The ominous and unique world of Wonder Egg Priority

Wonder Egg Priority Promotional poster.

Photo by Funimation

Wonder Egg Priority Promotional poster.

Aylin Tepe, Staff Writer

Winter is typically the busiest season for anime debuts, with each new release hoping to make a mark upon the already over-saturated industry that is anime. Among all of these contenders, one strangely-titled show garnered the attention and admiration of several long-term fans. Written by popular 90’s drama screenplay writer Shinji Nojima, the original anime Wonder Egg Priority, debuted on January 13th, 2021, and is speculated to be the psychological thriller of the year. With its breathtaking animation, unique art style, and incredible social commentary, Wonder Egg Priority tests the boundaries of storytelling with each episode.

The show kicks off with the main character Ai Ohto purchasing an item called a “Wonder Egg” from a gachapon machine at a deserted arcade, she then falls asleep and wakes up in a dreamscape where reality and dreams collide. Thrust into this new environment, she sets out to explore and figure out what exactly is going on. The seemingly innocent episode takes a sharp turn as she ends up in a school full of faceless creatures. Besides the nightmarish individuals flocking the halls, she is approached by an unknown entity who entices her to break the egg. Upon doing so, the egg expands by a thousandfold before ultimately hatching a young girl. As if this wasn’t bizarre enough already, the unearthly creatures then simultaneously attack the unknown girl, and the two are forced to take on countless enemies. It is then announced that they must persevere until a bell rings if they wish to overcome this grim situation. Action-packed scenes ensue as the young girls try to find a way to survive the hellish game. A morbid secret is revealed at the end of the episode to which I invite you to find out on your own time. 

The show’s main premise might appear cliche at first glance since it is no secret that dreams are a regular occurrence in television. From Satoshi Kon’s Paprika to Chiaki J. Konaka’s Serial Experiments Lain, many renowned shows have used dreaming as a medium for narration. What sets Wonder Egg Priority apart is the artful combination of sharply contrasting elements, namely, innocence and cruelty. Magical Girls have been used in anime for decades now, but Wonder Egg’s approach immediately turns the concept of the Magical Girl into something ominous, creating a setting that is unsettling, to say the least. 

The fictional world Ai inhibits shows a reality that is far too common for those who have experienced bullying and abuse. Cheery music and bright animation blankets the unsettling truths that are picked apart with each episode. With a risque approach on subjects society tries to undermine, Wonder Egg Priority spins a twisted tale of overcoming past regrets and sets up the stage for future hardships.