#OshiiOct Angel’s Egg – You Try Explaining This

Following the fashion presented in They Were 11, this is Scott’s Adventures in watching something that isn’t available in any form to support the original creators. This one hasn’t been available for a while. There is a very HD edition of this movie on Youtube that I’ve watched and it’s posted by a fan. Yeah, I’ve loosened my morals a bit regarding legality and such. I am a legal streamer who is subscribed to a lot of streaming services to watch anime and other shows from time to time. There are always shows and series that you don’t know if they will ever appear on a legal platform and Angel’s Egg was one of them. It was finally the right time to check out this movie and see what it’s got. Fun times?

I can’t say anything here other than how minimal Angel’s Egg is with the standard story conventions of how, when, what, why, and who. Things that most stories at least tell you a little bit about to get you connected into what is going on and that is why it’s so fascinating. It somehow works regardless of the bare minimum we don’t get and one can’t say that about every work. This is something that works on atmosphere, beautiful art, small character interactions between two people of unknown names, and what happens between them. That’s it. All of which is fun to me because Angel’s Egg is some symbolic soup they can get whatever they want from it. I don’t think anyone can be wrong with their interpretations if they want one.

If I had to give a synopsis on Angel’s Egg, it takes place in a beautiful gothic looking city that is almost completely empty. All except for one young girl in red who is carrying an egg of mysterious origins with her in her dress. She spends day after day waking up in this environment searching for food and drink to keep her alive as she watches over the egg. There are a lot of egg-shaped bottles all over the temple she stays in to show the passage of time. One day, a boy in blue shows up from tanks moving in and out of the city. He follows her and the two gain an uneasy friendship at least the girl does. She and her positivity on the egg that may hatch and the boy who thinks it’s long dead. I think anyone can figure out how this film ends from that.

This is where my own interpretation comes in, so take this all with a grain of salt. I don’t think I am right with this at all, but who knows. Supposedly, this film was created when Mamoru Oshii lost his faith in Christianity. As a Christian myself, I feel like I can see that. There is the boy’s negative take on Noah’s ark where Noah sent a bird out after 40 days to check the lands. In this version, land was never found and the people and animals on the arc stopped. Same with the fishermen running around in the city chasing shadows of fish and only hitting walls. Jesus’ twelve apostles where fishermen so there is some more of negative feelings towards Christianity again. Oshii was working through some things.

Once again, that was one interpretation feeding on the bare minimum elements that Angel’s Egg is throwing at me. Vague things like “this could be a look at human nature” just by how the girl and boy interact and nothing would be just as valid. One could also say that it’s just a wonderful experience to watch without much meaning behind it and I think that would be right too. There is just something so interesting about it that is so intriguing. Especially since making this almost ended Mamoru Oshii’s career for years before it ever truly began. Angel’s Egg is a visual experience you can’t get in a lot of places. Soaking in a strange atmosphere for 70 minutes could be wonderful too.

If one watched Angel’s Egg just for the visuals, completely valid. The wonderful detailed somewhat standard Mamoru Oshii characters design of the girl with her hair in strands all over the place compared to the very well dressed, but stoic boy. So much to think about here. Same with the already mentioned elaborate city built into beautiful Gothic architecture with bottles all over the place. Plus, there is tons of water imagery with the shadow fish and other things all over the place. I could keep going on and on for days, so I will stop here.

With all that said, I don’t think I can say that this OVA/Film/Thing is for everyone to check out. Not because it’s obscure, but it’s something that not a lot of people would be interested in perhaps. Not because it’s old and looks horrible because it’s obvious that the opposite is the case. Mainly how the story, if there is one, is told. I can see this frustrating a lot of people if they aren’t open to watching something like this. Maybe I am over extending myself a little much by saying that, but a lot of people look to things like Akira and don’t see as much value or interest in it. I think this would be a similar and more potent case.

With that said, I will break out the newly coveted question mark rating for the fun of it. If I wasn’t going to place it here, I don’t know where else it would be? This was a film that almost ended Mamoru Oshii’s career, so that is an added bonus to adding the question mark.


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13 thoughts on “#OshiiOct Angel’s Egg – You Try Explaining This

  1. That is such a great film and I haven’t seen it in a long time. It’s something I want to watch again. Angel’s Egg is one of those anime projects that I could use to rhetorically bash people who think anime is nothing but Pokemon, DBZ, or hentai. I would certainly argue that you can find more anime works that are artistic than most forms of Western animation.

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  2. This is definitely “my” kind of movie. I reviewed this for a MAL club I belonged to a long time ago, and I said back then that this was one for the fans of surreal/experimental anime, stuff like Texhnolyze or Cat Soup. It’s not really made for the Naruto/One Piece/MHA crowd. I think I read somewhere that there’s only 11 minutes of dialogue in the whole film, and most of it is in that one “Noah’s Ark” scene.

    I definitely agree with you on the viewer finding their own interpretation here. That seems to be Oshii’s goal too, since he’s adamantly refused to explain his own take on this movie over the years. I have my own way of reading it, but I only saw it once and it’s very possible that I’d get something else out of it if I saw it again. It’s that kind of movie.

    Another impressive thing with this is the staff involved, beyond just Oshii himself. The art director and character designer is Yoshitaka Amano, and the backgrounds were the work of Shinji Kimura, who’d go on to work on movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Akira after this (more recently he was the art director for the movie Children of the Sea). And the animation staff included several people who’d go on to have prominent careers at Ghibli like Kitaro Kosaka and the late Makiko Futaki.

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    1. Yeah, this definitely is a little beyond the shonen battle crowd. Not that I don’t like hanging with that crowd myself, but sometimes a person just has to watch something else. I’ve been loving more and more surreal anime for a long time now and this is definitely special in that way. 11 minutes of dialogue seems right.

      I’ve only seen it once at the moment as well and I do want to watch it again and see what I can get out of it.

      Oh yes, good catch on the staff. A lot of power houses in this film as well. I do need to see Children of the Sea as well. It’s been on my list for a while, but watching older films at the moment during my weekends.

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  3. I haven’t seen this film in a decade, it’s been a good minute. I remember being engrossed in the solemn, yet bleak atmosphere. The main takeaway of the film that I got personally, given—not every detail is fresh in my mind, was that faith is often fragile (an egg) and can be shattered when the knowledge of the world bears its ugly fangs. I also saw it as a criticism towards organized religion, people who strongly desire righteousness can often be easily led astray.

    Great review, I enjoyed reading about your interpretation of the film! 😄 I had never read about the production of the OVA or Oshii losing his faith. Really interesting!

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  4. I have a book about post apocalyptic films, although one could better call it a tome as it’s quite huge. I’m making it a sport to watch every film in this book in alphabetic order (although some movies are impossible to find) and like you I watched this one on Youtube. It was definitely a every strange film…but I honestly did like it. I really enjoyed reading your take on it, and don’t think it’s even that far fetched either. Interesting tidbit about Oshii losing his faith, as I never heard about that before. Great post Scott! 😀

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  5. Okay, I’ll take up the challenge in the title of this post… I don’t know much about Oshii’s religious crisis, or enough about Christianity itself as a religion, but I do feel that it deals with the guilt of abandoning one’s faith.

    The man lost his faith long ago, and insists that the angel-birds never existed. He gave up waiting for them because he was able to come to terms with that idea. Yet, the girl was able to prove to him that some greater lifeform like that did exist, which proves that he was the one who abandoned God rather than the other way around.

    But that angel-bird is now dead and it seems too late to renew his faith. In his desperation, he destroyed the girl’s faith too by shattering her egg, perhaps hoping that the girl would become like him. Yet, the girl ended up following right after the egg into death/transcendence, and he remains alone in his atheistic denial.

    This is probably one of those films that requires a second watch for a fuller interpretation. Yeah, I admit I also watched it on YouTube, which was alright except for the sound quality. Maybe someday I’ll watch it properly somewhere.

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