I’m one of those unfortunate souls who have subscribed to Crunchyroll’s weekly newsletter. I’ve been so since the newsletter began and I can say with absolute confidence that pretty much all of the articles sucked. Obviously Crunchyroll had to deal with the fact that couldn’t do a proper critical review of any of their anime because they were partnered with these companies. These guys aren’t ANN. They stream these anime and have to do their best to goddam advertise these products they have, especially considering the fact that they are the beacon of online legal anime streaming. But something strange has been happening with their newsletter recently. I’m actually starting to read some of the articles that it’s producing! I’m not sure if it’s because they got some proper, experienced writers in or because the old writers have gotten used to writing with these restraints on, but suddenly they were producing excellent little reviews of their series. The best of which came this week, a review of that fantastic short movie by Studio Rikka: Pale Cocoon.
I’ve always thought the sun setting was a sight to behold, and that the gritty feel of sand between my piggy toes from an all-day affair at the beach was humbling. But do I feel gratitude for having witnessed or experienced such occurrences? Surely I should, and I do, yet it behooves me to confess that sometimes I don’t. We humans more often than not take advantage of what we presently have. We are spoiled rotten by the notion that the sun will indefinitely set every afternoon, that the waves lapping against the sandy shore will never cease its motion, or that our habitat will remain forever hospitable and abundant. What we have in our grasp at the moment is the hindsight to avoid the loss of something dear to us; an opportunity that Ura and his generation in Pale Cocoon do not have.
Ura and his peers exist (I say exist because I wouldn’t consider their way of being as “living” per se) in a world completely deprived of history and of memories. Undoubtedly, they have the technology to remain alive, but not much else can be done for them in their situation. Ura is an analyst who works in the archive excavation department. He uses high-tech computers to recover lost data in hopes of uncovering any links to the past. He literally thrives on rummaging through binary code whereas his co-workers, day-by-day, slowly and unfortunately start to lose interest in recovering their past. Aside from Ura, everyone else seems to accept their state of reality as is, and don’t wish to hope for anything more, lest their expectations fall short. Riko, one of his co-workers and probably his only companion, said it was “better to not understand the green world, or the fact that humans destroyed it” because their generation didn’t want to be reminded of their own human stupidity. Sadly, they subsist in fragments of the former world.
Pale Cocoon instills a certain kind of fear in me, mainly because our lifestyle now could lead us to a mock version of Ura’s world later down the road. Most of us just take and take and take, and give nothing back in return. It saddens me to think that a world void of vibrancy and color, void of emotions and opportunities, could await us in the near future if we don’t make changes now. Ura himself, when we first meet him, seems to lack emotions. He is a grey, infinitesimal character who has an obscure flame of hope inside his heart; everyday he works to dig up the past, to find out what his current life is lacking. He is monotonous, nearly robotic in his activities. One fateful day, however, he comes across a broken audio/media file and endeavors to restore it. His curiosity is peaked, and only then do I see any semblance of color, of livelihood in his piteous life. Upon restoring the file, his existence takes on a whole new meaning, and now he has a reason to live and to dream. What could possibly be on the media file that made him change so drastically? I’m not telling!
The term “pale cocoon” refers to the world Ura is trapped in (you’ll see where it is if you watch the movie!), a world untouched by nature. It sets a firm example of how important record keeping can be, and how we as humans should cherish and protect Mother Nature instead of harnessing all of her resources for our selfish needs. We need to give back to the world as much as we take. We need goodwill in our lives! Or, we can say bye-bye to life like Ura’s generation did, and forget how to live altogether. After watching this movie, I realized that one of the most important things we need to do as a whole is to treasure our memories, and remember our past so as not to repeat the mistakes. Pale Cocoon is a quiet, beautifully drawn thriller, a thought provoker. It’s a message, a faint cry for help from our little blue planet.
The reviewer had a slightly different take on the series from me but that’s besides the point. My point here is that the Crunchyroll newsletter is actually showing some signs of quality writing rather than that stupid, childish writing that tries to cater to its stupid, childish audience. Treat people as idiots and they will act like idiots. Treat them like intelligent human beings and maybe you will start to see a gradual rise in the IQ level of typical Crunchyroll inhabitants.