In a dark and largely abandoned city a little girl wanders in search of something – beneath the folds of her dress she carries a mysterious giant egg. While living on the streets, she encounters a lonesome warrior who has forgotten his past and his purpose and, like the girl, travels aimlessly. Now they journey together, mistrustful of each other whilst sharing in the silence of the city. But who is the little girl? Who is the warrior? And what form of creature lies sleeping inside the egg?
StoryAfter reading some recommendations of Angel’s Egg, then scanning the previous site review and still not grasping what the show is supposed to be about, I figured the only way to find out was to watch it. In short, Angel’s Egg’s biggest attraction is that nobody has a fucking clue what it means. And having just completed it, I still don’t. I can describe the string of dreamlike sequences, if you will, the waves of creepy sounds like bizarre new age music that accompany it, and I can announce that it’s a work by Mamoru Oshii who directed Ghost in the Shell. Heck, I can at least say that I liked it. But I could never define it for you. Ever seen Cat Soup? Try defining the plot of what is purposefully a plot-less creation. At the heart of the narrative is a small, spectrally white girl who wanders the alleys of a nightmarish city crammed with deep looming shadows and tall imposing buildings. She appears unafraid and is seemingly used to her bereft surroundings. What really catches the eye, however, is that giant egg she keeps protected beneath her dress, making her look disturbingly pregnant. Maybe she stole it from somewhere; maybe she’s taking it someplace. At a crucial point she meets a warrior whose dead eyes (which he promptly fixes on the egg) hint at a soullessness that contrasts with her glowing innocence. Their relationship is understandably antagonistic at first and full of mistrust, and the anime leaves the viewer to decide what keeps them travelling together. Interwoven through this highly abstracted narrative are overt themes from the biblical tale of Noah’s Ark, with the warrior quoting Genesis 6: 6-7, 7: 4 and fragments of chapter 8. Being a singular show of immense creative wealth, I can only judge Angel’s Egg against itself. Either the story deserves a rating of 1 because there is no coherent plot or it deserves 10 for being captivating and original in the fullest sense. It is perfect and whole as it is but I cannot recommend it to everyone. Moreover, at over an hour of running time, this is a lot of ‘nothing’ to digest – most arty titles (Comedy, Cat Soup) keep things brief and frivolous whereas Angel’s Egg insists on slow and sombre development. This will no doubt put some – nay, most – people off, but for patient viewers with fringe tastes it will prove a rewarding sojourn for the senses.AnimationActions speak louder than words, which explains why Angel’s Egg is so expressive. To know what the characters feel, watch their faces; to understand their discourse, read their body language. Moreover, stylistically memorable, emotive and eerily beautiful, Amano Yoshitaka’s (Final Fantasy, Vampire Hunter D) designs offer incredible sequences of challenging scope.SoundVoice acting? What voice acting? A full twenty-five minutes pass before anyone utters a word, and afterwards the characters are defined predominantly by oppressive SILENCE. What little dialogue there is, though competent, merely fills necessary gaps in the story that cannot be told through animation. That is all. Nonetheless, the wealth of other noises in this show is incredible. Be it water dripping creepily into a beaker or rich orchestral themes, each sound leads to a more powerful emotional experience than the spoken word ever could.CharactersThe protagonists are nobodies. The girl with the egg is simply a girl with an egg. The warrior with the sword is simply a warrior with a sword. They talk to further the plot, their faces express appropriate emotions at the appropriate time, but beyond that they have no relevance. Asking what they want and where they are going is a fruitless exercise. Moreover, it’s irrelevant; even the characters themselves proclaim not to know their identities. Their lack of purpose doesn’t seem to bother them, however, and in light of the numerous fascinating questions the story throws up to compensate, me neither.OverallEssentially senseless, Angel’s Egg spurns ordinary analysis in favour of subjective interpretation. It is far more interested in prompting questions within its audience’s mind than offering a rational external plot. As such, any attempts to define it will necessarily fail. Still, having absorbed every detail of the movie and finding its overt existentialism thought-provoking, what do I actually think it means? Well, my guess is rebirth. What’s yours?
StoryWhat is Angel's Egg? Is it a post apocalyptic movie? Is it a warning to the Japanese public about the evils of overfishing? Is it a Noahs Ark parable? The beautiful thing about existentialist films such as Angel's Egg is that we can draw our own conclusions, and witness it as a reflection of our own values. At its source this film separates anime fans from motion picture fans, or perhaps brings them together. As far as plot goes, it's an existentialist movie, enough said. The plot needs to be inferred through our responses to the images we are presented So the plot will be different for everyone who sees it. AnimationAngel's Egg is very liquid. Many scenes are dominated by water, and how water distorts the world through reflection and refraction. The scenery is for the most part 19th century Gothic architecture; with some Salvador Dali inspired backgrounds thrown in for good measure. Character animations are ... unique, it's something you just have to see. Overall for its day, the animation of Angel's Egg is excellent, scenes are detailed, and once you get past the unique character animation, the fluidity of the animation really stands out.SoundThe weak-point of the anime, but really out of lack of sound to speak of. Most of this movie is silent, with very little background noise at all. Incidental music is minimal and there are less than twenty lines of dialogue in the whole movie. The sound effects were accurate, when they were needed, but there really isn't much to comment on at all.CharactersSpeaking of characters, Angels Egg sports three. A young girl whose sole objects in life are: to drink water, to fill potbellied glass beakers with water, and to care for an egg. There is a young man whom carries around a cross, tells stories, and does a few other things. Finally we have the music, whom lets us know in surprisingly subtle ways what we are experiencing. The music of Angels Egg is classical, with a lot of choral movements.OverallThe question to be asked is whether Angels Egg is genius, self indulgence, unintelligible, or all three at once? Ill leave the answer to that question up to the viewers themselves because at this time I do not know, which at least makes Angels Egg interesting. See for yourself.
I was not enlightened enough to understnad and enjoy this anime. So, from the viewpoint of one who simply went "the hell is going on?" throughout the entire anime, enjoy this review. Story: I think it's supposed to be an allegory for Noah's ark, but it could be dissing the fishing markets of Japan. Or it could just be the story of a girl with a magic egg. All I know is the story didn't click with me, I felt bored for the first half, and my brain still feels a bit fuzzy. Animation: This is some truly lovely animation. I enjoyed the contrast between the main character's white hair and pale pink dress, and the dystopian dark blue that shades her world. Some of the animation parts don't make a lot of sense, but that's more of the story's fault than the animators'. The only issue I had with the animation is that the characters' eyes look like they are either stoned or as done with the story as a bored teenage girl. Sound: Sweeping music, matches the tone of whatever the story was trying to cconvey. The voice acting comes in short bursts, but I didn't have much issue with either seiyu. Characters: There are two of them, they are unnamed, and for the most part, they are only instruments of whatever story the anime was trying to convey. They, as characters, are unimportant. A lot about them goes unexplained. Is this worth watching? Not really. It's pretty and all, but there are much better movies to watch. This Review brought to you by the DAMC
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