Sparsely plotted and atmospheric, Pale Cocoon tries to make the most of its short running time by avoiding the pitfall of a drawn out character history. Instead, it focuses on provide its audience with lush - if at times monochrome - visuals, and an engaging, if trivial, mystery. Refreshingly, although the world is described as a 'dystopia,' there are no cruel government agencies or propaganda, which makes the world of Pale Cocoon a little different, and all the better for it, as those tropes can often feel a little played out.
My main complaint with Pale Cocoon lies in its short running time. While the atmosphere it creates is engaging, and the characters possibly interesting, there is not enough time to explore them fully, and an oddly placed pop song really saps time that could have been better spent. If it was expanded even to three episodes to allow the viewer to really engage with the protagonist, and explore his relationship to other characters more fully, the show would score a lot higher for me. Instead, it comes off feeling like one of those OVAs that some first-time writer produces after getting their first break, only to find they're obliged to shoehorn in some Idol's song and chop up their story to suit the studio. Potential wasted, but still worth the short time it will take you to watch it.