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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Secret Santa Review: Pale Cocoon

Oh dear, it's yet another secret Santa review organized by the Reverse Thieves.

Due to various commitments and somewhat limiting choices, I went with a one episode OVA as my review. While limited to a single episode and a run of about 23 minutes, my expectations were fairly low for Pale Cocoon. Nevertheless, I was still impressed by what these 23 minutes were able to accomplish.

With my luck, I didn't have to look for fansubs as the OVA is offered streaming for free on Crunchyroll. Unfortunately, the quality was kind of poor as this wide screen feature was formatted to a 4:3 letter box. As someone who's spoiled by 720p+ streams, I kind of grimaced at first, but continued to watch anyway.
The episode begins with the main character operating a visibly high tech touch interface, shown to be restoring some sort of historic archives of a golden past. This anime is clearly set in some dark and dreary future but it's not clear as to why.

Touch interfaces everywhere.

This OVA does a really good job expressing ideas through visual means rather through some sort of narration. While there are characters who interact, it feels like the real conflict is between the main character and the settings itself. Therefore, in a way, the setting is a character itself who's development is clearly the focus of this episode. The development is once again done through visuals and the main character's own investigations. The episode ends with a big reveal that pretty much explains everything that occurs leading up to the climax.

Setting development aside, there are other themes that are packed into this episode such as becoming disillusioned of the present while discovering the much more positive past and the theme of change versus status quo. It's quite remarkable that such a short OVA is able to express these themes while telling a somewhat unorthodox story.

The world of Pale Cocoon

In conclusion, I was very pleased with this pick even though I picked the shorter and easier review. Anyone who enjoys sci fi series that go beyond of the usual story lines will be delighted by this short OVA.

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