A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a 23 minute OAV called Pale Cocoon, this anime was written and directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura, and animated by Studio Rikka. After viewing this short OAV I was amazed by the visual quality, and the complexity of the story. Below is a brief description of the plot.
Before I get to the plot, below are some screen shots of the environment that the humans of the future live in.
Set in the very distant future humans live in a totally enclosed almost underground world. The humans were forced to live in this environment because of mankind’s destruction of the natural world. This occurred so long ago in the past no complete record of man’s past exists. The story follows a researcher named Ura who in on quest to unlock the secret of a found audio/visual clip from the distant past. Many people question Ura’s quest for past knowledge of the Earth, saying that looking at man’s past only causes sadness, because man must come to grips with the destruction they have caused and the reality they are forced to live in. As Ura digs deeper and Deeper into researching the special audio/video clip that was discovered he makes a shocking and mind blowing discovery. Below are some screen shots from Pale Cocoon.
I am continuously amazed at the amount of visual material and depth of storytelling that some anime directors are able to pack into a less than 30 minute package. Pale Cocoon is one of these special anime like Voices of a Distant Star that manages to convey the visual detail and story depth to create a entirely believable world populated by real feeling characters.
The visual world created by Pale Cocoon is a combination of Blade Runner, Aliens, and Outland, a dark depressing and claustrophobic world with a almost suffocating feel to it. The main character Ura is a guy who seems to be on a quest to understand the past no matter how painful it turns out to be, it’s almost like the scene from the movie Excalibur when Merlin asks Morgana if she wanted knowledge even if it would burn her. Ura is contrasted by his friend Rika, she tells him that it would have been better if the past had never been discovered, it just serves to remind humans of what they had destroyed. It’s a classic argument ignorance vs knowledge.
The feel of this world is almost the same as the feel of the world created by Steven King in the Gunslinger series, the world that Ura and Rika inhabits is just sort of running down. The computer technology at the disposal of Ura is comparable with the technology seen in the movie Minority Report. While this film could be considered a warning to future generations that would frighten even Al Gore, but at the end it’s almost hopeful. I can’t wait until the day this feature is available on Blu-ray so I can watch it on my 1080p DLP TV, it would be absolutely stunning. If you want to watch thirty minutes of great anime I couldn’t recommend any better anime than Pale Cocoon.