Wonder Egg Priority has always paid specific attention to lighting when Rika Kawai is onscreen.
In the midst of her many quips about how she would look beautiful in a flower field but others wouldn’t, Rika’s flowers reflect her state of mind and most importantly, change color based on the lighting. Sometimes the lilies in her field appear white — purity, innocence, potentially a funeral flower for the girl she is trying to save, Chiemi — and sometimes they appear orange, reflecting hatred (both towards herself for treating Chiemi the way she did among other bouts of self-loathing and towards Chiemi for the girl’s persistence).
This same technique is used several times in the series’ eleventh episode, which also brings in myriad flowers and related flower language that Wonder Egg Priority has been using since its debut.
Leading off with Rika hints that the series will be using lighting to transform the colors and/or patterns of flowers that appear in this episode. Immediately following the cold open, Ai Ohto is wandering around the Acas’ flower garden at night and is introduced by the above shot: blue hydrangeas. Hydrangeas also have ties to Rika — purple and pink hydrangeas introduced her initially in the garden — reflecting her pride but also her desire to understand others and heartfelt emotions towards others.
While hydrangeas generally in Japanese flower language mean pride, blue hydrangeas specifically represent an apology or coldness. Despite knowing that the true colors of these hydrangeas (pink/purple) they’re definitively blue thanks to the lighting here and act as a transition from Rika to Ai in the garden as a precursor to the introduction of Frill.
Frill is later shown walking around the garden after this shot of the same hydrangeas that introduced Rika to Ai in the series’ third episode. Pink hydrangeas specifically symbolize a heartfelt emotion towards others and purple hydrangeas can mean a desire to understand others (or someone specific if given as a gift.)
These flowers are particularly interesting in relation to Frill who is a rather callous creation of the Acas. They brought her into the world without much thought or consideration as to what having a young woman just entering adolescence would entail. As anime blogging friend Steve Jones pointed out in his post, it’s telling that even in their own narration (which probably isn’t to be trusted as the whole truth) the Acas still come off badly.
The hydrangeas aren’t the only flowers to frame frill. The Acas’ garden has always acted as a revolving backdrop where the flowers rotate behind the young women who visit to pick up eggs depending on their current mood. Wonder Egg Priority draws several visual parallels between Frill in the garden during flashbacks and various shots of Ai in the garden.
First up is wisteria, which Ai walks underneath before going inside the Acas’ house. Wisteria later appears when Frill walks through the same garden in a flashback and more generally, Wonder Egg Priority uses wisteria very frequently to frame the girls while also using it as their entry point to the garden itself. With its meaning of immortality and long-lasting love, it could be seen as a transition. Additionally, Victorian flower language gives wisteria the meaning of a warning against being overly-passionate in love or over-eager. Given that Frill is seemingly immortal and frozen in a volatile period of adolescence, it’s also effective as an (unheeded) warning to the Acas’ callousness in creating her in the first place.
Frill also appears where Ai initially appeared in the garden at the end of the series’ first episode next to a purple blazing star (liatris) flower. These flowers can mean a desire to restart or redo something as well as an apology in addition to happiness or joy. With these conflicting meanings it’s appropriate for Ai during her first entry to the Acas’ world in Episode 1 and also for Frill in the garden — either as a message that the Acas regret their decision or that Frill herself (a confused adolescent AI) desires a fresh start.
Another instance of lighting changing what a flower looks like thereby changing its meaning, occurs in Azusa’s wedding flashbacks. The flowers used at the wedding are white roses, but when they appear in a pew next to frill they look yellow. IN Japanese flower language white roses represent innocence (like many white flowers) as well as devotion and silence whereas yellow roses represent jealousy (by contrast, in western flower language yellow roses mean friendship). Frill’s jealousy and misunderstanding of her relationship with the two Acas is a major plot point and what ultimately drives her to kill Azusa.
Azusa herself is framed by specific flowers that reappear around her daughter Himari. The white anemones represent sincerity in Japanese flower language although anemones more generally can mean fragility or forsaken love in western flower language. The prickly pink flowers I’m less certain about but most resemble a protea flower which carries a meaning of uniqueness, transformation, and courage. Both women died as a result of Frill’s jealousy and both women were held in high esteem by the Acas.
As an aside, the fact that the flowers appear in a near-identical position and frame mother and daughter similarly, it could showcase how the Acas saw them similarly.
White orchids appear in both the Acas house next to the board of egg girls and again in a flashback on a counter where the Acas worked when they were human. Again, like many white flowers, white orchids carry a meaning of innocence and purity but also reverence or refinement. In Japan specifically they’re seen as a luxury and were favored by royalty.
Finally, white lilies once again frame the entirety of the episode from their first appearance in Rika’s flower field in the cold open to a funeral flower for Azusa as shown above. White lilies carry a meaning of purity and chastity in Japanese flower language (which is why they also became a symbol for girls’ love although that meaning doesn’t apply to this episode) and are a common funeral flower. They’ve appeared in relation to Ai as early as the series’ first episode.