I’ve been learning about and watching a lot of Mamoru Oshii recently, famed anime director of Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor 2, and other anime classics. I looked into Angel’s Egg on a whim, hearing about its heavy symbolism and its initially mixed reception in 1985. It’s now recognized as a masterpiece, and upon watching it I can confirm this is the case.
While the animation company was Studio Deen (not a brand of quality in the anime world), this is in their early days before they had a sullied reputation. The production quality is stellar, with famous, talented artists helming the major positions of production. Creating the original concept with Oshii, Yoshitaka Amano (of Final Fantasy fame) created the character designs. He also handled art direction, along with Shichiro Kobayashi, whose company made the background art. To top off this list of major anime talents, Studio Ghibli founder Toshio Suzuki produced the film. Angel’s Egg has a concentrated dose of key figures in anime, and all for the better, as the film is a fantastic meditation on the brokenness of the world.
The film is not plot heavy, but rather inundates the audience with amazing images, mixing ruined landscapes and surrealism to make the film utterly gripping. Symbolism is everywhere; every shot, every object the girl and man encounters ties into the main symbology of the story. Of course, in the bleak, crumbling civilization the two live in, there isn’t much to distract from the thematics. Dialogue is minimal, but eloquent, giving ample room for the sweeping images to take hold.
I began watching this film on a whim, and found that I couldn’t look away. This movie is utterly entrancing. At only 71 minutes long, you have very little to lose. Watch it now!