Three girls roam the abandoned streets of an irradiated Tokyo filled with hazards in the first episode of Coppelion. Genetically engineered to be resistant to the high levels of radiation, Taeko, Aoi and the leader Ibara rescue an afflicted man and treat him much to the disgust of their boss and the vice principal of their school Mishima. Spending the night in an abandoned house they continue to search for survivors as the scenes of the city are broadcast to the rest of the country. The situation changes for the group upon encountering what appears to be a stray dog.
The first thing that needs to be noted about this series is that it was originally scheduled to air in 2010, but was postponed due to the Fukushima disaster. The opening sort of reminded my of I Am Legend (a film I regret paying money to see ) due to the soft opening and general feeling of potential danger in open spaces. Otherwise, there wasn’t actually a lot happening as the apocalyptic spaces in Tokyo were the real star of the episode.
That said, there was the running theme of this episode of the 3 girls as dolls. They are manufactured to survive their environment and maintaining their appearance in the radiated city much as an actual doll would. The engineering goes beyond just survival in the city as their personalities have been engineered as well. This poses a bit of a problem for me in watching this.
In Taeko and Ibara, it was largely a case of balance between the two. The former is cautious by nature and rational while Ibara leads and acts when she thinks she can. For the most part they are pretty emotionless, which leaves that void filled by Aoi who is voiced by Hanazawa Kana. What that led to in this opening episode was a performance that is familiar to all who had to pull themselves through Fractale. Indeed it was a shock not to hear Aoi say she loved love by the end of the episode. I can’t say it made it thoroughly unwatchable though. Rather it was just an annoyance.
Production on this was about high as expected considering the extra 3 years they had to put into this. This was seen in just about every scenery shot where much effort was put into making a dead city seem alive. I really hope they had enough money to maintain this throughout the whole run.
Reasons to Continue Watching
- Pacing is slow enough to take in the detailed environments in a good way
- Not exposition heavy as most fiction is on a plot like this
- Finding out about these girls could prove an interesting experience
Reasons to Drop
- Not a lot happens for 20 minutes
- Hanakana inducing Fractale-related traumatic stress
- The girls seem to be rather one-dimensional as people
My Verdict: I think I’m going to stick around for this one. I see plenty of problems with this that can hopefully be resolved soon. The cliffhanger doesn’t seem to be much of once since I don’t think even this show has the guts to kill off a main character in the first episode. Plus, I think that even with a cast of high school girls this can be a show with broad appeal.