Described in some parts as a spiritual follow-up to the much lauded sci-fi short Voices of a Distant Star, Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s Pale Cocoon is another 22 minute OVA that attempts to express a wistful charm by means of an isolated space setting.
The story is that (for some undefined reason) mankind has migrated to the moon and after years of being seperated from the mother planet (Earth), people are yearning for a return home. The main character, a distant young man called Ura, spends his days examining pictures of Earth’s beautiful landscapes and researching old human civilisions.
As we now expect from these kinds of short features, Pale Cocoon looks great and is as apathetic as serious science fiction comes. Like say Texhnolyze, there is an air of resignation about the characters, almost as if they have quit caring about anything and everything.
Due the running time, the story is understandably hard to take in on first viewing but given time to consider, I feel like I understand the point of what Yasuhiro Yoshiura is trying to convey. In a world where people are drowning in artificial light, the enclosed metal walls give off a strong feeling of claustrophobia and the characters yearn for the freedom to explore and expand their horizons- a reaction to being isolated by technolgy. For them, I suppose life has lost meaning, they have no future.
Pale Cocoon was worth watching just for the spectactular artwork but unfortunately, it lacks the sympathetic human drama that transformed Voices of a Distant Star into such a fan’s favourite. The story is not incomprehensible but relies too much on sheer visual impact, and while I admire Pale Cocoon for it’s philosophical pondering and sentimental environmentalism, I can’t say this is an OVA I will revisit on a regular basis.