I’ve finally talked myself into finishing all of last season’s anime. They were just sitting there in my hard drive. So today, I finished Coppelion, which is arguably the anime with a huge amount of hype. Even Animax did a simulcast, so the anime must’ve have been popular enough. Unlike most anime with huge hype which tend to shatter the hopes of its viewers, Coppelion actually lives up to its name. It really is a great anime!
Coppelion tells us the story of three young schoolgirls in post-apocalyptic Japan. Oh c’mon Japan, I think we’ve had enough of the mostly-female-protagonists anime? Anyway, these young girls are actually genetically modified superhumans known as Coppelions.
Set in the near future, Japan experienced a nuclear meltdown more severe than Chernobyl. The result? Tokyo is now a ghost town and with radiation levels so high, people have to wear hazmat suits 24/7.
Cue the Coppelions. Coppelions are genetically modified superhumans that can endure high radiation levels and also possess a unique superpower. Our main protagonist, Naruse Ibara, has superhuman vitality and strength. With orders from the Japanese Self Defense Force, the Coppelion unit led by Ibara have a duty to save any remaining survivors in the Old Capital. Along for the ride are Taeko, a girl with a heart of gold and the medic of the group, and Aoi, the comedic relief character who is basically useless for the first 10 episodes.
As they venture through post-apocalyptic Old Capital, they meet people with problems and people who know secrets behind the nuclear meltdown. They also meet fellow Coppelion. They also face trained soldiers, stealth aircraft, and a gigantic mechanical spider!
The graphics are not exactly eye-candy material. But it’s a city after a nuclear meltdown. Were you expecting green grass and blue skies? In Coppelion, the real colors of the characters are indistinguishable. That’s because there’s this annoying colored tint which covers up everything on the screen. Don’t get me wrong though. I think the tint was a good move from the animators. It really brought out that “hazardous environment” feeling. The only times when you can see true color was in episode 1, during their time in The Planet, and near the end. The rest? Radioactive tint.
The characters, well what can I say, were drawn rather average. But the good thing was they didn’t get choppy during the awesome battle scenes. Ibara still looks beautiful when she gets clobbered by a tank shell explosion. Aoi’s facial expressions when she was captured by the First Division army was drawn perfectly, making you want to save her and also laugh. Overall, they did quite well in the graphics department.
It’s not every day an anime shows Tokyo being blown up. Most of the time, it’s always schools, love, and fans service. That alone deserves two points. The remaining three points goes to how the plot was executed.
Coppelion ran for only 13 episodes, with a possible second season. Most anime can’t deliver anything within 13 episodes except boobs, a hanging story, or an anti-climactic ending. Nothing that really drags you into the story. Coppelion did the exact opposite. While I was watching Coppelion, I was sometimes laughing, sometimes on the edge, sometimes smiling, and mostly wanting more. Heck, after watching the first two episodes, I decided to lay the anime off till I had all 13 episodes and then I watched them all in one go because the cliffhangers were extremely annoying. I just had to know what happened next! Also, the plot twists kept my eyes glued to the screen and my brain rolling. I mean, how the hell did the First Division have a massive mechanical spider?! At the final showdown with the Ozu sisters, I could finally breathe in relief.
Coppelion has a roller coaster of a story. That is all.
Now, story aside, another shining aspect of Coppelion was its characters. You have an array of characters, and as the story progresses, you actually see characters getting killed and bad guys turning good!
The character development is one of the best aspects. Ibara, the idealistic class captain, faces the truth about the world in front of her, her origins, and her purpose. But, Ibara is the character hogging the spotlight almost ALL the time. Taeko with her kind heart managed to help the people she met and her medical skills increased. Also, she has super vision. Now, the only character I didn’t quite like was Aoi. Despite her being cute and all that, she’s really useless. And her high-pitched whining gets on my nerves after a few episodes. Only after she meets No-Sense, the robot with almost-human AI, she transforms into a better person. But that doesn’t happen till near the end. When she unleashes her super power during the last battles, they didn’t even bother telling us where her power came from, which is the second imponderable of the two imponderables of Coppelion. The first is “Why the fuck did they build a nuclear reactor so close to a densely populated area? What the fuck were they smoking?!”
On to the secondary characters. Coppelion has an array of secondary characters, most of them get killed along the way (spoilers). Coppelion makes sure that viewers actually care about these characters, so when they get killed, they actually care. Grandma Ayame is that annoyingly nice granny. Gennai (dies) is one of those heroic veterans. Haruto (gets killed), Ibara’s love interest, was cool enough to make any fan girl fangirl. The Principal was a man of steel. The Ozu sisters proved that Coppelions also have a human side. And there’s a lot more, just watch the damn anime!
I personally didn’t like the OP and ED, so I skipped them every time. But, the background music was what saved the music section from getting a low score. I loved the background music. It really brought out the surge of adrenaline during the battles, the thrill of battle, and also the serenity of seeing a new world.
Coppelion is truly an anime that lives up to its hype. It’s not about schoolgirls flashing panties or boobies. If you were looking for vanilla stories, you’re in the wrong anime. If you were looking for romance, this really isn’t your thing. Coppelion is not, by any means, a shallow anime.
It’s more serious. It’s about going into a nuclear wasteland and rescuing people, no matter the cost. It’s about the dangers of overly advanced science. When science fucks us up, you can only hope on science to save us.