“When it comes down to it, I think the director doesn’t know everything about the movie. Everyone always thinks if you want to know something, talk to the director. I don’t think that’s true. I think the answer lies inside every single viewer.” - Mamoru Oshii
As cliche as it is, I’ll say it regardless: this movie is not for everyone. By the end you’ll most likely be calling your mother, asking her to hold you. Begging her to tell you everything’s going to be all right. Angel’s Egg is a 70 minute joyride through the enigmatic mind of Mamoru Oshii that has more Christian symbolism
and allergies than one might care to see in their lifetime. On top of that, the movie is incredibly slow paced (not really a joyride is it...) and has the bare minimum amount of dialogue to keep the story progressing. Which might I add, calling it a story is either the greatest insult or greatest compliment to the film and is something each individual must answer themselves.
As mentioned above, each viewer will decide for themselves however deep or shallow the story and its message is. As such, I’m not going to analyze the story and its many symbols because while it may mean X to me, it most likely means A-Z for the next 25 people and this is where Oshii’s words speak volumes. It’s an interpretive story. However much (or however little) you want to search for the films meaning, you aren’t necessarily wrong. There is no conclusive answer. I consider it to be a surreal and highly thought provoking piece of interpretive art. But one man’s interpretive art is another man's garbage. It’s understandable why people don’t like the movie and why it failed when it was initially released. It is highly Christianic themed and is often considered as an interpretation of Oshii’s early life when he was studying to become a priest. With this in mind, the film may come off as pretentious and overbearing, but perhaps it is just a roundabout autobiography of Oshii’s early life. The true intentions of this piece will most likely never be known.
The story is meticulous, slow and every scene deliberate and full of detail. While on the surface it may not mean much, it may mean a great deal underneath in its ever so mystifying allegories. As such, the film requires a great deal of attention and open mindedness. The elongated scenes, to me are some of the most vivid cinematic experiences I've witnessed in any film. This technique will most likely make you remember these scenes, even long after the movie is over. Regardless of if you liked the scenes or not they contain a lot of meaning and detail. At the same time I can understand how they may deter viewers, adding to the list of why this movie isn't for everyone. Aside from these deliberate and almost painfully slow scenes, the film progresses slowly and the world and its characters are spectacularly developed as the movie progresses.
The characters are fantastic. Both the boy and the girl have a mysterious air to them and many questions are left unanswered about both them and their pasts. They don’t really understand who they are or why they’re here. The lack of answers doesn't detract from the film, in fact quite the opposite, their recondite nature draws the viewer in. The greatest strength of the characters is that their interactions are genuine and realistic. The girl is innocent and timid. She emanates warmth and even acts childish around the boy at some points adding a rather heartwarming feel to an overly bleak atmosphere.Their subtle gestures and actions are used masterfully in the stead of dialogue, creating a very unique experience.
The orchestral score serves to further encapsulate the dark atmosphere of the film and is often foreboding at times, creating a sense of suspense for the viewer. It is serene, emphasizing the beauty and fragility of this poor innocent girl whilst it is equally melancholic highlighting the dark undertones of the dystopian world. The score wholeheartedly compliments and dramatizes the film.
The art is nothing short of amazing. The attention to every minute detail in each individual frame and background is truly something to behold. Not only is the art visually rewarding to look at because of this, but the combination of its dark color palette and entrancing cityscapes, skeletons, machinery and everything in between goes above and beyond in staging such an eerie and mystifying atmosphere that consumes this dystopian world. The characters are equally well designed and given as much detail and attention as the scenery. Amano Yoshitaka’s art truly makes Angel’s Egg what it is.
Angel’s Egg presents its viewers with an obscure message, enveloped in equally obscure symbolism and allegories. It indubitably blurs the line between the understandable and the incomprehensible. And as such, what each individual takes from this movie is subjective and is no more right or wrong than the next person’s interpretation. As Oshii said, the answer lies inside every viewer. On that reason alone, this movie will certainly fall short for some, and it’s absolutely understandable. But perhaps solace should be taken in the coalescence of the film’s breathtaking art and its mesmerizing music score. Perhaps, above all else, Angel’s Egg is a paragon of visual art.
I heard that this anime was underrated, and then decided to check it out. After watching the film, I was doing two things. One, I was scratching my head, and two, I was trying to pry my jaw from the floor.
Wow, what a surreal, vivid, creepy, terrifying, amazing, astounding, memorable work of art.
The story here is quite simple, and is presented very slowly. The main character does not hesitate to observe and admire her surroundings. The pacing has been complained about before, and I halfway agree with these complaints. On one hand, the extra-slow paced lingering shots may bore you, and on the other hand,
they will create a lasting impression on you once you finish the film. It's kind of a catch-22, which is rather unfortunate. The slow pacing is both good and bad.
The artwork and animation are almost indescribable. I was completely astonished at how lifelike and detailed the characters were animated. For its time, the animation must have been groundbreaking, and it looks great even today. I feel that it transcends the "anime" style. The style and the background artwork I also enjoyed. I haven't seen many animes with a feel quite like this one. It's an extremely moody, creepy and somewhat realistic style. The backgrounds are very imaginative, memorable and often ambiguously symbolic. It's creepy and absolutely mesmerizing.
The music was orchestrated and consisted mainly of vocals and choirs. Nothing really to complain about here. The music fit the scenes, enhanced the scenes and didn't detract from or overpower them. It was sometimes downright dreary, yet it was oftentimes whimsical and fantastic. I loved it.
There were only two characters, and they were portrayed in a very simple way. Their actions developed them the most, and although they lacked much dialog, it wasn't really needed. Their actions and looks spoke volumes. I wished that they could have been developed a little more, so that we could come to know them. That, unfortunately didn't happen, but seemed to meld perfectly with one of the themes of the movie. I felt that the director, Mamoru Oshii, preferred developing the world over the characters, because there is more time dedicated to showing the nice scenery.
Are you going to enjoy this movie? Well, that, my friend, depends on whether you are able to sit tight and enjoy a very slow movie. Are you watching anime for the art and message, or for the entertainment? Angel's Egg requires the viewer to be on the same mental wave-length, so to speak. And if you are, you will enjoy this film immensely. It reminded me in some was of the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, and if you enjoyed that movie, you will most likely be intrigued and engaged.
Angel's Egg is a memorable, slow-paced, mesmerizing and beautiful film, and although somewhat ambiguous and confusing in its message, it will still stick with you and affect you. Whatever the message is. I felt that this film was expressed very sincerely, from the bottom of Mr. Oshii's heart. He himself said he didn't know what it meant. I got some allegorical and Biblical what-if's out of it, as well as symbols of hope, future and loss of innocence. You may find something else. It is incredibly deep, and it's not laid out for you.
Preface: Angel's Egg is my favorite movie, animated or not, and I don’t expect everyone to like it as much as I do... this is just my opinion.
Also: Spoiler Warning.......
Mandatory ratings of "story" and "character" seem constricting, implying that anime must be a narrative art.. Animation especially seems to have the potential to release visuals from these constructs and to become a poetic association of images or a musical rhapsody of color and movement, which engage us on a subconscious aesthetic level.. Not to imply that Angel's Egg is a non-narrative work of art— it isn't— or that it has no characters— it does,
and effectively uses them as emotional vehicles. However, the existence of these implies that in art we are looking for an engaging story and psychologically relatable, entertaining, or in some way likable characters. For most, Angel's Egg is not going to present those things, but I do not consider that to its detriment.
Angel's Egg presents a few images suggestive of something beyond themselves that in their significance beg to be taken as symbols— inevitably leading viewers to puzzle over them, to ask, "What does it mean?" To ask that question may in some say imply an answer, which there is not. There's no reason to think that an idea of clear authorial intent is behind every ambiguous work of art, that every image and symbol can be reduced to some concept, idea or word, and that the viewer should let this concept stand in for the image in his experience of the work. In other words, there's no reason to interpret Angel's Egg allegorically.
To sum up my view on images, I'll quote the poet Basho: "There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon." I think he is suggesting that all of our perceptions, thoughts, and words are images. We perceive images all around us and it is only through these images that we communicate. Abstract ideas have no existence outside of our ability to IMAGine them; we conceive of our feelings in terms of images; we conceive of ourselves in terms of images. Eventually these images become abstracted from present material experience and enter deep into the realms of our desires and subconscious, and as they are ingrained in our culture's collective web of meaning, they become archetypes.
I include this tangent because I think that Angel's Egg works directly with archetypes, casts them like a spell, and we as viewers want to make sense of what we experienced by assigning a meaning to them. I don't want to suggest that no meaning is present. However, I do want to inverse the usual understanding that some meaning in the artist's mind is the starting point, and the symbol is subservient to that. In fact, a pure image is the primary thing-in-itself, and this image may be suggestive of a whole shade of meanings, and like a word these suggestions can have ranges of connotations for different people. It's like in music, when notes and melodies and atmospheres can for a listener evoke specific memories or messages— but no one would say that such a message is the primary purpose of the music— which is nothing but notes. Rarely does one talk about what music “means.” Such would I say are the images in Angel's Egg.
So for me, what is the sum total of these images? I could shorten this whole review into a single sentence by saying that when I watch Angel's Egg, I feel like I'm viewing the dreams I saw when I was sleeping inside my mother's womb. The atmosphere is so dark, so delicate, that to compress it into some ideas and themes would be to collapse its subconscious delirious atmosphere. I feel like this story is something being played out in my mind, below and between my conscious understanding. The egg, the cross, the mechanical God, reflections, water... all of these and more are symbols in Angel's Egg. Yet rather than asking, “What does it mean?” I'd rather ask, “How does it make me feel?” And these images arrest me: feelings of lost innocence, holding on to a bit of faith, deeply buried memories, the unreality of experience, existential confusion, the fear of abandoning and being abandoned by God... all of these are contained in my viewing of Angel's Egg. Both characters start to embody aspects of myself which, for being on a screen, start to feel more real.
"You have to break something to find out what's inside."
The same could be said about this movie itself.
When I'm watching, the images become indicative to me of something larger, but I can't necessarily pinpoint this significance down into an allegorical understanding. I feel like I too am clutching this egg with so much passion. What it is could be a number of completely personal things to me or it could be something else personal to another. But that desire of clinging onto that fragility associated with maidenhood, and the converse questioning cynicism that seeks to break it, feel real, regardless of whether or not I can articulate whatever Oshii was "trying to say."
The Christian symbols don't become instruments to make some "point" about Christianity; they're just presented, and they can either start to mean something to you personally, or not. This movie isn't going to try to make you enjoy it. Its content in being itself and it's up to you whether it moves you or not.
Amano's artwork, with its exquisite delicacy and detail is perfect for the atmosphere of the film, and along with the score and pacing, /is/ the atmosphere of this film. There's not really anything else to add on the matter other than that I find the artwork gorgeous and evocative. The colors create a distinct world-- one of shadows and reflections, mirrors, and windows through which darkness is distorted and parallel worlds open up. In fact, more than almost any I've seen, Angel's Egg's "world" becomes almost self-consciously so-- one enclosed existence among many-- truly dream-like and expressionistic, as if these egg's dreams are projected onto a screen and a moment's sensation becomes a visual palette, and in this palette other realities converge-- and this world belongs only to the girl, and this strange nameless soldier is passing through from one world he can't remember, collapses this world, and under the malignant transcendent reality of the mechanical god who devours individuals, passes on to another.. The final shot reinforces this impression.
The interactions between the two characters take on a strange poignancy; in this desolate, unreal, left-over place, a persistent desire for contact and a deeply human curiosity become the forces that destroy the egg. Despite the work's expressionistic, unusual, or inaccessible nature, there's something deeply immediate about the sad look on the soldier's face at the end of the movie, as he stands alone...
In the end, this movie leaves me with the impression of a world abandoned by God, where, left with empty meanings, only suggestions of happiness and reality are contained elsewhere, a world haunted by promises and vague suggestions of fulfilment, yet left in the dark and alone. The score embodies this impression, alternating between beautiful melodies, waltz-like rhythms, and dissonant dissolutions; it feels like a transient dream always on the edge of being real and graspable, yet ultimately transient and unattainable in its distant beauty.
Rather than talk about how I choose to interpret every image in the film, I think it's best to leave it at that, as every viewer will have a different reaction and interpretation. Obviously this film moved me deeply. Maybe it won't move you at all. That doesn't make one of us right and the other wrong. This movie's images tapped into the subconscious reservoir of my fears and desires, maybe the images will mean nothing to another. It's an expressionistic work, that however exquisitely crafted, will fall flat for some people. What it means for others, however, has nothing to do with what it means for me.
Angel's Egg, or Tenshi no Tamago, sits at the forefront of a list of bizarre and eccentric anime that includes Cat Soup and Iblard Jikan, while its niche but most enthused audience promises that its complex allegory is as beautiful and philosophical as the most serious of art-house films. Directed by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh, Patlabor, Sky Crawlers), Angel's Egg is perhaps Oshii's most personal and best work. However, as interesting and surreal as it is, beneath its murky surface Angel's Egg suffers from classical problems in Oshii's stories. Past the compelling mystical, spiritual, and psychological nature of the work, there is
missing a profundity and artistry that keeps Angel's Egg from being anything more than a small sample at a Michelin star restaurant; it is rich and possesses depth of flavor, but leaves an empty feeling in the stomach and a hunger for something more.
From the start, Angel's Egg is not the most approachable work. In line with other minimalist anime like Serial Experiments Lain and to a lesser extent Texhnolyze, the film sacrifices dialogue and characterization in favor of atmosphere and visual storytelling. The very beginning of the story features a set of hands that move in near absolute silence. It is only when the childlike fingers transform into a pair of brown and calloused hands and we see and hear the knuckles clench and crack that we realize that the work was indeed intended to start without a sound. Lovers of action packed sequences and fleshed out characters will probably find themselves moaning at long drawn out walks and a pair of individuals who seem to be nothing more than the reflection of certain theological beliefs. Even those who can stand slow paced material might be confounded at scenes that, if not for the flickering of the flames, seem like stills that stretch on forever.
Despite its sluggish pace, Oshii comforts us with a wide array of intriguing and fascinating visuals to pass the time. One of Angel's Egg's strengths is its good looking art and Shinji Kimura(Akira, My Neighbor Totoro), who was responsible for the backgrounds, has drawn some really wonderful images that build a haunting atmosphere almost by themselves. The first descent of a large eye from a blood red sky has a rather sublime quality to it, especially when one realizes that its black surface is lined with a seemingly limitless number of ancient Greco-Roman figurines, stretching around a glimmering aquamarine center that gives the iris its luminescent and imposing appearance.
One could complain that the color palette of the anime seems a bit one dimensional even despite its beguiling visuals, as given by the dominating prevalence of different gradients of blue in the drawings. However, it's the use of colors in this fashion that highlights some of Oshii's control of visual storytelling. The use of blue, for instance, reflects the never ending motif of water, the melancholy, cold, and even lifelessness associated with the color, and the inevitable contrasts that appear in different points in the work demonstrates how one can change the impression and tone of a story with simple alterations. The girl in the story, clothed in pink and white, stands foreign in a dilapidated world, and it is by no means a coincidence that the one she travels with is draped with a blue cloak.
From the strange duck-like creatures that inhabit mysterious translucent shells to the foreboding appearance of a gloomy forest to the stoic and morose appearance of the city's fisherman, Angel's Egg possesses a number of great visual moments that unnerves us with their creepy yet alluring presence. From that perspective, these surreal moments may be reason enough to watch this anime.
In addition, Yoshihiro Kanno, whose only anime compositions have been with Angel's Egg, provides just the right balance of spiritual and ambient music that complements the uncanny images that we are confronted with. The lamenting chorus featured during the opening title echoes the scene's mourning and longing while the powerful and sharp notes of bass instruments complemented by booming timpani strike with the same intensity of fisherman hurling their long harpoons at the shadows of fish. The rarity of the music is another strength, as silence leaves us pondering the calm before the storm, piecing together fragments of the puzzle while the entrance of music causes us to briefly forget our speculation and draws us in and surrounds us with the intensity of the moments in which it appears. With both art and sound elements, I was surprised to find that I was rarely bored when trying to uncover what Oshii meant when he gave birth to the anime.
Oshii seems to have made this anime as a meditation on faith, one that eventually leads his audience to understand a supposed rejection of the deity he had worshiped for years. Oshii was trained in the priesthood from a young age and would presumably have pursued the life of a Christian priest had events in his life lined up in a different way. It would be foolish, therefore, to ignore the popular and purposeful religious symbols and allegories that exist throughout the film. Oshii's main influences draw from Noah's ark, but The New Testament is also featured prominently in different areas.
Oshii builds a world that is, ultimately, divorced from known biblical history, which is thematically consistent with his intention of slowly renouncing some of his theological foundations to embrace a new calling. The decisions made by the man are perplexing and leaves the audience wondering whether or not Oshii intended him to be a mirror of his own self-doubt about the existence of the deity and if this man fell on the side of moral good or not. There are numerous other questions as to the nature of the tree that the man describes, the man's perplexing motivations, the girl's final transformation. Most importantly, what great beast from within that egg is just waiting, waiting ever so patiently, to be born?
These questions are interesting and many answers can be found by evidence in the story, some answers stronger than others. Surprisingly, while some may be absolutely flabbergasted by some of Oshii's more esoteric and bewildering works (Mezame no Hakobune), Oshii definitely has certain thematic messages and a story that he means to drive home here. The plethora of interpretations that one can draw from various significant imagery, such as the tree, the fossilized angel, and the egg itself are plenty, but there is still a certain consistency and wholeness to the work that leaves us with a story that is, at the final moments, a complete experience. There is indeed a point to Oshii's work, one where a society rejects God, and God, perhaps acting according to Oshii's hopes and idealism, departs without a single word.
In despite of this praise, what is wrong with Angel's Egg? The anime has good visuals, complementary music, and even if its characters are mere belief systems personified, Oshii has provided us interesting themes that presents itself through a complex and subtle story.
Angel's Egg spends a significant amount of time building up to a critical climax, but before Oshii can deliver the final blow, he adds in the longest monologue in the film, where the man narrates the story of Noah's ark, with a twist to the ending, to the audience. This is a point of clarity that is not only unneeded, but ruins the subtlety that the work was building on. Whether it was from the times the ark was shown on screen or the overwhelming importance of water, one could have come to the reasonable conclusion that the story of Noah's ark was an important element. While it is certainly true that the man's story departs from the biblical event, telling the entire story diminishes the effort that Oshii made throughout the film to reveal bits and pieces of the world around him. At best, this was just a needless monologue that explained what the audience knew, and at worst it ruined the finer points of the story, reducing them to mere unnecessary components because all you needed to know about the world in Angel's Egg was to listen to that single monologue.
I will admit that such criticism is perhaps harsh and even elitist to those who may have not easily picked up on the religious allegory, but I think such criticism reveals something even more fundamentally wrong with Angel's Egg that prevents me from bestowing it higher marks. Make no mistake, Angel's Egg is a fine work for what it is, but ultimately the themes and the artistic execution of those themes are at a level rather average compared to works that have dealt with the same issues, which is why explaining such a simple biblical story when the rest of the work had already been suggesting its relevance hurts the work as a whole. It reduces the work to its simplest conclusions.
Oshii is tackling a work where a man and society is rejecting the deity, but outside of the fact that we understand that the man is intent on doing so, there is very little reason why. Are we to assume that this desolate world is the only reason, that he rejects God because of the destruction wrought upon this desolate blue metropolis? I don't think we, as an audience, can easily extrapolate and give Oshii that benefit of the doubt. Does the man lack faith? Perhaps, as his allegory so conveniently mentions, but not only does the scene provide nothing but the ordinary laments and complaints that underline the most common and prolific of atheistic complaints (the prolonged absence of God, the existence of worldly suffering, all of which can be poignant points were they to be expanded in a beautiful way), it is, once again, a scene that is bereft of any subtlety and complexity. There is little poetic language, little visual storytelling, and little insight. It is merely a word for word retelling of a biblical story with a minute presence of creative liberties. Again, we return to the monologue that I have criticized above, and again, its blatant exposition leaves me with the need for more substance.
The girl's representation is also incredibly simplistic. Her potbellied appearance with the egg underneath her dress attests to a pregnancy, which gives us the idea of a birth of a new life. There's an astonishing innocence to her, giving us the idea that this is a virgin birth, and harks us back to imagery of the Virgin Mary. But she is nothing more than a vehicle of blind faith. Perhaps it is Oshii's intention of exposing the ignorance of her position, by demonstrating her selfishness by holding onto the egg for her own devices, but this is once again, such a simplified perspective that despite its rich simplicity, the anime's unsubtle treatment of issues leaves one who has engaged in works of similar theological questions wishing for something much more substantive. The death of childish innocence is by no means a grand and unexplored message, and when the anime does nearly nothing with it, it once again leaves one questioning what substance does the anime really have to offer?
Perhaps it is in that simplification that Oshii believes he has developed something beautiful, and certainly those who see the beauty of Angel's Egg will speak to the pleasantness of such a simple story that sits above a sea of allegories, but an issue as complex as one's detachment from a life of religion is rarely a simple affair, and while I cherish a simple story as much as others, Angel's Egg is constantly evoking something that is more than simple and half-boiled ideas but we are left with nothing but a rather simple and soft-boiled egg. Its allegories and mysteries are difficult to piece together, but that is because of Oshii's obtuseness and not because the concepts in which he is trying to expound are intrinsically complex.
This is not to say that Oshii's themes are bad or unworthy of merit. There's certainly something to glean from the work, but a simple message that sits behind purposeful obfuscation are not the winning formulas of a masterpiece, and I can give Angel's Egg nothing more than the appropriate score to reflect that.
To leave this on a note that isn't too critical, I will say that despite my last few hundred words of criticism, Angel's Egg is still one of the better anime out there. It's the one work from Mamoru Oshii that I've actually enjoyed, and despite its simple conclusions, the work itself is still interesting enough that it's fun to figure out exactly what Oshii is saying. If you're into challenging narratives, minimalist anime and want to see one of Mamoru Oshii's underwatched works, definitely give Angel's Egg a try.
From Mamoru Oshii of “Ghost in the Shell” fame, we receive this deceptively simple story: A young girl wanders through a dark, empty city inhabited only by the ghosts of the past, both human and animal. She carries with her a massive egg, which she protects and nurtures. Soon a man appears and begins to follow her. Much of the movie is without dialogue. That doesn't sound terribly inviting, but it is what it is: An ominous and slow-moving film that, while requiring a degree of patience, is nonetheless quite lovable.
Approaching thirty years of age, the art in Angel's Egg is dated, but it isn't
without a certain dark, nostalgic beauty. This city is an eerie one, radiating a sense of ancient decadence decaying; massive ornate sculptures of multiheaded serpents are covered in thick green moss, and shards of once-lovely stained glass windows now festoon the ground. The glow from streetlamps isn't white or yellow, but a strange, iridescent azure, and it's as if pure light itself is a thing of the past. The architecture is often complimented by organic designs, with the skeletons of colossal fish woven seamlessly into marble walls. It's clear that a lot of thought went into creating an atmosphere that suggests not only the absence of true life, but also a reason why it might have disappeared.
The character designs are artistically valid as well. The wandering girl, possessed of brilliant white hair and a bright red shawl, looks like something not of this drab world; she's pale and innocent, tiny and delicate in her build, the complete opposite of the town of dark monoliths that she roams through. Her range of facial expressions is surprisingly superb, switching convincingly from shy to inquisitive to angry, which is all-important given the predominantly silent nature of the film. The man who wanders with her, too, is well-designed. His tall stature, lengthy white hair, and the confidence with which he carries himself give him a certain commanding spiritual presence, authoritative but gentle. On his back he hefts a cross-shaped weapon wrapped in thorns, and his calloused hands are wrapped in bandages. The significance of these details was certainly not lost on me, but neither did the visuals beat the symbolism into my head.
Although the film is steeped in silence, there is something to be said for the interactions of the characters. The girl is always on edge, guarding the egg with all of her being, and at first she's naturally wary of the rough-looking man who appears, seemingly from nowhere, and begins to follow her at a distance. That distance eventually closes; a montage of shots show that girl and man are eventually walking side by side, the man sitting near her as she sleeps, always awake, a sentinel who looks at the girl the same way the girl looks at the egg. When she acts up, he dons the strict but loving expression of a father trying to console his rogue daughter. In one excellent scene, amid a chaotic rainstorm, the girl takes shelter under the man's great cloak, looking up at him with wide eyes as she does so, finally realizing that she's come to trust someone, an action which she previously thought impossible. She trembles; he puts a reassuring hand on her shoulder. The fact that much of this transformation occurs in silence makes it no less rewarding.
The soundtrack is fully orchestral, and it is wonderful, consistently and skillfully matching the tone of the film. The deliberate pacing of the story is coupled brilliantly with the slower, more ominous tracks, while the few energetic scenes are highlighted by sweeping compositions with operatic vocals that sit well alongside the movie's apocalyptic nature. Any film would count its lucky stars to be backed by music of this quality.
The only real problem I have with Angel's Egg is that it rides the fine line between being a difficult riddle and being an impossible riddle. Symbols in art and writing are a tough thing to work with—they're the artist's way of conveying an idea with subtlety and finesse, but too much subtlety will leave the audience scratching their heads, and unfortunately that's how I felt about the themes in Angel's Egg. There's nothing wrong with expecting an audience to commit their intelligence to figuring out just what a film is trying to say, but if the writers haven't given us all of the clues and puzzle pieces required, they've essentially sent us on a wild goose chase. Clearly Angel's Egg is underscored with a plethora of religious symbols (the title, the man, the fishermen, the Ark, etc) but I can't help feeling like some valuable connective tissue that could have helped the pieces fit together is missing. The film is visually and audibly powerful—the chaos of the ghost fishermen throwing harpoons in vain at massive ghost fish is not something to be forgotten, nor is the image of the egg itself, a single spot of life in a dead world. But on paper, I'm not sure if there is enough concrete meaning here to validate the film. There's nothing wrong with being able to interpret a work multiple ways (and there are about a hundred ways you could interpret Angel's Egg) but for me it becomes a problem when we don't have a clear glimpse of what the work's creators were actually trying to convey. There is something here, and maybe even something truly beautiful, but just what that something might be is shrouded in layers of industrial-strength allegory that make it difficult, if not impossible, to find.
So clearly the barrier of entry is high, but if you've got the time, the patience, and the interest, give this one a try. It's alienating in its silence and slowness, endearing in its characters, and clouded in its artistic vision, but Angel's Egg is still a unique experience, and one that I cannot help but recommend.
Imagine this: you are at the gallery, staring at the abstract painting of something that looks like a dragon. Then, someone walks next to you and starts to look at the painting too, but he loudly says to himself: "Wow, what a nice scenery of a sunset!". You reply: "Well, I think that this more looks like a dragon", but there is no clear answer, because the painting doesn't clearly define what's on it, just a stack of colors that has a shape similar to a dragon, or a sunset scenery, or maybe something else. This example may be bannal, but it perfectly describes the
expirience after watching this movie. And it basically explains art.
Angel's Egg is an experimental ambiental horror film directed by Mamoru Oshii, who is responsible for some masterpieces among animated films, such as Ghost in the Shell, Jin Roh: The Wolf Brigade and Patlabor 2. This is his debut film, and it's really influental for his later works, mostly because it touches Christianity as a theme, which is connected to his rejection of it shortly before making this film.
The film starts with a little girl carrying an egg and walking around a dystopian ghost city doing weird stuff, like gathering water in weird-shaped glasses. Then, a white haired man appears, carrying a cross-shaped object. They go together and encounter even more weird stuff, such as shadow people throwing shadow harpoons at shadow fishes (kek), giant crow skeletons and the Tree of Life, then the guy mentions some byblical shit about Noah's Arc, then the girl lays to sleep, the guy breaks her egg with the cross-shaped object, we realise there's nothing inside, she wakes up, sees the egg, cries loudly and throws herself off a cliff. There is also some giant eye ascending out of...something, and at the very end we see the bigger picture: everything was happening on an arc. At first glance, it looks and pretentious, weird and creepy...untill you think about it. Then it becomes beautiful.
So, everyone can agree that the film has no context and that everything mentioned above symbolises something, that the movie is completely in allegory, but the question is: what does it symbolise?
And the answer...there is no answer, there are multiple ones. In fact, every person that watches it and thinks about it has it's own answer, that is based on it's expirience, knowledge, mood etc etc, which is what I was trying to say at the beggining of this review. And we get to the main idea of this film: to represent art in its purest form, because that's what art does. It shapes itself based on how the viewer and the artist feel and how much do they know. In conclusion, the point of this film is to represent art in it's purest form, as an expression of human's emotions and knowledge.
What it also successfully does is theme exploration, and in a very original way. How? We said that there are endless amounts of meanings behind this film, which concludes that it explores an endless amount of themes. It could be about Noah's thoughts and flashbacks while he's waiting for the dove to come back, where the girl is his optimistic side, the egg is his faith, and the dude is his pesimistic side; it could be about the death and the reviving of Christ, where the girl and the egg are his human form, while the boy is his form as a deity; it couldn't be about Christianity at all! It could be a symbolic coming of age story, where the girl is just a girl carrying her child spirit, and how she sees the world around her... The meanings are endless, and so are the themes it explores, as I said earlier. Truly an amazing and original concept.
All of this needs to be shown to a viewer in a specific, misterious and eery way to suceed, which Angel's Egg also does almost flawlessly. The dark and creepy setting, the beautiful architecture, amazingly done, drawings and color manipulation is just...perfect, in a creepy, weird and dark way, which is the best way to present the story of it. The soundtrack is also beautiful. From quiet piano themes, to scary chorus tracks that send shivers down your spine, the soundtrack really adds up to the ambiental horror atmosphere of the film, and it can spook you real good :^). I have to mention how the voice acting, even though minimalistic, is really on point.
So, in conclusion, this film is an original, well constructed, breath-taking piece of art that really deserves more love. My warm recommendation to everyone, even to people who are new to anime, but are really into art, it will surely amaze them.
It sucked. Seriously, don't watch this shit. If you can get through the first 30 minutes without falling asleep I salute you. I tried 8 times. It's boring as hell, there's a scene where the 2 main characters just sit there in silence for almost 5 whole minutes, no soundtrack, no movement. This can barely be callled an animation since there's barely any actual movement going on. It just sucks man. Don't watch this please. 8 out 10 people will hate it, 1 person will pretend it's some profund underrated gem, and a work of art, all that bullshit. We all know that person. And
1 person, possibly a maniac, or a drepessed lost soul with insomnia, will actualy kinda of enjoy it. For everyone else it's un-watchable. This was the worst movie experience I've ever had and the only reason I made the painful act of watching the whole thing is so that I could come and say how awful it was. And now that I have, I'm going to go watch a potato. Which is far more enjoyable.
There's a moment in this film when a little girl stands at the side of a street, watching an army of phallic-shaped tanks roar by. The animators made extra sure the shaft part of each tank dick, which protrudes to its left, passes directly over the girl's head.
If there's one compliment I can give the anime, it's that moment. The scene encapsulates perfectly how I feel having sat through this hour's runtime. Minute after drawn-out minute, Angel's Egg is a bunch of anime writers swinging their dicks at you, moaning how smart they are. Worst of all, they're right. This IS a smart film, and
it's probably going over your head, pillar and stone and all.
But "smart" doesn't mean good. You'd rather have a dumb friend who knows what he is and lives his life to the fullest, than be around a boff who does nothing but brag of the latest thoughts to pop in his head. Same with anime. I know because I used to be one of the latter type of people, except I really wasn't that clever.
You see, this film is unique. It's so different, it's so artsy. Surely that alone makes it better than the generic ecchi harem to come out every season right? Well, the thing with cliches is, the tropes themselves become tired because they have an inherent appeal. To someone seeing it for the first time, tsunderes are cute, no matter how shallow the character. To a 12-year-old boy, accidental groping is funny and awkwardly exciting. Not to insult people who like that stuff, of course; I'm just explaining the nature of tropes and how creators come to overuse them.
Angel's Egg is devoid of tropes not because it takes a fresh approach on portraying life, but because it's completely devoid of emotional appeal. Its "plot", if you could call it that, can literally be summed in two sentences. That's not what you normally call unique. It's just... nothing.
Let me expand on my point. This film is about Christianity and the death (abandonment) of God. That much I and most people gleam from the film alone; I watched a 30-minute passion analysis reasoning everything in the story, and I'm all like... That's it? As it turns out, Mamoru Oshii was inspired for this film after his loss of faith in Christianity. Everything in the story, few as they are, is some symbol relating to ideas of faith vs atheism.
Everything is symbolic, it's all dark and grimy and supposedly desperate. None of it is engaging. Because even as you can see the pain and anguish in every picture and song of this film (art and sound are fine), he doesn't give you a single reason to care. The characters are so NOTHING that you can't even call them one-dimensional, because that would imply they have some sort of breadth. You can literally describe them in one word; that's not just paper-thin characterisation, that's no characterisation.
I don't mind shallow characters if it fits the point of a story but this movie has their suffering as its only thrust. And it offers SO little to latch onto.
Okay, Mr Oshii. I can see it's affected you very much. I can see how these characters would feel lonely, whatever in this post-apocalyptic world. But you don't explore this emotion at all. Why should I give a damn about these people, or this world, or about you?
If you don't care about the characters, you don't care what happens. A few things do happen - FEW emphasised, each scene is so quietly, so agonisingly stretched out, I swear I could hear the soft masturbatory strokes of this movie's creators somewhere. Of the things that happen, none of it makes sense. It's all chalked up to being symbolic, nothing else.
I'm not the pedantic type. I very easily forgive a show for plot points that others call "contrived". But there's a line, and Angel's Egg is miles across it. At that point it doesn't just break suspension of disbelief. It's entirely unengaging.
"Oh, that happened. I WONDER what that means..."
"Oh, it symbolizes despair this, innocence that. Don't care."
Geez, there's so little going for this movie to do anything. I have to wonder why it hasn't been forgotten. It has no philosophical or social commentary that millions of Woke atheists haven't already said. It contains no predictions on the progress of mankind, like Serial Experiments Lain had on the boom of the Internet.
I consider myself a fairy average person with fairly average tastes. I respect people who like this kind of stuff, and if you're one of them, give it a go. If you loved stuff like NGE, Texhnolyze, and SEL, you'll probably like this too. But if you're anything like me, don't. It's boring as shit, and you probably won't get it on the first watch. Don't force yourself to like this stuff. Liking smart stories doesn't mean you have any better tastes.
What could i say about this? Other than my eyes and even my heart eat every seconds of it. I was under hypnosis, without any will to get out of it, at ease, i was absorbed, i have been the victim of Tenshi no Tamago. Once i got in, there were no way i could have find a way to escape. How would describe this movie in a word? Parasite, this movie got into myself and i will never forget this sweet experience.
Story - 10
Tenshi no Tamago is a well done absurd fiction artwork. It's powerful. I just had to let myself be nurtured by
all that deepness growing more and more deep inside my brain. Not a second it stopped to captive my attention. The story was that metaphorical cherry that just kept sucking my brain until it went out of it's juice, my empty, my void felt fill, and my fill felt void. I knew that there were a more profound message that i was unable to catch, and that thought of not being able to understand the core of the story made me sad. But i believe deeply that the story was a wonderful, splendid way to project the hidden side that nobody has right to talk of human. Outside and inside are two different things, from any angle you try to analyze.
Art - 10
The art is magnificent. Bringing the atmosphere to its max richness. Every little detail is a dessert to the eye. It didn't try to surpass each other, it fastly told you that it had that sort of strong sense of identity throwing itself at you, like it or not. It stands with everything else. The darkness was infallible, the mood was destructive. I could have just wanted to reach out a hand and get stuck into it. The art might be 1985s, but it's one of the most beautiful art i have seen in Anime. I wanted to be one with it, to form one with the eyes pending through that dark euphoria slowly giving all of its love, all of its way to love, to my eyes.
Sound - 10
Cradling, beautiful, simple, but even simple is ashamed. The tempo of this piece of art, i have never seen a so well done one in Anime. Every little sounds into that Anime had a little expression grabbing you and trying to drown you into its lake of beauty, of integrity, of own nature. I felt like i was the egg waiting to be hatched, but i was never prevented to do so.
Character - 10
Characters was not the core of Tenshi no Tamago. But the words implemented there were always put at the right place, and added its own little special feeling into it. Characters weren't really characters while being characters, there were sounds, arts, stories, enigmas. They were needed, they added, and gave us their due.
Enjoyment - 10
This is my best experience in Anime. Enough to shake. This is the real thing there. That was something written with a great mindset. I couldn't have asked better. It even went way more up than my expectations, who were already huge. It once entered my brain and it will never come out.
Overall - 10
This anime is great, there is nothing else to say. It's an experiece for you to experience. What you take from it is purely your personal. Either way, this anime is underrated, and deserves way better than it's actual rating.
This movie was incredibly abstract. Any questions you develop during this movie will most likely not be answered. But that's part of the beauty of it. There's very little dialogue, and as such it relies heavily atmosphere, artwork, and music all of which are fantastic. The best was to describe it would be if somebody took a random dream they had, and turned it into a movie. As such, I highly recommend watching it in a dark room.
I'll Keep this short. Extremely strange. there's nearly no dialog in this 1:11 wonder. That leaves nearly no the entire movie up to the viewer to explain. It's going to mean different things to different people. I will agree with other reviewers that there seems to be an overall "Christian" theme. although that seemed to be put in a bad light with the "Church" having a stained-glass fish window (Jesus? or Regular Fish?) and all the Fishermen trying to spear the non-existent fish, and destroying the town in the process.I see that as saying religion is bad, others might disagree. I guess that's why I
gave this movie such a bad rating. I don't mind having subtle things put it that make you think, however when the whole work is left to interpretation I feel you get nothing out of it. I could have just sat and thought for an hour instead of watch this, and received the same thing. I understand it's Art, but most art has at-least some focal point, a part that is firmly grounded, that the rest is based off. This had nothing. Whatever your views coming in will be the same coming out.
I have always, and likely will always, be someone who observes at least visual mediums like movies at their face value. Essentially, I like to take in and digest visual media armed with nothing but what is presented in the film, and the conclusions I can make from what is shown in the film. When I analyse any film, I like to pull empirical facts from it, and create an abstract from what can be provably described and explained. I dislike when the audience is presented with things that are open to interpretation, and things that are kept intentionally vague or undefined despite being seemingly
major elements or events. In short, I was out of my depth watching The Angel’s Egg, or Tenshi no Tamago. So, having written that disclaimer, let me jump into a review.
Angel’s Egg is a movie depicting a little girl and a younger man who reside in a derelict and eery world. A world devoid of others like themselves, with only shades of fish and automaton-like men who chase them ceasely, to no avail. The girl is left to her own, wandering throughout this dark and abandoned world, clutching under her blouse her most precious possession- a small egg. Eventually, the man, the only one with color and light to him in the whole world besides the girl arrives borne upon massive tank-like vehicles. The relationship that they form provides the only context that the viewer can rely on, as they observe and discuss the silent, desolate world that they reside in. Through their shared knowledge of the situation they have found themselves in, the world is brought to clearer context: a scourge which brought the world they remembered to an end. A massive bird, sent as the harbinger of this plague. The world which they have since long forgotten in the ceaseless monotony thereafter. Yet in this stillness, the man is troubled. The girl’s most precious possession, he fears, it is the bird which may spring from it that strikes something into his heart. The only emotion he shows throughout, the flash of humanity that dictates the course of his motives to come.
Angel’s Egg is a brilliant showcase of how animation alone can tell a story, and you needn’t view it with no sound or subtitles to realize this. While plenty is left untold and even unclear in both the devoid narration and minimalist dialogue, the scenes which come together in tandem with the journey of both the man and girl throughout this fiction allow the viewer to have a unique grasp on the universe. The film shows and tells you only the barest trace of what you need to know, and there is clear purpose in what is not described. There are things that the audience will not understand, and things that will be clear as day, in a excellently choreographed direction by director Mamoru Oshii. The plot is simple enough, and the motives of the two characters crystalline: It is the way that the world reacts to them and their actions which grip the audience and leave a suspension of belief, if you will. This movie wants you to think about what is happening, not seeking to merely tell a story-- it doesn’t want to show its hand, and it conceals the answers to the most pressing questions that arise perfectly. This theme carries throughout the film to its conclusion, and the phrase ‘untied loose ends’ is in fact the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks to its conclusion. But that too is perfectly intentional, with the movie ending on the bizarrely formed planet drawing further and further from the audience and fading to black. To use a word; “kino”.
My biggest, albeit minor complaint with the film was that it lacked the polish that it could have had to make it truly fantastic. But that is understandable, given both the year that the film was created (1985) and the conditions of the now renowned studio DEEN. While it was staffed by immense creative and artistic talent, it created Angel’s Egg as its first major debut to the animated movie scene, and in the dropping frames and bizarre movements of small things, like the girl’s hair, as well as a relative lack of sound immersion outside of the most obvious things like voices and loud noises, the audience is incapable of feeling a true sense of placement inside the fiction, and for that I need to dock the overall product in some respect. However, in the lush art, intensely imaginative storytelling, and uniquely poised characters I have to hold this movie with very high regard. I’d give this a 9 out of 10 overall, and very much recommend others who enjoyed this film to give the director Mamoru Oshii more credit and viewership.
One name: Mamoru Oshii. Between directing and creating, the man who brought about such great animes as Blood+, Ghost in the Shell, and Urusei Yatsura, this was one title I could not pass up. I went into Angel's Egg expecting something very thought-provoking and, to say the least, was blown away by the depth this anime delved. To state bluntly, those who do not enjoy philosophical thought or anime with little dialogue may want to stop reading now and move on to something else. For those still interested, please read on.
Story: Within the first five minutes, in between the interesting things happening, you are introduced
to the two main characters. You see a male soldier holding what appears to be a cross-shaped item and a white-haired young girl with an egg. The nameless characters eventually meet, but with two different agendas. The girl seemingly asks the man for help protecting the egg, while he tries many times to destroy the egg, but we are left with the thought that he may or may not have had a change of heart. The rest of the story follows these two travelling and the girl trying to find a safe place for the egg. I will leave the ending for you to watch and see what happens, as it is quite interesting and I do not want to spoil it.
On the surface, it seems a very weird story that makes absolutely no sense, but if you take a deeper look at the story, you will see a very existentialist story with a slew of meanings everyone will interpret differently. Although there was not an obvious plot, I gave this a ten because the undertone of the story was incredible and I was drawn in to what Oshii was possibly saying. The thoughts ran deep for me, giving me much to think on.
Animation: Angel's Egg was released in 1985 and the animation for the time was excellent. Most of the story is based on the actions and reactions of the main characters to each other and their surroundings. The animation had to be well done, especially with facial features, so the ideas of the film could be conveyed. The backgrounds and foregrounds were beautiful. While they were not vibrant in colors, the animation gave off all the right emotions to become involved in the story. I gave this a 10 because of exactly the reasons I stated. I was completely drawn into the emotions swirling all around.
Sound: The sounds used were just incredible. While the main characters spoke no more than a couple times, there were very little sounds, and little use of music, the sounds and music were used at the appropriate times to provoke the greatest emotions at the most critical times. What people will notice is the extreme amount of silence and may find it a downfall of the film, but I firmly believe it is one of this film's greatest assets. It is used to show the audience how the silence seems to be there, crushing down on them, threatening to swallow their very existence. Sometimes silence is the best sound. I gave the sound a 10 because of how hauntingly, chillingly beautiful they were, when used. The music was also very beautiful and worth listening to.
Characters: I had a hard time trying to give this a definitive number, as the basis of the story is not around whom the characters are and what their back-story is, but how they respond to the environment around them and what the final outcome of their actions is. It is true that these characters have very little plot to them and there are people who find that a problem, but this is one of those rare stories that character development is not necessary for the enjoyment of this story. I finally settled on a 6. As stated previously, there is no name or plot to the main characters, but at the same time, I do not feel it is needed, though many will disagree.
Overall: This review has become a bit long and I apologize, but this is one film that cannot be easily summarized no matter how well you try, so I will try my best. The philosophical, ideological, and emotional thoughts and feelings provided by this film are intense. While many may dismiss this film because it does not make sense, I implore everyone to take the time to watch this film and judge for yourself. I do recommend that you watch this when you have time to sit through it and think about what you are seeing. You will be amazed at what ideas flow from this old, but ingenious film from one of the masters of anime.
Angel's Egg is truly a piece of art. There is no correct or incorrect interpretation of what is presented. The experience is highly emotional and therefore very subjective to the viewer without any clear indication of what the viewer is to conclude from these emotions. There is a distinct contrast between reality and unreality as well as stark religious symbolism. It is, in essence, a commentary on the emotional journey of each individual through hardship and inquisition.
I can't rate this metric because the story is particularly irrelevant to the message of the film, but rather exists out of convenience.
a movie made in 1985, some of the art is simply superb. The depiction of water, trees, and various other elements of the setting are extremely detailed and greatly contribute to the overall ambience. There are instances where the art is not spectacular, especially in the presentation of the characters. However, it only detracts from the presentation minimally.
The foley effects as well as the soundtrack are superb and are most likely more necessary to the movie than the dialogue. Not only have I re-watched the movie multiple times now, but I have listened to the soundtrack even more times. It's absolutely gorgeous, ephemeral even.
The characters are barely developed. They exist not so much as characters, but rather as a representation. It is incumbent upon the viewer to determine what exactly each character represents to him/her. Having said this, they do present their position in the film quite assertively, accurately portraying their mentalities with respect to their world and holding steadfast in their personal views of reality.
This section is, of course, completely subjective due to the fact that enjoyment of this film is directly correlated to the extent to which the viewer allows him/herself to become immersed in the universe presented and determine its particular significance/meaning. I believe most viewers have a difficult time gathering any meaning from the film, and I know that I had some difficulty my first couple views as well; but the more I watch it, the more clear the depiction becomes. This meaning, I feel, is directly correlated to our own experiences in reality as it is an entirely emotional journey.
This movie is a fantastic depiction of the psychological and more artistic and symbolical genre that exists in anime. I feel that, due to its brevity and stark depiction of this, it is a fantastic preview of the genre as a whole and is therefore very accessible to the common viewer. It is also accessible in the sense that there are no barriers to entry since any viewer can draw most any conclusion with confidence. It is not very often I encounter an anime whose entire message is constituted by the experience. This is both beautiful and unique.
Tenshi no Tamago is one of the most engaging and thought-provoking films I have ever seen, animated or not. It’s difficult to find the words to explain the movie; the film’s format, like any work of art, seeks to defy definition and to spur the viewer into looking within themselves and discovering their own meaning. That discovery is Tenshi no Tamago’s greatest strength; it compels the viewer to interpret each delicate piece—from each shred of dialogue to every frame of vibrant imagery—in a manner of his or her own choosing. In reading other reviews for this movie, it seems that each viewer uncovers a
different and equally poignant story.
That being said, it’s understandable why someone would either love or hate this movie. Where some may discover a tragic duality between faith and existentialism, or a searing tale of battered innocence struggling to flower within a cruel, post-apocalyptic reality, someone else will just find a really weird story about a girl whose most exciting hobby entails drinking water out of oddly-shaped vessels. In order to enjoy this movie, a viewer must be willing to delve into the rich symbolism of the film and consider every multifaceted angle. For example, one of the major motifs is the use of water, an element with connotations of creation, cleansing, and new life, but beneath those clear waters is the dark threat of destruction and flood. The waters, like the egg itself, offer the gift of renewal and the omen of one’s own undoing.
I am not usually a supporter of rampant ambiguity—too often it’s used as an excuse to veil pretentious vacuity. But Tenshi no Tamago, unlike such pieces, is not lacking in artistic meaning. Rather, the melding of its unique symbolism and dreamy narrative birth a tragic and haunting mystery. Tenshi no Tamago is a tale in which I was glad to immerse myself.
Though this movie was created in 1985, neither its message nor its technical aspects are dated. Aside from a few unfortunate instances of Technicolor, the art is absolutely gorgeous. The character designs are striking and memorable. Every background sequence is rife with foreboding and visceral detail. There is not a single, lushly detailed setting that makes one feel safe or at ease. From the opening scene, the viewer is breathlessly plunged into the film’s broken civilization, and one cannot help but fear for the protagonist, a lily among the ruin, as the soldier shadows her through the city. The soundtrack, alternating between melancholy and chilling, augments the girl’s journey. There is really only one flaw I can cite; after the stunning opening sequence, the beginning lags a bit, but the movie more than compensates for the slight lull.
Tenshi no Tamago is a dazzling film that has resisted the tarnish of time. It is not a straightforward tale, but it is intelligent, powerful, and visually stunning. Though it may not appeal to everyone, its quality and powerful themes ensure that it doesn’t have to. Tenshi no Tamago offers no easy answers, only an invitation to question and to discover.
This is a slow-paced art film with a focus on images and ideas (mainly religious ones) rather than narrative. The images are beautiful and the themes are intriguing. If you want a definite message or plot conclusion, this movie will frustrate you; if you like thematically or artistically dense work, you should check it out.
Angel's Egg does not feel like an anime. It lacks much of the standard structure of typical storytelling, let alone Japanese storytelling. The best way to describe it is as an “art film”. The resolution of the plot is a subject of debate and there is no definite message
(the director has stated as much); one can interpret it however one wishes. If this sounds like it will frustrate you, it likely will. This film is definitely not for everyone. Unless you enjoy philosophically or artistically dense works, the only reason to watch this is if you are a fan of director Mamoru Oshii, who would go on to direct Ghost in the Shell.
The sound and visuals must be discussed together because they create a brilliant atmosphere. The older animation helps the world look and feel decrepit and lonely. The dark colours and pervading shadows all help the viewer feel the isolation of the few characters in this world. In the dreary setting, every colour and action becomes more pronounced. The sound adds to everything. I'm not usually one to pay attention to sound design, but when the film ended, I realized that I had been totally immersed in its world. You notice every breath of wind and every solitary footstep. Even without fully understanding what was happening for much of the film, I was absorbed in the atmosphere.
While narrative is not the focus, there is a brilliant story here. The viewer comes to learn about the world of the film, how it became desolate, and why the lead character does the things she does. Of course, for every question answered, there is a bigger one left unanswered. There is even disagreement over whether the film defends or criticizes its primary focus of religious faith; nothing is straightforward. All this said, there is enough of a plot that you will come to your own conclusion. You may not know exactly what happened (I doubt anyone actually does with this film), but you will form your personal idea of its story and its message. This subjective element may be the film's greatest achievement.
The best word to describe Angel's Egg is “intriguing”. It is only 75 minutes long, and if you are even slightly interested, I highly recommend you to look into it. The visuals are beautiful and, in my own opinion, so are the themes. This movie is a masterpiece, more so of film than of anime. If your main priority is entertainment value, look elsewhere. You may not like it, but, if you are interested, you will find something to appreciate. Angel's Egg is a film that stays on your mind long after you watch it.
In an OVA with an all-star staff behind it, and with a dialogue that could be written on one page, Angel’s Egg is an artistic masterpiece. Where to start understanding this film, is to understand the key staff involved.
It was directed by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), which is why there are so many underlining meanings and symbolism throughout the 71 minutes. Christianity is an obvious point throughout this wasteland environment, and depression plays a role as well. Oshii’s directorial points maybe tend to shadow how he himself was feeling at the time, much like Tomino’s (Gundam) take in direction in later years. The
original creator was Yoshitaka Amano, whom was also the key illustrator of the early Final Fantasy games (1-6). This explains the film’s gritty art and stunning character illustrations with a landscape of utter beauty. Key animation was done by Toshio Kawaguchi (Akira) and Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (Evangelion).
With an art staff like that, it’s no wonder that each and every scene, movement, and still could be a painting displayed on any wall. The music is deep and a consistently melancholy type of feel. This really compliments the environment in which the two characters wander in.
There are only two characters. One is a little girl whom fetches water in jars and carries a peculiar egg around under her dress. Two is a man whom carries around an iron scrap cross that contemplates in little dialogue to the girl about the egg, and the world they live in.
That is the entire OVA. The extreme small amount of dialogue and scenes where nothing is happening might throw off the average anime viewer. However, this is purely a work of art with an exuberant amount of symbolism thrown out there. It is worth a watch purely for the artistic genius that is Angel’s Egg.
I won't pretend I understood what it was about, but I will say that I loved it.
I mean, plenty of ideas come in mind, as to what the movie was about or what messages it was trying to pass to us, but writing about them would be pointless since you (the viewer) will arrive to a completely different conclusion. And that's the trick with art, because this is clearly art, everyone views it differently. The setting is a futuristic (I think) world that at times seems abandoned and at times since inhabited by strange machines that... That I have no idea what they're doing. The
only 2 human characters we ever meet is a small girl carrying what looks like an egg and a young man that frankly looks like Archer from Fate Stay Night. As far as I can remember the biggest dialogue ever exchanged was "Anata, dare?" (Who are you?). Yeah, imagine a movie with only 2 people who are both the typical silent game protagonist. Is that a bad thing? Not really, since there is no society to compare them to, it just adds to the mystery.
The movie can be summed up by Surrealism + Silence + Everythingcanbescreenshotedandusedaswallpaper-ism. The art is simply fantastic. There are probably higher meanings behind most of the scenes but honestly, they are just so amazing and grand to look at that you simply get lost admiring them. Honestly not much to say about it, it can't exactly be described... Just watch it by yourself late at night and take your time to draw out your conclusions.
"A work of a genius", this was my first thought after watching five minutes of Angel's Egg. "Brilliant", was what I thought after watching ten minutes of the movies. In the end... "I'm glad it's over".
Let's see why, shall we?
The first thing one notices when watching this is the beauty of the art. The scenery is simple, an abandoned town picked up from Dali's memoirs, but extremelly detailed.It remembered me the first works of Disney (vide Fantasia). Then the viewer will notice the characters: this time they shape the story and not otherwise. They are simple but, following the example of the scenery, highly detailed
and their symbolic meaning is fascinating.
In this world crowded with symbols, I spent most of the time trying to figure them out. Untill, finally, I decided to quit and just watch. Then the pieces fell nicely and I understood the story which, after all, is very simple. The fact that is scattered through the movie is what makes it somewhat interesting.
Overall, it is a great surreal exercise. A masterpiece, definetely. However, the pace of the movie turns it a painful watching experience for most. It's typical from the old movies of the kind, but still... "I'm glad that it's over"
Story: I am actually editing this! Ok so i have just had a long conversation with someone about this, and my opinion has not changed. however i do feel i need to be a little clearer on my opinion.
I found this movie difficult to understand, mostly for the fact that it seems to be saying something deep, which in itself is not a problem. The problem is that what it's saying is so easy to interpret in so many different ways that the actual meaning is lost. As such i dislike the way it presents itself.
It's painfully obvious to me that it's
mostly a take on Christianity. However to what degree and what opinion is questionable. Also i have heard opinions that take very little stance of religion into account, and who's to say i am any more correct than them.
Art: I think would describe this movie as something that Salvador Dalli would make if he was an anime designer who lived in a one window apartment across from a church.
Beautiful, creepy, and surreal.
Sound: I don't really have much to say about the sound except for that it works with the rest of the film very well.
Character: Well you see there are only a few min of dialog in the hole film, and probably 75 percent of that is quotes (or slight variations) from the Bible.
what does this mean? it means that you lose the direct access to the minds of the characters, you are left wondering what they are thinking and why are the acting this way.
The hardest part is that the people act really oddly so trying to figure them out is really hard.
Enjoyment: I like artwork in anime so that let me enjoy this to some degree. If that were not the case i would have been rather put out.
I would suggest this anime to anyone who wants to be confused and annoyed, or anyone who likes seeing different styles of anime. Or people who like surrealism