Wonder Egg Priority finally ended on the 30th of June, and along with it ended one of the weirdest yet most fascinating anime of the year. It curiously reminded me of another of Netflix’s offerings – the ever-controversial 13 Reasons Why.
It isn’t that hard to figure out where that comparison comes from. They are both shows meant for a younger audience, tackling controversial yet essential issues in a teenager’s life. They both heavily feature death, bullying, rape, LGBTQ+ issues, self-harm and other vital issues that all of us as a society ignore to keep our sanity.
They are also both terrible shows.
Sorry if this came out too harshly, but this needed to be said. 13 Reasons Why was a show that exploited all of these issues to get attention and clicks. Dare I say, 13 Reasons Why appropriated those problems. Wonder Egg Priority seems to have done the same, although to a much lighter extent.
The similarities just don’t stop between the two series, though. They both started well, with a ton of intrigue and what seemed to be a tight narrative. People were excited about both shows as they aired, with Wonder Egg Priority even looking like one of the best anime of that season. Oh, how wrong we all were.
There have been plenty of discussions about how 13 Reasons Why messed up. It all seemingly boils down to the appropriation and the head-scratching decision of continuing the series past its logical conclusion- Season 1. And while the appropriation complaint doesn’t fit Wonder Egg Priority well, the continuation part indeed does.
Before we approach that, let us first look at the first season of the Anime, which was, at its worst, a fun watch, and at its best, a phenomenal adventure full of twists and great characters.
Wonder Egg Priority- The First Season
Wonder Egg Priority Season One was an original show by Cloverworks studios, directed by Shin Wakabayashi, who has previously worked and directed episodes in series like Attack on Titan, and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It has an original story by Shinji Nojima, who is a relative newcomer to the scene.
The first few episodes start the series in a manner that can be only called “Incredible”. The way the world is set up, the characters, and the artwork is beyond gorgeous and deserves commendation.
Our protagonist, Ai Ohto, is a shut-in, or a “Hikikomori”. She was always a shy kid, constantly bullied for her shyness and her Heterochromia. One day, a new student, Koito Nagaso, decides to make Ai a friend of hers, a first for Ai. They grow close, but after some time passes, Koito commits suicide by jumping off the school roof for no discernable reason.
One day, after some time has passed from that horrifying scenario, Ai is lead to a fantastical place where she gets an egg, which once broken sprouts a girl from it. If Ai manages to keep the girl alive while killing a monster based on the girl’s deepest, darkest fear, she can bring Koito to life. Naturally, Ai jumps at the opportunity.
While saving many other girls (not really, the girls are already dead and only occur in Ai’s dreams) from their monsters, Ai gets to know more girls that are off to rescue someone who died from their pasts. For the first time in her life, Ai has friends.
The characters are where the show shines the most, with strong characters like Rika, Neiru, and Momoe forming the backbone of the series. They all have their traumas and their demons to overcome to bring their dead friends back. Momoe is also an example of a rare, well-written transgender character in Anime, whose personality is not just her being transgender. She has goals, aspirations, and friends who like her very much.
The show’s star is the foul-mannered yet well-meaning Rika Kawaii, a former Junior Idol who wants to save a former fan of hers who dies because of her. Hers is the one character arc the show managed to not mangle up by the show’s end. The show adopts a very monster-of-the-week type pattern for a while, with a couple of birthday episodes being thrown about. That’s all nothing to complain about, though. Not yet. It gets much worse. Each week has one or more of the characters coming face to face with some of the societal evils, such as Molestation and Self Harm.
While Wonder Egg Priority can be commended for its representation of various issues, handling said issues were hit or miss at best. Often, the show would devolve the genuine problems to one-note villains, which, as we all know, is not how it happens in real life. People aren’t just “good” or “bad”; they are varying shades of grey. This is something that 13 Reasons Why was also accused of, which it then tried to solve by trying to make people sympathetic for a rapist who caused two deaths and then lied about it. Time and place, Netflix.
After these episodes, which were admittedly very good, Wonder Egg Priority introduced many other plot points, which were barely there at the start of the series. For the sake of keeping this review spoiler-free, I won’t go into more detail than this, but just know that a lot of those plot points were just introduced because of one thing, and one thing alone – A Second Season.
Wonder Egg Priority and 13 Reasons Why – What Went Wrong
Rumour has it that Wonder Egg Priority had some budget issues, which caused them not to be able to complete the series the way they wanted to. They had to make a recap episode and skip the actual ending of the season to a 40 Minute Wonder Egg Priority Special episode. That’s still not that bad of a thing. After all, budget crunches are a part of art. When the showrunners saw that this was going to happen, there was a change of plans. No longer was the Special episode going to be the end of the series.
Thus, they took risks with their final couple of episodes. They introduced some new plot points that were barely hinted at at the start and began to stretch past the show’s original ending point. Any of this sound familiar to you, 13 Reasons Why fans?
Thus, characters started to act differently from their established character arcs. They started making poor decisions, decisions they wouldn’t have made in the starting episodes. Momoe even acts like an entire conversation that happened in the last episode before the Special didn’t even happen. The final fight that we were teased in the season finale never occurred, as all of that was shifted to the dreaded second season. Above all that, the promised 40-minute runtime of the Special had the first 25 minutes be a recap to the original season. As if we forgot all that in just two months.
They sacrificed their integrity and the quality of the show, and for what? All the goodwill the show had generated from the fans was lost in the 20 minutes of the Special the anime bothered to show us. There will probably not even be a second season now, as people won’t tune in as eagerly as they did. A promising show destroyed by greed. Where have we ever heard that before? Oh yes, of course. 13 Reasons Why. What else could it be?
What was Good about Wonder Egg Priority
The animation was gorgeous, the soundtrack fantastic, and the characters were stellar and had distinct looks. The world they created in the first few episodes is genuinely a world worth exploring, and it is a real shame that it turned into what it did. The first half of the show is an absolute masterclass in how to make an original anime for what it is worth. It is just a shame that the special is an example of what not to do.
Everything apart from the story and some characters in the series is good-to-great, and it is still worth checking out for those first episodes alone. I will not be checking out the second season if or when it shows up, but you are free to. Wonder Egg Priority could have been the new Madoka Magica, and it ended up being the new 13 Reasons Why. If that isn’t telling, I don’t know what is.