A Note From Anime Hajime:
A pillar of Wonder Egg Priority’s story centered around the topics of suicide and suicidal thoughts. Per the nature of these themes, the following may evoke strong emotions. Although the primary purpose of this review is to examine the merits of the Wonder Egg Priority series, how this show chose to frame and talk about suicide cannot be overlooked.
Therefore, if you choose to stop reading at any point, feel free to do so.
Additionally, should you suspect someone you know is in danger of hurting themselves, contact one of the following hotlines for help:
- The United States – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- The United Kingdom – Samaritans: 116-123
- Canada – Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566
- Japan – TELL Lifeline: 03-5774-0992
More from the Wonder Egg Priority series:
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Wonder Egg Priority. Reader discretion is advised.***
For years, Ai Ooto (voiced by Kanata Aikawa) was horribly bullied at school. Then tragedy struck when her closest and only friend died by suicide. After that, Ai shut herself off from the world.
However, while Ai was out one night, she heard a voice call to her. She followed its sound and eventually came across a small garden. Sitting there was a collection of eggs. When she cracked one, Ai was transported to a fantasy world filled with the inner demons of those who had taken their lives.
Although Ai is unsure of what is going on, she learns her friend can come back if she can save the people in the eggs.
As of this review going live (June 14th, 2021), there are two things you need to know about Wonder Egg Priority:
- The initial batch of twelve episodes does not include a conclusion to this story.
- From what I can gather, the actual conclusion is set to release as a one-hour special on June 30th, 2021.
Whenever that conclusion comes, expect Anime Hajime to cover it as soon as possible. But baring the finale being utterly game-changing, not having it shouldn’t affect us talking about the rest of the series as it is. To that end, Wonder Egg Priority had good things about it.
Should you decide to sit down with this show and the topic of suicide makes you uncomfortable, then continue Wonder Egg Priority at your own discretion. Although Anime Hajime respects this subject may be triggering, we also maintain that concepts such as suicide are not inherently taboo. Problems arise when these matters are belittled or grossly misrepresented. Where that line gets drawn will vary from viewer to viewer.
In this respect, Wonder Egg Priority occasionally included some unhelpful generalizations. But to this show’s credit, those generalizations were contextualized within the story and by the characters explaining them.
There is no question this series got heavy, but that heaviness was what allowed Wonder Egg Priority to be such an interesting watch – for the most part.
Aside from its absolutely gorgeous animation, the best thing Wonder Egg Priority pulled off was its characters’ motivations. This show firmly established why our four protagonists – Ai Ooto and her friends Neiru Aonuma, Rika Kawai, and Momoe Sawaki (voiced respectively by Tomori Kusunoki, Shuka Saitou, and Hinaki Yano) – were driven to fight the demons of those who had already lost their lives to suicide.
Ai, Neiru, Rika, and Momoe had each lost someone important to them. While the manner and reasons for the respective suicides were diverse, the reactions from our leads were, fundamentally, the same:
- How could this happen?
- What can I do to get this person back?
- How can I say, “I’m sorry?”
- Was there something I could have done to prevent this from happening in the first place?
Additionally, none of our main four were safe from self-harm either. They each had their own battles to face.
- Ai was a longtime victim of bullying.
- Rika lived with an unreliable parent.
- Momoe had hardly ever been treated as a girl.
Those three’s backgrounds were much more complex than what I laid out, but I’ll let the show do the job of explaining.
As for Neiru, well, what happened with her was a bit hard to follow. In fact, her side of Wonder Egg Priority was one of the key aspects that brought this series down – and, frankly, out.
Regardless, the four lead characters’ struggles, motivations, and personalities were crucial components to this series’ initial success.
Aside from you wanting Ai, Neiru, Rika, and Momoe to obtain their goal (saving the person they lost), you also find yourself cheering them on as they come to terms with their own mental health. There was so much more to each of them, an aspect that I thought was a critically important inclusion on the part of Wonder Egg Priority.
This was particularly true in the case of Rika and Momoe, both of whom knew how to put on a brave face. They could go about their business and interact with the world, and no one could guess they were not in a good place. These two had ways to hide what they didn’t want others to see.
Although this show barely scratched the surface on the link between poor mental health and trauma, there was one point Wonder Egg Priority made clear. Just because you can’t always see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I do feel this series could have done much better in this regard, but keeping in mind there was still a story that needed telling, things, at least, leaned in the right direction. Then again, the “story that needed telling” was the problem.
Earlier, I said Wonder Egg Priority included a few unhelpful generalizations. The two that stuck out to me the most were as follows:
First, there was a character who cut themselves. The inclusion of this detail was unique because it doesn’t usually come up, and it was an opening this show could have used to forge a path forward. This was a chance to explore why this character chose to harm themselves. Unfortunately, it was left as a simple cause-and-effect situation; “this thing in my life is hard to handle, so I hurt myself because of it.”
While cutting is a coping mechanism (granted an unhealthy one), there is much more nuanced as to why people chose it specifically. And to have this series conclude that this character harmed themselves because they were “weak” completely glossed over what people are trying to achieve when they do this. Of course, reasons are different from person to person, but from what I’ve been told from people in my life who have/do cut themselves, when everything else is numb, cutting is a clear sign they can, at least, feel something.
Second, I was not a fan when Wonder Egg Priority said this (and I’m paraphrasing):
For those who die by suicide, girls are emotionally driven, and boys are goal-oriented.
To give this series some slack, the character who said this had questionable motivations. So you could argue this was the stance of one biased individual and not Wonder Egg Priority’s. But if that is not the case, then this idea makes no sense to me.
This series did an adequate job of illustrating suicide as the result of a long-standing illness, an illness brought on or compounded by various other factors. But to then say a group of people die because of this reason and another group by this other reason undermined the message Wonder Egg Priority had been establishing.
Again, when this show made generalizations, it wasn’t doing itself any favors.
And the biggest shame of it all was, Wonder Egg Priority could have taken the time not to generalize. This series went from a more abstract concept (death by suicide) to a more literal there is a mysterious power that is making people kill themselves.
I had no problem writing this review without needing to watch the grand finale because I had already lost track of what was going on long before episode twelve.
As soon as human experimentation, government conspiracies, parallel worlds, and bloodthirsty artificial intelligence got mixed into the plot; the firm hold this show had on my attention let go.
I’m not sure what happened. This series was doing so well. Having the four main characters come to terms with the deaths in their lives gave Wonder Egg Priority its real power.
Once the out-of-left-field, sci-fi-thriller intrigue began to rear its head, all the work this show had done up to that point unraveled.
The messaging became muddled; character motivations lacked meaning; and shadowy details made this narrative, which you already needed to pay careful attention to, hard to follow. It really did feel like someone’s great idea of a story had found its way into a boardroom.
Wonder Egg Priority started incredibly strong. Finally, it appeared as though an anime had come along that was willing to talk about these darker subjects. For a while, it all was going well. Then things got way too out of hand, and a series that once had such great promise is now geared up to deliver an extremely disappointing ending.
This show had so many good things to its name; it was doing a great job. Had it stayed the course, I don’t doubt it could have been a contender for one of the best anime of 2021.
Sure, things were often too generalized, but on the whole, this series’ messaging was on point.
Then it all came crashing down.
Although I will be highlighting the ending when it does release, you need not wait that long. It pains me to say it, but Wonder Egg Priority can be skipped.
But these were just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this series? How would you advise Wonder Egg Priority? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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