April 20, 2012

Anime Review: Pale Cocoon

What can a one episode anime do to make such an impact on the audience? However, Pale Cocoon takes a different direction than your average anime. It has a deep meaning behind it.

Pale CocoonSynopsis:
A future where the continuity of history has broken off, a world of enormous ruins that continues endlessly. Oceans and continents have vanished, existing only within the archives brought up from the remains. Ura works in the Archive Excavation Department, which restores and analyzes the data left behind. One day, he finds a disturbing visual record... 

There isn't much to say about Pale Cocoon as it it only a 23 minute OVA. Thus, it jumps straight into the story where it is hundreds of years into the future when humans live underground. The surface of the whole world has been 'metallized' and humans have no choice but to live underground. Here we see Ura working in the Archive Excavation Department, analysing and repairing old records of long ago. One day he finds a visual record that changes his view of the future as well as the past. Pale Cocoon holds such a deep meaning to it that even after watching it, you will be left guessing as what really happened. From my perspective this short OVA really made me think about the world we live in today. As technology increasing evolves, what will become of nature and the environment we live in. Will it become desolate and ruined like what is shown in the OVA? What would be the purpose in life if such thing would occur? Thus, the OVA concludes with Ura going to the surface to see the truth himself. The story is sad in a way that if you think about it, will this future really happen?

The art was simply amazing with a mixture of 3D and 2D elements. Of course for a 23 minute OVA, much detail was put into it. As such, you get a sense of wonder at the environment that the characters are situated in. Even the characters had fine detail on them. The animations were fluid and felt natural.

The sound track was gracefully composed at suited the theme perfectly. Also, the character's voice acting was perfectly synced. Though, most of the OVA has little or no speech, we mostly hear of Ura's monologue of uncovering the past. The OVA is mainly focused on visual representation of the story rather than an audio presentation. Thus, the soundtrack used in the OVA made little impact to the overall story.

The OVA has only three major characters in the story. This is quite an accomplishment for a single OVA because it is pretty hard to tell a story with a limited amount of characters. As such, we view Ura as a lonely secluded guy just working away his life uncovering artefacts from the past. He does have two other friends that work in the same department as him, but he rarely interacts with them much. We see little about the characters' past so I didn't feel any emotional or connection to them except the situation that they are in.

Overall, I found this an interesting and meaningful anime. It is not something you come across every day. It has a sense of dread and sadness in it that portrays a future that might or might not happen. As you watch, you come to understand why the characters felt this way and what feelings they show. In the end, it is a anime you would want to watch when you have some free time. There are no major climaxes or action. Just pure understanding and discovery of the past and of the future.

What will happen in the future, or rather, what happened in the past?

ART: 9
Mixture of 3D and 2D environments is just stunningly well presented.

Good voice acting but music had little impact on overall theme.

We see little character development because of such a short anime, but we do get sense of what is happening.

For some reason, it wasn't boring even though is was all dull and gray.

An anime that will make you think deeply. If you are analytical anime type, this is for you.