「裸のナイフ」 (Hadaka no Naifu)
“A Bare Knife”
Wonder Egg Priority felt like it was on a downward trend, losing some magic between the first and second episodes. However, Episode 3 reversed those tides of fortune, arguably surpassing the introductory episode thanks to the addition of an extremely compelling character who’s clearly wants to atone for sins from her past.
Rika: The Red Flower Ranger
We are introduced to a third girl, Rika. At first, Rika comes across as this shallow, unlikeable girl who mooches off others. The worst bit was when she superficially declared that the person she’s trying to save was ugly, fat and not her friend. Only her wallet – making us think that all she cared about was money and materialism.
But then, we’re slowly trickled hints that Rika is being dishonest. First, with the scars on her wrists whilst bathing. Then the fact the feelings in her dreams were a lot stronger than Ai’s feelings for her best friend, Koito. As it turns out, Rika’s hiding physical and emotional scars of guilt, self-harm and trauma at having caused Chiemi’s death.
To empathise with Rika’s perspective, I do agree that there’s a distinction between fans and friends, with recent streamer culture discussions coming to mind. However, the way she brushed off Chiemi was excessively cruel – telling someone who loved and adored her so much she was a fat, ugly pig she would never be friends with. Even if they contained good intentions of deterring Chiemi from shoplifting to fund her idol obsession habits.
Subsequently, Chiemi develops an eating disorder and dies. It’s one thing to be involved with your best friend’s death through no real fault of your own. Koito’s death had many external factors Ai had little control over. It’s another thing to be directly responsible for the death of someone who was so wholesomely and lovingly dedicated towards you. I’m not surprised that Rika harms herself and desperately strives to save Chiemi. I can’t even begin to imagine living with that kind of crushing guilt.
I’m not sure whether Rika deserves my sympathy because of how horribly she treated Chiemi. But at least she’s trying her hardest to bring her No.1 fan back to life, showing she really did care about her. In retrospect, telling Ai that the person she desired to save was ugly, fat and not her friend is Rika’s cruel reminder to herself why she continues saving these eggs and that she does not deserve forgiveness.
The Student Couneslor is a Creep
We receive some indications something’s amiss with the Student Counselor who visits Ai. I’d always assumed his persistence in visiting Ai contained ulterior motives. And we find out why. Ai witnessed the student counselor grooming Koito. It wouldn’t take a genius to guess he’s trying to keep an eye on her. Maybe silence her if he can.
Interestingly, Ai’s reaction to the grooming was strange. She was frustrated – maybe even jealous – that her best friend didn’t open up to her. Which is pretty damn fucked up. I’m guessing that Ai failed to realise her feelings in the first place. Not saying this is the case, but I think it would be interesting if the series ended up exploring sexuality here.
Given that she innocently assumed Neiru’s perverted euphemism regarding Rika meant pillow fight, I actually don’t think Ai was even aware that Koito was being sexually groomed. The future confrontation between Ai and her school’s student counselor will be unavoidable, seeing how he frequently visits her home and knowing what the series is attempting to build up. But I will be fascinated in seeing how it plays out. And how many unspoken assumptions are coming from both sides too.
And I’ve got one massive question. These statues look nothing like Koito/Chiemi to me. Why do Ai/Rika assume the statue represents the people they want to save? And why do they believe that saving enough eggs will bring them back to life?
Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to talk about. As always, thanks for reading this post and see you all next week!