I’ve always wanted to do an anime review of Wonder Egg Priority and now that’s celebrating it’s one year anniversary this is the perfect time! Wonder Egg Priority is a thirteen episode series defined as a psychological horror / drama. And there’s some real emphasis on the psychological aspect of that.
It follows four girls who are coaxed into purchasing “Wonder Eggs” from a capsule machine, at the behest of two mannequin-esque men. This egg will grant you whatever you wish. And the first one’s free! … But nothing costs more than a free gift.
“Nothing costs more than a free gift.”
These eggs hatch while the girls are dreaming, turning into the the spirits of young girls who’ve committed suicide. And these ghost girls don’t come alone. The trauma that caused them to commit suicide follows them, manifesting as something monstrous. Our protagonists are tasked with protecting these dead girls by defeating their traumas, using magical girl weapons.
The premise is utterly surreal. And yet, it absolutely works. It’s like mashing together Persona 5 and Madoka Magica in the best way.
But it’s so much more than that. Wonder Egg Priority dissects the unique, and often isolating, suffering that comes as an adolescent girl. And how adult are often the perpetrators or the silent enablers of that suffering, and how that leads to suicide.
While you don’t need to be a girl to understand, or have experienced, the things that these girls go through… it is spoken through a very gendered lens. But after watching some utterly garbage female representation, Wonder Egg Priority was deeply refreshing.
Wonder Egg Priority provides gorgeous visuals and action sequences, blended together with bright colors and great music, despite the bleak subject matter. The animation is at moments dream-like and sometimes hyper-realistic. This back and forth between dream and reality is intentional and often seamless, sometimes leaving you questioning which is which.
The characters are where Wonder Egg Priority truly shine. We follow four girls, each of which have endured deep trauma that have lead them to their own flirtations with self-destruction. They each have someone in their life that have committed suicide, who they’re desperate to have back.
Each character is unique and likely relatable to someone. Ai, a shut-in who was relentlessly bullied. Rika, a girl suffering through deep negligence at home. Momoe, who struggles with her gender identity. And Neiru, an emotionally detached girl who wants to feel human.
Each of them deal with their trauma in their own ways. From hiding away from the world to lashing out at those who love them.
Over the course of the series, their friendships with each other help heal some of the trauma they’ve been carrying and they begin to develop healthier methods of coping with their own (ongoing) struggles. They also meet the Four Temperament Ensemble trope, which is neat.
So…. Here’s where Wonder Egg Priority becomes a little bit… infamous. The first half of the series is impeccable! It’s so easy to devour the first half of the series in one sitting. Which I did.
Wonder Egg Priority is more character-driven than plot-driven… for at least the first six episodes. And it works perfectly, melding character and action. And then it hits its (SPOILER) sci-fi moment (/SPOILER). By episode 7/8, Wonder Egg Priority starts its suicide spiral. Tasteless pun intended.
Until the last quarter of the anime, Wonder Egg Priority has laid so many interesting moments of world-building, so many mysteries. I was invested, despite the sudden-left turn, believing fully that the development team would make it work.
But it’s clear that this is a series that was meant to stretch on for two seasons was hastily reduced to one, with an extra-long episode tacked onto the end, which wasted half it’s time with a 20 minute long run down of previous events.
The ending is all over the place. It’s universally regarded as terrible. There wasn’t enough buildup for it to make sense, and it fizzles into what can only be described as a lackluster pile of strings. Some of them are tied up, sure. But most aren’t.
Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that Wonder Egg Priority is likely to get a second season, though it’s left us with so many questions.
But what’s far, far worse is that the strong message of the first few episodes (learning to deal with trauma and loss) is lost. (SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER) Wonder Egg Priority spends so much time contemplating the pain young girls go through because of the failure (or sadism) of adults in their life… only to end with two adult men trying to kill a young girl. And then manipulating the four protagonists through deeply traumatizing trials as a last-ditch attempt to kill this girl, when their own efforts fail. Way to kill your own socially relevant message with some random bullshit. (/SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER)
Despite the extremely questionable last few episodes Wonder Egg Priority is still worth the 320 minutes~ it takes to finish. It’s a great ride with a rough conclusion, but that doesn’t mean the journey wasn’t worth it.
Anime Review of Wonder Egg Priority Rating:
(trigger warning: sexual assault, references to self-harm, images of healed self-harm scars, multiple references to suicide, references to grooming and underaged relationships.)