Coppelion: Episode 4 – “Sunset”

Coppelion is an anime set in a postapocalyptic setting, where a disaster has taken place in the capital and the people had to be evacuated. Genetically engineered children called Coppelion were created; they were born with a strong resistance to the environment so they can walk through the capital in order to look for any survivors. The Coppelion attend the National Defense Academy technical school, hence why you tend to see them dressed in school uniforms while out on missions.

Back in episode three, the three Coppelion met Professor Shiba, who was not only the man providing relief supplies to the people remaining in the capital, he was also the scientist who was ultimately responsible for the accident that destroyed it. At the end of episode two, they discover a stealth aircraft is flying in the area and the soldiers in it had been harassing an elderly woman they were looking for.

The early part of episode four is very action-packed when Professor Shiba is driving a jeep with the three Coppelion inside it in order to pursue the stealth aircraft. After some wild driving and some thought, Ibara realizes where the blind spot of the aircraft is, and is able to shoot up at it in order to force it to land. When Ibara realizes they’re heading toward an area where Professor Shiba’s hazmat suit won’t protect him, she orders him to return to the base.

They find that the aircraft has landed in the speedboat racing pool, and the three Coppelion discover that there are many canisters of high level waste in the water. Ibara realizes that this is the source of the severe contamination in the area, and that the stealth aircraft was used to transport it there. After finding a sticker with a yellow cake on it while talking with the vice principal on their communicator, he deduces that the waste was brought by a Japanese company called YELLOW CAKE that supports the disposal of spent fuel and hazardous waste products.

After this, the three Coppelion learn that Professor Shiba has not made it back to the base. When Shiba radios in, he makes it clear that he plans to atone for his sins right now. The three girls have to try to find Professor Shiba before it’s too late.

During this episode, Ibara goes through quite a bit emotionally. She becomes emotional over the course of the episode: when they discover the soldiers from the stealth aircraft have died Ibara is upset that she failed to save more people, and she becomes upset when they discover the waste in the water and what it means, and she even cries near the end of the episode. At the end of the episode, Aoi and Taeko tell Ibara not to carry all the burdens by herself, because they are there to help her. I really hope Ibara will end up heeding their advice at some point during the series.

Several themes also appear over the course of the episode. The most obvious one has to do with the environment with the discovery of the waste, and the discussion that Ibara has with the vice principal regarding how and why the waste ended up there. There is also a theme of regrets, which is shown through Professor Shiba and his regret for the role he played in the accident that destroyed the capital. We learn that the vice principal lost his wife and young daughter in the accident, so there’s also a theme of forgiveness.

Now that the story of Coppelion has really gotten going, I’ve come to appreciate how much depth there is in the storytelling and how it makes me have to think a little bit about it. However, the one flaw it currently has is that the character development really seems to be focused on Ibara. While she needs the character development, I believe that Taeko and Aoi also need to start getting some development as well. I’m hoping we will start to see this in future episodes of Coppelion.

Now that is particular storyline is over, I’m interested to see where the story goes to next. In this episode, Professor Shiba gave Ibara a book with information on the people who are still in the old capital, so they now have something to help them locate the remaining survivors. However, exactly what kind of stories will be told in connection to the remaining survivors remains to be seen.

Additional posts about Coppelion:

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