Wonder Egg Priority Review
By : Ben Steinberg, reporter
Over the past century, society has become more understanding of mental illness and complex emotional issues. Individuals can now communicate these feelings without being reproached or ostracized; this can be done through words or in this case, animation. Other anime series such as A Silent Voice and Anohana are reminiscent of this theme, but not many anime can come close to the level of sophistication, intensity, and charm that Wonder Egg Priority contains.
Traditionally, the source material used to create an anime is from a manga, which is a black-and-white, Japanese, comic-like series. The most popular manga tend to be transferred into anime, however, Wonder Egg Priority subverts this process in more ways than one. The original story was developed and composed, not from a manga, but as an original work by the famous 90’s drama script writer, Shinji Nojima, and with the coordination of animation director and character designer, Takahashi Saki, known for Her Blue Sky, and sound director, Fujita Akiko, known for Kakegurui. Given the talent involved in its creation, there is no doubt as to why this original anime has proven to be exceptional in just its first four episodes. It stands out from the conventional style of the popular shounen (anime targeted to appeal to young boys) by feauturing a female protagonist and centering heavily on topics including depression, social anxiety, bullying, and suicide.
Dream worlds, secret passageways, thematic subtexts, engaging character growth, and the realism of the interactions create a simply exceptional plot. Ai Ohto, the main protagonist of the story, a bubbly, although undeniably lonely girl, caught up in her own compulsions, is quite memorable at first glance because of her heterochromia, making one eye blue and the other gold, and her signature bright, yellow hoodie. “Through her isolation and bullying, the pain Ai experiences feels achingly familiar, as does Ai’s desire for friends and acceptance” Clewis added in from her article “REVIEW: ‘Wonder Egg Priority,’ Episode 1 – “The Domain of Children””. The story itself is about Ai attempting to redeem herself by helping others in a dream world she enters using an egg, in order to resurrect her deceased friend whom she possibly betrayed. There are naturally weighty and difficult concepts present, such as, depression and suicide, within Wonder Egg Priority, but the show is able to cleverly break down the issues to make the emotions depicted relatable to anyone with the capacity for empathy toward others.
The setting alternates between two places: the real world and the dream world. Wu further explains in her article “Wonder Egg Priority Could be a Masterpiece in the Making”, “The dream world looks and feels just as visceral as the real world but stands out with surrealist abstract imagery. Horrifying creatures add to the creepy atmosphere in the dream world. The layered sound design and the mesmerizing background music also contribute greatly to accentuate characters’ emotions and the fantastical world-building”. Wonder Egg Priority does such a fascinating job of portraying the everyday fears that some people live with. Each time the dream world is entered, it contains a new demon known as a “seeno evil” that has adapted along with the landscape to identify with that the specific villain’s traits. The constantly morphing atmosphere in each dream world, each with its own distinct edge of uncanny horror, keeps the show very engaging.
It is revealed throughout the episodes that three other girls participate in this process of entering dreams with eggs that have appeared to them. Each of the side characters have been given the spotlight by being introduced one at a time during the first few episodes. The girls’ personalities and backstories are being slowly unearthed, none having been entirely explained just yet. These characters offer equally captivating stories to Ai’s, although it takes a great deal of attention to subtle clues in imagery and dialogue to fully grasp the nuance being shown in each character. Hotweeb7272 on a MyAnimeList forum agreed by stating, “The maturity and lengths this show goes to show the characters flaws and weaknesses is quite impressive considering how little we know right now”.
On the other end of the spectrum, AstralBread also on the MyAnimeList forum claims, “This anime reminds me of an art-house film. One very specific art-house film - Garden State. The one about which a classic said, “If cancer were pretentious, it would be Garden State.” Wonder Egg Priority with its bumbling attempts to be profound invokes the same familiar feeling of a student movie way over its head.” Then the author continues to mock the show’s unoriginal ideas, all too obvious symbolism, and complains of the quantity of spoon fed information and concludes with, “Do yourself a favor and drop this one early…”. In contrast to this pessimistic view of the show, these elements are what define the show. For instance, Supicasupica on Reddit noticed, “Every girl fighting in the egg world is introduced by a specific flower when they enter the garden.” Supicasupica goes on to identify each flower and discuss its symbolic meaning, however, this simple inclusion by the creators helps capture the essence of the show. Other elements such the color pallet, hidden messages in code, and metaphors enhance the depth and meaning of this work.
Wonder Egg Priority is able to showcase how deeply difficult social situations can impact a person and the people around them. These four girls are trying everything in their power to reverse the suicides that occurred in their lives by taking advantage of the opportunity to help others, provided by the eggs. It is interesting to watch how far they will go in attempting to return their loved ones back to the real world, and it is enjoyable watching them establish relationships with each other during the process. The mood has lightened up since the beginning, although Shinji Nojima is known for his “dark but piercing social commentary about teenage life” as warned by Wu in “Wonder Egg Priority Could be a Masterpiece in the Making”. It will be interesting to see what is to come for this refreshingly original anime series in the coming weeks.
The new anime series Wonder Egg Priority is an enjoyable and interesting watch
Photo Credit: https://www.funimation.com/shows/wonder-egg-priority/