The Angel’s Egg

Here is a copy of the article i wrote for the symbolism section of The Angel’s Egg article on Wikipedia. Later, the entire section was erased because of wikipedia NOR standards- no original research. You may see the original article in context here:

Or, read below- for the text, without links:


Because of the minimal dialog in Angel’s Egg, much of the film’s intended meaning is portrayed through visuals and symbols. Because of the surreal nature of the film (and no official explanation by its creators), it is open to multiple or even conflicting interpretations, as one can see below. Many or all of the symbols in Angel’s Egg can be related to religion, specifically Christianity. Mamoru Oshii also directed Patlabor, Ghost in the Shell, and myriads of other works that contain Christian themes and references. He claimed to be a Christian himself and trained in seminary for priesthood in his youth, but is rumored to have renounced the religion before working on Angel’s Egg.[2]

Angel Egg

In Japan, Angel Egg (tenshi no tamago) refers to a typical tachigui dinner, a stand-and-eat practice Oshii is fond of and he has explored in his 1987 debut live-action feature Akai Megane, before developing it as the central theme of his 2006 animation movie Tachiguishi-Retsuden.

However, for this film Oshii apparently adapted the idea of an egg to fit the parable of the sower and the seed, and other teachings of Yeshua-Jesus.

The egg

The Small Egg:

(1)1st interpretation: The egg can be seen as symbolizing the young girl’s innocence. It is something which she protects and holds on to, but is ultimately stolen.

(2) Another interpretation states that the egg is the “spiritual seed” planted in a human soul via the Gospel of Jesus Christ - a special kind of meme which tries to take root in a person’s soul. It is something she protects amidst a dark world, but it is eventually “reaped” by the Christ-like character after she had journeyed with and entrusted him. Eventually, she reaches “spiritual maturity” while passionately pursuing the path of Christ, and thus bears fruit “many times what was sown”, as the parable goes. This was indicated by the production of many eggs from her mouth (her spiritual “fecundity” or “witness”). The small egg represents a “quanta”, if you will, of the Gospel that was planted in her soul when she heard or saw something revelatory concerning God’s Salvation. This must have happened before the portrayed story began. The egg was brought to life as a result of being “wooed” by the Christ-man, and then once it was fully released, she charged directly after the Christ on the “narrow path” (Matthew 7:13,14) to spiritual maturity. The metaphor is equivalent to a maturing plant producing heads of grain, but Oshii adapted Yeshua’s parable to the production of eggs instead of seeds, possibly in order to merge it with the metaphor of the dove and the ark as expounded below.

The Big Eggs on Tree Stalks

Near the end of the film, we see organic tree-like structures holding giant eggs with unborn birds inside. These likely represent the spiritual being awaiting the realization of its true form in the afterlife- where each of these saints are “glorified”, attaining angelic forms(flying birds being symbolic of Angels), as supported in the very end by: (1)the appearance of the giant eggs after her own small one had been cultivated by the Christ-figure. (2)the girl’s angelic appearance as part of the Godhead (the giant eye-like thing).

The root-like growths holding the eggs were foreshadowed earlier by the Yeshua character as a great tree, sapping the ground to grow and reach up, as if to grasp something. The tree/egg combination, along with the Christ character’s explanation of the tree of life, portrays it to be a symbol of true Christianity and its spiritual implications. He gives us the sense that the tree/eggs are the final stage of an evolving line of energy, matter, and eventually living things: initially emanating out from pure Spirit(Giant Eye descending), yet over the eons striving to return to the source… to finally “grasp the hand that feeds it”, as it were. The eggs, we see, were located at the tops of the tree trunks, holding the unborn chicks. Each of the giant eggs probably represented a human soul which would be preserved through the Last Judgmenton the Noah’s Ark of Christ (meaning Yeshua is a sort of spiritual ark for souls), and so become glorified as part of the Godhead, as we see in the end. In other words, the giant eggs represent the second to last step of the ultimate aim of life, the universe, and everything: dead(sleeping) saints awaiting their ultimate glorification. The very last step being the actual glorification or realization of the saints and assumption to the Godhead, as we saw in the end where the Godhead(giant floating eye) was populated by the permanent(eternal) presence of the saints, with our little girl among them.

The man

The man in Angel’s Egg physically portrays a Christ-like figure. In the beginning he is seen standing on a chess board, facing the giant Eye (presumably representing the Godhead, especially God the Father capacity, since it was sending him out). He arrives in the girls life on a bizarre procession of mechanistic/organic(and phallic?!) machines, which most probably represent ancient Judaism, in reference to Matthew 11:12, where the “Kingdom of God” is forcefully advanced by the Law and the prophets. This explains the war-like (battle tanks) and distinctly male appearance of the machines.

He carries a cross on his back and wears bandages on his hands, both of which are strongly reminiscent of Christian mythos.

(1)1st interpretation: In this particular movie this figure is shown in a clearly negative light, first telling the girl that he would protect her and eventually stealing away from her the egg which she cherishes so lovingly. Following this line of interpretation, some have taken The Angel’s Egg to represent Oshi’s own fallout with Christianity.

(2)A different interpretation sees the figure in a very positive light: as being her companion and protector in a violent, illusory world, and bringing to fruition what she couldn’t have done on her own. He uses the crucifix to do this, in reference to Matthew 16:24 He actually explains his motives for breaking the egg: Without opening it, one may never realize the potential of whats inside. He overcame her selfish tendency to keep the egg(gospel seed) hidden, by wooing her companionship and trust. This is probably an allusion to “walking in Christ” or “living by the Spirit of Christ”.

The Fishermen and Fish

(1)1st interpretation: Fishermen and fish are popular, reoccurring symbols in Christian mythology.

(2)Another interpretation notes that in this particular case, the shifty fish shadows are those of the lobe-finned or Sarcopterygii genera, which are almost entirely extinct as a group. Thus, the shadows can be interpreted as shades of once-living things, but now dissipating from nature- becoming extinct. To apply the spiritual metaphor, the shadows most likely represent ephemeral and even demonic forms. It fits well with the concept of demonic illusions, because it is believed that demons are “fallen” angels. (”fallen”, as in cut off from and thus dissipating from God’s creation, yet finding some sustenance and rest in the propagation of idolatry in humanity). see Mathew 12:43-45) Supporting this idea, these mirages are zealously pursued by the spearmen, yet never tangibly grasped or attained, and thus no ultimate fulfillment is found, and no innate hunger is sated. The spears are sharp projections attached to ropes. This most likely symbolizes the human spirit(will and conscience) projecting itself onto its environment, trying to form soul-attachments and identities in ephemeral things- passions, pleasures, fears, vices, addictions, fetishes, idolatry, etc, represented by the shadows.

In contrast, the fish enshrined in the Gothic church was colorful and vibrant, and the girl radiated white in its presence. Where the lobed-finned shadows probably represent the adoption of shifty goals and ephemeral pursuits which are all moving towards extinction, the colorful fish probably represents the Body of Christ- enshrined in eternity.

The Water

The water is a subtle yet strong underlying Typology (theology) present throughout the film. In the beginning, God descends into an “ocean” and the waters emanate out from the impact in waves, signifying the beginning of creation, where Jesus Christ the Logos (the white-haired man) is sent out to perfect the creation, “glorifying God” by gathering in human souls(in reference to Isaiah 55:11), as we see in the film. The water most likely symbolizes Spirit, specifically the Holy Spirit. Initially the girl collects small amounts of it and stores it away (the best she can do on her own), but in a foreshadowing moment early in the film, while starring into a pond she imagines herself to be fully immersed (after which the man shows up). In the end, the water floods everything, and she herself is drowned in it while pursuing the man- symbolizing Baptism with the Holy Spirit while chasing the path of Yeshua.

The Ark and the Dove


Near the beginning of the film we see the shadow of an ark, which presumably the girl frequented. As the very last twist, we see the ark again at the end- this time slowly panning out. This is yet another example of Typology (theology), in which the story of the Ark, regardless of its historical details, is taken as a narrative allegory. Oshi probably borrowed the idea from the epistle of 1 Peter 3:20-22 regarding the moment of salvation, where the ark represents the preservation of the human spirit(will and conscience) amidst a spiritual “flood” or baptism of the rest of the mind, while demonic influences are purged.

As the angle pans out in the last scene, we see a meta-ark, which also probably represents the salvation work of Christ on a larger scale. The entirety of the “remnant” of human souls is preserved through the Last Judgment by devoting itself to God through Christ, but not just a remnant of humanity, but also, a reconciliation of the entire universe is implied here. An idea likely inspired by Paul’s epistle to the Romans in which he describes the ultimate goal of existence. Chapter 8:18-27.

~The Dove:

Drawing from the theme of all the 2nd interpretations above- While the ark represents Christ as a preservation of the remnant of human souls (and the universe reconciled through them in a mysterious fashion- Romans 8:18-27), the dove must represent all the souls of humanity, sent out by God into human bodies, but in the process of free will and sinful nature, alienate themselves from “Him” by sin.

According to what is implied in this film, this severs a person’s connection from Eternal Life in God-(the birds forgetting their origins, dying, and becoming fossilized). In the largest dialog section, the Yeshua character presents a variation of Genesis 8, in which the bird forgot where it came from, and probably died in the waters somewhere. He then makes an equivalence between the forgetful bird and humanity(including himself, as “the son of man”). Shortly afterwards, they find the bird dead amongst the fossils, which symbolizes concepts found in Ephesians 2:1-3 i.e. “spiritual death” because of relational estrangement from God.

This idea is supported further when the girl declares to have the bird alive and growing in the egg, which the Yeshua character treats with some skepticism because, as we see later, it was only a half-truth that she had the bird, since the egg was only the seed of the knowledge of salvation planted in her, and it only became a real bird(the giant egg on a tree stalk) after it was brought to fruition by Christ(he opened the egg).

Thus, the bird represents the human spirit initially created by God(dove sent out from ark), fallen in sin(bird forgets God and fossilizes), but then reconciled again to God through the Son(he uses the crucifix to cultivate what was sown(the small egg), and later the giant tree/eggs emerge)


The girl, of course, represents a spiritually immature person- but possibly also an actual child, since in the end she appears as part of the Godhead in a child-like form rather than in an adult form as are many of the other statues. She holds the egg in a way which looks like she’s pregnant, which follows with the analogies above in which the gospel seed grows inside of a person, taking root in their soul, eventually “birthing” fruit, several times what was sown.(Mathew 13:23)

While there may be a few more allegories to draw from the film, we have provided tentative interpretations of the main themes above. It is interesting to note that the deeper nature of the film has eluded the usual anime fan-base since its release. Due to the exceedingly esoteric nature of the spiritual allegories presented, having them explained by someone familiar with Christian theology still puts the viewer in a difficult position.

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