Pale Cocoon

Title: Pale Cocoon OVA
Genre: Sci-fi, Post apocalyptic, Cyberpunk
Rating: 10/10

Pale Cocoon
Summary: Humanity have gone underground, and Ura is one of the last few members of the excavation department in a post-apocalyptic world. Everyday, he cleans up old records of the previous human civilization and acquires little glimpses of what life used to be on the surface. Like the rest of the excavation department, Riko, a member from the analysis division, begins to lose hope, after realizing that Humanity have destroyed all the beauty that they have seen from the archives.One day, he restores up a mysterious archive that turns out to be a hauntingly beautiful music video by Yoko Yamachu titled Hito no Hibiki (A person’s echo).

Review: Pale Cocoon won the award for best screenplay at the 1st Sapporo international short film festival and market, and frankly, I am wondering why they didn’t win more awards.

The OVA has a flawless narrative and an ending that will leave you feeling hopeful and despair at the same time. This ambivalence is due to how the ending opens up a whole new paradigm for the excavation department, as well as, the increased distance between what they know, and what they hope to know.

And all of this is achieved in a simple, elegant story line that touches upon the most profound themes regarding the nature and direction of the Human Civilization, Human Population, World Ecology, Existentialist meaning, Scientific Research, as well as, Knowledge and Memories.

The repeated question “Why do we make archives?” takes on new dimensions in this short 22 minute movie.

One of my favorite aspects of the movie is with how certain technologies have made other obsolete. For instance, Ura can no longer recognize a ‘book’ that is unable to connect with other books, or have interactivity that is akin to our current day Tablet. This felt like a reversal portrayal of iBooks’ advertisement on revolutionizing the Book in the future, whereby people no longer recognize what the original book looks like. This is a haunting recognition of ‘technological progress’, which I feel underpins the entire film.

Excavation, for instance, is no longer a means to ‘find out more through the methods of Science’ (i.e Archaeology) but to find out what was loss to Human Memory through Science and Technology. Similarly, History becomes the blueprint for the future (and arguably the pale cocoon present), rather than the faded pages of the past.

And the story climaxes in the Music Video by Yoko Yamaguchi whose song reveals the missing gaps in Ura and Riko’s knowledge of the World that they assumed was lost.

All in all, I am extremely wowed by the production and feel that this has a place among the greats.

Recommended: Highly Recommended by the Panda For Everyone.

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