Wonder Egg Priority is one of those shows I want to like better than I do. It feels like the show the cool kids should be watching, and I totally get why a lot of folks are raving about it. From a visual standpoint it’s undeniably really interesting, and it’s thematically ambitious in theory. But somehow the connection isn’t firing for me, and the short is with the writing. And if there’s anything I’ve learned about original series over the years, it’s that writing really matters.
I don’t know anything about Nojima Shinji, apart from that he’s rather famous for writing dramas (and I didn’t even know that two weeks ago). So I have absolutely no biases one way or the other with him. I simply don’t think the writing works with this show, for whatever reason. It rings false, pretentious rather than provocative. I’ve never had much patience for shows that try to be provocative for its own sake, and while I’ve certainly seen far worse than WEP I do get that sense here. There’s not a lot of subtlety or depth – just a checklist of characters and situations designed to provoke a Pavlovian response from the audience.
It seems very unlikely that’s going to change, because in writing terms Wonder Egg Priority is a one-man operation. But boy, I sure would love to be surprised because each episode (though the second was the weakest) has produced visual sequences that really stand out. There’s some wonderful old-timey anime stuff going on with director Wakabayashi Shin and his team – look past the Shaft veneer and you see influences of Bones and Gainax at work.
The question is whether the one is enough to balance out the other, and keep me invested. I don’t know, but historically visuals have rarely been enough to close the sale for me if the writing isn’t cutting it. I also found Rika to be particularly annoying, and I believe she’s the next-to-last of the major characters to be introduced so we’re running out of bullets in the chamber. I’m certainly not going away yet, because the things that stand out about Wonder Egg Priority are notable enough to buy it a fairly long leash. At this point though it’s hope more than expectation keeping me coming back – and not all that much hope at that.