Wonder Egg Priority is the new psychological anime from studio Clover Works that aims to be the most unique anime airing this season, and judging by the first episode alone, it’s certainly succeeding so far. Rarely do we see an anime debut that sticks the landing. Or an anime that’s able to capture and intrigue its audience with distinct albeit obvious symbolism that depicts a clear message.
An Intriguing Premise
The episode starts with our loner heroine Ai Ohto who’s seen walking alone at night and is eventually approached by a mysterious disembodied stranger who calls her attention towards a Gachapon machine full of mysterious eggs. She then finds an egg on her bed the next day, and upon realizing the strange event the night before wasn’t a dream, she sets out to return to the place where she got the egg but winds up in a mysterious alternate world instead.
Sensitive Themes and Symbolism
The episode shows this supernatural world as a mysterious school that houses symbolic portrayals of bullying, such as creatures called the “Seeno Evils,” which are personifications of those who ignore bullying, as well as a malevolent girl who serves as the perpetrator of said bullying. It is also in this world where Ai breaks the egg she’s been carrying after being instructed to by the pushy mysterious voice. Upon doing so, it’s revealed the egg contained another school girl named Kuruni, and the two begin their struggle to evade their sinister pursuers. After briefly getting to know each other, their pursuers eventually return, but Ai chooses to abandon Kuruni as she’s isn’t their target. The anime then uses this as a cue to effortlessly flashback to her past.
Ai is also no stranger to bullying due to her unique condition called Heterochromia (where both eyes have different colors), which causes her to be incredibly reserved. Though this changes a bit when she meets Koito, a new student who takes a liking to her. However, without giving us the full details, we also learn that Koito eventually committed suicide most likely due to bullying from her peers, and Ai has been burdened by guilt ever since as it hints that she most likely did nothing to help Koito in her time of need. Just as she’s now done with Kuruni.
Coupled with the symbolic enemies and past trauma, this scene makes the message the anime sets out to tell quite evident. As she recalls the trauma and guilt of not helping her only friend from the very same bullying she’s accustomed to, Ai finally gets a chance to set things right due to this mysterious egg that’s conveniently appeared in her life. She finally shows courage by helping Kurumi defeat her pursers, and in doing so, she also gives herself enough hope and confidence to do it again after discovering that the more lives she saves, the higher her chances of bringing back Koito. Though this was never really stated as a fact, and I fear it may just be Ai assuming things.
Stellar Production and Direction
Despite its looks, Wonder Egg Priority is not a light hearted show. The anime deals with heavy and sensitive topics and depicts bloody violence and gruesome death. The scenes in the alternate world also look like they’ve been ripped straight out of a Satoshi Kon film and is highly creative with its albeit on-the-nose symbolism. Production-wise, Wonder Egg Priority is quite a marvel to behold as dramatic as that may sound. Its visuals are beautiful and surprisingly well detailed. The animation also accurately projects the character’s feelings through their body language (seen when Ai wraps herself in her yellow hoodie before stepping out and when spreading her hair to cover her left eye when she first meets Kuruni).
Each song heard in the episode also sounds excellent and accurately fits each critical scene. All of this is set up by the fantastic direction from Shin Wakabayashi that shows the consistency of a feature-length film. However, what I noticed and appreciated the most out of the production is the expert level voice acting heard from the characters, especially from those voicing Koito and AI. Azusa Tadokoro and Kanata Aikawa did an excellent job of voicing the characters and portraying their emotions with each slight change in pitch and tone.
Overall, Wonder Egg Priority is the most pleasant surprise for me this season. While it tackles a dark and risky subject matter, its message and execution alone are worth it enough to see where this peculiar anime will lead us.
If you haven’t seen Wonder Egg Priority, its available to stream right now on Funimation.
Have you seen Wonder Egg Priority? What do you think of our impressions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.