Watch or Drop? Rules
- The anime must be new (not a sequel or spin-off).
- At least 3 episodes have already aired.
- Episodes 1- 3 to be watched in a single sitting and a decision reached as to whether the anime will be added to the watch/review list or dropped and forgotten. For good.
After three episodes of Wonder Egg Priority I’m left with mixed feelings as it is the kind of anime that could go either way. It may be a brilliant piece of original anime that will influence its genre for the next few years or it may end up being yet another original anime with a great concept, striking visuals, and ultimately unable to stick its landing (as original anime have a nasty tendency of unravelling in their final third). I will say this anime is giving me strong Madoka vibes (and I know I’m not alone having read some of the other first impressions posts about Wonder Egg Priority). The general sense of not knowing what is happening, the characters moving from the real world and into I guess a world built out of their psychological state (though I’m not really sure if that is what it is), and even just the really bizarre character design and animations for the enemies the girls face feels in some ways quite similar to Madoka Magica entering the world of the witch to slay her.
That said, Wonder Egg Priority doesn’t really feel derivative. We’ve had a lot of Madoka-esque anime since its time (some solid efforts and others blatantly trying to cash in on the popularity of a superior work) but Wonder Egg Priority while there are some visual and thematic similarities has so far managed to feel very much like it is telling it is own story and hasn’t drawn too much influence from any one particular source (at least so far).
Cute girls face dark and nightmarish things in order to have a wish granted isn’t the most original plot I’ll grant you, but making it feel fresh and giving us a number of interesting characters in these first three episodes that all have a lot of depth to explore is definitely an achievement for thsi anime.
Affiliate Link – Play Asia
While I said in my review of Deca-Dence that I appreciated that they laid their cards out on the table early on, Wonder Egg Priority’s approach of keeping us and the main character deliberately in the dark about certain things, including the overall objective of Acca and Ura-Acca (or whoever it is who actually provides the eggs) is actually a pretty solid choice (providing that they can make the revelations worth the wait). Basically I really like the set-up here. However, for those who find issues of suicide and bullying confronting and somewhat less than entertaining (read triggering or traumatic) that is going to instantly wipe Wonder Egg Priority from their priority list.
I also have to give a definite shout out in the positives to the character designs in general. Ai Ohto is adorable with her mis-matched eyes and blue fringe pulled down to cover one of them. She’s frequently wearing a hoodie or hiding under a blanket or something else. Neiru’s character is more stern looking and her style of dress more conservative, her brown hair plaited. Episode 3 delivered Rika who is clearly a former idol of some sort (though probably not a popular one) and her blonde and pink hair as well as her generally more trendy style definitely stands out. However it isn’t just main characters who seem to have been given a lot of time and attention.
Also, the animation is pretty brilliant and fluid. As Ai crosses into the other world after cracking an egg, we see chase sequences, running battles, and some really smooth movement. While the colours get a bit busy and some of the villains are over-designed to the point where they start looking like rejected Sailor Moon monsters they are at least distinct and visually the whole anime is a bit of a feast for the eyes provided you don’t find it overwhelming.
Potentially all of this mystery and build up is going nowhere. Realistically we have a fire-fly (though not always) talking to Ai and leading her to buy a magic egg (only the first one is free) which leads to a girl hatching from it and that leads to Ai’s first battle. During which she notices a statue of her friend who committed suicide and after protecting the girl she realises the statue is warmer and so somehow determines that more eggs means more chance of bringing her friend back to life (though the fire-fly is really deliberate about not confirming that assumption which leads me to believe that there isn’t a chance at all of Ai getting her wish). The other girls we’ve met in these first three episodes seem equally clueless about their own reality and yet continue on with the egg buying and fighting. Again, if we get a payoff that is worth it, this will be a brilliant opening act. However, there’s a very real chance this is all fizzle and no ka-boom!
I also felt the flashbacks to the bullying weren’t particularly nuanced or moving. We go through all the standards of soaked bags and missing umbrellas as well as locker graffiti but possibly because Ai is disconnected from the tragedy (or is trying to be disconnected from it) as a viewer I was left feeling largely unmoved by what is actually a pretty awful backstory. I’m not sure what could have been changed here to make it connect for me, but I do know that I’m left feeling that Koito is more a MacGuffin for Ai than an actual character and that makes it harder to really buy in to the overall urgency of Ai’s quest.
Despite the couple of negatives there, one of them is a future me problem and the other is more a matter of preference for feeling something a bit stronger rather than an actual mis-step. I’m very understanding that this anime has subject matter that will not work for every viewer, however it isn’t something I’m overly concerned about and actually, depending on how much exploration we get of these characters facing past-traumas I’m actually pretty interested in where Wonder Egg Priority may take some of the issues and themes it has presented.
Not to mention, episode 3 was actually a cliff-hanger and because I was only watching three episodes at the moment, I’m not insanely curious about what happens next.
- From Mercedes Clewis – Wonder Egg Priority – Episode 1
- From KiritoNarukami – Wonder Egg Priority – First Impressions
- From Sleepminusminus – First Impressions – Wonder Egg Priority
- From Planet Jane – You Really Need To See Wonder Egg Priority
Images from: Wonder Egg Priority. Dir. S. Wakabayashi. Cloverworks. 2021.
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