I’ve just finished watching Pale Cocoon for the 4th time in a row and I’m still amazed at how good it is. Pale Cocoon is a short 23 minute OVA directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura in 2006.
The anime takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where everyone lives in these man-made layers covering the surface of the planet. The main character, a guy named Ura, works in the Archive Extration Department, which was formed to restore ancient corrupt files from before human history was forgotten. Although Ura is obsessed with his work and seeing what life was like in the past, the rest of the department has actually quit their work because they’ve seen how miserable human history is and don’t believe any good would come from restoring any more information. Eventually Ura and a girl named Riko are the only ones left in the department, and the only reason Riko is sticking around is because of her feelings for Ura. Unfortunately, Ura is so obsessed with his work that he just drifts further away from Riko, and with the discovery of a video file (which is a rare find in the department) Ura just seems to forget about Riko.
Pale Cocoon is one of those stories that’s hard to understand, but is very thought-provoking once you watch it. Although the first half of the anime deals with the strained relationship between Ura and Riko, the second half deals with an entirely different theme. I won’t say exactly what that is, but when you get to the point where they show the video that Ura was restoring, it’s like everything just magically falls into place: the truth about the world is revealed, and the confusing scenes of Ura on the stairwell make sense.
My favourite scene in the anime is actually when they show the video that Ura was restoring and they play this really nice song. The song is “Aoi Tamago” by Little Moa, but I haven’t been able to find this song anywhere. The only traces of this song that I’ve found on the internet are rips from the anime, which still have some sound effects in them.
I know Pale Cocoon is quite dark and gloomy, but if you’re one of those people that like thought-provoking stories where the realization of something hits you hard and fast, you should definately watch this anime. Since it’s only the length of a regular anime episode, you don’t need to set aside much time for it but it’s definitely worth rewatching if you get the chance.
Oh, and for anyone that’s watched Pale Cocoon already, there’s a really good AMV of it by Nostromo. You can download it at: http://www.animemusicvideos.org/members/members_videoinfo.php?v=117481