Despite doing her best to save everyone she can, it seems the stress of being a savior is starting to break Ibara.
What They Say
From the team that brought you K comes the new sci-fi action series COPPELION, a story of three youths who vow to save the lives of those forsaken by the rest of the world. In the not-so-distant future, a catastrophic event has turned the old capital of Japan into a wasteland, forever changing the lives of its people. Decades later, three schoolgirls set foot into the now forsaken city. They are the Coppelion, genetically engineered humans created by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force to operate under the lethal conditions of the contaminated city. Trained since birth, the girls must use all of their skills and resources to carry out their one and only mission: to rescue those left behind.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
At the end of the last episode, the girls were preparing to give chase to a B-52 Stealth Bomber that had attempted to kidnap an elderly survivor. Here, the episode follows through will a well-animated chase sequence. Ibara fires a rocket at the plane from handy shoulder missile-launcher, but it’s able to drop a bomb to detonate it at a distance, and begins to fire at the jeep on the ground. To take evasive action, the jeep drives through an abandoned shopping center. Finally, Ibara figures out its weak spot is its underbelly, and tells Dr. Shiba to brake. Now, finally behind the B-52, she’s able to fire a rocket that damages the jet, and it tries to make an emergency landing at the speed boat racing pond.
Despite Ibara not intending to kill anyone, it appears all aboard the plane are dead due to the nasty secret hiding in the pond. Super toxic nuclear waste, the kind that takes centuries to decay, has been placed in the pond, and a floating logo identifies the culprit as “Yellow Cake” a known back-end to a Japanese corporation. It appears that, having already been reduced to an uninhabitable wasteland, Tokyo is being used by unscrupulous businesses and governments to become the world’s nuclear dumping ground. This explains the uptick in dangerous radiation pollution that interrupted the deliveries of supplies to the survivors, but there’s nothing the girls can do to address this whole new problem. So it goes.
Dr. Shiba, however, takes the news as further damnation for his actions. The girls left him behind to approach the dangerous waste dump, and he wanders off, telling the girls he will repent on his own. Ayame is able to provide them with a hint that he had been taking care of a shrine, and there is where Ibara finds him, having taken off his mask. With only ten minutes before the anti-radiation preparation the girls gave him wears off, Coppelion uses the jeep to try and rush the doctor to the helicopter landing zone. The doctor may not want to live to see the faces of people whose lives he’s destroyed, but he’s of more use to the recovery effort alive.
In the end, the doctor is saved through the application of another injection by Ibara. The stylish animation of the action scene is an interesting subversive embellishment, as once again Ibara here is firing a gun to save a life. The Doctor, responsible for the deaths of the wife and daughter of the Coppelion’s Vice-Principal, is nonetheless welcomed onto the rescue helicopter in hopes that he can make greater amends through living than he can in dying. The Coppelion are shown crying again, to some complaints from viewers, and it appears another case of Shinji Ikari syndrome: Mere children are asked to take on the responsibilities of adults, and when they can’t act like emotionless space marines, and are overcome with anxiety and grief, they become targets for mockery. But I find their emotion refreshing, if a bit melodramatic, because it provides a certain grounding that the archetypal characters need to feel more realistic.
Coppelion’s story continues to be fairly simple in its tour of the ruined Tokyo, and I find there’s a real appeal to this method of storytelling. It’s a beautiful, tragic wasteland pastoral. The imagery alone has a real power in its illustration of the struggle between mankind’s technology, and the ways in which nature can fight against it. If the drama feels a little melodramatic, maybe it’s because we’re meant to take the characters and their actions as symbols themselves.
Streamed By: Viz Media
Review Equipment: Sony VAIO 17″ HD screen