Anime Vice News

COPPELION #1 -- Special Review

This post-apocalyptic show was delayed after the Fukashima Daiichi nuclear disaster. What caused the controversy and was it worth the wait?

When the enormous, magnitude 8.9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated Japan's coastal communities in March of 2011, numerous anime shows, movies and events were put on hold for a while. If a title depicted giant waves, or mass destruction of any kind, television broadcasters thought it prudent to pull them from their schedules to avoid further traumatizing the populace (and rightly so). While this affected high-profile shows such as MADOKA MAGICA - - which didn't air it's final episodes until over a month after the disaster - - it also affected shows that were still just being developed at the time.

One such victim was a show called COPPELION, a series adapted from a manga of the same name by Tomonori Inoue. Because the story is set in a future Japan where a radioactive disaster reduced the population to a mere tenth of what it was, a lot of the crew involved thought it would hit too close to home. Flash forward to today - - over two years later - - and the first episode of COPPELION has finally hit airwaves, simultaneously premiering here in the states via VIZ Media.

The show follows a squad of three girls - - Aoi, Taeko, and their leader Ibara - - as they explore the decaying ruins of Tokyo, searching for survivors. They are a special breed of genetically-engineered humans called 'Coppelion' who are immune to the effects of radiation and therefore the only ones suited for the job.

Atmosphere is the real star of the show, though, and the backgrounds of the now-decaying Tokyo are lovingly rendered with the lush greens of reforestation (which contrast sharply with the rusty reds of street signs). Tokyo is referred to by the girls as the "Old Capital," in a neat and somewhat subtle bit of world building. The slow pace of the story invites you to contemplate the kind of people that help others in the face of disasters, and whether the obligation they feel makes them closer to angels or trained animals.

Unfortunately that pace is also one of the show's bigger problems. There's just not much urgency, even when survivors are found who are in desperate need of medical attention. You also have time to think about the inconsistencies in the world, such as why the girls are told that they can't communicate with HQ with their cellphones when they had radios the whole time; and why anyone thought it was a good idea to send these girls out in school uniforms with way-too-short tartan skirts.

The premise of these girls being elite agents, trained from birth to deal with such dangerous problems, stretches disbelief a bit, as well. Aoi, for instance, is whiny and weak, even going so far as to have a breakdown in this first episode. And why - - despite having been genetically engineered with such forethought as to include a love of animals in her personality - - did those mean scientists neglect to give Taeko better vision? The poor thing has to wander around a desolate wasteland with glasses on! Would the 'nerd chic' truly be worth it after, say, she falls and they break?

To be fair, when I looking back over these gripes, they really aren't too far afield of the conceits you get used to accepting with most anime. I guess they just come into sharper relief when paired with the bleak setting. Honestly, if the action picks up (and the previews suggest it might) as these girls learn more about what happened to Tokyo after the accident, then this might be one to keep an eye on.

Watch the first episode of COPPELION (for free) at and decide for yourself. Did you find COPPELION more engaging than I did? Do you already have a crush on one of the characters? Did I mispronounce something in the article? Let us know in the talkback!

Matt Murphy is a freelance nerd and has contributed to many nerd websites. You can find him by going to where the light meets the shadow, by sending out zeta-brainwaves or by following him on Twitter .

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 3, 2013 at 7:41 a.m.

Art wise it jumps around a bit. The character looks great in comic line art. An then they put lens flare an haze saturation all over the place so it makes that dull an unintresting.Overuse of this started in Btooom! went on to hyper levels in Sunday Without God an now Coppelion.As well as Beyond the Boundary. The idea was to make the backgrounds more intresting .Think thats very much subject to opion.Rule of less is more seems to be ignored i think.

That aside Coppelion 1st pilot epiosde does a good amount of world build .Likeable enuff for my tastes an definatly worth watching.

AURON570on Oct. 3, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.

Have high hopes for this. Lol yeah that does sound like typical anime girls, but hopefully it goes further than that. Good to see Matt Murphy writing for the site!

metalsnakezeroon Oct. 3, 2013 at 1:59 p.m.

First episode does a pretty good job with setting things up about the world while also being subtle about it. Many people have complaint about the art but I find it to be fitting since it is set in a post radioactive disaster setting and I expect it to look pale and dark. Character are pretty likable, specially the main character Naruse Ibara.

Murphix staff on Oct. 3, 2013 at 6:53 p.m.

@AURON570: Why thank you!

takashichea moderator on Oct. 3, 2013 at 7:52 p.m.

The animation and the hue remind me of a show called K. I know folks claim it had the best visuals while some complained it had too much hue saturation. I don't mind the hue in Coppelion. It makes it stand out from the other series this fall.

zaldaron Oct. 4, 2013 at 3:45 a.m.

Sigh...a slow show without action and good characters is really not a bad thing....

takashichea moderator on Oct. 4, 2013 at 3:09 p.m.

Uploaded some RC snapshots. The scenery in this show is absolutely gorgeous.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 4, 2013 at 10:54 p.m.

@takashichea: Its heav at times .Think its suposed to be showing radiation because its not there like on the tv screen or in the helicopter.Still it reminds me of air brush over detail line work . Line work suffers for the color hue .Take the 1st pick in this post as a example.

Watched this an Beyond the Boundary back to back.Both are heavy lens flare hue color bleeds at times.As those otehr screen caps prove when used right things look great. When abused its a mess.

takashichea moderator on Oct. 5, 2013 at 11:17 a.m.

@Marshal Victory:

You should have seen Strike the Blood. The coloring just killed my eyes.

Marshal Victoryon Oct. 5, 2013 at 5:10 p.m.

@takashichea: I have! Could be good show but sheesh . Like i said this over hue saturation is not enhancing the animation. its a blurry distraction.Attack on titan uses hue saturation almost perfectly.

K as i recall idd use hue staturation but it wasnt a distratction from the animation.If i recall right.Oh an over all fall2013 is 4 times the season summer 2013 was.Blurry hues an all.

sifter01on Oct. 5, 2013 at 8:21 p.m.
This anime is so freaking awesome
YotaruVegetaon Oct. 26, 2013 at 5:34 p.m.

@takashichea: I would hope it would remind you of K, since GoHands is producing this show.

takashichea moderator on Oct. 27, 2013 at 2:56 p.m.

Moved thread to Coppelion anime series's forum thread since the franchise has that news blurb. That way, this article will get more exposure.


Oh wow, I didn't know. I'm behind in Coppelion. Some folks told me it took a nosedive after episode 1. I better check that out during winter.

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