Wonder Egg Priority is perhaps, by now, most famous for how it started out strong and then scrambled itself. The shift from dreamy fantasy to convoluted sci-fi and the show’s unsympathetic treatment of its young female characters, particularly in its finale, are two key factors in the series’ downturn. But these two storytelling issues do not exist separately; they intertwine and inform each other.
Egg’s shift from magic to sci-fi coincides with its shift in character focus. Early episodes center on the four female protagonists. But by the end, its narrative authority lies with its adult male characters, the Accas and Ai’s teacher Mr. Sawaki, who explain the motivations of teenage girls rather than the girls themselves telling their own stories. Intentional or otherwise, it’s worth examining this shift in priorities from magic and the emotional reality of young women to science and the “logic” of grown men. It provides insight into the author’s biases and underlying gender politics, anchored in a study of the series’ genre politics.
Read the full article on Otaku Tribune!
Content Warning: Discussion of domestic abuse, sexual violence, sexual harassment, suicide
Spoilers for Wonder Egg Priority
Wonder Egg Priority is a series about society’s “monsters,” its early episodes intent on addressing the many all-too-real abuses and social pressures faced by teenage girls through a lens of dreamlike metaphor. As the story progresses, however, the script’s critique of predatory adults and systemic violence takes a sharp pivot. By the time the curtain falls, what Wonder Egg ends up suggesting is that the root of all evil is a single, vindictive individual: a rogue AI in the form of a young woman who is somehow encouraging girls to commit suicide.
Just as the dreamscape Wonder Killers provide a convenient and killable representation of the issues that harm young people, the writers of the show invent a convenient “monster” and pin the blame for those very issues on her. As a result, a lot of the nuance in the series’ treatment of trauma and suicide is lost.
Read the full article on AniFem!
Content warning: this post contains discussion of suicide, sexual assault, and the sexualisation of minors
Wonder Egg Priority was a show devoted to exploring the traumas and troubles of youth, often in ways that resonated with an unexpected raw, powerful tenderness. This is part of why so many viewers were shocked and disgusted when the latter parts of the show, and particularly the finale, dropped plot twists and “reveals” that displayed a deep disdain and lack of empathy for its teenaged cast. What on earth happened, that a story so interested in the issues affecting young women was suddenly so eager to turn around and declare that young women are manipulative, shrewish, and destructive to themselves and to everyone around them? For a show so ready to speak loftily about Adolescence (the concept), it seems, in the end, to have very little sympathy for adolescents (the people).
In the AniFem podcast discussing the highs and lows of this series, I suggested that the unforgiving prickliness of the finale might have something to do with the gap between writing for teenagers and writing about teenagers. I tossed around a couple of ideas I’ve come across in my work studying children’s and young adult fiction, and I want to take this post to unpack some of them further.
Chiefly, this idea of the “hidden adult” peeking through every text, and how the biases, agendas, and ideals of those adults are revealed when we examine how they construct their young characters and their stories. Because hoo boy, does the construction—and destruction—of characters like Frill, Koito, and ultimately protagonist Ai, make some statements about how this screenwriter sees young women. Looking at this provides some insight into where and how this show went so horribly wrong.
No use crying over cracked eggs. Vrai, Mercedez, and Alex perform a postmortem on the most potentialful disasterpiece of 2021, Wonder Egg Priority!
Listen to the episode (and, in a week’s time, read the transcript!) here on AniFem!
As we march ever onwards into the first anime season of 2021, it’s time to give the new shows the old Three Episode Try. After a trio, how are these series faring? Well, head to AniFem to find out!