Check-out Station: Coppelion (not worth the memories)
I’m faced with a difficult perspective here. There’s the regency bias, that is just seeing the ending to what would seem like an adequate show. Then I have to consider just how badly this series started, and how it failed at what I was expecting to be. So it becomes a question of whether mixing bitter and bland together can really create something interesting.
With the completion of this series, I looked back and wondered to myself, what did this series accomplish? And objectively speaking, it did little more than take up space in Japanese TV show time slots, and bring a mild bit of attention to the dangers of lazy safety regulations, incompetent government, unfettered radioactive disaster, and the bitterness of humans – and to a certain extent, the dolls they created. And some of that stuff just seems to be material that most adults just accept as a fact of life.
The dangers of nuclear power were already shown quite well in real life with the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant. A disaster that is actually the reason this show didn’t air years ago. Though I will say that’s a tad unfair, I still can’t say this show did much in that realm. What I was hoping to see was a sort of corporeal manifestation of the nuclear disaster aside from the clouds of death we got. The way they talked early in the series, I got the impression that there was some deep dark alien or metaphysical phenomenon going on at ground zero of the disaster. But instead what we got was a lot of infighting amongst the humans and the dolls known as coppelion. And so much of it seemed unnecessary, too.
The 1st Division felt abandoned and betrayed, and so were using nuclear waste for their own twisted, genocidal ends. Then there was a black market corporation using the city as a dumping ground for extremely toxic nuclear waste. It was something that struck me as dirty, but also highly logical as well. It’s a good call by the show to show how humans will take advantage of most any situation. When I found out in the show that they were doing this, I really had hopes it would be explored more, or more intimately connected to the plot of the entire show. But really it’s just one more step towards a disaster that was already brewing. it feels like a missed opportunity to me, even in a show of this length.
What felt more like a missed opportunity though, were the series of badly done dramatic scenes early in the series. Going from one episode to another, there were plenty of scenes where you just wondered how badly they were going to milk a scene and situation for effect. Then there’s was the overwhelming feeling that nothing and none of the actions of the people made sense. I constantly kept asking myself why people would be content to live in this poisoned husk of a city. Then I started wondering how they could live that way for years on end. And then I started wondering what the point of this whole show was, because there shouldn’t be any people alive in this dump, yet the whole show revolves around a rescue mission. Things only got better and more tolerable once the show got DUMBER and more action oriented.
Once things revved up, and the show turned less into a failed gritty romp of survival through a toxic wasteland, that’s when I started to forget my questions, relax a little, and properly enjoy the show. The 1st Division were threatening, pushed the pace of the show, and added real danger to the proceedings. I couldn’t understand why they were going around attacking people (until about the second or third to last episode), but at least I didn’t have to deal with stupid people with speaking lines (aside from Aoi). They just had guns and gas masks for the most part. Then the Ozu sisters show up, and the show really opens up, as we see the coppelion’s real abilities come into play, and we also see how they weren’t just designed for rescuing and surveying in toxic lands. These dolls are all actually organic weapons of war! Weapons of war tha apparently will be 100% psycho if they’re made from psycho people. Oh, the irony of not doing a thorough psych check on someone before cloning them. The Japanese science community really does have no foresight or morals in this show.
The Ozu sisters really added a healthy amount of retarded to this show. They bring such a heavy shift in atmosphere, that it makes you wonder if someone was reading the first part of the story and decided to add them about halfway through because that’s where they kept falling asleep.
I could go on about how poor or bland I thought the three main characters were, or how annoying Aoi was, or how it didn’t make sense that everyone would be all murderous one moment, and completely repentant the next. But this show honestly doesn’t deserve that much critique. It’s barely an above average show with nothing that stands out or is stellar about it. The strongest reaction I had in the show were just to the utter stupidity of people like the Prime Minister and Aoi. And any surprises I had came from that same stupidity. There were no cliches avoided. Nothing groundbreaking was said or displayed. An old man dies because old men die in anime. A cool character dies because cool characters die in anime, and because apparently the show needed some sacrifices. The show is too just rote in its portrayal of its events. And its hard to even muster up the energy for a review.
Overall, this show is merely average at best. Despite initial hopes of the show being “deep”, or “gritty”, or even decent, this show is forgettable, bland and boring throughout most of it. It succeeds at some action pieces, but fails miserably at drawing up emotions, or capitalizing on dramatic situation. And I can’t even recommend this show to people as a good starter anime (too boring for too long), and it’s not a good continuation of an established drama. I can’t recommend that they watch this show after watching Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 or anything else. It adds nothing to the experience. So just steer clear of this show unless you’re terribly curious. There are no rewards here for the bold.
- Here you will find the many of the pics I used for my posts on Coppelion.
- My previous post on Coppelion (Episode 12) can be found at: AniFriday Issue #7 (December 20th 2013)