The city of Tokyo has been exposed and left to fester as a ruin of seeping radiation for two decades
following the major meltdown of a nuclear facility in 2016. The government has just debuted its latest experiment in genetic engineering—high-school children, inoculated with immunity to the radiation, who make up a special unit of the government’s Self-Defense Forces.
These cloned children are called Coppelion, after a French comic ballet, and were also gifted with unique superhuman abilities to aid survivors of the nuclear accident and combat the spread of contamination. Our three main characters, Taeko Nomura, Aoi Fukusaku and Ibara Naruse, are part of the group’s rescue unit. This dour chain of events serves as the backdrop for Coppelion, the highly-anticipated series directed by Susumu Kudo.
Studio GoHands definitely delivers with their beautiful renderings in this series. Audiences may find themselves just a little blown away at the soft, detailed backgrounds that add just the right amount of eeriness to the abandoned city. The show is also filled with awesome action sequences. Sadly, the animation just isn’t quite enough to help Coppelion live up to its full potential. What should be a somewhat dark sci-fi/action tale lacks the much of the gravity and depth it takes to really hit home with its audience. In later episodes, the series is also marred by bad timing and a lack of character development.
I have several issues with the show in general. Besides the rushed nature of the episodes, I found myself rewinding constantly to see if I’d missed something with characters that seemed to randomly drop out of the script and then pick up again wherever. There were also a lot of very unrealistic moments that took me away from the story as I tried to figure out how the characters were able to realistically manage some of these feats. For example, toward the end of the series, the 1st Division antagonists, coupled rogue Coppelions, the Ozu Sisters, randomly unveil this…big robotic spider thing in a moment that feels a lot like a cut scene from an early role playing game. And not in a good way.
The more serious, sentimental moments in the series also felt a bit forced. Or maybe misplaced is a better word. I found myself rolling my eyes at many of the cheesy, unnecessary comments that did nothing to add to the scenes.
Coppelion also doesn’t explore the main characters well enough initially to provide a suitable base for events that happen later in the series. Ibara and Haruto, the only male Coppelion thus far, develop a relationship out of thin air at some point in the story. It’s all very strange, considering that their flashbacks never really indicate that level of closeness. Also, Aoi (the most useless character) seems to “suddenly” discover her special abilities in the nick of time. But shouldn’t she have known of her powers already, seeing how the rest of the Coppelions are aware of their given abilities? Considering that she had done nothing to contribute to the plot during earlier episodes, her random usefulness in the last two episodes made me raise an eyebrow. Mostly because I couldn’t understand how her newfound powers actually helped the situation.
But don’t completely give up on the series. It’s not all bad. Coppelion presents some interesting questions about the fate of future generations who may have the shoulder the burden of our excesses. The final episode also leaves the story on interesting cliffhanger. Perhaps next season’s continuation will be a little more cohesive?
I only wish that the creators could have done a little more with this series, if only because the premise of the show is so relevant. (i.e. the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011) Coppelion is still worth a watch, if only for the detailed environments and cool fight scenes.