Pale Cocoon by Yasuhiro Yoshiura. A 23 minute philisophical science-fiction OVA. Almost every frame is a work of art but the main point of this OVA is to make the audience feel what the characters feel.
Hundreds of years have passed since humans have ruined the Earth. Forced to retreat to an artificial surface network and a moon colony, humans have forgotten their past. They have forgotten what green fields are, flowers, birds, life. Despite the advances in technology, much of the information about the past has been lost. The remaining files are stored in an archive, corrupted, binary files that can be restored. The “Archive Excavation Department” is responsible for that sole task.
Once a lively and enthusiastic department, it has become forsaken for humans no longer seek the truth. The truth that hurts. Only a few workers remain and among them are the characters of Ura and Riko. Ura seeks to know and to understand. He continues his work although those around him are slowly disappearing. The only one to remain is Riko. Riko also works in the same department but she has already had enough. She stays because Ura does but not for the same reasons. Her’s is to hold onto a collapsing relationship where Ura’s is to seek the truth.
One day, two large files are sent to Ura. Running a simple restoration program, Ura discovers that it is a video file with audio. Contained within the video is a message in the form of a song that will forever change Ura’s life.
Artist: Yoko Yamaguchi (Little Moa)
Song: Hito no Hibiki (Aoi Tamago)
The morning after the forest has slept
A tail of smoke left in the sky
Intersecting with the horizon
Forming a silver cross
The morning after the repetitive sleep
The moon stopped waiting
As the moon waxed, a cradle was formed
In the stead of a prayer, this is presents
That is the last angel
That is the last remaining cloud
The pale cocoon that will never hatch
Even if I lose my smile
The morning after the stars have slept
At least tomorrow will have a cloudy sky
During the peaceful time when God was here
The strawberry gardens glistened with dew
Promise that someday we will meet again
I won’t forget you
The second video file reveals that the singer Yoko had left for the moon colony and from there she sees a rusted Earth. In an epiphany of understanding, Ura rides an elevator to the top levels of the network. There he discovers a sky. A cloud formed from the exhaust of a rocket surrounds him as he stands atop the elevator car. The support cables suddenly snap and as Ura falls he sees something.
He sees, a blue Earth.
Many others have drawn parallels to Makoto Shinkai’s, Voices of a Distant Star. The largest common factor being a relationship slowly torn apart by some uncontrollable science fiction event. But in stark contrast, Pale Cocoon offers a much more darker outlook. Despair conveyed perfectly by both the setting and the plot; the vast emptyness of space whether it be extraterrestrial or in a society losing hope. People quitting. People wishing that the truths were actually lies. The mood can be felt almost as soon as the episode begins only to be reinforced again and again throughout the entire 23 minutes.
But in the harsh quest of truth that strays away from the wonderful world of lies, there lies hope, hope that there is more beyond the truth that one finds. Others have given up, not being able to walk a path that shows them horror and of humanity’s stupidity. Ura is a man seeking for something more than the reality that exists before him; a crumbling world following the demise of Earth. Riko is not as strong willed. She cannot bear to see the truths anymore but her dying love for Ura keeps her with him. She tries to pull Ura away from his quest only to be left behind.
An obvious message of “change before Earth dies”, the audience leaves with two things; despair and hope.
The song in this OVA was performed by Little Moa and there have been no official releases of it. In fact, rummaging through the internet, I was only able to find the only other song by Little Moa called “instead for you” on the album “VALB next”.
This is not for everyone. The sci-fi and philisophy combined with the gloomy mood makes for a very sad feel. If you’re the type of person who likes the mainstream, happy-go-lucky, fanservice animes, this isn’t for you. For those who seek for a true anime experience that explores human emotion and sadness, Pale Cocoon is a must. I walk both worlds and this was definitely a gem for me. I enjoyed it thoroughly from the visuals to the character emotion to the depressed setting.
For a bit of even later introductions Hi! I am one of the new
torture victims authors at THAT. Thanks go out to Impz and Extrange for helping me get started. I’ll mainly be writing about movies and short OVAs for THAT however if there ever is a need and I have a crap load of time on my hands I might write some episodal posts. I look forward to working with all the others on my now not-so-empty YIM list.
phuzy over and out.