This post will contain some minor spoilers, but I don’t think that will affect your experience whatsoever. Let’s review the Angel’s Egg Movie. Even if I told you each and everything about the movie, it would still be the same. Angel’s Egg or Tenshi no Tamago is a Japanese animated film that was released in 1985. It is written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, the same guy who made Ghost in the shell. That alone should make you interested. Talking about this movie is quite difficult because, to be honest, upon my first viewing, I didn’t like this movie much. However, as I researched it and read about what this movie meant, my appreciation for this film grew.
There is barely even a story in this Angel’s Egg movie; it’s just a series of incidents. And nothing is directly told about the setting; there is almost no exposition or any dialogue. Watching it felt more like a chore, but at the same time, I was intrigued by it. You see a lot of stuff going on in the background, and none of the scenes are wasted. All of them have a purpose, to tell you more about the world through visuals. And you will start to notice stuff upon multiple viewing. But you will also need to read a bunch of articles online too. The basic plot is that there is a girl, whose name is not told, who is carrying an egg, and she is supposed to protect it. That’s it. The rest of it is just heavy symbolism.
After reading a bunch of stuff about this movie, I had learned that Oshii wrote it when he lost his faith in Christianity. And the whole tale is about what happened after god abandoned his followers. To be honest, I don’t completely understand this movie, and I still have many questions, but that’s the charm of this movie. It begs you to watch it over and over again. Your interpretation of this movie might be different than mine on anyone else, but that doesn’t mean you are wrong.
The world in which the movie is set is the most impressive aspect of this movie. The Post-Apocalyptic Gothic city tells a story of its own, and you can tell that by just looking at it. The fishermen who have been turned into stones, and the biomechanical tanks that roam in the city all set a distinct vibe and ambiance. And all that helps in establishing the atmosphere. Environmental storytelling is just on point. Also, I recommend that you get a friend who has read the bible or is at least familiar with that stuff because, as I said, there is a lot of symbolism here. Also, it’s always better to watch movies with friends.
This is by no doubt, the selling point of this movie. I was just mesmerized by the sheer beauty of the animation. It is, hands down, one of the best-looking anime I have ever seen. And what makes it special is the fact that it’s all hand-drawn. There’s no digital animation, and that alone sets the whole vibe of this movie and what makes it special. And I am a sucker for cel animation, digital is fine, and all but nothing beats the hand-drawn goodness. This art style drew me to anime in the first place, so it is only natural that I prefer it more. And this style can never be replicated, I mean, just look at the recent Evangelion Movies.
Also, the way the shots are framed is just wonderful. They fully utilize the medium of animation. The only reason the city and the whole setting feel so alive is that this movie is animated and shot; even the long still shots are captivating as hell. And I am specifically talking about a 3 min long still-shot near the end of the movie. That scene made me more anxious than I’ve ever been while watching a movie. (Well, that and also the climax of Burning).
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The character designs are also great, they are filled with minor & symbolic details, and the way they move also feels natural. And I can’t imagine the amount the effort that went into animating the hair of the girl. In some scenes, you can tell every strand as it moves. And boy, does it look gorgeous. I mean, there was no need to make the hair so detailed, maybe there was…you can never tell with this movie, but I am glad that it looks the way it does.
Okay, I am lost for words in this one. I mean, there are only 2 characters in the whole movie: an unnamed girl and an unnamed man. And since the movie doesn’t have a narrative, these characters don’t do anything, and all the lines they speak are cryptic as hell. None of their intentions are explicit, though it is somewhat evident that the girl is someone who has been blinded by faith, whereas the man is someone who carries it like a burden. The man is just a pawn. But there is an element of suspense in the movie because of the way these characters act. Since their motives are not clear, you start to piece them together in your mind and speculate exactly what they want.
There is no such thing as character development here, except I guess near the end. Don’t know if that can be called character development or not. So you might end up hating the characters, but I’m pretty sure that you will at least be fascinated by them.
I don’t want to sound pretentious when I say that this Angel’s Egg film is not for everyone, because watching it can be a bit of a slog. There is not much going on in terms of plot, and the characters are not interesting, at least on the surface. The animation is impressive, but that alone is not a good enough reason to make a movie engaging. Unless you are ready to devote your time to this movie and dig deep, I suggest you skip this one because it is not a fun movie for a one-time watch. However, watching it multiple times won’t be that hard since the movie is only an hour long.