The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Coppelion: Final reflection

Once the halfway point is passed in Coppelion, the focus of the story turns towards getting the Planet’s inhabitants to safety. New challenges presented by the Ozu sisters complicate this operation, but after clever planning from Ibara and company, the Planet’s inhabitants are able to bring a train back in operation to help Ibuki reach the extraction point. In the meantime, Taeko is tasked with helping Ibuki deliver her child. The final few episodes were almost certainly the strongest point in Coppelion, presenting the Coppelia with a singular objective and forging a connection between them and the survivors they are tasked with helping. The Ozu sisters are interesting antagonists, acting in their own interests in rebellion to their knowledge of the truth. Despite being motivated by simple aims, they are unpredictable and serve as a foil to Ibara’s company, who act with more precision. In spite of this, Ibara’s belief that everyone can and should be saved/redeemed triumphs in the end: as the train makes its way to the extraction point, and Taeko successfully delivers Ibuki’s children, the story draws to a close in what is a predictable, though enjoyable ending, to what was a turbulent, oftentimes difficult-to-follow journey.

  • Ibara is able to commandeer a rather unusual looking tank while trying to buy some space between themselves and the Ozu sisters. I believe that Oyakata  is wielding an M2 Carl Gustav, a recoil-less rifle that differs from a shoulder-fired rocket launcher in that the projectile is an artillery shell rather than a rocket and thus, will not accelerate once launched.

  • Kanon Ozu is one of two sisters who antagonise Ibara and company during the second half of the anime. She is seen here wielding the M79 Grenade Launcher, a break-action 40mm grenade launcher fielded in the Vietnam War. Despite its versatility, the M79 would eventually be replaced by the M203 under-barrel grenade launcher for the M16 assault rifle.

  • After some logistics are worked between Oyakata and Ibara, it’s decided that they will transport Ibuki and the Planet’s inhabitants via rail to the extraction point. The entirety of the second half is focused and directed, giving it a solid story where the previous half lacked any.

  • The rice balls are Aoi’s trademark creation: by now, Ibara’s willingness to try what is considered to be ‘human’ food suggests that she considers herself to relate to humanity, although whether or not she is fully aware of the reality Kanon has heard of is left ambiguous. Nonetheless, even when Kanon informs Ibara of the Coppelia’s purpose, Ibara continues forward nonetheless.

  • No-sense has feelings as acute as any human: because most bloggers dropped this anime faster than people can drop a hot poker, many of the so-called philosophical aspects remained undiscussed. I am grateful for that, if only because that would mean that I can apply a more moderate approach and say that Coppelion defines being ‘human’ as being able to relate and work with others, as well as being able to make mistakes and more importantly, to learn from them.

  • Since Coppelion is now fully aired, and since I imagine readers won’t mind spoilers, I’ll directly say that Taeko is able to successfully deliver Ibuki’s twins via a Cesarean Section. It turns out that Taeko has training in surgical technique and with remote instructions from Ayame, she is able to rise to the occasion.

  • Onihei Mishima is the director of the Coppelion project and does his best to keep the teams on-mission, despite conflicting interests from those in command. The events of the second half leads him to disobey orders and deploy to help the Coppelion out directly.

  • No-sense is given some upgrades to make him combat-capable, and later, despite an assault from Shion, he nonetheless remains operational and proceeds to help Aoi, despite this behaviour never having been programmed into his routines. Here, No-sense, Aoi and Ibara are trying to buy time for the others to get the train running.

  • Aoi’s abilities include teleportation and production of a force field, although she is only able to wield them only under the most extreme of circumstances.

  • It turns out that the father of Ibuki’s twins is a member of the First division. He provides assistance to Ibara’s company

Coppelion is perhaps one of the most hotly debated anime of the Fall 2013 season: those familiar with the manga have already noted that many details present in the manga were absent from the anime, resulting in a story that was disjoint and somewhat difficult to follow: having only watched the anime, I conclude that the manga is a good supplement to anyone who enjoyed the concept and is seeking a better execution. The first half was all over the place and stumbled in places, but the second half represents what happens once Coppelion found its focus: more than any of the other survivors, Ibuki, Gennai, Oyakata and Gojiro generate the most emotional connections with the Coppelia team. They work together to achieve a common goal in the face of impossible odds and ultimately succeed, whereas rescuing the previous survivors felt like a sideshow. Indeed, many viewers dropped the series before the fourth episode and would not have seen the second half, which sets Coppelion as a reasonable series for watching a group of individuals see something through to completion against all odds.

  • The paddleboat chase was surprisingly funny to watch, and ends in with No-sense dispensing some revenge on Shion using his cannon, sending Shion flying. Both Shion and Kanon were engineered from a psychotic actress, which leads me to wonder who was in charge of choosing templates for the Coppelion. If  were to choose a template, I would have gone with soldiers.

  • Ibara turns out to be right about Commander Kunikida retaining his human nature despite having had such exposure to the radiation. He helps Haruto prevent a crumbling power pole from impacting the train, and shortly after, Haruto succumbs to his injuries, using his last breath to bid Ibara farewell.

  • After being critically injured by falling rubble, Shion begs Kanon to put her out of her misery. In previous posts, I compared the Coppelion to Spartan IIIs, but at the series’ end, I began thinking that they were more akin to lesser superheroes from the Marvel/DC universes in terms of ability. I imagine that extreme genetic engineering could give someone the powers of Sith lightning, but teleportation and force fields lie well beyond reality.

  • Despite having spent the last six episodes trying to kill Ibara’s crew, Ibara and Aoi opt to save Shion and Kanon. Such moments were infrequent and ill-placed in the first half, but in the second half, everything falls into place nicely. Ibara is able to make peace with Shion and Kanon, while Aoi admits that even after all that has happened, she cannot stomach the thought of more death.

  • Gennai’s last wish of being able to see downtown Tokyo by a red dusk are finally fulfilled.

  • Celebrations about after news is received surrounding a successful delivery. While not all stories can end with a happy ending, I personally found that in Coppelion, the amount of trouble all the characters went through merited such a conclusion.

  • Ayame oba-san is the midwife who walks Taeko through the birthing process. Every episode after the halfway point turned out to be thrilling and indeed, I looked forward to every subsequent episode. Coppelion could have very well been a solid anime all the way through its run if it had divided its twelve episodes into two main arcs, or if it was a twenty-six episode deal, which would have given the writers more time to explore things to viewers unfamiliar with the manga.

  • Shion and Kanon marvel at the wonders of human life. They subsequently join Ibara’s company on their journey towards helping more survivors in the Tokyo region, having seen the effects of kindness and friendship.

  • At the end of the day, Coppelion is something that can reward viewers for having followed it right to the very end: if I am not mistaken, however, BD sales are less-than-stellar at this point, so I doubt a continuation would be the reality. Would I watch a continuation? If it can be wholly executed with the same consistency as the second half, then easily.

  • Haruto, Gojiro, Gennai, Oyakata, Ibara, Aoi, No-sense, Ibuki and Taeko pose in the Planet. I would consider the individuals in this image here to be the main characters within Coppelion; when Coppelion delivered, it delivered very well, and illustrates that, despite a clumsy start, once the anime found its footing, it was very compelling to watch.

At the end of the day, the point of this article is to talk about my own thoughts on Coppelion: presenting a choppy story, a slew of elements that belong more in the Marvel/DC universes and uneven pacing, Coppelion balances that out with improving the world-building aspects through interactions with the survivors and Aoi’s eventual realisation of her role in the Coppelia team, as well as No-sense’s never-ending stream of encouragement for Aoi, and Ibara’s indomitable will to see a task through, Coppelion proved to be an entertaining ride for being able to make me crack a smile at both the ridiculousness of some of the scenes and how everything eventually falls into place. My verdict is therefore as follows: I won’t recommend this anime to all audiences. Those who are most likely to enjoy the anime will be those who have read the manga, and individuals looking to watch the anime will probably enjoy it more once they’ve read the manga. For those who began with the anime (such as myself), Coppelion is opposite to something like OreImo: in the latter, the journey was entertaining and the ending was lacking, but here, a disappointing journey gradually builds up to a worthwhile ending for anyone who is willing to see the series through to the end, which counts for something.

6 responses to “Coppelion: Final reflection

  1. Zephuros December 31, 2013 at 19:20

    Yeah, yes, yus! The Ozu sisters are indeed a very interesting antagonists xD! (as with other ones in the later series as well!)
    The author did well in making me hate the Ozu sisters initially because of their annoyance and stuborness…but made me like them very much (especially Kanon) later!
    Yeah, Thumper! It seems like it’s her favorite weapon, since till now on volumes 21, she’s still using it :D” (other characters tend to change their firearms, well except Ibara of course, but Kanon is constantly seen using this grenade launcher)

    The anime conveys this poorly (well the adaptation was terrible..) but I really love how the manga does the issue around humanity and being human…I’m unable to explain this, but I was certainly very very touched by it (takes a really long time to read though, just like most of all other Seinen mangas)
    Oh man Taeko, she’s on of my most favorite characters of this series (well I do like every character, even the antagonists.. lol), but I feel bad she’s the one with most less screentime >_>.. ok.. her role was one of the most important to the story,
    but i mean hey, even the Ozu sisters (esp. Kanon) gets to be in the manga panels so much than her =0=”. And imo, she has the least character development of all the main important characters…(if you exclude a certain antagonist at this point of the manga…), jeez, author please do something to her.. she’s one of the main trios afterall!!
    (spoilers: Aoi and Kanon had such a big big big huge character development in arc 3 and arc 4…fabulous..!!)

    Ah ha ha, everyone has that question, about who’s in charge for the Coppelion project.
    After reading the manga numerous times (really…”numerous”) I think I found out at least an idea or theory to back up why they did that.
    After all, the Cleaning Unit members have something in common afterall >.>…. they initially don’t hesitate to kill someone, I’d like to explain more but it’ll be manga spoilers and I’ll probably write an essay xD” (like how I did explain to someone about the ED…)

    Nuooooo! Haruto can’t die!!! He’s just assumed *smirks* dead!!! :D”

    Ah ha ha, sci-fi media hardly is reasonable with whatever they have, but with the element of the “fantasy world” added I think it’s possible
    Aoi’s powers are hard to understand (even revealed what it is, it still is hard) you’ll have to discuss it with me, plus, someone who’s really good with science…quantum physics

    sorry for shouting ._.” (frustrated..)

    and seriously, I’ve been wondering about Kanon for a really really long time..
    the manga doesn’t clearly show it, but that’s it, the anime made it crystal clear – she’s the tsundere character of the series :DDDD!!!

    And yes, the BD/DVD sales are really really…REALLY (TT) horrible
    and the anime did not boost the manga’s sales much too…..(the Fukushima incident almost 3 years ago did a huge and more boost for the manga sales)

    You know one thing I really like about your review?
    You don’t have numbers to judge on what you’re reviewing
    numbers tend to make readers biased (or alphabet letters and such) on how a certain game/manga/anime/etc really is, without reading the whole writer’s opinions
    and I really like how honest and straightforward you can be, and how you really could pick up everything a media has given out for you, eventhough you didn’t know the whole thing (since you’re not its fan xD)

    btw Inf, do you know about Quantum physics? else I’d like to discuss about Aoi’s powers with you :B, her power’s related (or “is”) to the Dark Matter (i’m still not sure, since I couldn’t read japanese 100%)
    p.s. sorry if this is really long, I’m a person who tends to rant/gives too much opinion ^^”


    • infinitezenith January 2, 2014 at 17:17

      Adaptations may be limited by budget and timing constraints. This time around, I followed something from start to finish that may have been below expectation, but at the minimum, Coppelion didn’t punish me for completing it 🙂

      Quantum physics is a rather diverse branch of physics that lies outside of my specialisation, and although I have read Steven Hawking’s books on those matters, I believe that they provide abstraction for a general audience. There would be subtleties in the mathematics that are well beyond my ability to comprehend. If Aoi’s powers are related to something known as “Dark Matter”, you might be able to figure out the katakana and see if it sounds similar enough to the English equivalent. If I had to throw a hypothesis out there, that would mean Aoi could manipulate soemthing known as nonbaryonic dark matter, which encompasses a hypothetical class of particles. Given this is science fiction, being able to control these particles might allow Aoi to create force fields and seemingly teleport, but only because there isn’t enough to practically determine the attributes in these particles. A theoretical physicist would probably inform us that these may or may not hold true, but speculation can be nearly infinite because this is fiction 🙂

      I don’t mind the comments’ length: it just goes to show that you’re passionate about what you enjoy. 🙂


      • Zephuros January 2, 2014 at 21:25

        Yes, I believe it’s the budget and number of episodes allowed, but still.. i mean come on, those recaps could have been used for important (at least I can debate two scenes in which I think it’s very very important to the story and should be included there)… there weren’t any recaps before ep 4 >_>…
        Welp, it’s because you have read/watch quite a lot (not just for manga/anime), at least reading your reviews I see you as quite an open-minded person with variety,
        urgh, startin’ to be confuse about the Dark Matter again… lols” (it’s a real pain to read what they explain about Aoi’s powers in the japanese raws… gotta go ask an quantum science expert friend of mine about this xD”)
        Oh well, Aoi’s the most powerful character right now and well, she is.. WANTED by heck like everyone/country right now >_>”
        argggh, can’t wait for them to translate volume 17 so I can fully understand about her poweeeeeeeeers


  2. Zephuros January 1, 2014 at 03:24

    Oh yeah, another thing I want to point out…(sigh, I want to do this at other forums..but as if other people care = =a)
    I really wonder why the anime didn’t point out/include two of these important things that would clear so much question from anime-only viewers:
    1. What’s Shion’s nightmares and what the scientists did to the Coppelion
    2. How Ibara cared for everyone, her classmates – even though they are coming to kill her. And how much she understand the Ozu sisters with her straightforwardness despite not knowing much about the truth as much as them.
    ^^^ It was in the manga.. and problem is, suppose.. SUPPOSE there’s a 2nd season (it’ll have to take more than a miracle for this to happen). These two won’t be illustrated/convey there, since these two are only from arc2, the third and current fourth arc issues on something else/explains on something else about Coppelions.
    I was like…WHY YOU DO NUT INCLULE DISES!? And almost slam my computer broke… (ok that was a joke, I couldn’t possibly do anything to this my-only-5-years-old lappy ._.” I can’t buy a new one either..saving money for ps3 :D”)


    • infinitezenith January 2, 2014 at 17:31

      Forums are the last place I’d go for meaningful discussions these days: I maintain an account on AnimeSuki to access anime news reasonably quickly, since some posters excel at doing that. I think that Coppelion was limited by its short run, and as a consumer, we can only speculate as to why the series was only 13 episodes, where it could have easily made a satisfying, thoughtful 26-episode anime. This would account for why Shion’s nightmares and Ibara’s unwavering belief in her classmates and humanity were not explored in greater detail in the anime.


      • Zephuros January 2, 2014 at 21:29

        b..butta.. i don’t know where I can go find places to discuss this series abouuuut orz” (i’m desperate to talk about this to someone .__.”) I mean I know there must be one or two people who appreciate or like this series like I do… but boy that took a lot of tries, and after searching everywhere in the internet.. I finally found a group of people OTL” (ugh, after reading all those hate/haters comments…real pain in the heart T^T)
        remove those recapppps, and those political scenesss dangabit..lols”
        sigh ._.”, whatevs, I both like and hate GoHands for making the anime adaptation xD”
        I mean i’m very happy it’s animated (since seinen mangas doesn’t get a lot or enough anime adaptation if you compare it to shounen and those main-stream ones), and by a great anime producer like GoHands (they still have problem with the story as seen in K and Coppeion though) but their cg/animation and especially their music is really wonderful
        I hate it for the adaptation part of Coppelion’s story :D””””


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