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EP. REVIEW: Wonder Egg Priority


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harminia



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
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Location: australia
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:30 pm Reply with quote
Goldenboy1990 wrote:
Went back to see and you're right! Well there goes that idea. I wonder why that serves as her weapon of choice then? She didn't keep the gymnastic girl's er weapon...


Gym girls weapon is pretty limited. She wouldn't have been able to use it in episode 3 as there was too much empty space and little to wrap it around.
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Aki_Leaves



Joined: 05 Sep 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 9:57 pm Reply with quote
This series is absolutely incredible. I hope they stop using the CGI bobble head trash mobs in every episode though.

Last edited by Aki_Leaves on Thu Jan 28, 2021 11:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Isvaffel



Joined: 31 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2021 10:01 pm Reply with quote
Goldenboy1990 wrote:
Isvaffel wrote:
Goldenboy1990 wrote:
The pen seems to hold significance to Ai, as Koito was the one that returned it to her after they met. I wonder if Ai wrote something with that pen which may have triggered the dissolution of her friendship with Koito.


The pen's from Kurumi, episode 1 egg girl. You can see her playing with it during the chat with Ai in cafeteria. She leaves it behind when she runs away from Seeno Evils.


Went back to see and you're right! Well there goes that idea. I wonder why that serves as her weapon of choice then? She didn't keep the gymnastic girl's er weapon...


There's loads of stuff subtly hidden in Wonder Egg. For example in the same cafeteria scene you can see bag of snacks on Kurumis side. Earlier in the episode we saw glimpse inside Ai's pouch when she was sneaking out of the house. Same red bag of snacks was in there. We can conclude Ai provided Kurumi some snacks.

Inside the car (probably a taxi) in the beginning of Ep 1 you can find sign with a date [...2.05.31], There are couple of calendars in backgrounds of episodes 1 and 2 (Ep 1, on fridge in the scene where Ai collapses in kitchen. Ep 2, On wall in scene where Ai, mom and teacher are having chat.) They don't show year or date, but you can see starting and ending days of the month. They fit with June 2022 and August 2022. Notably this means there's over one month gap between Ai's first egg adventure and getting the second egg. Rehabilitation from her wounds took quite some time.
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ab2143



Joined: 09 Jan 2021
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 7:52 am Reply with quote
I knew self-harm would be mentioned in this series (based on the writer's previous works which apparently had similar themes) but I still winced when I saw the cuts on Rika's arm. Brought back some painful memories...
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rizuchan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:22 am Reply with quote
I mean, this show is beautiful and all, but... maybe the subject matter is just triggering, or I'm missing the point, but it's really rubbing me the wrong way.

There's a clear running theme in this show about girls being bullied, sometimes to suicide, for their appearance. Especially in episode 2 when we find out the gymnast girl is being bullied by her coach, who just happens to be overweight herself, for gaining weight and hitting puberty. Steve's interpretation of the monster was that it was her being afraid of her own puberty, and while I think there's something to that, to me, it was about the insecurities of the gym teacher - she was bullying the girl because she got old and fat and was insecure about this young, fit, skinny girl. With this being an almost entirely female cast, it feels dangerously close to blaming all of girls/womens' body insecurities on bullying by other women - which obviously happens, a lot, but there's a lot of complex reasons for it that I don't see this show addressing.

Someone else pointed out that Ai was bullied for her heterochromia. I don't disagree that she would be bullied for that, in Japan, or perhaps anywhere (bullies will bully you for just about anything they can). But it seems clear the writers chose heterochromia for a reason: the otaku are going to find it adorable. They chose a characteristic that's going to make most viewers think she is cute and go "why would anyone bully her for being so cute? How cruel!" Like, if you're really going to make a statement about being bullied for her appearance, have some balls and actually make her fat or something.

And then there's episode 3. Obviously the viewer is supposed to be put off by Rika's behavior and obsession with looks. I get that. It's just that it's clear by episode 3 that girls' complexes about their and others' looks is going to be a running theme to this show.

It's just... all the writers for this show are dudes. I can't help but feel like, who are they to be making all these statements on womens' bodies? I know a lot of people have been comparing this show to Ikuhara because of the egg references and all, but I have no reason to believe yet that Shinji Nomura or director Shin Wakabayashi are out to make some feminist statement with this series. I know we're only 3 episodes in and I'd love to be proven wrong, but as it is, I'd rather a story that puts this much emphasis on women's problems with appearance and puberty actually have some women writers on the team.
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VerQuality



Joined: 01 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2021 9:40 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
...

I'm not going to get too deep into your post - I do disagree on a lot of it, but I think in a series as abstract as this one, people are going to interpret things in different ways, and it's completely fair if things don't click for you. But specifically on the point of the gymnast, it does seem quite true to life - especially how important youth is to the sport, doubly so for women. This article was very good for some context:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/olympics/for-gymnasts-age-matters-and-comes-with-acost/article31200953/
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dm
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 2:22 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
I mean, this show is beautiful and all, but... maybe the subject matter is just triggering, or I'm missing the point, but it's really rubbing me the wrong way.


I think your comments about the lived experience of the creators and its relevance to the subject matter are even more on-point after episode four. Even though the series has a new kind of trauma to address, I'd feel better about what happens in the episode if I knew that there was a broader (and more relevant) set of perspectives represented on the creative team. It also doubles down, or perhaps even quadruples down on appearance.

I'm really wondering where the series is going to take the things said in this episode.
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Agent355



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 3:51 am Reply with quote
I agree with rizuchan and dm and would take it further—I think this show is gorgeous in its art and animation, but I’ve been cautious about its themes since the first episode, because it gives me victim blaming vibes.
Episode 1 seemed to suggest that Ai was (or *should* feel) as responsible for Koito’s mistreatment as the actual bullies who harassed her, even though Ai was a victim of bullying herself. The use of “see-no-evils” as monsters seemed to reinforce this idea. It’s vague, and we’re still not given the full circumstances around Koito’s suicide, so it’s possible that the egg is only reflecting Ai’s guilt and not implicating her as complicit, though.

Episode 2 seemed to imply that the gymnastics girl could have stopped her adult coach’s harassment, if only she hadn’t accepted it and had spoken up. It could be read as speaking up was only possible in the egg, so my suspicions on this might be wrong, too.

Episode 3 really bothered me—first, for addressing body shaming and eating disorders by focusing on a body shamer who is *still* calling her victim “fat” after her death—yes, Rika is in pain and is still struggling, but imagine if Shouyo from A Silent Voice asked forgiveness from Shouko while still making fun of her hearing aids and justifying his behavior towards her because she’s Deaf.

Episode 3 also features two girls who seemingly committed suicide just to be part of trend, a shallow misinterpretation of the “copycat effect,” made even worse by the fact that it was inspired by actual events.

And episode 4 was just a whole problematic mess, from focusing on sexual assault almost entirely from the frame of reference of how attractive the victim was. Yes, Momoe pointed out that her mother was wrong for claiming that the assault was a compliment of her looks, but it didn’t move beyond that to state that assault is not about the victim’s appearance at all, but about power. It was too busy building a fleeting romance between the traumatized victim and Momoe, and putting the victim in a situation where she had to *take off her shirt* to “tempt” her assaulter in order to “trap him.” Gross.

But what had me screaming at the screen was Acca’s matter-of-fact declaration on the gender essentialist motivations for suicide. I know Acca isn’t a trustworthy character, but this show has already agreed with his reasoning by only including girls in its cast and in its eggs (in the same way Madoka only used girls because, supposedly, girls are more emotional than boys).

Now, fans are speculating that Momoe may be a trans girl, which would add diversity to the cast. But I’m not sure we can trust these writers at all.

I’d love to be proven wrong, and the story to show it understands trauma, survivors guilt, victim blaming, and LGBT issues. I’m still planning to watch. Cautiously.
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DuskyPredator
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:13 am Reply with quote
Episode 4 does feel like it might be a bit controversial, especially in how it handles some gender bits. It almost makes me wonder about some idea of treating even trans boys as girls, because they are biologically one way and maybe just actually want to be cute.

I am not sure how much of a thing there is about cis girls being forced to be masculine, and actually just want to be seen as girls.
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OtherSideofSky



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 10:11 am Reply with quote
I'm not sure what to make of Momoe's shifting first-person pronouns. She uses "boku" in the Egg-world (or whatever you want to call it) and "watashi" in reality (although she starts using "boku" to Ai and then corrects herself). At the same time, she clearly doesn't like being seen as a boy (especially in reality) and is happy when Ai recognizes her as a girl, so it doesn't seem to be a case only being able to be herself in the Egg-world. She's also wearing a girl's uniform in her brief flashback, so if there's something preventing her from presenting as feminine, it seems like it must be recent.

I have no idea where Acca's gender monologue is coming from or going to. I really hope it's not just a half-baked attempt to justify why the main cast is all girls, because just never bringing that up would have been a much better solution.
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quirkafleeg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 5:48 pm Reply with quote
I'm still a bit more hopeful than Agent355 about the writing direction. The theme so far seems to have been that the perpetrators of the bullying are most to blame and so become the "monster" that needs to be defeated. But the Seeno Evils seem to be attaching secondary blame to onlookers who do nothing to help, or contribute in their own way through gossiping etc.

I don't read the show as victim-blaming. One of the (few?) things episode 4 did well was show what a courageous step it was for a victim of assault to speak up. The reaction of her parents was horrifying, but horribly believable. And it was so self-evidentally horrifying that I don't think the show felt the need to point that out directly. Here too the secondary blame seemed to be on societal attitudes that contribute to the problem, not on the victim.

Quote:
I have no idea where Acca's gender monologue is coming from or going to. I really hope it's not just a half-baked attempt to justify why the main cast is all girls, because just never bringing that up would have been a much better solution.


Yeah, guess this and the future portrayal of Momoe will make or break the show for me. Acca speaks for the gatcha system, so best case is that the writers set this up to knock it down later (perhaps with Momoe?). Worst case it's what the writers really think, in which case the show is going to be a painful disappointment.

Ended up watching most of episode 4 through my hands, some of it definitely intentional on the part of the writers, but also with a lot of "oh god, please tell me you're not going there". Hope they know what they're doing and can pull it off. The show has so much potential.
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whiskeyii



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:00 pm Reply with quote
I like to err on the side of people who think Acca isn't saying that male and female suicides are different so much as the societal pressures exerted on boys and girls are different and thus lead victims to think they are committing suicide for different reasons, when it really tends to boil down to (from what others have told me at least) an escape from being themselves, because being themselves is too painful to deal with.

That said, I don't think Momoe is going to to turn out to be trans. I think there's enough in the ED to suggest that she's taking on a masculine appearance for unknown but external reasons, and that this is clashing with her desire to just be her typical female self.
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meiam



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:04 pm Reply with quote
Men and women suicide really should be treated differently, there's variation from country to country but it usually come down that far more women attempt suicide every year but that far more men die from it on a yearly basis (iirc it's about 3x higher in the us). Treating them the same would be a big public health mistake.

I'm not a big fan of gender discussion. Everyone understand that label are fluid and not precise things but still grounded in reality. Just think about fruits vs vegetable we all have a more or less an idea of what's a fruits or vegetable, but that might be different from reality/definition (if you ask someone for a fruit salad and they give you a tomato salad you'd be confused but they wouldn't be wrong). But the moment it comes to gender all that common sense fly out the window. I just feel like people who insist that gender are very specific (ie XY chromosome) should realize that this is not a very useful way to define it and might not even line up with what people would widely accept. At the same time, I think people who want to completely re draw the definition should realize people use those label because they're useful and making them into "whatever people want" isn't useful and would just mean abandoning those label altogether.

Also not super comfortable with the girl being sexually assaulted and immediately turning around to profess her love to Momo, was a bit jarring. Reeked of the white knight mentality. Even Games of thrones made fun of that.

I do wish this episode separated the Momo and Ai fight, combining them didn't really give anything interesting and just made it more confusing for nothing.
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Joined: 21 Dec 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:18 pm Reply with quote
everything else about the show aside, the direction is really refreshing. No hand-holding the audience, but very easy to keep track of. Very confident switching between character POVs, confident use of flashbacks. all I'm thinking while watching it is that "finally, some good [expletive] food" gordon ramsay meme. I think it's simultaneously true that Ai's heterochromia is sufficient to ground her bullying and isolation and that it's a pretty cowardly creative decision. Every protagonist in the show so far is very pretty, which feels cheap or even insulting in a show that is focusing so much on body image issues and the politics of being a teenage girl. But this is also probably a case of this show being held to idiosyncratic standards because of the rest of what it's doing - I can't think of many (any?) anime that have a female protagonist whose ugliness is unambiguous, not tied to their moral character, and central to their story.


I think there's no way the egg mannequins' incel misogyny lines at the end of the last ep are points the show is making about gender. I mean, if that's what you believe, why write a show about the pathos of being a teenage girl? It's just biology, there's nothing to say about it. It's also just such an incoherent statement that if you were an incel/a person I disagree with politically/just plain misogynist type you would probably softpedal and call it a strawman. Nonetheless I think the politics of the show will ultimately end up being as lukewarm as the aesthetic decisions about character and monster designs - but even just revealing acca and ura acca as monsters of some sort will be satisfying at this point, and will be a pretty unambiguous shot fired at one sort of gender essentialism.
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whiskeyii



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 04, 2021 3:33 pm Reply with quote
meiam wrote:

I do wish this episode separated the Momo and Ai fight, combining them didn't really give anything interesting and just made it more confusing for nothing.


I actually think it helped draw a contrast between how each girl saves their respective wards. Ai can seemingly only do so if she a) comes to some kind of self-realization, and b) had the explicit aid of her wards. Momoe, on the other hand, seems to take a much more straightforward approach that has the unfortunate side effect of seemingly punting the wards to one side, and may or may not mean that her straightforward approach means she inadvertently forces the wards to reenact their own trauma when Momoe finds herself pinned down. I do think WEP is making it pretty clear that while Momoe is getting the same end result as Ai and the other girls, her methods are not good for her wards nor herself, as being seen as a “white knight” appears to be uncomfortable if not also traumatizing for Momoe.
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