I will commend Copellion here for almost pulling a fast one on me; it was at the end there, as the series came to a close that i found myself wondering at the thoughts sauntering through my head, that this anime might have been a pretty good series to invest my time into.
Which isn’t the case, unfortunately; probably worth a lazy afternoon with absolutely nothing to do, but nothing to really engage you in any entertaining manner; though that doesn’t take into account the fact that Copellion is artistically beautiful.
In 2016, the meltdown of a nuclear power plant creates a big catastrophe in Tokyo. 20 years later, the city has become a ghost town due to the high levels of radiation. From that area a distress signal is received. The Self Defence forces dispatch three girls from the special unit Coppelion to search for survivors. But why aren't they wearing any protection against radiation?
With a series that proffered me mild enjoyment, this is where i would normally talk about the potential possessed but wasted; but i don’t know if that is the case with Copellion, because in speaking of potential, am pretty certain the only thing i would be referring to is the animation, which also fails along the way.
I have heard Copellion referred to as an anime of contradictions and that is something i can believe, when you consider all its parts:
1. The Concept- first of all, what’s with the high school girls? Someone in Japan is clearly lagging behind in the times, because i feel that this is one of those tropes that should have been left back in the early 2000s.
Sure i was intrigued when the series first kicked off, expecting some dark and tragic story with the way the series initiated; and is that what i got? Unfortunately yes, a boat load of it, an seemingly endless parade of miserable characters wallowing in despair, whose only purpose in the series was to create an unnecessarily gloomy atmosphere over our main characters.
Basically, there was way too much wailing and whining, initially necessary and eventually excessively overdone, the series clearly determined to attract cheap pity and sympathy for some really pathetic characters.
And what was with Copellion? Who the hell are they and what do they do? I know, it seems obvious especially in the premise described above, or the first episode; until you progress further, only to realize how ambiguous the entire concept is.
It’s almost irritating to watch, when you consider how irrational the entire idea is, that a government would genetically engineer kids, put them through high school and send them into a danger zone, instead of crafting strong, emotionally stable soldiers with the wits to operate professionally.
This reminds me of all those mech shows that leave me wondering why, following an alien invasion, the creation of giant mechs to compound on the destruction levels would be the first solution the world would turn to.
2. Characters- Really can’t say i liked any of the main characters; first the whole school girl thing just seemed odd and irrational to me, and why the hell were they wearing school uniforms during field work?
More importantly could there have been a more mismatched and handicapped team ever assembled to provide emergency services and contend with the warped minds of villains?
The first episode quickly starts by building upon Ibara’s character, natural born leader, head strong, willful, physically capable, determined; then as the series progresses she seems to contradict every single one of her traits, firstly a little too generic in terms of skills, always, and i mean always breaking down, and so pacifistic and idealistic in her determination to do no harm as to be ABSOLUTELY STUPID.
She quickly becomes irritating and again its something i commend the series about, that in those last few episodes i seemed to forget that.
Aoi made no sense as part of team Ibara, COMPLETELY USELESS; and i mean that literally, in that she spent every episode screaming, crying, running from danger, getting kidnapped…you really cannot understand how someone so incapable made it to her station.
Admittedly she stood out as one of my favorite because she, at least, proved consistent, from beginning to end, and her antiques were pretty funny after a while, especially during the last few episodes, as she came face to face with her former bullies.
Taeko was, well, Taeko. And the villains, well, let’s just say that no matter how vile any of them presented their agendas to be, i haven’t seen bad guys this lacking in passion and determination in a while, basically present only to make grand speeches to dumb and naive Ibara.
I want to latch onto someone, anyone that made this series worth the time spent making it; but the entire cast was simply unlikeable.
Rating: 1/10, 1 star for Aoi
3. The Plot- but can you really blame the characters for their lackluster nature with a plot as bad and pointless as what Copellion gave us? Because the simple fact is this; Copellion had absolutely no idea what it was doing, its characters randomly wandering from one accidental meeting to another, new interactions launching new missions with little to no purpose.
Precluding the finale, there was a definite aimlessness to the series, which reminds me of the utter incompetence of Copellion, the organization in this series.
Rating: 3/10, seriously this really could have been something great, but…
4. Art- If there is one element in this whole series that made it worth watching, it was the art. No, that is the only reason i actually stuck around till the end, because no matter its failings, Copellion is absolutely beautiful to look at, a master piece at that.
And not the entire creation, but rather the backgrounds, the landscapes and buildings in their desolation; there was a realism i couldn’t help but appreciate, the colors vivid without being unrealistic.
Copellion is an anime worth viewing if only to marvel at its artistic presentations.
5. Animation- Now one has to wonder what happened with the animation; not bad, by the way, but somewhat…blotchy, inconsistent; only made worse when contrasted with the aesthetic beauty of the background elements in each episode.
It kind of infuriated me to tell you the truth, almost confused me, trying to figure out what was wrong with a scene that should have been breath taking to look at.
6. Music- Not even worth mentioning, largely inconsequential to the series as a whole. And i can’t say i was impressed with some of the voice actors, especially Ibara.
I could rant on for a few more pages about why this anime simply missed its mark, but what would be the point? Because Copellion isn’t trash or anything, it’s simply…unfocused, almost unplanned, with little to no objective. If anything there is more effort injected into spreading an environmental awareness message than in telling a good story.
There is something to be said about the tragic elements at the end, which seemed less forced than usual.
RATING: 5/10, Okay i wasn’t actually bored during the series’ run, simply uninspired to keep watching by any of the elements in the anime.