Wonder Egg Priority: How To Completely Drop The Ball With A Great Story

The story of how one show went from being the next big thing to the next big nothing.

It’s a common line of thought that the hardest part of a story to get through isn’t the beginning of the story, but the ending. Beginnings are often rough on account of the author still taking time to fully establish the kind of story they’re trying to write, but you can end up with a good story if you manage to stick with it until then.

The ending, however, needs to be perfect, or at least somewhat decent, because screwing up the ending of your story, especially a truly good story, can instantly destroy any and all goodwill that was built up before then; Game of Thrones, for example, infamously had an ending so terrible that the show more or less vanished from the pop culture zeitgeist as a result and only ever shows back up when people are ragging on it.

It’s very easy for a good story to be completely ruined by its endgame, and a story that recently fell into that tragedy is the otherwise excellent anime Wonder Egg Priority.

The Show Was Off To A Promising Start

Wonder Egg Priority truly had a lot going for it at the beginning of its run. The show started as an episodic series that had each of the main characters—Ai, Neiru, Rika, and Momoe—entering a magical dreamscape in order to protect the spirit of a girl who recently committed suicide for one reason or another, with their ultimate goal being to bring back to life their own friends who committed suicide.

It’s a highly surrealist take on the ever-popular magical girl genre, a framework that was wonderfully enhanced by the impeccable visuals and animation provided by talented veterans and newbies, alike. Not only that, but the show also deals with serious issues to a degree that most other stories don’t, assuming they even try to approach them; the aforementioned suicide is one thing, but there’s also discussions of topics such as depression, self-harm, sexuality, gender identity, and rape, all of which are handled with the kind of grace and maturity you wouldn’t expect from a story targeted to children.

In summation, the goodwill surrounding Wonder Egg Priority was garnered from it tackling heavy real-world themes that most other stories don’t approach and doing so with beautiful visuals, stellar animation, and a wonderfully surreal atmosphere. All of that made for an unambiguously winning combination, and it was easy enough to see it as a modern classic in the making.

The First Signs Of Trouble In The Show

Then the cracks started showing. It started in episode nine which, while keeping to the spirit of the show, diverted from things by delving into hard scientific themes revolving around parallel worlds; the ideas discussed were connected to the show’s discussion of suicide, but the overall nature of it all still felt at odds with what the show was doing in the weeks prior.

Episode nine simply being a one-off in an episodic story could have excused it, but then episode ten had its own go at making people scratch their heads. On the one hand, it was another episode focused on themes of sexuality and gender identity, probably the show’s best episode to tackle those themes.

On the other hand, the ending of the episode abruptly threw in the main antagonist for the main characters to confront, the existence of such a character not at all being properly alluded to in the episodes prior, and even the episode, itself, didn’t do much to develop the antagonist beyond simply stating that they exist.

With only a few episodes left in the show and nothing to suggest that there would be a second season, the remaining few episodes needed to absolutely deliver if the show wanted to hold onto the goodwill it had earned up until then.

When Things Started Truly Going Downhill

Major signs of trouble
Credit to Wonder Egg Priority wiki

Opinions may vary, but popular opinion is that Wonder Egg Priority did not do that. The next episode devoted the entirety of its runtime to an expository flashback, something that’s always hard to make enjoyable for people, and while getting information on the antagonist we only now learned existed was nice, the actual information was hardly what anyone wanted.

Essentially, the main antagonist of the series is Frill, an android created by Acca and Ura-Acca, the two men who assist the main characters on their quest to bring their loved ones back to life, out of their desire to have a daughter of their own.

When Acca got married, Frill, feeling jealous and not having proper knowledge of how to deal with it, killed Acca’s wife, was locked away in a basement for thirteen years, somehow manipulated Acca’s daughter into killing herself, and then, after being destroyed by Ura-Acca, somehow ascended to a higher plane of existence to force girls around the world to commit suicide at random times.

The whole thing was twenty-three minutes of vague pseudoscience that ran counterintuitive to what the show had made itself out to be up to that point and plot twists that lacked any sort of proper explanations to them; the episode explained a lot, but at the same time, it explained very little, and that wasn’t what people wanted out of the show so close to its end.

That same train of thought carried over into the negative reactions people had to the episode that followed it, which is the last episode to have aired at this point. The plot surrounding Frill was pushed to the wayside in order to close out Ai’s character arc, which revolved around her need for closure with the suicide of her best friend and the mystery surrounding their teacher’s connection to it all, and that was accomplished by not really saying much of anything.

The reason her friend decided to kill herself is never clarified, nor is the exact nature of the teacher’s involvement if he even had any, and Ai is fine with that because she realizes that she could never truly understand what her friend was feeling. It’s meant to be a big character moment for Ai, but the fact that the show teased at a mystery from day one only to end up saying that it doesn’t matter is ultimately a letdown that takes its practice of “show, don’t tell” too far.

It’s hardly something anyone wants for the protagonist of a series, and to make matters worse, there’s only one episode left for the conflict with Frill to be resolved, a conflict that has barely been developed and one that the show has given no explanation for how it can be resolved.

It's Always Sad When The Good Shows Go Bad

The downfall of Wonder Egg Priority
Credit to wherever-i-look.com

Essentially, what has happened with Wonder Egg Priority is another example of a great story completely falling apart as it reaches its endgame. What started out as a fun, surrealist romp interwoven with relevant drama devolved into a mess of convoluted twists and unsatisfying payoffs. Is that all the show has to be remembered for, though? Yevgeny Zamyatin, the author of the dystopian novel We, once had this to say about endings: “A man is like a novel: until the very last page you don't know how it will end. Otherwise, it wouldn't be worth reading.”

That belief might very well be at play here in regards to Wonder Egg Priority. With a single episode left, it’s possible that this whole mess is going to be turned around enough to at least remind people of the kind of show they thought they were in for all those weeks ago. It’s also possible, and very likely, that the finale will be the final nail in the coffin of something that once promised so much only to deliver so much of what people didn’t want. Whatever the case, there’s no denying that Wonder Egg Priority ended up becoming something no one expected it to be somewhere down the line.

Check out the video below to learn about the philosophy of Wonder Egg Priority.

A freelance writer with a love of pop culture, Japanese culture, and anything with a weird aesthetic to it.

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