Oh, Cloverworks, you’re not having the best of years, are you?
First, we get The Promised Neverland Season Two, which is one of the worst manga adaptations I have ever seen, and now we have this whole Wonder Egg Priority fiasco.
It was truly a shame to see this anime go from something truly brilliant, to a downright bizarre show that is unnecessarily confusing.
Created by Shinji Nojima and directed by Shin Wakabayashi, Wonder Egg Priority follows Ai Ohto (Kanata Aikawa), a teenage girl reeling from the mysterious suicide of her best friend Koito.
As she sinks deeper into isolation, she is abruptly pulled into a series of trials in a dream world, where she must save the spirits of girls who have also ended their lives from evil manifestations of the ones who hurt them.
Learning this may provide a way to bring back Koito, Ai resolves to save as many of these girls as she can, alongside three other girls, Neiru Aonuma (Tomori Kusunoki), Rika Kawai (Shuka Saito), and Momoe Sawaki (Hinaki Yano), who are all also trying to bring back their deceased friends.
From here, the story takes on an episodic format, with each episode focusing on one or two of these girls trying to save the spirits that hatch from the Wonder Eggs, leading to some incredibly emotional moments.
Episode Seven, “After School at 14”, focused on Rika and her suffering from self harm, which was very well handled and left me a wreck by the end.
Then there’s Episode Ten, “Confession”, where the first half of the episode has the best interaction between one of the girls and a Wonder Egg spirit, with Momoe and the boy she is trying to save.
These fantastic moments and episodes are supported by amazingly good animation, a subtle yet quirky soundtrack, and solid voice acting.
With all of these contributing factors, it looked like Wonder Egg Priority was going to be a perfect anime for me by the half-way point.
However, there were signs in the initial episodes of the fall that was to come.
For example, in the very first episode, “The Domain of Children”, the magic system of the Wonder Egg world is settup, only for one aspect of it to be completely contradicted and never brought up again later.
Problems like this became more and more persistent as the show went on, as the story went from a simple one about a group of girls entering a dream world to save spirits, to full on ridiculous with plotlines revolving around things like artificial intelligence and parallel universes.
Episode Twelve in particular, “An Unvanquished Warrior”, was so confusing that even now I struggle to understand just what the heck was going on.
The show just became more needlessly complicated as it went along, culminating in the final, special episode which was just released, “My Priority”, and it was quite bad.
So many of the episode’s twists come out of nowhere, the characters are incredibly inconsistent, the anime’s handling around topics such as suicide takes a turn for the worse, the ending isn’t satisfying at all, and the animation is awful at times.
Not to mention that the first half of this promised hour long special is a freaking recap, when we already got a recap earlier with Episode Eight.
It is incredibly obvious that there were production issues for this anime.
However, Wonder Egg Priority’s production problems apparently go even beyond the show’s quality.
The anime is already pretty notorious for the suffering of its animators, with the producer reportedly needing to go the hospital because of overwork… twice!
Unfortunately, unhealthy working conditions and bad pay seem to be the standard in the anime industry but the amount of stress and health problems the production of Wonder Egg Priority apparently caused really points to how badly animators are being treated right now.
They really do deserve better.
As for Wonder Egg Priority, it was sad to see this go from a fantastic show that handled difficult subjects to a bizarre, confusing train wreck, that caused those making it to go through the ringer.
I would still recommend watching at least the first ten episodes because, even when the questionable moments begin to seep in, the brilliant moments more than overshadow them.
The rest of the anime I would skip because it’s just not worth it by the end.
A second season could improve the story a bit more but, at this point, I’m not sure I even care any more and I think we can all agree the animators should not be put under the kind of pressure that they were here.
The anime industry needs to do better for its workers.