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Following a nuclear accident, the capital city has all but been rendered uninhabitable. There are pockets of surviving humans, but the radiation makes rescue impossible. The government create the Coppelion, genetically altered girls, who can not only can exist in the remains of the capital, but who have also been further enhanced...
Coppelion (2013. 13 eps 22 min, 42 sec) is a science fiction post apocalypse anime show. The series was directed by Shingo Suzuki from a Makoto Nakamura. The show was an adaptation of the Tomonori Inoue manga.
The show follows three school aged young girls, the Coppelion medical team, Ibara Naruse, Aoi Fukasaku and Haruto Kurosawa, who are sent into the radiation zone in an effort to rescue survivors.
This leads to a little initial confusion as the story does not tell you that the city is ringed with an impenetrable wall, which accounts for why the girls rely on helicopters to get in and out of the city and why survivors are unable just to walk out.
Unlike a lot of anime, which presumes that you have some prior knowledge of the world being portrayed, Coppelion much more reasonably uses the first third of the story letting you get to know the girls and the world they inhabit. Their first rescue involves a family who have lost their daughter, but turns out to be about the duplicity of human beings.
As the series progresses, events continue to be built upon, leading to the greater story arc when the girls try to help out survivors in a bio-dome who are being threatened by a group of soldiers who were deliberately sealed inside when the city was shut away from the rest of the world.
The central theme of the show is an exploration of what it means to be human. The girls do not feel that they deserve the title as they had been grown, rather than being born. However, given the survivors they meet, the girls demonstrate more humanity than most of those they encounter.
The background art is especially impressive in its ability to show the strange beauty of the decaying city. Character design is strong and it’s easy to distinguish the characters one from another. There was an oddity in the first third of the show with the girls figures being surrounded by a noticeable black line, for the most part it’s easy to ignore but at times its thickness spoiled the picture.
There are some absurd elements to the story. For a start why are the girls sent into a dangerous zone dressed only in their skimpy school uniforms, which sport skirts only a little bigger than a belt? Secondary, their base is twelve hours flight away from the city and yet most of the soldiers wear protective clothing.
The three disc DVD set has options for English or French subtitles; there is also a good English dub and the original Japanese track with optional English subs. The set only contains the textless opening (1 min, 26 sec) and closing (1 min, 26 sec) sequences as extras.
Gripes aside about uniforms which barely cover their arses, I did enjoy the story. There is a lot of action, but the show never loses sight of the characters interpersonal interactions.
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