First Impression – Coppelion

Looking for skirt-flipping tank girls? Then this is surely not for you. Move along.

Apologies for the late impression on this but man, last week was really not my thing as I went under the weather with flu and fever. Ugh. As I’m 80% recovered so back for my list of titles and glad to know that Coppelion’s further episodes gleaned more on the overall plot. This series has been creating news waves since 2011 Fall and with the announcement of GoHands’ name under production, I was almost ready for the blue filter to hit me right on the face… And if this mild smack talk is new for you, seems like you were under a rock for a last few months and didn’t watch K, which was very pretty but the blue filter and gradient effect could get on your nerves sooner than later. However, most of my worries abated as the episodes are mostly devoid of the filter and gradients aren’t used that much. While the jury is still out on me watching this to the end with my list already bloated to the brim, at least these three episodes were refreshing and definitely unexpected, let’s get to the first impressions of Coppelion.

The Genetic Dolls

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Meet the dolls, the subdued anime version of Charlie’s Angels

I was not expecting cheery girls running across various destroyed paths backed up against scenery porn but that is what I got, surprising me. Don’t get me wrong, I did cover this for our Fall preview but even knowing the main cast being three girls, their entrance was good, if not perfect. It also helped that none of them were over-the-top annoying, rather came with distinct personalities to fulfill different piques. Therefore, I dub Ibara the ring leader with Taeko the caretaker/brains and Aoi the comic/emotional relief of the group. At face-value, they seem to be your average high school girls, but as they are flitting about in a radiation zone without any hazmat suits, they are a dead ringer for something produced by a mysterious laboratory. Following anime logic, not a lot of details are provided except for the fact that they are genetically engineered test tube babies.  Knowing this, I really do appreciate their bursts of different emotions, which are rightly placed and not over-abundant. Like, in episode one, the moment Taeko was going “let’s be friends” to the wolf, I was creaming AHO in my head with the glimpse of a rabid wolf later, but all’s well that ends well because the upgrade from a Wolf’s Rain cameo to an actual pet guardian was sweet after saving a girl’s life; points for Taeko in taming this one. And the foreshadowing of not having actual parents and the Coppelia reference was not bad either. I’m just glad they are not just a moe skirt-flipping trio, who are badass without reason. At least their behaviour, most highlighted in Ibara with a mix of emotions from defiance, bravery, humility to vulnerability is something promising that might keep me around for a few more episodes.

A Broken City

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After popular Truck-chan demands on Metanorn, presenting Chinook-chan~

I haven’t read the manga, not yet at least, but these three episodes have given us enough background of the bizarre setting of a nuclear plant going haywire at the center of Tokyo. Which not only destroyed most of the population of the city but made it completely uninhabitable by humans; however, we are turned wrong with the events that transpire after an SOS call from the same abandoned city. Even with survivors cropping up at different junctures, the budding shrubbery and surviving animal life was still curious. Of course, it can be argued that they have developed immunity through time but still, if plants and animals can exist in open air, why can’t humans as well? Is there more to the nuclear plant story? Of course there is. With the mention of Zones in the recent episode, it’s clear something fishy is happening in this ghost town. It seems the sent SOS is the result of a chain reaction, the root of which we are not even near. Sure, the appearance of Zones have hindered the underground economics of supply and demand, but we are far from knowing the actual goals behind the covert tristar organization.

I would also like to know more about Ground Self-Defense Force in totality, including details on third division’s technical school, which seems a front for genetic experiments and slave labouring these test kids (the gall of these adults!). It made me curious from the time I read the summary, are the girls only immune to radiation or do they have other special powers as well? I was assuming something around Index or Railgun and was somewhat right with Aoi’s eyes and Ibara’s super-athletic ability. Currently, anything can happen with the shock value of second episode: survivors being escaped criminals from a major prison and the discovery of the scientist behind the development of the nuclear plant in question. At least, Coppelion will not shy away from deaths and I can only see the eeriness and mystery factor rising with episodes. Oh well, hopefully.

Bonus Dolls

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This is cool and all but man, try this to get swankier

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Hanazawa virus hits again but in her usual adwoable package

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Hazmat suit, “Stop making me dance to wrecking ball already! I feel filthy!”

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Kanon is that you?! 

This is definitely not moe fodder like Girls und Panzer or Upotte! Sure, there’s talk of military training and such, but this is more on the mission-based, guns ablazin’ side. With most of the sporadic foreshadowing by the VP (gloriously oldmanned by Rikiya Koyama) and the girls, I expect more to be revealed with continuing episodes. Mishima did dub the city epicenter as Pandora box, so I can easily see more plot device flags here than anywhere else. The pacing for now is fine but I can only hope major world building/plot explanation is not left till the last three episodes, which I hate. Though, whatever we discover will be slowly revealed and mostly not to our liking. Third episode is a dead ringer of this observation with more pieces of the puzzles (don’t miss the puzzle time this season y’all!), fitting into the cause that resulted in a broken city. Will the jiji-scientist work with Coppelion and third division to find out who the hell allowed the black stealth bomber plane in Tokyo airspace and who’s calling its shots? We shall see.

Production quality is pretty good but the extra BOLD outline of characters sometimes really look daunting. It’s worse than Titans, where it was at least bearable. I can imagine this is related to placing the different frames of character movement to background but seriously it has to blend in, not stick out like a sore thumb. Another concern of mine is some jarring flaws to the plot, like no existence of actual survival kits and/or rations carried by the girls (except for Aoi maybe, whose bag is actually heavy). Sure, their endurance is better than humans but they still have to eat and drink, not to mention may need different tools to survive the unknown landscape of the destroyed city. It’s a military feature to ready their troops for any situation, and sadly in this series, the girls are just flitting about, sleeping wherever without any precautions. A unit commander would burst an ulcer watching this. Another weird fact is the stealth bomber unit landing to take away a GRANDMA who somehow saw them. I mean man, shoot her or something, or just ignore. What’s the point of landing the craft and endangering your mission, just to go back again? Anyways, anything works in anime logic so I won’t sweat the details as the girls look all ready for another adventure in the next episode, but there will be many tears, yes.

If you have been watching Coppelion, share your thoughts as I’m still dubious on continuing to watch or even blog this.

Preview:

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Dude, I thought I was to be cast in Seitokai Yakuindomo but hell, this is okay too if only I get to shoot some peeps!

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35 Responses to “First Impression – Coppelion”

  1. Highway says:

    I didn’t really get the Seitokai Yakuindomo vibe from watching this… but only because it had been too long since I saw SYD. I’ve been watching a couple episodes of it this past week, and it’s so similar. Character designs, camera angles, coloring (with gradients and filters).

    I think we’re going to find out more about special abilities of each of the Dolls. Like Taeko’s ability to feel what animals are feeling, and I think that despite Aoi’s whining and fraidy-ness, she’s probably able to pick up a rapport with people.

    • Kyokai says:

      I was ribbing at the character designs, which are similar to Yukuindomo, not to mentioned it’s produced by GoHands as well; the content definitely isn’t. ;D

      I wish the plot goes over their powers and gets into the meat of things with the disaster and mysterious zones. The only thing keeping me curious is the setting.

  2. skylion says:

    Alright, GoHands, about the only thing that could improve this show at this point; other than better characterization, a rational plot, and more refined character design would be Seitokai Yakuindomo style double entendres. But I’ve watched the first two at this point, and other shows have managed to win me over with the third time charm. I’ll get back to you after that Kyou. And I do hope you feel better very very soon.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, just watched the third episode. Complete derp in all departments.

    • Kyokai says:

      Actually, third episode didn’t do that well for me. It seemed promising on the first episode but not anymore to me at least.

      Btw, thank you for the get well wishes. Pretty much recovered now.

    • anaaga says:

      At least the characters in SYD made me laugh, while this one made me flip my virtual tables. And for once in my life, I actually feel like slap-killing a HanaKana character.

      • Kyokai says:

        Hehehee, at least she’s doing variety than her usual megane, meek-girl roles. The recent Nadeko outburst was pretty cool.

    • Highway says:

      I realized another similarity to SYD (and K) that this show has: An ending theme by angela.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    So far, the story is kind of meh for me but hopefully things will get better. For some reason, I don’t want to be disappointed with this. My real complaint is the animation that sometimes make the character designs look like a simple drawing on a piece of paper when it goes out of focus and that the colors suddenly fade out from time to time.

    • Kyokai says:

      I know GoHands is trying to do something better with this as there is an actual source material behind this but episode three really did annoy me with its flaws. And with prior experience with GoHands, I think the blur is resultant of rendering but yeah, they do have a distinct landscape viewing with 360 degree rotation and such.

      Next episode will be the deciding factor for me. What did you think about third?

      • BlackBriar says:

        The third managed to graze the surface of my interest so I’ll give it another one or two more episodes. I want it to get to what was shown in the OP.

  4. zztop says:

    The impression I get is that the true star of this series is the setting and lifestlye in irradiated Tokyo.

    • Kyokai says:

      Yes, indeed. The only thing that’s keeping me around still but if the pacing or development goes on like this, I’m not sure if I’ll stick around…

    • d-LaN says:

      As a naturalize post apocalyptic scenery nut, I agree XD

      • Kyokai says:

        No wonder, it being the only pleasing feature.

        • d-LaN says:

          Ibara doesn’t do it for you? I find her to be a good lead.

          Am I the only one to find the short haired girl antic fairly normal? (Granted, I can tolerate annoying character better than most people)

          • Kyokai says:

            Out of the three I like Ibara the most but yeah, I’m not over-excited for anyone. :|

      • BlackBriar says:

        Would the post apocalyptic sceney in Doomsday fit your taste? That place was a total nightmare. I wouldn’t be caught dead there.

        • d-LaN says:

          I haven’t seen Doomsday. Some more detailed example and plot description plz?

          • BlackBriar says:

            Doomsday is a film released in 2008. The plot explains that an unknown killer virus, dubbed “The Reaper Virus”, has infected Scotland, turning people into savage animals and killing the host. The UK government cannot quarantine the virus because they have neither cure nor vaccine, and they decide to build a 60-foot containment wall over the border with Scotland, isolating it from the rest of Britain, and also the docks, airports and bridges, preventing it from spreading.

            For those inside, the city and social order decayed at an unimaginable rate.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Even the setting is dull for me, it’s really nothing special. I’ve seen irradiated ghost town/city done before and better.

  5. d-LaN says:

    The anime fandom extreme reaction to Coppelion surprises me. Personally as an entertainment Coppelion is OK to me since I don’t notpick things and locked my logic in a closet most of the time.

    @Kyokai, plants and animals that adapted to live in radiation wasteland DO exist IRL like the surroundings of Chernobyl IIRC.

    • Kyokai says:

      I’ll tell you why there’s more negative reaction: Fall has truckloads of good shows so comparing to the general crop, Coppelion kinda falls off with its flaws. If it released in a slow season like summer or winter, this might not have been the case. Though, this year summer was stronger than last three years and this is saying something.

      And good point on the plant and animal life, I tried to make the same around the thought of why is it taking humans so long to adapt, it’s been 20 years already.

  6. sadakups says:

    After my personal three-episode test, I think I’ll continue watching this. The premise is good enough to keep my interest, and the only negative things I can say are just nitpicks…

    …like Episode 2 was too melodramatic; that the girls wearing school uniforms don’t provide any tactical advantages except mobility perhaps, or the obvious of seeing that glorious panty shot. And that I find that short-haired girl annoying for over-reacting at everything.

    Still, these nitpicks don’t take much from the show.

    • Kyokai says:

      I’ll be hanging around for an episode or two but no more. From episode 2, I thought the tone will shift towards horrific facts and or more reveals but damn… I hope they make the next episode better.

  7. chohana says:

    Ahh that last three episode plot revelation is honestly annoying. I hope that doesn’t happen with this. Guess I’ll wait for Coppelion to finish airing before I try it out.

  8. Irenesharda says:

    This series was the first disappointment of what has been a rather lackluster fall. What I had expected to be an action packed mystery taking place in post-apocalyptic radiated Tokyo, ended up being a plodding-along journey with no real destination and three dull, and yet melodramatic sepia toned girls to keep us company. I’ve never thought a post-apocalyptic story could be so boring.

    This series started off dull, and then got worse by episode 2. The only reason I have yet to toss it, is because the OP promises to give more, and the third episode gave the wisps of a plot. This show is on a really thin thread with me. It better shape up or it’s getting dropped.

    • Kyokai says:

      I share your feelings. From the summary of it, this sounds pretty promising but who would have thought it would be an SoL about three girls, trekking around desolate paths. Man, give me some action and or development to hanging at least!

  9. lvlln says:

    I went in hoping for something quirky but enjoyable like K, but what I got was something a little too stupid to swallow, and it somehow managed only to get stupider by the episode. The school uniforms work in some settings, but a show that takes itself this seriously using them in a military mission, with a lack of supplies or apparent training to boot… yeah, not good. And then the story on top of that is just eyeroll after eyeroll, whether it be melodramatic criminal family that I felt no emotion over, or a sheltered 17 year old girl lecturing a senior citizen genius scientist/engineer about life. Or these characters failing to identify the single most identifiable plane in existence without the aid of an unexplained 10x eyesight superpower (and why is such great sight such a hindrance that she needs glasses again?).

    I held on for 3 episodes, believing that the creators of K and the excellent Student Council Officers anime could turn it around, but nope, I can’t handle any more.

    • skylion says:

      Exactly. I managed to stick with K for just those reasons, I don’t know if those reasons are enough to make me follow K’s second run, but Go Hands is excellent when it comes to Student Council Officers. So, yes, I will be following that show’s second run.

    • Irenesharda says:

      Seriously, these are supposed to be military trained girls, but not one of them could recognized that aircraft? Most civilians could recognize that bomber, let alone military. I kept wanting to slap them every time they kept calling it a monster “crow”.

    • Kyokai says:

      I hear you, lvlln. My dad served in military so I know all positives and negatives of it. One thing you have to give them, they are usually well-prepared and take time in training their units, not like this. It looks completely stupid and not knowing aircraft names? I mean c’mon!

      @skylion, I thought this would be better than K but damn, it’s failing hard right now. Better shape up or I’m gone.

      @Irenesharda, this is definitely not how it goes in the military. A giant crow? Oh please. I know there’s a thing called anime logic but man, at least make ‘some’ sense, right?

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