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First Impressions: Coppelion

Updated on October 9, 2013
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Title Panel from "Copellion" episode 1
Title Panel from "Copellion" episode 1 | Source

First Impressions

The "First Impressions" is a series of articles reviewing a new anime after the first episode. This bare-bones review is literally, my first impressions of the series, so details regarding story are lacking, and instead focuses on the set-up, the art, and direction.

“Coppelion” first streamed on Viz Anime last week, and I must say, it was quite interesting. I'll be honest, based on the description provided by Crunchyroll it didn't seem like the kind of series I would normally watch:

“In 2016 a meltdown of a nuclear power plant creates a big catastrophe in Tokyo. 20 years later, the Self Defence forces dispatch 3 girls from the special unit Coppelion to search for survivors. But why aren't they wearing any protection against radiation?”

Anichart Fall Anime List (courtesy Viz Anime)

I normally don't like action series. I really don't. In fact, I'm still hesitant to watch “Attack on Titan” despite the best efforts of some of my friends. I'm the same way with Bleach, Naruto, Dragonball, and other action series. I enjoyed the InuYasha manga, but after 300 chapters, it was getting a little tedious. And they never stop.

Anichart has “Coppelion” listed as action, sci-fi, seinen. It sounded boring.

Ibara Naruse has a run-in with a feral dog in one of the few scenes that could be described as action.
Ibara Naruse has a run-in with a feral dog in one of the few scenes that could be described as action. | Source

But I opted to watch the first episode anyways. That and “Gaist Crusher” (which a translation has yet to be released) are my attempts to broaden my horizons. And I'm glad I did. Now, many of you might be put off by the first episode, but I actually, honestly, enjoyed the lack of action. While I have no doubt that there will be action, The first episode was entirely about setting the stage. And it did it in a way that was more captivating then usual.

First, it introduces the major characters and their personalities, then it talks about why they are in Tokyo and what happened, as well as why the girls are able to travel through the contaminated zone without protective equipment. And it does it without any significant flashback. It flows naturally in the form of conversations between the characters throughout the episode.

It... actually made for a great first episode to see that. Quite refreshing, actually. 22 minutes of setting the stage not wasted in my opinion, though the casual viewer, or fans of shows more geared towards action or drama might find it kind of boring or monotonous – but this serves a purpose as well – the girls themselves arrived at Tokyo on foot, and were traversing the city in much the same way. After a disaster of this magnitude, it might be expected that the city would be quite empty, and as such, the girls had a tedious and monotonous task. In a sense, it helps the audience empathize with the characters.

The art in "Coppelion" leaves me feel as though I'm watching a manga.
The art in "Coppelion" leaves me feel as though I'm watching a manga. | Source

Now onto the other major factor: The art. VizMedia in partnership with GoHands animation brought us this series, and Viz is highly recognized for their work in anime and manga. The animation, seems under-detailed. And some cases it doesn't work, but in many cases it does. The animation is fairly simple, and at least the characters appears almost hand-drawn – I'm going to look into more detail regarding the animation technique. It does a very good job at imitating the comic book style. In addition to the simplicity of many portions of the animation, the other factor I noticed was that characters who were the focus had much thicker outlines. Again, imitating the style of many comics, particularly in the west. There is no doubt though – this is an anime. Even by the art alone, I would still consider it an anime.

While fans of action series and drama might struggle through the first episode because of it's slow, delicate pace, If you make it to the end, it will reward you – and hopefully – leave you willing to give the second episode a chance, as I most certainly will.

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The Final Verdict

SETTING: 4 stars


STORY: 3 1/2 stars

ART: 4 1/2 stars

MUSIC: 3 stars

OVERALL: 4 stars

LAST WORDS: Fans of series based on light novels or Slice of Life probably wouldn't be pushed away by this episode, but hardcore action and drama fans might be left disappointed. I recommend waiting for episode two before making any final decisions for this series. For fans of sci-fi, it will engage you, but not enough to commit to it on a weekly basis. You might just want to wait for the series to finish and then watch the episodes together.


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