There are easy reviews, and then there are hard reviews. This is one of the hard ones. I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I’m about to say here, but I need to say it regardless. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to write, or at least collect my thoughts on, since I put Shinmai Maou no Testament to bed. After the cut let’s take a dive into Wonder Egg Priority.
I knew the minute Priority came out, it would be a show that would grab the attention of the anime fandom. Great animation is one thing, but the content and themes presented were going to be catnip for a certain swath of the viewership. Because if there is one thing that will make people bend over backwards to overly praise and hype up, it’s a show that talks about shit like anxiety, empowerment, and trauma.
Now throughout the runtime of this show, I thought very much of how I was going to talk about it, mostly because my feelings regarding Priority kept changing every few weeks. At first I admired the animation and rolled my eyes at the bluntness of how it was shoving everything down our throats. “The Metaphor! Look at the Metaphor! Did you see the Metaphor!” was something that kept echoing in my head. I knew this was going to be a ‘feelings’ show, but I hope that it would also be entertaining. Thankfully as we reached the middle, I started to turn around. I liked the characters, I liked the world, and I had gotten use to the themes and messages. No longer was it shoved in my face, or if it was, I was able to enjoy what was on the screen. I was starting to really enjoy what I was seeing, though I still had my initial feelings.
Then episode 11 came, and after that, I was back in a storm of thought. I was trying to figure out just what I was going to say. How would I approach talking about this show on the blog? What was the right way to do it? What was the proper way? And more importantly, how could I talk about the show in the way I expect to on Shallow Dives in Anime?
Look, I like to have my fun on this blog. I talk about almost any anime, and I always try to be honest and upfront. While I am not, nor do I have any real motivation, to become an official critic, I do take this seriously. Pure objectivity is almost impossible, but getting as close to that as possible is something I strive towards. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I do try my best. I knew that when I sat down with Priority, after the roller coaster of quality, that I would be confronted with how I wanted to approach this. The result is twofold. Spilt the difference, talk about both sides, and overall be empathic, fair, but honest. That’s what Shallow Dives in Anime is about.
Which is why I can say that Wonder Egg Priority is an ambitious, thoughtful mess of a show that completely shits itself in the penultimate episode.
To many people, the events and revelations of episode 11 won’t matter. They will look at the previous ten or so outings, and say that because the show talked about difficult themes, that it touched on things like teenage suicide, angst, the struggles of growing up, bullying, and the like, that it gives the series a pass. That because they can relate to those things, for whatever reason, the Priority can be excused for its greater plot elements, that the ‘message’ is important than the show. In some ways I can understand that. Like I said before, empathy is important, and while I have never had those experiences, I can at least try to put myself in the shoes of Ai and the other girls. Growing up is hard, puberty sucks, absent or ignorant parents and adults who may view you as a conquest or piece of meat doesn’t help and being a teenage girl is probably the worst version of that. You are storm of emotions, you don’t know who you are, and what makes sense. You may questions your sexuality or gender. Feelings constantly change, and it can feel like the whole world is against you. There is a craving for control when you have none, and if you add on seeing friends or people you know commit suicide, it only make things worse. You are left wonder why it happened, how did things go that why, and maybe if it is your fault.
Many viewers will fall in love with Wonder Egg Priority for how it handles these issues, how it lets the girl take action and literally beat up their angst and trauma and help other girls make peace. They will love how Ai and the rest of the gang grow closer and seem to pull themselves out of their respective grief. I can’t deny that I didn’t enjoy watching that as well, but that is only one half of the show.
The other half, the events of episode 11 end up doing exactly what I feared. Instead of focusing on the central themes of trauma, instead of the show being about the journey of Ai working through her feelings regarding her mom, her teacher, and her deceased friend, the show decides to pull a last minute switch and make the story something it wasn’t. The revelations of Frill, the Accas, and that this rogue A.I girl is behind all the girls suicides, while an interesting idea that probably could have stood as its own anime, almost completely derails the plot. Like with Darling in the Franxx two years previously, it robs the show of delivering a complete message about it’s themes and ideas, and takes the lazy way of giving the series a villain it never needed. Franxx, with its story of stagnation vs reproduction never needed it, and Priority with it’s admirable attempts to discuss trauma didn’t need it either. To me at least, it reeks of cowardice among the writing staff, a lack of faith in her own story, and fear that what already had wasn’t enough to carry the story to the end. Perhaps it was the plan all along, but I personally do not think that the (very real) trouble with the production, extended to the script and overall story.
But again, many people will not care, and will go out of their way to praise Priority for what it does ‘right’, that it talks about these things that are so often catnip to viewers. They won’t care that the story completely falls in on itself because it talked about trauma, or because the girls destroy the metaphor for scummy men. Or, and I will risk internet outrage for saying this, because they slapped trans colors on a girl’s bra. It won’t matter that the show completely ruins its premise, or has an idea that feels so rushed at the last minute, because it talks about these themes, and those themes are important to them. Who cares that Wonder Egg Priority shit the bed at the last second, did you see the way the girls smiled at each other?
And I’m sorry, but no. You don’t get a pass for doing that. No anime, no matter the themes or ideals can be excused for rushed plotting and a bullshit plot twist that it never needed. I have to call a spade a spade, and if I didn’t let that shit slide for Darling in the Franxx, or Babylon, then Wonder Egg doesn’t get it either. I make exceptions for nothing, not even the shows I love.
But I am also fair, and I am also empathic, and I understand that to many, it won’t matter, because the show speaks to themes that matter to them, and that’s okay.
Love the show for those things, love the characters for what they represent and how they speak to you. If something that happens in these twelve episodes touches your heart, and moves your soul, then you are 100% not wrong in thinking that. People view things differently, they take stuff from their entertainment in different way. To think there is a correct or incorrect way to view something is the height of arrogance. Stepping into someone else’s shoes, walking a mile in their life, or just trying to see the other side is a vital skill. And despite my frustrations with how Priority turned out, my experience is not universal. It shouldn’t be.
In the end, Wonder Egg Priority is an ambitious thoughtful fucking mess of a show. It’s highs are admirable and uplifting, but its lows are also too large to ignore. I have little faith that the bonus episode in the summer will pull the show out of the ditch it drove into, but I won’t lie and say I’m not damn curious on how it all ends. Even so, this is an anime that will mean many things to many people, and all of those things are legitimate, even if you, me or anyone else may disagree with them. If you haven’t watched the show yourself, give it a looksie and see what you take from it.
I just want to eat some eggs now.