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.
This dramatic tale about the survival of humanity is based on the book series by Tomonori Inoue. It is a compelling adventure where three seemingly helpless schoolgirls venture forth as part of a field trip into the restricted city that was devastated by a catastrophic event. Soon it is clear these three young ladies are more than they seem, sent to rescue any survivors, they are a part of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. As they venture into the devastated land and find a few desperate survivors, soon it can be seen that what is considered the truth, may be the deadliest lie of all.
The series is dramatic and treats its audience with respect. The story is not spoon fed, allowing the viewer to reflect and draw their own conclusions as the world of Coppelion and its characters are revealed in slivers, facets to puzzle out. The series covers many mature themes such as war, human technology versus ecology, what comprises humanness, and competing agendas about what it means to survive, to live, and to be free.
That last theme is seen most strongly with the Coppelion. Ibara is the no-nonsense, collected leader who is brave and shows unwavering compassion towards the humans. Aoi is something of a crybaby, but underneath it, she may have the most courageous spirit of them all, and Taeko, the surgeon and medic, has a quiet demeanor that belies an impassioned soul intent on saving all she can.
There is mystery around what the Coppelion are and what their true purpose – hidden even from them – may be. There is also the conflict between the survivors and the 1st and 3rd divisions of the force who seem to be at odds with each other, potentially catastrophically so. Even other Coppelion groups emerge with different goals, creating an emotionally charged finale that comprises a desperate fight and flight for freedom and life.
The animation is stellar. Produced by GoHands, the same studio that worked on Mardock Scramble and Princess Lover, the studio is comprised of former Satelight studio members. Some anime fans may recognize the name as the company that worked on critically acclaimed titles such as Noein and The Guin Saga. GoHands brings Coppelion to life with the juxtaposition of lifelike backgrounds of sunny days, blue skies and windswept fields contradicted with the grey mishmash of a city left to ruin. Aside from a certain train ride not living up to the rest of the animation, the movements had a compelling fluidity. Ibara has a distinct walk and during fights, including a memorable grenade launch sequence, the kinesthetics of the movements have an aesthetic appeal.
Complementing the excellent animation is equally exceptional music, performed exclusively by the well-known angela, who also performed the memorable songs for Fafner, the opening song is a defiant cry called “Angel”. The ballad of the ending theme song is equally powerful with the evocative lyrics and at times uneasy feeling to the animation sequences during the song. However, the ending song to the final episode “Bye Bye Allright” is as rousing as it is bittersweet, a perfect match for the end of the anime series.
Bonus features include clean opening and ending animation and original trailers. Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the Bonus Art Gallery.
An immersing view of a future filled with conflict where humanity is found among those that are not considered human.
- Released By: VIZ Media
- Available on BLU-RAY + DVD Combo Pack
- Running Time: 310 minutes
- Rating: TV – 14
- Release Date: 02/03/2015
- Reviewed By: Holly Ellingwood