’t stress enough that the anime deals with various triggering topics including sexual abuse, self-harm, and suicide, so viewers who are sensitive to these should probably avoid this anime.
Otherwise, judging from the first half, I can’t recommend this anime enough. If you like anime such as Angel Beats!, AnoHana, and Majo Shojo Madoka Magica that use fantasy as a vehicle to depict the adolescent characters’ mental state in honest and often heartbreaking ways, Wonder Egg Priority is definitely for you.
If you enjoy the show, here are a few anime like Wonder Egg Priority you should start watching.