Coppelion – 04

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Ibara, Taeko, Aoi, and Shiba chase the stealth bomber(!) in a rundown jeep(!). It attacks them with missiles and machine gun fire(!), but Ibara finds a soft spot in its radar(?) and brings the plane down with an RPG. It lands in a lake where the girls discover the Yellowcake Corp. is dumping foreign nations’ nuclear waste. Shiba, who they left behind due to the radiation, wanders to a shrine and takes off his mask(!), but Ibara finds him, shoots him with aether(?) and is able to get him to the helicopter in ten minutes to get another dose in him to stop him from dying(??). He gives the girls of all the survivors still in the city.

Sorry for the snarky punctuation above, but  wow, that was a lot of crazy, ridiculous stuff going down in one episode! And yet it still lagged. Let’s start with the frigging stealth bomber chase, shall we? The 1997 flyaway cost of a B-2 Spirit was $737 million, and it’s cruising speed is 560mph. Yet this episode would have you believe that while it’s flying in the sky, someone in a rickety old jeep (top speed on a road not littered with debris? ~80-90mph) could take it out with a properly-placed missile. It also wants you to believe that it would have difficulty taking out said jeep, even if it was armed with missiles had machine guns, which B-2s aren’t…because they’re bombers, not fighters.

But let’s put aside the fact that nothing about the stealth bomber made no sense, aside from its mission as a stealth dumper of nuclear waste in an already-contaminated area (they’d be able to haul more than 100 barrels of the stuff in a B-2). The girls leave Shiba behind because they’re entering a heavily contaminated zone. Then he inexplicably wanders off and removes his helmet, defeating the purpose of leaving him behind? Didn’t he say before he was willing to face the music for what he’d done? The last nail in the coffin was the ticking-clock sequence, which featured and actual on-screen clock…for some reason. And Ibara’s frequent mood swings just come off as poorly-defined characterization. We can’t connect with her or the other two girls, because there’s so little there.

We won’t deny this series looks pretty good (if a bit washed-out, like K was). But when a series frustrates you this much, and you don’t look forward to next week’s episode, it’s probably time to stop watching.

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Rating: 4
 (Fair) (Series Dropped)

Coppelion – 03

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Taeko’s tamed wolf finds a set of car keys that leads Coppelion to a prison, where they find the owners of the keys, two men in hazmat suits. One is Shiba Denjiro, a brilliant scientist who built the power plant that caused the accident that destroyed Tokyo. He now spends his days delivering supplies to the survivors, which include an elderly woman, one of many left behind when her family evacuated. Ibara has to wrench the woman out of the arms of mysterious men who landed in a B-2 Stealth Bomber. With the woman safe, Coppelion goes after the bomber.

Now that they’re aware that not everyone in the Old Capital will welcome their presence with open arms, Coppelion is a lot more cautious in approaching people. They end up hitting the jackpot, stumbling across the architect of the catastrophe that not only ruined millions of lives, but led to the creation of three: the three Coppelion girls. A continuing theme of the series is their unique perspective on the calamity: they’re only on this earth because it happened, so to wish for it to not have happened is a wish to have never existed.

Similarly, Miku was born after the accident; it’s even possible she wouldn’t have been born either had her parents not escaped from prison thanks to the meltdown. This is all very interesting, but it doesn’t change the fact the lead girls aren’t that compelling so far. Ibara is shouldering the guilt of losing two survivors last week, but that’s the extent of her development. Taeko is capable and full of useful skills, but there’s not much else to her, to say nothing of Aoi, who doesn’t seem to have a special power (though it’s possible she’ll reveal it later).


Rating: 6 (Good)

Stray Observation:

We had some problems with the Stealth Bomber. It’s strange how it’s first referred to as a “monster crow” when it’s clearly a jet-powered man-made object; and it also takes off way too quickly and in way too short a distance. And what’s this about shooting it down (to “talk” to them) with a bazooka when it’s already long gone? It felt like it was just thrown into the episode because they had a cool B-2 CGI model and wanted to use it.

Coppelion – 02

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The Coppelion meet Kawabata Mitsuo and his wife Yukiko, ex-convicts living in the radioactive zone after escaping from prison in the meltdown chaos; Mitsuo is searching for Miku, his daughter from his late first wife. The girls determine that Mitsuo and Yukiko argued about sending an SOS, and Yukiko took Miku hostage. Ibara enters a condemned hotel and finds Yukiko and Miku on an upper floor, but the hotel collapses and Yukiko falls to her death. Mitsuo dies from radiation before the girls can reunite him with Miku, but she still thanks them anyway for their efforts.

After the first week established that birds, wolves, and the like still thrive in the region rendered uninhabitable to humans, this week revealed that some humans have tried to do the same, and not all of them want to leave, despite the radiation. The first such people we meet are in a complicated, unenviable position; rescue would mean breaking up the family because Yukiko and Mitsuo are criminals who still owe debts to society. They were able to somehow scrape together a living, but then the supply trucks ceased. Yet however pure Mitsuo’s love for Miku, or good his intentions, subjecting her to a bleak, shortened life in that radioactive hellhole simply wasn’t fair to her.

Mitsuo ultimately came to realize that, but Yukiko simply couldn’t bear to lose another child, and was even messed up enough to threaten to shoot Miku if Ibara tried to take her; such were the twisting, traumatizing effects of their desperate way of life. Faced with human tragedy more complex than they’d ever perceived, the Coppelion girls reflect on their existence as test tube-grown “dolls” or “puppets” whose edict is to go where ordinary humans can’t and save people. They learn that not everyone they encounter can – or wants to – be saved. But they also learn that they’re not just automatons; this encounter affected them, stay with them, and inform their actions on future missions.

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Coppelion – 01

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90% of Tokyo has been reduced to the “world’s largest ghost town” by the fallout from a nuclear disaster. The Self Defense forces send three girls – Naruse Ibara, Fukasaku Aoi, and Nomura Taeko – into the city to respond to SOS calls. Immune to the radiation, the girls travel without protection suits or masks. They find a severely irradiated person in a riverbed, who is airlifted out by the girl’s superior, Vice Principal Mashima. The girls continue on in search of others, and end up encountering wolves.

“People don’t belong here anymore!” cries Aoi, who had been reticent about their mission from the beginning. And as we watched the three otherwise normal-looking high school girls walking casually through the deserted streets of a Tokyo returned to nature and off limits to those with ordinary DNA, we couldn’t argue with her. The ruined city is gorgeous and tranquil, but it’s also foreboding, and profoundly sad; as one of the greatest cities ever constructed reduced to a husk, and only a privileged (by their genetic makeup) few are able to enter. Many have compared the harnessing of the atom to the power of the gods, as there are few human achievements that can match it in terms of the risk of destruction. We take a risk by using it, and in the case of this series, a heavy price was exacted; Tokyo itself.

This first episode starts during girls’ first foray, but doesn’t try to do too much, letting us gain our bearings and gradually take in its world. Those who watched K will recognize the bold character design and immensely rich background detail. Character-wise we have the tough maverick (Ibara), the exuberant foodie (Aoi) and the animal lover/whisperer (Taeko). Tomatsu Haruka gives Ibara a strong leader’s voice, but we were a little disappointed and irritated by Hanazawa Kana chose for Aoi, it can be a bit shrill and she says a lot of useless stuff. We don’t know Taeko’s seiyu but she had a nice gentle, nurturing voice. Vice Principal Mishima is your typical straight-laced military man, who is the episode’s spokesman regarding how things ended up like this. Accompanying his exposition was his flyover of an eerily beautiful Odaiba, the epicenter of the “accident.”

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Rating:7 (Very Good)

Stray Observations:

  • We’re digging the premise, the setting, and the production values, so we’re definitely continue with this. But K had an impressively gorgeous beginning too, but its story couldn’t quite keep up. Here’s hoping that’s not the case here.
  • When that dog first appeared we were apprehensive, as it sure looked a lot like a wolf to us. The girls may be immune to radiation, but not fangs…
  • One of Aoi’s few salient points: why don’t the girls have access to a car, or more precisely, a truck of some kind? Is this their minders’ way of keeping them in shape?
  • No doubt the series will explore how the girls see themselves: heroes with their own will, or tools/puppets by reason of their DNA?