Check-in Station: Coppelion ep1 (because only teenage girls can do it)
The second installment of introductory posts on Fall 2013 anime, Coppelion. A show about teenage girls walking through a deadly radioactive and barren Tokyo. Why? Well, that’s probably the hurdle to this show. After just one episode, I have to wonder why this was even made the way it was.
Coppelion‘s first episode (and perhaps the entire series) revolves around three girls walking through this bombed out, poisoned and barren Tokyo – looking for people! On top of that they’re doing this in school clothes with no protective wear on! Now you’ll have to forgive me if your first response was, “it was in the trailer! What are you complaining about?!” I don’t watch trailers very much, I like to go in as blind as possible for the full experience usually.
Regardless, things start off slowly as to be expected as we see decent art, though I’m not a fan of the heavy outlines that appear on the characters sometimes (why only sometimes?). But overall, our view of this irradiated barren place looks relatively nice. My only complaint at this part is the whining of the two of the girls as they make their way into Tokyo. They complain about how they’ve been walking for miles, but looking all around them, that’s all they could have done. Plus, isn’t that their mission? Walking. I get the impression that they weren’t paying attention before their little field trip briefing. Anyway, it doesn’t take long for them to come across a person in need. They had been told not to help such people for whatever reason, but the leader of their group does so anyway. She’s reprimanded by her commander/vice-principal (ugh), but we can tell that she’s a rebel already because she points her gun (which is used for distributing medicine and tranquilizers, so it can’t possibly be deadly) at him and says she’ll do so anyway until they come up with a better solution.
Also of note, it seems that their vice-principal is a gruff military veteran who apparently does give a sh*t about being exposed to deadly radiation, because while he stands unprotected in a helicopter, fronting like everything is alright, his crew is encased in heavy radiation protection. After all, they’re floating through a radioactive atmosphere, not over it. For some reason, this mission is of vital importance and has to be broadcast to the world, even the girls on the ground can see what’s going on (which I’m sure will be a plot point later). And through this, we get a broader understanding of the world. And we learn that Tokyo wasn’t necessarily destroyed by a bomb, but by something alien in nature, and the radiation isn’t dissipating, it continues to flow from the epicenter many years passed its arrival.
The next thing the girls come across is a stray dog that has apparently been following them. He’s seen later on in their trek as they closer to the epicenter of the city. One of the girls goes off to check on the dog while the other two move on with their mission. Now this is a bad idea, ever. So I don’t know why they would do that, even on a time schedule. But I guess I’ll address their survivability and good sense later.
The next encounter of note is when they find what appears to be a soldier who has committed suicide. This is when the usually talkative, happy girl, Aoi freaks out; crying about how she wants to go home. She’s not totally useless, as she tells Ibara to watch out just before she’s attacked by a wolf. Thankfully she’s able to use her gun to tranquilize the animal before being ripped to shreds. Though the attack does get them to start asking good questions, like what made the wolf come here, and was the dog Taeko went to check on just like this one. They radio to her to see if she’s alright, but there’s no response, and we’re shown a shot of a Taeko’s walkie-talkie covered in blood.
End of episode.
Man, where do I start? I don’t hate this show, but some of the stuff feels so contrived or stupid that I don’t know if I want to keep giving it a shot. Like I said before, for starters the girls are walking around an irradiated Tokyo in just little summer school uniforms. Now a valid explanation for the lack of protective radioactive wear is that we’re told by their “Vice-principal” that it is because they are genetically engineered to have an extremely high radiation tolerance. And from what I see, it borders on having a super power. But this brings me further into my point. I understand not having protective lead suits, but why are they dressed like they’re going to school for this? Do I really have to swallow the story of them going on a field trip through this piece of death known as Tokyo? Even if that’s true, we’ve already been shown that this place can be dangerous regardless, it makes the way they’re dressed just seem stupid to me. Not to mention I hate it when I get a show full of skirts and get no panty shots (Mouretsu Space Pirates, I’m looking at you).
Then I have to deal with the girl’s attitudes, and I don’t like any of them. Though I will say Ibara’s and Aoi’s will probably be the most annoying. Taeko doesn’t seem that bad, just a little naive. Ibara just seems to be a rebel for no reason right now, though I’m sure we’ll get her back story in time. Though I will with the pace its displaying, we’ll get it in tiny flashback sequences that are repeated through out the show. I just find characters with her type of attitude annoying, especially when a show goes out of its way to justify it. It’s the usual “teenagers don’t understand the harsh ways of adults” narrative. Admittedly I see that quite a bit in anime, especially anime that I tend to like to watch. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it. In fact, the older I get, the less tolerable I find that kind of set-up. I suppose Aoi is also annoying, she’s just appears loud and bubbly and stupid. Though I am interested to see if she actually does bring anything to the table, seeing as how the show explains that Taeko was engineered to communicate better with animals. And Ibara seems to be a natural survivor and leader.
After just one episode, I’m very much on the fence about this little series. The premise seems mildly interesting, but at the moment I very much don’t enjoy the execution. If this show hopes to not get drowned out by all the other series I’m looking forward to watching, then its gonna have to be more compelling, a bit faster paced and not as annoying. And even then, I wouldn’t expect me to keep following this series for very long.