Before creating Ghost in the Shell (1995), writer and director Mamoru Oshii crafted a surrealist art film, Angel’s Egg (1985). The film follows a young girl caring for an egg and a forgotten Crusader as they traverse the apocalyptic world of rain and stone. During their time together viewers are introduced to heavy themes of religion, life, and death. However, the theme and little plot line presented in this film can be washed away by the stream of consciousness storytelling and the surrealist settings. Amazingly, the same devices that confuse some viewers is what reveals the underlying message of Angel’s Egg.


In order to understand the meaning behind this film, the viewer must first know the origins of the world. Towards the later half of the film it is revealed by the Crusader that the setting is an apocalyptic world where the Christian God seemed to have forgotten Noah and all those on the ark after the flood. Leaving everyone within to forget and turn to stone. This story informs the viewer that the imagery that is being presented relates back to Christian iconography. Taking this into account, the world that the young girl and the Crusader traverse is the decrepit remains of Noah’s ark. Imagery of this ark is shown three times during the film. Once at the beginning, once before the Crusader crushes the egg, and once at the end where the Crusader is left on a sideways ark, watching the stone sphere float into the sky. Essentially this is the entire plot of the film in terms of action. A young girl explores the ruins of the ark and the Crusader follows her home where he destroys the egg. Of course, looking at the characters themselves leads more into what Mamoru Oshii was attempting to share with this work.

Related: 7 Best Anime by Mamoru Oshii

Two Protagonists at a Glance

Angel's Egg Clip

The first character that the film introduces the viewer to is the Crusader. Now, this man is never officially given a name. The reasoning behind the label Crusader for the purposes of this article have to do with his image in the film. The man is seen carrying a metal like weapon in the form of a cross and bandages on his hands. These pieces allude to a relation to Jesus from the Bible, only there could have been no Jesus if God never returned to Noah. So, this man who questions God and the world he lives in can be seen as Jesus if he was forgotten as well. A Crusader not fighting for God, but rather looking to find him and leave the broken world he left behind. This assumption is strengthened by the fact that seemingly the Crusader is the only one to see God, the stone sphere, both in the dream at the beginning of the film and rising out of the water at the end.

The young girl on the other hand is innocent and appears to be blindly faithful to God and specifically the egg she is attempting to hatch. Visually the young girl stands out against the primarily blue toned environment. Her white hair, pale skin, and pink striped dress contrasts the stone soldiers and gray blue tones of the Crusader. During the entirety of the film the young girl shows a close affiliation with the Virgin Mary. This association is based on her blindly caring for the doves egg, the savior of those trapped in the ark. She keeps it warm under her dress, making it appear that she is pregnant. Most importantly the young girl is infatuated with water. She collects bottles of it in her home implying that unlike the others who hate the never ending water, she accepts it and even drinks it. Something the Crusader wouldn’t dare to do.

The water for the stone people and the Crusader is a prison, keeping them locked inside the ark, but for the young girl its life and rebirth. She willingly drinks the water like taking communion. At the end when she falls to her death she meets the water with a kiss and is reborn, leaving behind dozens of eggs. This implies that her faith allowed her to go to heaven and leave behind more opportunities for others’ salvation. Her ascension is confirmed at the end of the film when the Crusader sees the young girl turned to stone among the other angels perched on God. The deep dive into these two characters are the primary plot of the story, a character study of sorts. A lost Crusader looking for faith, but knowing there is nothing and an innocent girl believing blindly in God, or in her case, an egg.

What Does it Mean?

Angel's Egg Main Character

Some may argue that with the analysis of the characters and subsequently the plot that Mamoru Oshii was pushing for blind faith in God. However, considering the role of the Crusader it would seem that instead of pushing for blind faith, Mamoru Oshii is depicting his own struggle in finding his faith. This is why the Crusader was so adamant that the only way to truly know what is in the egg is to break it. Every step of the way the Crusader rebuffs any comments the young girl may have about life within the egg. Eventually once she is asleep he finally has to break its shell revealing that the egg was empty. This moment can be seen as Oshii coming to the conclusion that there is no God. Then why include the ending of God rising from the waters?

Because even with everything that has happened the Crusader, Oshii, wants to believe. He has seen the blind faith the young girl has for this egg (God) and wishes to feel the same way. Instead, he rejects the opportunity, being left behind, in an ocean of his own confusion and sorrow.

Angel’s Egg is a breathtaking film that displays the struggles of a man trying to grapple with his waning faith. This message is mixed into a complex apocalyptic setting of God forgetting Noah and the ark. With the interpretive nature and Christian symbolism scattered throughout it can be difficult to find the meaning of the film. However, knowing the true intention and themes makes a second watch a must. Angel’s Egg is a classic that more fans of artistic anime and Mamoru Oshii’s work must experience for themselves.

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