The most contentious character in Wonder Egg Priority continues to be Ai Ohto’s teacher, Shuuichirou Sawaki. Outside of what exactly is going on with Aca and Ura-Aca’s seeming quest for immortality, who is on what side, and (in my opinion the most and only important part of this) how young women’s pain is exploited by a variety of people in powerful positions, the most spirited discussion of the series has revolved around Sawaki. More specifically, whether Sawaki is a benevolent, perhaps a bit too-involved but still well-meaning teacher. Or if he’s predatory and trying to forcibly insert himself into Ai’s life.
Is Shuuichirou Sawaki all that bad?
I’ve seen this question asked fairly frequently as Wonder Egg Priority has continued to air. Sawaki, who is protagonist Ai Ohto’s teacher and visits her house frequently, hasn’t technically done anything wrong. Even in the series’ latest episode, his desire to date Ai’s mother (which is his most egregious action thus far) isn’t bad per se. Most of Sawaki’s actions are framed as suspect, but could still be written off as over-caution or a negative bias on Ai’s part due to his presence in Koito Nanase’s life (and, presumably, her death).
Although Kunihiko Ikuhara isn’t involved in Wonder Egg Priority‘s production, his influence is present throughout the series. I wanted to take the time to talk a bit about Ikuhara characters found at schools and how Wonder Egg Priority is framing Sawaki in a very specific way.
Spoilers for Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum, and Yuri Kuma Arashi.
This season’s latest critical darling, Shin Wakabayashi’s Wonder Egg Priority, has been described as, if Kunihiko Ikuhara (Revolutionary Girl Utena, Mawaru Penguindrum) and Naoko Yamada’s (A Silent Voice, Liz and the Blue Bird) respective animated series had a love child. This is a fairly apt description based on the first episode, and although many upon first hearing this will wonder what exactly that looks like and how two styles that seem fairly incongruous would go together, those styles do work and the result is Wonder Egg Priority.
If you want to be particularly meta about it, the result is the description comparing two existing directorial styles and the description is also the result. It’s something new, born of known visual languages.
At least we’ll always have Mamoru’s comical, “Merry christmas! And a…happy new year!” line. The Sailor Moon S movie really is a holiday classic.
Seizon senryaku, bitches.
(I don’t usually spoiler tag things because I expect people to realize that this is a very spoilery blog, but just in case, MAJOR CONTENT SPOILERS for Mawaru Penguindrum.)