Wonder Egg Priority review

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Review

Wonder Egg Priority is a psychological, drama series animated by the studio Cloverworks. The main series originally aired in the winter season of 2021 with episode 13 being a 45-minute special episode released early in the summer season of 2021. For the purposes of this review, I will be covering both the main series and the special episode.

Wonder Egg comes out the blocks blazing with the opening episode being a rollercoaster of emotion. The episode initially starts on a sombre note as it introduces us to Ai Ooto; a girl who suffers from social anxiety and depression. Her melancholy state is made considerably worse upon discovery of the recent suicide of Koito Nagase; Ai’s best friend. At hearing this news Ai is devastated and at her wits end. These depressive emotions however quickly subside to feelings of danger and anxiety when Ai is presented with a mysterious egg. This egg, upon breaking, transports her into a bizarre world of monsters and an accomplice. Confused and dazzled by this sudden turn of events, Ai must confront the foes before her whilst keeping her companion safe.

If that description sounds like a mouthful, then I won’t blame you. All the things I described occur in the opening episode and it is difficult to fully absorb everything as lots of plot elements are thrown at you in quick secession. To get the most out of the opening episode it pays to keep close attention, and perhaps rewind in particularly tense moments.

But do not worry too much as fortunately, things will become easier to follow as an early rhythm is established. The next few episodes follow a similar pattern and soon Wonder Egg will almost adopt a monster of the week format with the main twist being that for every adversity there is a girl that requires saving not just from the monster but from the mental traumas she carries within. In addition to this, each of the early episodes we are introduced to the various main characters: Rika Kawai, Neiru Aonuma and Momoe Sawaki who will play a pivotal role in how Wonder Egg develops.

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It is here where I feel Wonder Egg reaches its zenith. This is because the character development devoted to all the girls is excellent. Whilst every girl has her charm and appeal, they are all flawed characters with various weaknesses and inner demons that makes us sympathises with them. What you see on the surface is not necessarily the true picture you get with any of them. There is depth and nuance to all the major characters.

With that said, despite all the good character development it should be noted that Wonder Egg will touch upon a lot of heavy and perhaps even controversial content. As mentioned earlier issues of suicide are raised but on top of that self-harm, depression, abandonment, greed and general strife are also major themes introduced into the mix. These depressive topics are only heightened when some of the girls they try and save mirror the same weaknesses of the main girls.

If all this sounds depressing and bleak then do not be too discouraged. Wonder Egg balances the sombre moments with uplifting scenes with finesse. After the introductory episodes we witness various moments when Ai, Rika, Neiru and Momoe all bond together. Slowly but surely, they forge a strength to overcome their various trials and tribulations. There is a real sense of growth, development and ultimately hope that they can finally get over the demons that haunt them and obtain salvation.

As the series progresses to its end, we begin to grasp there is more to the eggs than initially meets the eye. We begin to question the world these girls are in and hints are made about the true purpose of Wonder Egg. It is here where I feel Wonder Egg begins to lose its way as a lot of new content is suddenly introduced right at the end casting doubt that the series will deliver a conclusive ending that ties all the loose endings together. This all results in episode 12 ending on a cliff-hanger with most resolutions having to come from the final double length episode.

Unfortunately, it is in this special finale where Wonder Egg falls flat on its face. Instead of providing closure, it introduces more questions that can easily leave viewers confused and frustrated. Worse still, there are instances in the final episode where various main characters act in way that run contrary to how they acted earlier. On top of that main villains, you expect to be expanded upon are not given enough screen time. Perhaps the biggest sin however is how one key scene is handled when one of the more vulnerable characters is depicted in negative fashion while the hinted perpetrator is largely exonerated. This portrayal will be highly controversial to many people and will mark a stark contrast to the earlier tone of Wonder Egg which held a much more sympathetic tone for the girl’s plight.

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A metaphor for the special episode and ending for Wonder Egg Priority

There are some allusions of a further sequel but if I am honest the final special episode was a train wreck on a similar scale to Neverland season 2. This episode, on its own, may extinguishes all interest this series had which is a shame considering that Wonder Egg was at some point a real solid contender for being the best anime of the winter season.

Animation in Wonder Egg is solid throughout and is one of the strong points in the series. It never declines and no shortcuts are taken with many of the main cast receiving numerous different outfits to a degree which is rare in anime. There is however a decline in animation in the special. The opening and ending animation sequences are also good but I was a little indifferent to the opening song Sudachi no Uta and the ending Life is Cider track both made by Anemonelia.

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Overall, Wonder Egg is a great series until around episode 10 or so where it stutters then ultimately fails in the special finale. I get a sense the writers became overly ambitious and introduced too many concepts at the end and did not make a strong enough attempt to resolve those plot points. Instead of closure we get confusion and very little follow through. These weaknesses are especially bad in the special episode and Wonder Egg would have been better off without that episode being there as it only serves to detract from the whole show.

If we are lucky, we will get an alternative ending that addresses the key cliff-hangers in a more satisfactory manner but the more likely scenario is that there is no alternative ending. If that is the case then I would suggest skipping the special as despite the open-ended nature of episode 12 you get more closure there. Notwithstanding all the weakness mentioned over the ending I would still recommend watching Wonder Egg as everything up to the end is enjoyable and the main characters are likeable unique individuals.

Story 6 – An interesting premise with a very solid build-up but I feel this is a classic case of a great anime story falling flat as it did not know how to deliver an ending to tie all the loose ends thrown out. A big shame really.

Characters 8 – Complex and relatable characters. Its strength can also be its weakness if you can relate to the girls too much. The characters are the primary reason to watch Wonder Egg as all the main cast have unique personalities that do not fall into any of the standard anime character architypes.

Animation 8.5 – Another strong suit of Wonder Egg. Very good animation throughout and a pleasure to watch. This standard is not maintained in the finale however.

Overall 6 – Great characters, interesting premise and good build up followed by a lacklustre conclusion is Wonder Egg in a nut shell. I would give Wonder Egg an 8 if you only include the first 12 episodes. The special is a disaster however and I would rate that episode a 3 or 4 thus I lowered the overall score for this to 6.
 
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