Monday, October 21, 2013

First Impression: Coppelion

COPPELION: Very promising start, let’s see if it keeps up

A meltdown of a nuclear power plant renders Tokyo inhabitable, or at least, that’s what the authorities think. Baffled by a distress signal from the heart of the city, the Self Defense forces dispatch a special unit called Coppelion to search for unlikely survivors. Coppelion, even though it is composed only of three high school girls, is very much trusted by the authorities. After all, it is not called a special unit for nothing.

            Desolated cities, with vines and mosses all over their buildings and bridges, are the perfect places for post-apocalyptic stories. Coppelion has utilized this fact to the fullest. The emptiness of the cities and the superb animation has set a dark tone and an air of mystery to the art style.

            Speaking of art style -- yes, Coppelion has its own unique touch, but I can’t say that it’s perfect. The characters are outlined with a black stroke, prominently separating them from the background. This style could be compared to that of Shingeki no Kyojin, but at least in Shingeki no Kyojin, the strokes are not bold enough to completely isolate the characters. In Coppelion, the characters are outlined so thickly that they would almost pop-out of the scene, instead of blending in the background. But other than this flaw, the animation and style of this anime is just gorgeous.

            The story is not yet fully expanded. In fact, there is not much plot development in the first episode. It’s mostly just about the Coppelion girls -- Ibara, Aoi, and Taeko --talking and walking around the city, looking for survivors. But I’ve been fully committed in watching the show. The dark atmosphere, air of mystery, and sense of danger, have captured me so much that even though there isn’t much development in the plot, I feel obliged to continue.

The presentation of plot elements, however, has counterbalanced the lack of plot development. Many questions have been imposed to keep my interest in the overall story.

            As for the characters, I think they blend well together. Ibara is the strong-willed, rowdy one. She acts as the leader. Taeko is the quiet one, and the story suggests, though not blatantly, that she is the brains of the group. Aoi, on the other hand, is the source of upbeat emotions to balance everything out. No minor or recurring characters have been introduced yet, so I can’t really say if the overall characterization of Coppelion will be good. But as of now, it is fair. There’s a lot of room for development.

Another thing I like about this anime is how it utilizes effective musical scoring. Most of the time, there is no soundtrack embedded in the scene, giving the scene a more mysterious and darker undertone. The minimal use of music gives the impression that something sinister is about to happen. But as for the soundtracks themselves, they are not that outstanding. So it’s still a good thing that they are not used that much.

The amazing setting, mysterious story, fair characters, and good musical scoring, when all combined, make Coppelion a very promising anime title. So far, it is of above average quality. The only threat that will keep it from becoming a great series is the direction of the story. But the direction is fine so far, but it definitely has the potential to go to unwanted directions. As long as it keeps up in going to the right direction, then Coppelion could be one of the top titles of Fall 2013.

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