Coppelion – 01 (Tokyo is radioactive, so let’s send in the high school babes.)

コッペリオン Ep. 01 Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Three high school girls, FUKASAKU Aoi, NOMURA Taeko, and their senpai, NARUSE Ibara, arrive by foot on the outskirts of a long abandoned Tokyo, which is now in ruins. The three girls, genetically created to withstand massive radiation without protective gear, are tasked with searching this massive, ruined city after indications are received that there could be survivors there. After taking a break on a bridge over a river, they discover someone in a radiation suit down below. Defying the orders of their commander, Vice Principle Mishima, Ibara goes to the survivor and gives him an injection of medicine to try to save his life before they pop smoke to have the Chinook helicopter carrying Mishima land and get the man to safety, Mishima taking time to scold Ibara for disobeying orders.

The next morning,Mishima has his chopper fly over Tokyo to the epicenter of the nuclear disaster, where a heavy fog lies. While carrying on a live telecast, the fog lifts enough for them to see a big bridge, whereupon Mishima states they still don’t know how to close this Pandora’s box. The girls, having spent the night in one of the abandoned homes, set out, Aoi complaining about having to walk on foot. They head to a tall tower building and discover a dog is tailing them. Since the dog is messing up their readings, Takeo goes to have a word with the dog while the other two press on. They find a body, dead a month from suicide, and the frightened Aoi breaks down. She notices eyes and gives warning as a wild wolf attacks Ibara, who manages to tranq it. Remembering Takeo, the pair race back to find her, lest she have been attacked as well.


Here we have the second anime in the “I don’t think I’m going to watch anything new this season” list, which I decided to watch after seeing a promo image of the girls and the ruined Tokyo. Back in 2010 on some Japanese image board, I found four images of Shibuya, Tokyo, Nakano, and some other place in Japan in ruins. The artwork in the promo image seemed very similar, so I thought I’d give it a look-see.

The episode sets the stage by establishing the three main female characters and their boss.  Beyond the obvious, “OK, so why three high school girls?” question (yeah, I know — boys), I’m thinking, “Right, so we have these three, genetically created high school girls and we send them in on foot to look for survivors in a massive city like Tokyo. Yeah, that’ll work.”

I realize their boss is up in his Chinook helicopter and he could provision the girls at any time, but still, these girls seem woefully unprepared for the most part. Ibara has some leadership skills, but Aoi seems fairly worthless with her whining and panic. I gather the girls have some other superhuman traits beyond being able to survive in a massive radiation zone (as do animals, apparently), but they don’t really seem trained to do this work. If you are going to bother to genetically breed three girls to do a job in a radioactive hot zone, then one would think you’d train them AND arm them in case of trouble.

Speaking of the Chinook, there’s no way in the world I’d be landing a helicopter of any size on that bridge going over the river. After who knows how many years of neglect (I’m assuming at least 15 or more, considering the age of the girls), I wouldn’t trust it to be safe.  Yet we get a chopper landing there as if there weren’t a care in the world.

Then, as if to bring my point home, the anime has a scene where Aoi is complaining about having to stay in an abandoned house, saying she wants a hotel (yeah, ’cause in an abandoned, radioactive city, a hotel would be up and running with clean sheets, hot and cold running water, and electricity for climate-controlled comfort), so they find one that is leaning heavily and in danger of falling over completely. So clearly, this city isn’t safe.

The premise of a nuclear disaster striking Tokyo (and apparently its surrounding cities) is ripe for anti-nuclear preaching, which I hope we DON’T get. (Update: looks like we WILL get that, based on the manga.) That’ll just make my head hurt. On the other hand, this notion of animals adapting to the radiation without showing obvious mutations is interesting (unlike the 3-eyed fish in The Simpsons).

The anime does a poor job of explaining why there’d be people in a radioactively contaminated city at all and still be alive. So I did read the first three of chapters of the manga, from which this episode is adapted, and discovered that this episode leaves out a great many little details, such as the girls finding newspapers from 20 years ago when the accident happened and the signs telling people the urgency of evacuating. Apparently, some folks refused to evacuate, but for whatever reason, some are still alive.  An earthquake is what caused the nuclear accident in the first place, which the anime neglects to mention, and is also the reason there’s so much damage, such as a building about to fall over.

I kept expecting zombies or something to show up, but that doesn’t look to be what this series will be about. Wild animals will be the immediate concern, but then there’s nineteen volumes of manga (and still going) for material, so who knows what the bigger foe will be, if anything.

Visually, this anime is stunning. The three girls often look like they’ve simply been pasted onto this brilliant background art of a ruined city, which is unfortunate. Not sure what GoHands, the production company, is trying to do there.

I’ll keep watching since the visuals are good and despite some weaknesses in the story, there is a certain level of interest to me.

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8 Responses to “Coppelion – 01 (Tokyo is radioactive, so let’s send in the high school babes.)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    An explanation should be coming shortly for why the survivors have protection suits and how they survived twenty years in outskirts of Tokyo based on the manga story.

  2. Lan says:

    Count me out this series looks like its going to fail. why do the girls need to have uniform on? com’on

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      From the three manga chapters I read, what they are doing is actually considered an official school function. After all, their boss is the vice principle of their school. As such, they’d be required to wear their school uniforms.

      But yeah, the real reason for the uniforms is to have babes in short skirt seifuku. ^_~

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can’t say much about the anime/manga since I haven’t watched it, but is anti-nuclear a bad thing? Think about the latest disaster of Fukushima, and how that affects Japanese health and wellbeing, and true enough it has also been affecting N.A.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t like the preaching. Plus, the reason Japan went with nuclear power is that they didn’t have other viable options.

      Ironically, the reactor in Fukushima survived the massive earthquake with no problems as it had been designed to withstand big ones. The only problem was that they didn’t design the anti-tsunami part of it to handle the massive tsunami that followed, which is what caused all their problems.

      But yeah, the main reason is that I don’t like preachy series.

  4. ghostbeetle says:

    Judging from the momentary run of first episodes (and its always tricky to try and judge an anime just from its first episode) the most interesting (read: showing signs of good writing) shows this season are: ‘Unbreakable Machine-Doll’ (That one had a very entertaining and well-written first episode, with a likable, competent MC.) ‘Strike The Blood’ (promising writing, smooth handling of well-known tropes), ‘Kill La Kill’ (well-handled over-the-top whackiness a la Gainax, as you already pointed out, ANB.).
    Possible second layer candidates include ‘Log Horizon’ (ambitious story-telling attempt in the vein of ‘Sword Art Online’), ‘Outbreak Company’ (looks likely to be nothing but a piece of fluff but I like the overtones of social and media satire – have to wait and see what they do with that.)
    All in all, there seems to be no attempt at originality this season (Oh how I miss ‘Uchouten Kazoku’ and ‘Gin no Saji’!) but as long as they keep those first three I mentioned on the level of their respective first episodes (I know, I know – but a manboy can dream, dammit!) I’ll still be happy!
    At least I can now cross off ‘Coppelion’ from my list, after your review. Didn’t have my hopes up too high anyway but this seems fairly pointless. Thanks for making my job easier! 😉

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Since I started, I’m going to press forward. The manga has been going on for a very long time, so clearly, it has a decent following in Japan. Since there are no hideous translation issues here, I’ll see about following it to the end.

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