While the garden of Aca and Ura-Aca places the four leads of Wonder Egg Priority against various floral backdrops to hint at their moods and personalities, Rika Kawai’s otherworldly flower field changes depending on her emotional state.
The idea that Rika’s field reflects her feelings or situation at that time was established back in Rika’s introduction episode, which opens with an orange lily and then transitions to the entire field of now white lilies surrounding Rika’s fan, Chiemi, who she’s trying to save. Orange lilies (especially in Japanese flower language) represent revenge, pride, or hatred. By contrast, white lilies represent purity, innocence, and chastity in addition to being a common funeral flower and a visual shortcut for girls’ love. Rika’s flower field is shown to swap between the two fairly frequently as a reflection of how Rika is feeling in that moment. Sometimes she hates Chiemi. Sometimes she loves Chiemi. Sometimes she hates herself. The color of the lilies change based on Rika’s mood, and this line is further blurred by how Wonder Egg Priority uses the sunset and natural lighting over the field to change their color and the tone of a scene.
In this same episode, the field presents itself as full of evening primroses or anemones when Ai first arrives in Rika’s world. If these flowers are evening primroses (which is the more likely option in my opinion), they’re also a callback to the primroses at Koito Nanase’s feet following her suicide. This would make the most sense as a reflection of Ai in Rika’s world, but also applies to Rika herself. Evening primroses mean desperation in Japanese flower language, with added meanings of a young, volatile or inconsistent love from Victorian flower language. Ai’s relationship with and to Koito remains a mystery even now with the series in its seventh episode, but these flowers point to a charged relationship between the two despite their obvious friendship. As for Rika, she’s presented as prideful and capricious due to her background not only as a junior idol but as a product of a disruptive home environment.
As Rika grapples with her relationship with her mother in this episode, her flower field is full of pink thistles. Most thistle meanings come from western flower language and many of them conflict with each other, which makes it the perfect choice for Rika here.
The most common meanings of a thistle include aggression, toughness, pain, weakness, or inconvenience due to it’s prickly physical nature and the fact that it’s both a flower and a weed. Victorian-era gifts of thistles meant a warning to someone not to interfere or the act of interference and intrusion. Rika is outwardly prickly and here we see her easily fall into the idea that this cult leader or teacher of her egg world charge can solve her problems, similarly to how she’s shown as believing that knowing which of the five men her mother showed her is her father will somehow solve her self-loathing. The idea of Rika as “weak” is a particularly pointed message in this episode as she struggles with physical self-harm as an outlet for her emotional pain. She knows it’s wrong but she does it anyway.
Thistles are also a symbol of a resilient nature and of overcoming adversity. In parts of France they’re seen as a flower or symbol of protection and in Celtic lore they’re a sign of determination and strength as well as bravery. These attributes are also shown in Rika’s turtle partner, Mannen, who protects her from what would be a deadly blow from the wonder killer of the day. Rika overcomes a massive amount of adversity in this episode and although she continues to grapple with her own self-hatred and anger at her mother, she also reaches a state of acceptance that’s similar to Ai’s acceptance in the previous episode.
Moving on to some other flower language that Wonder Egg Priority has thrown at us over the past few weeks, Ai’s acceptance of Koito’s death and promise to return to school is accompanied by marigold flowers in the series’ sixth episode.
Marigolds meant an ill-treatment of a loved one in Victorian flower language as well as grief, despair, and mourning. They are also associated as a flower of the dead — particularly in Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration where marigolds are used to honor the dead. In Buddhism, marigolds are used as flowers of offerings to deities and along with lotus flowers are one of the more sacred flowers in the religion. Just as the thistles in Rika’s field show her slowly overcoming and coping with her existing trauma, Ai’s marigolds come at a time where she’s shown as finally accepting Koito’s death with a renewed focus to discover what happened to her closest friend. Previously, Ai was too scared to find out what really happened to Koito, but here the marigolds symbolize her acceptance and honor of Koito’s life as she moves forward.
Wisteria (immortality, longevity, a lasting and devoted love) in the garden became an important framing device over the past two episodes as well. I particularly loved how it was used to frame all four girls at the end of the latest episode as a nod to their growing friendship and strengthening of their bond.