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Angel’s Egg Review

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Time for a nice tall glass of strange. Enjoy ^-^

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Director: Mamoru Oshii
Distributor: Anchor Bay (On Indefinite Hold)
Duration: 66 Minutes Approx.
Production Creation: 1985

Plot Synopsis

In a world thick with twisted shadows, old cities and dark landscapes, a lonely young girl lies asleep cradling a mysterious egg. When she awakens, she begins to walk through a dark forest that leads her into a dank, abandoned city where she meets a man who seemingly wants to acquire the egg for himself….

Directed by Mamoru Oshii and with a screenplay by Oshii himself, Angel’s Egg charts the fantastical journey of a young girl through a surreal world where shadows pervade, illusions are everywhere and trust has to be earned.

The Review

Angel’s Egg is just so different from practically every anime out there, that it really is quite hard to know where to start when reviewing it. One thing is for sure though, if you like your anime loud, fast and action packed then stop reading this review as Angel’s Egg will do nothing for you.

Angel’s Egg is one slow, slow burner.

Obviously this will annoy people who particularly want to see a lot of action in their anime, and even people who just want some decent plot and character development (like me for instance), and as such it’s hard to argue against that. Angel’s egg has no real protagonists as such, no kind of written plot with any real kind of beginning or conclusion and as a result there appears to real point to any of it. There are some revelations toward the end that refer to Noah’s Ark and the fact that the cities are all flooded because of the biblical floods but to be honest it all comes about to late and doesn’t really come together in any kind of semblance of a plot.

There are many ponderous and quiet moments in this film, which the audience will either appreciate or be frustrated by. Most of these moments are times when Angel is just taking in her surroundings while collecting water in different jars, or when she is sat down with the mysterious soldier that follows her throughout the movie. In all seriousness, there are literally about twelve lines of dialogue in the entire film. Total.

Often I got the impression that the lack of speech and action in many scenes was perhaps not laziness on the part of the creator, but instead to try and force the audience to think for themselves just what exactly is happening, rather than having everything laid out in front of them.

It would seem all very minimalist at times and somewhat empty, if it wasn’t that it is, for the breathtaking artwork and animation. Set in a dark world, mired in water and bathed in a melancholy atmosphere, the landscapes and locales in Angel’s Egg range from the downright strange to the darkly classical. No matter the style of background however, the detail is simply stupendous. From cobblestone streets with dusty old shops selling antiquated goods through to a flooded forest garden teeming with natural beauty and serenity, the quality of the artwork on offer here is nothing short of staggering when you think that the movie was made nearly eighteen years ago.

The Yoshitaka Amano character designs also deserve a worthy mention, as they provide the characters with a downbeat disposition and appearance that fits in perfectly with this melancholy world that they find themselves in. The animation is also very impressive with carefully animated and articulate character movements that again defy the age of the production.

It’s truly hard to understand whether or not Angel’s Egg is simply an exercise in wonderful aesthetics and style with no substance or if the director is trying to get at something deeper in the movie’s duration. If there are hidden meanings or a deeper message it certainly escaped the attention of this reviewer. Or perhaps I’m looking for things that aren’t there, but there are echoes, almost traces of something elusive beneath the surreal aesthetically accomplished surface that I can’t quite put my finger on. It certainly comes across as an ‘artsy’ film but one that is enjoyable to watch as an experience, rather than a movie since it doesn’t really have a fully fledged story and cast of characters.

Angel’s Egg then is certainly an oddity among both it’s contemporaries and the anime that’s around today. It’s slow, pondering and static with no story or character development to speak of, yet it stands out simply because it is different and also because it’s just so darn surreal.

Go on give it a try, you might just lose yourself.

Ratings Summary

Animation: B+
Art: A
Music: A-
Content: B+

Overall: B+

Review by: JP Jones

Suitability for children

There is no violence, profanity (there’s practically no dialogue) or nudity at all in this film. But the rather introspective and pondering nature of the film will probably bore younger audiences. In terms of maturity of content though, this material is good for anybody aged 3+.

If you liked this why not try…

Currently, there is nothing like Angel’s Egg available. (Really there isn’t!)

Written by bitsnark

November 12, 2005 at 7:34 pm

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