Coppelion | Review: Ep. 1

The End of the World Starts with a Whimper

This show right here is one of the shows I was looking forward too the most this season. It had a interesting premise and a great art-style, what more could I ask for? Well, I went into Coppelion‘s first episode with this mindset and I came out… disappointed.

vlc 2013-10-03 09-38-45-15

GoHands have wanted to make Coppelion for a while now. The production was halted and pushed away after the earthquakes in Japan a few years back. Understandable seeing how the series takes place in a ruined post-apocalyptic Tokyo where only twenty percent of the city ended up not being covered in a deadly radioactive fog.

Now things have settled a bit the show has finally arrived. But I have to wonder if GoHands sacrificed some for it to become real.

Let me explain, Coppelion‘s first episode feels like two episodes rewritten to fit the twentyfour minutes of a single episode. There’s scenes that seemingly just go into other scenes without proper transitions or segways to link them up and two completely separate events that the episode tries to shed focus on while at the same time letting us know the characters.

It’s not a mess that’s hard to follow, but it does feel like someone had to trim down original plans to comfort to a new plan. I wonder if Coppelion was meant to be a two cour show originally. If so, it’s a shame that the pacing gets to suffer for this, even if it’s just a little bit.

Possible production mishaps aside, let’s actually talk about the set-up for the first episode of Coppelion. We follow three girls, Ibara, Aoi and Taeko. These girls are walking around the radioactive ruins of Tokyo, dressed in school uniforms, looking for survivors. We learn that they are not affected by the radiation but can in fact walk around freely, we don’t learn why they are doing it in school uniforms but maybe that will come later. Either way, it’s a good set-up that unfortunately suffers from some weird dumb decisions with the writing. There’s just too many “Why?” questions popping up throughout the length of the episode that aren’t answered.

vlc 2013-10-03 09-49-36-15Don’t get me wrong, we might very well get answers for these in later episodes, but with how many times I just had to ask that question regarding actual design decisions with the show makes me somewhat worried for the long run. Not to get into spoilers, but some things just seemed a bit too stupid to be taken seriously. Now keep in mind that this was one thing I said about another GoHands show last year, K. I could not stand the first episode of K yet I ended up absolutely loving the show in the following weeks. Let’s hope I’ll be saying the same about Coppelion.

vlc 2013-10-03 09-41-21-15While we’re talking about Coppelion and K. The two shows shares more in common than just a disappointing first episode and being from GoHands. In fact, the heavy blue visual filters from K is making a return here, much to my appreciation. It’s funny how much these filters used to annoy me yet now I love them. In fact, Coppelion is a gorgeous show in every aspect and the filter just adds a nice unique feeling to it all. There’s a very nice use of thick lining and detailed facial expressions. It’s a show I would probably keep watching even if it turns out bad just for the visuals, because it’s such a intriguing look.

The characters are well designed as well, showing off the personalities well and setting the three girls apart visually despite them all being dark-haired school girls. I actually ended up liking all three of the leads quite a bit, especially because of how cheerful they could be at times. I believe that in order for a desolate and depressing world to really work, you need characters to be able to show a happy and joyous side to themselves so we can see the contrast between that and the sad stuff. Had these characters been all gloomy and gritty it would just be a pain to watch. The characters, along with the visuals, are the high-point of the show so far.

vlc 2013-10-03 09-45-42-16If the show can balance out the pacing and convince me some things aren’t as dumb as they seem then I’m sure that I will enjoy the show a lot. As it stands though, the first episode feel short of my expectations, despite having Colonel Tom Selleck doing a live-stream show. Maybe it needed more cops and lions.

Episode Rating: 3/5 – Ruins of Something Great.

Series Available on Viz Media

Viz Media have licensed the Full Series for US distribution.
Please support licensed anime!

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