Nearing its finale, Wonder Egg Priority is keeping us at the edge of our seats. Many fan theories are out there about Sawaki sensei, Neiru’s company Blue Corp, and the Accas.
Let’s not forget, though, that one thing (among many) that Wonder Egg Priority does really well is character development, especially for Ai and Rika. When Rika Kawai was introduced, we all recognized her as an anime trope—the abrasive, pushy, extroverted teen girl—another Asuka Langley bossing Shinji around. This is not the whole story, though. Here is why we think that Rika is great, flaws and all.
Rika vs Others
Rika displays the characteristics of an antagonist. She pushes kind-hearted Ai for money to get new eggs and pesters tight-laced Neiru, who is quick to take her distance. The way Rika speaks about other women, like the girls from her group during her junior idol days, is openly dismissive.
Things click together when Neiru brings up “codependency” after hearing Rika’s frustrations with her mom for yet another time. This is when Rika’s storylines come together:
- Her relationship with her mom, and by extension, with her dad
- Her first mission with the fans in episode 4 that killed themselves to follow their idol’s example
Rika’s connection to her superfan Chiemi
- The cult leader Wonder Killer with the devoted follower Rika is trying to help in episode 7.
- We are going to see what all these stories have to do with diminishing one’s self-worth to fit into another person’s perception, and then, falling victim to the whims of that authority figure.
Betrayed by Adults
Wonder Egg Priority deals at large with the harm adults inflict upon children. In episode 7, we witness Rika’s connection to her mother. Rika has complained endlessly about how her mom is irresponsible, passes out drunk, and does not even tell her who her father is. Her mother is trying her best but it is inevitable not to pass some of her bitterness down to her daughter.
Seeing her mother depressed over the loss of her youth and her loneliness, Rika does not trust her as a parental figure. Instead, she dreams of reconnecting with her father and lives by his worldview: “A pretty girl doesn't need a wallet, someone else will always pay for her”. This view, though, made Rika hurt Chiemi irreparably.
Chiemi the Superfan
Chiemi based her whole identity around being Rika’s number one fan. When Rika spots Chiemi shoplifting to buy her expensive gifts, she cannot bear seeing herself in her fan, like someone desperate for approval. Rika does not see herself as worthy of such sacrifice. She tells off Chiemi in an attempt to make her come to her senses. The delivery, however, is terrible—insulting her appearance—and contributes to Chiemi’s eating disorder.
The Cult Leader Wonder Killer
Following a cult is the ultimate form of codependency, putting one’s whole being into the hands of another, giving up on individuality completely. We got a glimpse of Rika’s pain in her introduction, but in episode 7, we witness that the hurt runs deep when faced with the cult leader Wonder Killer. Rika feels helpless in her pain. We can tell that she had to fend for herself most of her life, having as her guide the harmful beliefs her environment fed her. Looking cheerful, cute, and tough-as-nails, manipulating others for her gain but actually feeling like the worst person in the world. The Wonder Killer senses all this and manipulates her to give up on her life.
But, when Rika opens up to Ai about her pain, she is not abandoned. Ai, and then Neiru and Momoe come to help her against her enemy. Rika’s mother might not be what she needs and her father is absent, but that does not mean that she is forever abandoned. This is when Rika realizes that she is not alone, accepts her weakness, and decides to keep on living.
Streetsmart and a Fool
“Of course you feel guilty. So do I. But should we really feel so responsible that we'd risk our own lives?” Rika delivers the core message of Wonder Egg Priority. This is when we see her stepping out of her usual ways of thinking, realizing the girls’ guilt, and asking the important question: do we have to bear the sole responsibility and pain by ourselves? And, what if the people we are trying to save do not want to come back and it is us who selfishly wish for that?
It is worth noting that, in Neiru’s episode (9), Rika reacts against Neiru who is ready to cut off Kotobuki’s life support. She still has not reconciled fully with the truth she voiced earlier, projecting her own guilt on a different situation than hers and Chiemi’s.
Choose Your Weapon
Rika used to self-harm for a long time. It is made clear that this is a way to cope while she is working on finding another healthier way to deal with her feelings. Her weapon looks like the razor she is using to self-harm. The show does not treat Rika as an inherently flawed character but as a young person dealing with feelings of depression, abandonment, and self-loathing while figuring out who she is and what her real values are. This is another point showing that Rika is strong in her weakness.
Rika is strong because she recognizes her shortcomings. She also speaks up for what she deems important. She has caused pain and harm and comes to recognize it. Rika also gradually understands that hating herself will not bring Chiemi or her father back. She chooses to stay close to her new friends and fight with them. We hope to see her soon confronting Acca and Ura-Acca about their schemes. No matter which direction Wonder Egg Priority will take in its finale, the answer is in friendship, love between equals, cooperation, and consent.
Do you love Rika as much as we do? Let us know in the comments below and thanks for reading!