While I’m only four episodes in so far, Wonder Egg Priority is my favorite anime of this season, and perhaps the last several years. Has a worthy successor to Madoka Magica arrived? While I’d like to wait to definitively answer, my initial reaction is hopeful.

Egg isn’t exactly a magical girl series. These girls fight in their dreams, but their bodies take the very real damage, often resulting in hospital visits and broken bones. Each egg holds a victim of trauma that the girl needs to protect from a villain in their dream.

While the main character designs are excellent, the villains are truly imaginative. Each is an exaggerated form of the being that caused the trauma or made things worse for the victim during their real life. The ways they talk, move, morph really give you the Madoka Labyrinth feel. Yet the locations for the dreams ground the events in reality and take place in fields, school, or places familiar to both us and the victims.

The voice acting for all characters is excellent. Villains are characters you really want to hate, victims you want to protect, and allies are people you would want to hang out with. Expressions and animation are also seamlessly carried out from scene to scene.

Like Madoka, there is always darkness beneath the surface. Everything has either a symbolic or psychological reason for being present, and I can’t wait to see where the show takes this and what twists are in store. An excellent example is the weapons used in each battle. Ai’s primary weapon is her favorite pen, given to her by someone special. It morphs into a large sword, but retains enough features that we know what she’s using. Characters are not limited to any one weapon and will also use special items from the victims against the villains, and I love the way that empowers them. Victims will sometimes even help in the fight!

The main cast of girls has dynamic characters that will have someone for everyone. More than archetypes, I’m really excited to learn more of their backstories. We start by getting to know Ai, who is a shut in who stays home from school after her best and only friend committed suicide. Next we meet Neiru, a stoic rich girl who wants to save her sister. Third is Rika, an unsuccessful idol who is more complicated than she first appears. Fourth is Momoe, a delightful girl with a heart of gold who is often mistaken for a boy and is extremely popular.

Each has their own reason to risk their life in every battle, to resurrect someone lost. Regrets, guilt, and unrealized strength shape their characters intimately. What would you do to bring back someone that you’ve lost?

 

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