Coppelion The Complete Series Review: Genetic Mediocrity
Have you ever watched an anime that had a promising start, only to have it ruined by annoying characters and a plot that is highly cliché? This is exactly how I felt about Coppelion. The concept is good, but everything else was executed poorly. At the very least, Coppelion is only thirteen episodes long and does not outstay its welcome.
Coppelion takes place in the year 2036. Tokyo has been abandoned after a nuclear accident occurs at a local power plant, yet there are still survivors that manage to scratch out a meager living in any conveniently placed environmentally sealed areas that they can find. The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force develops artificially created humans that are capable of surviving in highly irradiated environments without using a hazmat suit. These artificial humans, known as Coppelion, also possess a variety of skills that set them heads and shoulders above average humans in terms of athletic ability and healing powers to some extent. So what is Japan’s solution for rescuing stranded citizens? Send three teenage female Coppelions into the city while wearing high school uniforms with no armor of any kind.
These three girls are Ibara, Taeko, and Aoi. Out of all the known Coppelion that could have been sent out on this mission, Japan picked the worst possible three for the job. Not one of the girls in the party are mature enough, or trained enough to handle the job. They whine, complain, cry (a lot, seriously there is never an episode where one or more of the main three are not crying), make really stupid decisions that nearly get themselves or others killed, and they clearly are not trained to act like soldiers even though they are in a military organization. When a hostile faction emerges from the shadows to cause problems, these three prove to be even more incompetent. Aoi spends a large portion of the anime hiding in a closet. The only Coppelion that is remotely believable as an artificially created super human is Haruto, and he doesn’t get enough screen time to save Coppelion from the sheer amount of overemotional overreacting that the trio are infamous for.
Characters aside, the plot is mediocre and cliché at best. The story really tries to bank on the idea of the folly of humanity and the suffering it causes, and that it is all because of humanity and its greed. This has been done to death in more than just anime, and even then Coppelion doesn’t do this type of story any justice. At first the story is about three girls saving people trapped in the city, then suddenly it is about previously mentioned three girls attempting to save the world from being rendered completely uninhabitable for normal humans. This transition is not smooth, and just leads to a series of events where things don’t make a whole lot of sense.
The art style for Coppelion is a bizarre paradox. Certain environments look absolutely gorgeous, yet the weirdest colors are used at times that don’t make sense. Characters often have thick black outlines that are very distracting. Often it feels like characters were photo shopped onto the backgrounds, and it does not look good. Visual effects are one of the few things that shine in Coppelion in terms of lighting and effects like energy and explosions.
For the most part, the dub for Coppelion wasn’t as bad as I feared it might be. That said, some voices didn’t fit the characters. The prime example that comes to mind is Ibara, whom doesn’t sound like a third year high school student and instead sounds more like someone who is near the end of college. Characters like Aoi and Taeko sound a little too young, and it only serves to make their characters far more annoying.
Overall, Coppelion is a disappointment. It started with an interesting concept, but then quickly fell apart when it did far more bad than good. Coppelion has its moments where it is a good drama, but those are so few and far between. If you are looking for an anime drama, I would suggest that you skip Coppelion and keep searching.