Angel's Egg

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Angel's Egg
DVD cover art
(Tenshi no Tamago)
GenreScience fantasy[1]
Created byMamoru Oshii
Yoshitaka Amano
Original video animation
Directed byMamoru Oshii
Produced by
  • Hiroshi Hasegawa
  • Masao Kobayashi
  • Kōki Miura
  • Yutaka Wada
Written byMamoru Oshii
Music byYoshihiro Kanno
StudioStudio Deen
Released15 December 1985
Runtime71 minutes

Angel's Egg (Japanese: 天使のたまご, Hepburn: Tenshi no Tamago) is a Japanese art film original video animation (OVA) written and directed by Mamoru Oshii.[2] Released by Tokuma Shoten on 15 December 1985,[3] the film was a collaboration between artist Yoshitaka Amano and Oshii. It features very little spoken dialogue and a story that is strongly allegorical which has led to many viewers being confused about the film's supposed meaning.[2]


A young girl scavenges a desolate city while protecting a large egg. She encounters a boy who questions her about what the egg contains and suggests breaking it, leading to their brief bonding. The boy recounts a story that sounds like an alternate version of Noah's Ark in which the bird never returned and never existed and the ship kept sailing. The girl tells the boy that the bird did exist, and brings him to a fossil of an angel. Later, the boy smashes the girl's egg while she sleeps, prompting her to look for him and ultimately fall into a body of water, where a large number of eggs appear. After this, the world shown in the film is revealed to have been on top of a shape that looks like the hull of an overturned ship.

Voice actors[edit]

Nezu worked with Oshii once again in Patlabor 2: The Movie[4] and Mako Hyōdō played a supporting role in The Sky Crawlers.[5]


"I really liked the Bible when I was a little boy. And when I was a student, at one point I was planning to enter a seminary, but I didn't. Even now, though, I read the Bible sometimes" – Mamoro Oshii in 1996[2]

Many of the themes and elements in Angel's Egg were originally from Oshii's cancelled Lupin the 3rd film.[6] However, only the angel fossil remains unchanged from its planned appearance.[7]

Oshii said that he wanted to remove a narrative as much as possible, and keep the film simple, using animation as an expression to draw out a story,[8] and fill it with symbolic expressions and metaphors "like Jung's archetypes and collective unconscious".[9]

Angel's Egg touches on themes that are common in Oshii's films, including references to the Christian Bible, the symbolism of dreams, as well as the intersection of dreams and reality. Some of these themes appear in his other works, such as 1984's Beautiful Dreamer.[2] Although some publications have indicated that the film is built on director Oshii's supposed loss of faith in Christianity,[10] Oshii himself has stated otherwise in saying that he was not a Christian, but that he thought quotes from the Bible were cool and had a friend who was Christian.[11] The misconception that Oshii was a man of faith has its origins in an interview that was likely mistranslated, in which Oshii is reported to say. " I planned to enter a seminary at one point, but didn't." Which is then followed up by the interviewer asking. "Are you a Christian, or do you just like the Bible for its philosophy?" To which Oshii replies. "For its philosophy." In the same Animerica interview Oshii also said. "I'm not a Christian, but I've been reading the Bible since my student days".[2]

In a 1996 interview with the magazine Animerica, Oshii stated that he made the film because it had elements that intrigued him, such as "Ruins; I like ruins; I like museums; I like fish; I like birds; I like water... and I like girls." He also stated that ruins appear to him in his dreams.[2]

Oshii said in a 1985 interview with Animage that the contents of the egg are supposed to represent dreams and hopes, something that may or may not exist, and that while the girl believed in what was in it, by breaking the egg, the boy showed that what she believed in did not exist.[12] Regarding the bird the boy talks about, though the girl shows the boy an angel fossil in order to convince him that the bird does exist, Oshii has stated that the angel is not the bird.[13] Oshii also said that the ending was one with salvation for the girl, but he did not want it to be shown in a straightforward way, and made it hard to understand.[14]

The angel fossil was later reused alongside other elements from Oshii's cancelled Lupin film in 009 RE:CYBORG, which Oshii was initially supposed to direct and participated in the script for, and was eventually directed by Kenji Kamiyama, a student of Oshii.[15] Kamiyama describes this version of the angel fossil as indication of a god, but not of any particular religion.[16] The angel fossil was also used in the tenth episode of Lupin the 3rd Part 6 which Oshii wrote the script for[17] "Darwin's Bird"[18][19][20] In this episode Fujiko Mine is hired by the archangel Michael to steal the angel fossil, which is actually that of the fallen angel Lucifer, on behalf of his master.[21]

Production and release[edit]

Oshii originally intended on making a comedy film, with film starting with the girl with the egg first getting off a flying ark in front of a Japanese convenience store, but changed his mind and decided to make it a pure fantasy film after seeing Amano's art.[22][23]

The documentation for the project was written in one night by Toshio Suzuki (producer) but Oshii was displeased with it and did not use it. However, the title of the film, "天使のたまご" (Tenshi no Tamago/Angel's Egg) was from Suzuki, where Oshii's original title was "水棲都市" (Suisei Toshi/Aquatic City).[24][25]

Oshii began writing the script with the main theme of a dream seen by a girl, continuing from Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, but thinking that a script alone would not be enough to get the project approved, invited Amano to make image boards for the proposal. He also showed the image boards to the animators to get ideas from them.[26] There was no definitive script, but rather a collection of ideas noted down like "annunciation" "ark" "setting sun" "a boy holding a cross riding a tank" which were immediately turned into storyboards, and then fitted together, which Oshii says had the intention of making a film without clear drama, made out of visual expressions, like one by Andrei Tarkovsky.[27]

Amano had initially been slated to work on Oshii's cancelled Lupin film, which anime critic Ryota Fujitsu says makes it obvious that Angel's Egg was inherited from Lupin.[28] While Amano was originally invited to work on character designs, Oshii liked his art enough that he ended up in the role of art direction, also designing image boards, and other things such as posters.[29]

Angel's Egg was released in the direct-to-video format on 15 December 1985 by Tokuma Shoten.[30] The 71-minute OVA would later be used as the skeleton for the 1987 live-action independent film In the Aftermath directed by Carl Colpaert. Colpaert's movie occasionally intercuts with footage from Oshii's Angel's Egg with dubbed over dialogue, which does not appear in Oshii's film.


Angel's Egg repurposes ideas that Oshii developed for a cancelled Lupin the Third film. Both concepts feature the theme of questioning existence (Lupin's existence in the cancelled film, and the bird from Noah's ark in Angel's Egg), and involve the fossil of an angel[31] Oshii himself said that Angel's Egg was another attempt at the idea[32] and anime critic Ryota Fujitsu [ja] has said that Angel's Egg (and the first Patlabor movie) would not have existed if Oshii had gotten to make the Lupin film.[33] Oshii has also stated that the entire angel fossil concept used in Angel's Egg was directly taken from Lupin,[34] and compares the relationship between the boy and girl to that in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.[35]


Although Angel's Egg was highly acclaimed by critics and people in the animation industry in Japan on release, it also resulted in Oshii being labeled as a director who made films hard to understand, which resulted in him being hired far less frequently for years up until he got involved with Patlabor.[36][37]

Yoshikazu Yasuhiko said that the reason the film feels like something new is because it is not merely a montage of disjointed scenes, but a completely world depicted within 80 minutes. He also compares the art in the film to the modernism in Belladonna of Sadness, being beautiful but also dangerous.[38]

Haruhiko Mikimoto expressed appreciation for the art direction, particularly having characters with color in front of monotone backgrounds, the use of silhouettes in the backgrounds, and the use of barely visible objects in the dark in backgrounds. He also said that Angel's Egg brought out the best merit of an OVA, which is letting the creator make what they want to make, and that he felt the quality of the film meant it would not be out of place in a movie theater.[39]

Shoji Kokami had high praise for the film, saying that it is a "two-dimensional poem of images given form" that "should be valued as a pinnacle of the media of animation."[40]

Anime critic and producer Noriaki Ikeda [ja] also had high praise for the film, saying the apocalyptic setting, religious aspects, and lack of life in it both appeals to and bewilders fans of science fiction. He also contrasted the film with Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer and Dallos, saying that while they were about giving meaning to a fictional world, it makes an abnormal world to give the characters meaning.[41]

Hayao Miyazaki was more critical of the film, and recounts that Toru Horikoshi, who was a producer for Nippon TV at the time, fell asleep watching the film, and that while Michihiko Suwa of Yomiuri TV approved it for a TV broadcast, he said that he did not understand the film.[42] Miyazaki himself said regarding the film that he "appreciates the effort, but it is not something others would understand"[43] and of Oshii "he goes on a one-way journey without thinking of how to get back".[44]

Oshii recounts that his mother said upon watching the film that nobody would watch his films anymore.[45]

The film has gained more critical acclaim from critics and industry professionals in later years, with people such as Shoji Kawamori,[46] Ryu Mitsuse,[47] Hideo Osabe,[48] Takashi Murakami,[49] and director Akiyoshi Imazeki [ja][50] heaping praise on it.

Western critics found the film confusing, citing its allegory, symbolism, and ending, as the reasons.[51][2] Brian Ruh stated that it was "one of the most beautiful and lyric films in the animated medium."[52] Some western critics say that the film is difficult to understand, with visuals and narrative that is both cryptic, convoluted, and allegorical.[53][51] Jason Thompson writing in Viz Media's online magazine J-pop compared the film's style to Night on the Galactic Railroad while noting that the meaning of the film may be elusive, stating "ANGEL'S EGG stands as an evocation of a mood and world which is powerful in spite of -- perhaps because of -- not being consciously understood."[51]

Helen McCarthy called it "an early masterpiece of symbolic film-making", stating that "its surreal beauty and slow pace created a Zen-like atmosphere, unlike any other anime".[54] In his book Horror and Science Fiction Film IV, Donald C Willis described the film as "a haunting, poetic melancholic science-fantasy film, and–for non-Japanese-speaking viewers at least–a very cryptic one."[1] Willis also included the film in his list of most memorable films from 1987 to 1997.[55] In an article in Senses of Cinema on Oshii, Richard Suchenski stated that the film was Oshii's "purest distillation of both Oshii's visual mythology and his formal style". The review noted that "Patlabor 2 is more sophisticated, Ghost in the Shell is more important, and Avalon is more mythically complex but the low-tech, hand-drawn Angel's Egg remains Oshii's most personal film."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Willis 1997, p. 20.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Horn, Carl Gustav (February 1996). "A Director's Dreamscape – The Animerica Interview with Mamorou Oshii". Animerica. 4 (2). Viz Media: 4–5, 18–21.
  3. ^ "天使のたまご" [Angel's Egg] (in Japanese). Stingray – AllCinema Movie and DVD Database. Archived from the original on 21 September 2004. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  4. ^ "機動警察パトレイバー2 the Movie" [Mobile Police Patlabor 2: The Movie] (in Japanese). Stingray – AllCinema Movie and DVD Database. Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  5. ^ "スカイ・クロラ The Sky Crawlers" (in Japanese). Stingray – AllCinema Movie and DVD Database. Archived from the original on 2 June 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  6. ^ 『『スカイ・クロラ』公開記念押井マニア、知ったかぶり講座! 』Webアニメスタイル/藤津亮太、2008年 「その後で作った『天使のたまご』(85)に、そういうものが全部流れ込んじゃったということはありますね。“天使の化石”を持ち込んで、成立しなかった僕のルパンの復讐戦だったんです」
  7. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「設定を流用したのは“天使の化石”だけなんです。」
  8. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 103-104 「物語性は極力排除して、シンプルにする。アニメーションの面白くて、豊かな表現力を積み重ねて、その上で物語性を出す様にする」
  9. ^ 大日本絵画刊「押井守・映像機械論[メカフィリア]」押井守/竹内敦志 pg 74-75 「カール・グスタフ・ユングの分析心理学の『元型』『集合的無意識』の要領であらゆるモチーフを象徴的表現・暗喩で埋め尽くす」
  10. ^ a b Suchenski, Richard (July 2004). "Mamoru Oshii". Senses of Cinema. No. 32. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  11. ^ 押井守の映画50年50本 [Mamoru Oshii's 50 Films, 50 Years] (in Japanese). Ritsutosha (立東會). 12 August 2020. ISBN 978-4845634446.
  12. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「少女はたまごの中身を信じているわけだけど、その中身は、いまここにはないものである。つまり、“たまごは割ってみなければ、なかになにが入っているかわからない”。それで、少年がたまごを割ったときに、なかにはなにもなかった。少女は“ないもの”を信じて生きていたわけです。たまごは、ことばを変えていえば、夢とか希望だと思う。それは、いまここにはないもので、可能性として存在しているだけである。しかし、夢とか希望を信じているうちは、人は、ほんとの現実には出あっていないのだ、と思う。」
  13. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「もう鳥はいないんだ、天使の化石は鳥ではなかった。」
  14. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「ラストでは、少女のほうには救いを託したつもりなんです。でも、いかにも予定調和に出てくるんじゃなくて、ある種のわかりにくさを持たせてますけど。」
  15. ^ "ロングインタビュー:映画『009 RE:CYBORG』監督、神山健治[1/4] | Featured News | Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM) Shop: Figures & Merch from Japan". 19 May 2013.
  16. ^ "ロングインタビュー:映画『009 RE:CYBORG』監督、神山健治[4/4] | Featured News | Tokyo Otaku Mode (TOM) Shop: Figures & Merch from Japan". 19 May 2013.
  17. ^ "今から追いつける!「ルパン三世 Part6」押井守・湊かなえら脚本陣が贈る、異色のルパンミステリーを徹底解説 - コミックナタリー 特集・インタビュー".
  18. ^ "押井守が脚本手がけた「ルパン三世 Part6」第10話の場面カット解禁".
  19. ^ "ルパン三世Part6 押井守 脚本作「ダーウィンの鳥」". 27 November 2022.
  20. ^ "押井守ファンなら、「ルパン三世」Part6第10話は必見である|yoh". 24 January 2024.
  21. ^ ルパン三世 part6 第10話『ダーウィンの鳥』 「あしたの子明星よ。いかにして天より隕ちしや」「私の主人が望んだのは、彼の不興を買って天界から墜ちた者の回収だ」
  22. ^ 天野由衣子、ヴァーンフリート(奥津英敏、平野奈津美、山本友美) 編「押井守クロニクル 天使のたまご」『押井守ワークス+スカイ・クロラ』宝島社、79頁。ISBN 978-4-7966-6393-9
  23. ^ アアニメージュ編集部「付録『天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK』」『アニメージュ』1985年12月号、徳間書店、1985年12月, pg 38.
  24. ^ 押井守『勝つために戦え!〈監督ゼッキョー篇〉』徳間書店、2010年。ISBN 978-4198630072 pg 341
  25. ^ 大日本絵画刊「押井守・映像機械論[メカフィリア]」押井守/竹内敦志 pg 74-75
  26. ^ アニメック編集部「「新春対談 押井守 VS 天野喜孝 『天たまについて』」、「解説 天使のたまご -押井守監督に聞く-」」『アニメック』1986年3月号、ラポート、 March 1986
  27. ^ ビー・エヌ・エヌ刊「アニメーションの脚本術」野崎透著 pg 96
  28. ^ まず代表的なものは、『天使のたまご』。アートディレクションとして天野嘉孝(現・喜孝)が引き続き参加していることからも、ルパンからの継続は明確だ。
  29. ^ 徳間書店刊「アニメージュ」1985年7月号「押井守監督作品 天使のたまご その不可思議な物語世界への誘い 作品世界とキャラクター」 pg 27-30
  30. ^ Haraguchi, Masahiro, ed. (10 March 1999). ビデオ編 た [Video Releases: Ta]. Animage Pocket Data Notes 1999 (in Japanese). Tokuma Shoten. p. 130.
  31. ^ 「インタビュー押井守 幻の押井ルパンは『虚構を盗む』はずだった」『THEルパン三世FILES ルパン三世全記録 〜増補改訂版〜』キネマ旬報社、1998年、p.36
  32. ^ 『『スカイ・クロラ』公開記念押井マニア、知ったかぶり講座! 』Webアニメスタイル/藤津亮太、2008年 「その後で作った『天使のたまご』(85)に、そういうものが全部流れ込んじゃったということはありますね。“天使の化石”を持ち込んで、成立しなかった僕のルパンの復讐戦だったんです」
  33. ^ 『『スカイ・クロラ』公開記念押井マニア、知ったかぶり講座! 』Webアニメスタイル/藤津亮太、2008年 「押井のフィルモグラフィーを振り返ってみると、もし押井ルパンが成立していたら、少なくとも『天使のたまご』と『機動警察パトレイバー[劇場版]』は存在しなかったといえる。」
  34. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「設定を流用したのは“天使の化石”だけなんです。」
  35. ^ 『アニメージュ1985年12月号付録「天使のたまご GUIDE BOOK」徳間書店、1985年 「こういう人間関係は、テネシー・ウィリアムズの「ガラスの動物園」に出てくるんです。ずっとなにかを待ちつづける女の子がいて、そこにある男がやってきて、それで去っていく。他者に出会って、世界が新しくなる、という話」
  36. ^ 宮崎駿「絵コンテを読んで 通俗文化の宿命」『天使のたまご絵コンテ集』徳間書店、1985
  37. ^ 『『スカイ・クロラ』公開記念押井マニア、知ったかぶり講座! 』Webアニメスタイル/藤津亮太、2008 「押井ルパンのような挑発的な映画を作ってしまったとしたら、やはり『天使のたまご』の時のように、仕事が激減したことだけは間違いないことのように思う。」
  38. ^ 徳間書店刊「アニメージュ」1985年11月号「'85冬 原画アップ!6人の原画マンが語る不思議な魅力『天使のたまご』」pp.16-17、「初顔合わせ対談 安彦良和VS押井守 演出家にとって作家性とはなにか?」pg 30-34
  39. ^ 徳間書店刊「アニメージュ」1986年1月号「新春横断企画 第一線で活躍するアニメ関係者が推薦 '86年のホープを探せ!」p.20「押井守監督作品 天使のたまご」pg 60-61
  40. ^ 徳間書店刊「アニメージュ」1986年2月号「『ルパン』を降りた押井守『天使のたまご』を監督」 pg 21 「これは物語の形を変えたイメージ・詩の集積物です。結晶化されたイメージが二次元の詩として、画面に立ち現れます。アニメの1つの到達点として評価されるべきものでしょう」
  41. ^ 徳間書店刊「アニメージュ」1986年3月号「押井守が『美しきフィクション世界』から放った 人間へのレクイエム」pg 106
  42. ^ 宮崎駿「絵コンテを読んで 通俗文化の宿命」『天使のたまご絵コンテ集』徳間書店、1985
  43. ^ 宮崎駿「絵コンテを読んで 通俗文化の宿命」『天使のたまご絵コンテ集』徳間書店、1985 「努力は評価するが、他人には通じない」
  44. ^ 「宮崎駿の功罪」(押井と上野俊哉との対談)『クリエイターズファイル 宮崎駿の世界』竹書房<バンブームック>、2004
  45. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 104
  46. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 106-107
  47. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 118-119
  48. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 177-179
  49. ^ キネマ旬報社刊「キネマ旬報」1995年11月上旬号「JAPANIMATION SPLASH!」pg 24-25
  50. ^ 押井守『すべての映画はアニメになる』徳間書店、2004年。ISBN 978-4198618285 pg 161
  51. ^ a b c Thompson, Jason (1997). "Jason's Picks: Angel's Egg". Viz Media. Archived from the original on 19 February 2001.
  52. ^ Ruh 2004, p. 47.
  53. ^ "Lamu: Un Hermosa Expediente". Animedia (in Spanish) (44). Spain: Ares Editorial: 34–35. June 2006.
  54. ^ McCarthy 2009, p. 39.
  55. ^ Willis 1997, p. viii.


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