In the year 2016, a catastrophic incident at the Odaiba nuclear power plant contaminated the city with radiation and turned Tokyo into a ghost town devoid of life. 20 years later, Japan still struggles with the environmental consequences of that fateful day, and actively looks for survivors using Coppelions: genetically-engineered, radiation-resistant girls who scour the streets when SOS calls occur. With military support and funding to back them up, these young ladies continue to explore Tokyo and discover just who, and what, managed to survive.
PREMISE Despite being a very new studio, Go Hands already lost all credibility. They have amazing production values to offer a level of eye candy very few are capable of, and they are always wasting it on subpar titles that offer nothing besides cool premises and lots of fan service (Seitokai Yakuindomo, Mardock Scramble, K Project), of which Coppelion is not an exception. Many were mesmerized by the very good animation and artwork, which was creating a most creepy post-apocalyptic setting and thought it would be a very mature and thought-provoking series. Some were amazed by the voice acting, others considered it Fallout, the animated series. Me? Just reading about the premise was enough to make me laugh my ass off. I mean, SCHOOLGIRLS IN THE ROLE OF RESCUE RANGERS! How much more obvious did it need to be for you to see the BS from ten miles away? What’s that? I am being too biased and rushed to condemn the show immediately just because I don’t like the way the premise sounds? So what if we have schoolgirls instead of properly trained military personnel sent to do these rescue missions? It is just a minor detail.No, it’s not. When you have the military, organizing a military operation, you send military personnel. You don’t send schoolgirls. And if for some reason you need to, you at least have the decency to dress them properly. You don’t send them in their freaking sailor suits. SYMPATHY But it’s not like there is no reason of why they are dressed like that. It’s clearly done, so the audience can emotionally bind with the main characters, right away. I mean, just look at these poor little girls, sent to do such a hard task. Oh, this is so cruel, I feel pity for them! Plus this is a modern anime, of course and it will have cute girls in sailor suits, so the otakus can get their willies up. I mean, what did you honestly expect? Serious military officers, dressed properly? That is not cute, and it takes time to get to like them. It’s much easier if you simply make them frail and victimize them right away. And yes, I have heard of the in-series excuse that they look as such, so the survivors will find them adorable, and approach them, instead of running away upon seeing scary looking soldiers. Yeah, what a lovely reasoning. They are going to see some schoolgirls who are walking just fine in a radioactive area, without any protection whatsoever, and they are totally not gonna freak out. Also, they are going to believe said schoolgirls, that they are here to rescue them. I mean, check how they look, why would you not believe such a thing? STORY As if that wasn’t enough, they keep throwing in more and more bullshit. They couldn’t leave it as a stupid rescue mission, they just had to make the girls use military equipment in completely improbable ways, or face enemies that change their minds for no reason, and then a freaking giant robot appears out of nowhere. They also give the girls a weird background story, where they are the results of a secret biological experiment, that somehow creates humans that are immune to radiation, by cloning mass murderers. Because only if you senselessly kill people your clones can gain immunity to radiation. And I do understand that they did such a thing, so the audience can feel even sadder for the girls, by throwing even more forced drama, as well as building expectations, where we are supposed to await impatiently for them to meet the originals, or avenge the evil organization that used them as weapons. Too bad it had the exact opposite effect, since it just made me waiting impatiently for this travesty of a show to end. You just don’t give a damn because you were never made to take anything seriously, and yet the series keeps trying to make you think it’s not a comedy but a sociopolitical drama. And do you know how all of that are eventually resolved? They don’t! The show ends in the middle of nowhere, without explaining or resolving a single thing. If you want to find answers, go buy the manga. Because that is why the show was made for after all, as a commercial for boosting the sales of the source material. I mean, what did you expect, a complete story that makes sense? CHARACTERS And holy crap, the characters are even worse than the story. What kind of specially bred and trained rescue rangers are these girls? They spend most of the time crying than doing the job they were created for. You can wave the “they are just teenage girls who can’t control their emotions” excuse all you want. You can also try to explain it as being forced to do a mission way sooner than they expected because they were pressured by politicians. They still don’t look or behave as they should, and they increase the chances of failure because of it. There is not even a good explanation for why they sent 3 girls in the rescue mission, when only 1 of them is pretty much doing all the work, while the other 2 are just decoration. Yeah, ok, you need more than one characters present, so the capable one will have someone to talk to, instead of infodumping stuff by talking to herself. But how does that excuse the other two girls being completely worthless? Give them something to do, other than being a hindrance to the mission. There aren’t even any other interesting secondary characters to take notice; most disappear after a single episode, and the rest change their minds out of nowhere all the time. Many of which are not teenagers, and having ridiculous mood swings is not even an excuse. But who cares if it makes sense, it just needs to make things more interesting, right? Wrong! This is exactly what destroyed the show. Keep the hell away from this piece of shit. It’s modern!
*SPOILERS AHEAD* Story: 6/10 Coppelion is set in an alternate Japan where Tokyo has been ravaged by a “disaster” caused by a fictitious power plant on Odaiba and is now an abandoned wasteland (they never directly use the phrase “nuclear disaster”, but it’s heavily implied). However some citizens stayed behind in the “old city”, and it is the job of the “Healthcare Team” (a group of 3 girls who are Coppelion – genetically engineered teenagers who are immune to the radiation, each with their own unique qualities and abilities) to rescue the survivors. However, it quickly turns out that the old capital is being used for unimaginably evil schemes and soon the Coppelion are fighting not just to save the survivors, but also themselves… The premise and setting is really promising and powerful to some extent, considering that it is 95% based within reality (the abandoned Tokyo is very similar to the current state of Pripyat, a deserted city close to the infamous Chernobyl nuclear plant). With the ongoing situation at Fukushima, I am sure this series’ themes have been powerful with some of the Japanese public. So it’s sad that Coppelion never really supports its semi-serious overtones. The first issue I found however is that melodrama kicks in way too early. It gets melodramatic as early as the second or third episode. I know it’s meant to be powerful stuff, but you would want to believe that the Coppelion would have been trained to deal with this kind of thing. However they begin to cry way too easily, which I know is supposed to make the Coppelion relatable and more human, but it was too soon for episode 2 or 3! If they had slowly began to be affected by the situation they are working in, it would have been more believable and supported the story better. The majority of the humans in Coppelion don’t even seem to need saving anyway. It sort of destroys the idea of people struggling to survive during a nuclear holocaust when they have somehow created all this wondrous technology from nothing to live pretty well. This means the audience doesn’t really give them any sympathy as the survivors seem to have been holding up just fine before the Ibara and co. turned up. In fact, everything begins to go wrong when they show up to help! Coppelion does dabble in some psychological elements within its plot but it’s paper-thin. Aoi goes all depressed for a few episodes, and it feebly attempts at trying to explore the psychology of the Coppelions as disposable dolls and tools with the Ozu sisters, but it’s too little, too late. I will however give it praise for killing off characters, although I guess with the extremely hazardous situation the majority of the cast are in that was kind of inevitable. Animation: 5.5/10 Coppelion has quite a unique style, it does sort of suit the anime’s themes, but the thick character outlines occasionally stand out a little too much. The direction is also seriously poor. Some scenes are either cut too soon or aren’t animated enough to allow the events to flow correctly, making Coppelion feel disjointed and choppy at times. The greatest example of this is when the 1st division attacks the group with a giant spider robot (how in the hell they managed to maintain and fuel the thing in an abandoned city I don’t know). When they are in need of a way to get on top of the mechanic arachnid, it cuts to a shot of Ibara with a Batman-esque grappling hook gun in her hand. While this is very fortunate and has been done many times before, they could have at least animated her finding it in the truck or something. Also when the spider robot is defeated, although you initially see it begin to explode and such, it quickly cuts to something else for around 9-10 seconds only to cut back to Haruto (a male Coppelion) looking upon the stricken machine already crashed in the street with no smoke or anything. Wow, that crashed pretty darn quickly didn’t it? A little too fast. Sections of the final train-chase sequence near the end also suffered from this problem in places. This may seem like nit-picking, but it really ruins the flow of the action sequences. Sound: 5.5/10 Only one track from the OST is decent, the funky battle music, which I like. It’s a nice change from something that is over-dramatic and orchestrated, which really wouldn’t have suited the series. Other than that, nothing else from the soundtrack stands out. The openings and endings aren’t really memorable either. Aoi’s voice is just annoying, and her seiyu just loves to keep exaggerating her words, which makes her voice grate on you even more. The Ozu sisters are overacted, but with mentally deranged characters, that’s just what you get. The rest of the cast are adequate at best. Seriously, that’s all I can stretch to saying about it. Characters: 4/10 One thing is glaringly obvious in Coppelion’s character development and characterisation, Taeko gets pretty ignored compared to Ibara and Aoi (and she is meant to be a central character!). She spends almost half the series stuck inside shelters with the pregnant woman and never really shows the viewer her combat skills, which would have been nice to see. Not that attending to a pregnant woman is unimportant, but Taeko still feels under-utilised to me. Ibara is obviously meant to be the leader of the group, which is fine, however she seems to do almost everything! So much for going through so much effort and sacrifice to save these human survivors when they appear to be completely incapable of escaping the city without her help (but they seemed to be able to survive on their own damn well). It’s always “What shall we do Senpai?” or “Do you have a plan Senpai?”, which really destroys the idea of this rescue being a team effort. You get the impression that if Ibara bought it, the rest of them would have been screwed. Her character is also rather boring. There really isn’t anything interesting to her in my opinion, you know, apart from her UH-MAZING leadership skills that every other character reveres. Aoi is just there for comic relief and doesn’t contribute to fighting anywhere near as much as Ibara does. She throws Ibara a gun or ammo or piece of equipment every now and then, but she also possesses some psychokinetic powers which appear briefly and are never explained. They should have given Taeko more of a shot in combat as Aoi is semi-useless. Producers also tried to give Aoi a sub-plot where she gets depressed and locks herself in a dark room for about 3 or 4 episodes while she wonders if their mission is futile or not. It’s probably the nearest Coppelion ever gets to exploring the characters’ mind-set in any sort of deep, meaningful and insightful way. Speaking of the Ozu sisters, while it was welcome to see that there are evil Coppelion who were abusing their powers, are we really supposed to believe that scientists who are capable of creating genetically-engineered super-humans would willingly use the DNA of a serial killer in their creation? It’s a little too farfetched for me. There is also the sisters’ old teammate Haruto, the only male Coppelion in the series. While he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save everyone, which is lovely, he wasn’t that interesting to begin with so isn’t like we are going to miss him much. The human characters are pretty generic and flat. No-sense the robot butler is more interesting than them (he wants to see the outside world, etc). None of the humans have a personality that particularly stands out and they are really there just to be rescued. Overall: 5/10 Coppelion starts off with a very promising setting, yet it manages to stay away from doing anything that would have built upon it and instead decides to go along a much more melodramitic and generic route, which it seems to revel in. It doesn’t really explore what a world (or just a city in this case) after such a disaster would be like, something which would have really aided this anime. It is an anime that “could have been”…
Simply put, Coppelion is boring. It's definitely not a keeper, and not something I would ever watch again.The story is too simple. Three girls who have been genetically enhanced to be immune to radiation are sent to the ruins of a radiated Tokyo in search for survivors. They spend most episodes rescuing survivors and fighting some hostile ones. That’s all there is to it. The story lacks a hook. The cliffhangers didn't leave me in any suspense. After a couple of episodes, I didn’t feel much immersed in the anime, or care much for the characters. After half the episodes were over, I was so bored with the anime that I almost dropped it. But I decided to push through and finish anyway. The story doesn’t change at all. The worst thing about the anime is the characters. The three main females are boring, one-sided, and very melodramatic. They cry many times throughout the anime for all kinds of reasons. Despite being trained by the government, the girls seem poorly disciplined and ill-prepared. They constantly let their emotions get in the way. They even wear regular school uniforms, like they’re out on a field trip. The only supplies they have are stocked in backpacks, which include a “magic” Geiger counter which clicks whenever human survivors are nearby. Ibara acts as the selfless and brave leader. She is a bit too good at everything she does, so she often comes across a bit like a Mary-Sue. She is only one in the team who is useful. Aoi is pretty useless and spends most of her time either whining or getting herself into trouble. She spends several episodes inside a room by herself, thinking about how useless she is. Taeko doesn’t get to do much either, as she spends a lot of time resting and recovering after getting shot. She then spends a few episodes tending to a pregnant woman. Neither Taeko nor Aoi is of any use to Ibara. She constantly has to order them around. Without her, they don’t know what to do. You might roll your eyes and groan at them a lot.The villains are pretty boring. They want to radiate the entire world for stupid reasons. They are rarely a threat to the protagonists. The show even includes a stupid cliché with the protagonists trying to save the villains’ lives despite them trying to murder them all the time. And then the villains suddenly become good and decide to join the protagonists. It’s so cheesy.The art and animations are nothing special. Most of the scenes consist of city ruins and overgrown vegetation.
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