Ura is mining digital archives of the distant past for information. The world in the future he lives in is one of elevators, glass and shining metal, and that's all he's ever known. When he looks at the old files, he sees and wishes the past's animals and blue sky and growing plants. Their own environment was about to be destroyed, so all of humanity moved. Ura wants to know when this happened in the past. There's one archive file that he's looking for, because he thinks the lost files of their past could define their future in a big way. His coworker, Riko, has become distracted and listless, and he has become increasingly obsessive over his research.
- After the End
- Apathy Killed the Cat: No one seems to have much interest in the outside world or the archives Because of this, people don't realize that they are actually on the moon instead of Earth.
- Bittersweet Ending: Its not entirely clear if Ura has a safe way to return with what he learned. Its implied through the story about Rikos grandmother that he might need to be exceptionally creative. Theres also the issue of returning to Earth.
- Cyberpunk: The setting is a bleak, metallic, computerized post-apocalyptic society. The subterranean techno-dystopia is a bit reminiscent of Metropolis.
- Deliberately Monochrome: Just about everything but the pictures in the archives and eventually the beautiful blue Earth.
- Earth All Along: Inverted: Everyone thinks they're on a dead Earth, when they're actually on the Moon.
- New Eden: Humans escaped to the Moon to avoid environmental destruction, but somehow lost their written history, and started to believe they were living underneath the destroyed Earth. In the end the protagonist as the first person to go to the upper layers of the colony in centuries sees a blue, pristine Earth up in the sky, implying that the planet was healed long ago, but no-one thought to look. Well, perhaps Riko's grandmother did, but she fell to her death.
- Scenery Porn: The portrayal of the vast bleakness of the Archive is gorgeous. Especially applies to the ending, when Ura sees the sky for the first time.
- Technology Porn: Most of the short is spent showing what the archives look like in order to give the viewer a feel for how the characters live. It's done wonderfully.
- Title Drop: "Pale Cocoon" is a song and the video Ura's restoring is the accompanying music video.