The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Pale Cocoon

Title: Pale Cocoon
Genre: Drama
Company: Studio Rikka
Format: 1 OVA
Dates: 18 Jan 2006

Synopsis: In a future where the continuity of history has been lost and there is no longer a sky or sea, the past only exists in picture and video files in the records of excavated archives. Ura works for the Bureau of Record Excavation, digging up old records and filing them away in the archive, but when he restores a mysterious video it changes the way he looks at the world.

The Highlights
Visuals: Stunning, absolutely stunning.
Pace: Painfully slow.
Story: Decent enough.

Yoshiura Yasuhiro, director and writer, is looking to make himself the next Shinkai Makoto (Voices of a Distant Star, The Place Promised in Our Early Days), or at least that’s the feeling I got after watching Pale Cocoon. Just like Voices of a Distant Star, Pale Cocoon was produced with a small staff with Yoshiura doing most of the work himself. He even lent his vocal talent to one of the four speaking characters.

The biggest difference between Pale Cocoon and Voices of a Distant Star is definitely the animation. While Voices was animated completely on Shinkai‘s Macintosh computer, Pale Cocoon had a studio behind it, and they delivered some terrific eye candy. While the animation itself is nothing to write home about, the beautiful artwork coupled with the dark atmosphere really looks amazing. The staff also used little tricks to make the animation itself look better, such as panning stills for long periods of time during certain dialogs.

The story itself is a mystery, posing questions regarding the events in the past that made the future the way it is, and what the video has to do with it. Everyone in the Bureau of Record Excavation eventually ends up asking themselves why they are even digging up records, as the more they find out the less they feel they need to know. Unfortunately, the pacing suffers as there is nothing really pushing the OVA along too quickly, so what should essentially be a ten minute story gets extended to twenty-three minutes.

So, is Yoshiura Yasuhiro the next Shinkai Makoto? At this stage of his career, it’s hard to tell. But, he sure is off to a good start with Pale Cocoon. Although still a small name in the anime world, I’ll definitely be looking out for his next work. Hopefully he won’t leave me waiting for too long.

The Rating: 7

Reviewed by: DarkKanti

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