Review: Coppelion: Episode 5 – “Life”

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.

At the beginning of episode five, an effort is made by using shelter choppers to contain the high-level waste that was found in the speedboat racing pool in episode four. The pilots operating the choppers decide to contain it in the middle of an intersection because nobody comes through there anymore. Suddenly, the shelter choppers are fired at, and one of them is shot down; also, the high-level waste that was being contained there is taken.

Meanwhile, the Coppelion discover a vehicle that is on its side. They find a man in a hazmat suit in the driver’s seat, and he asks them to save his daughter, who is in the back, first. When Ibara opens the back of the vehicle, she discovers a pregnant woman. As Ibara and the others try to rescue the woman, they are attacked by people in hazmat suits riding on tanks. The woman tells them that these are the ghosts of the Self-Defense Force 1st Division. After a small struggle, Ibara and the others can escort the woman and her father to safety.

They learn the woman is named Ibuki Kajii, and that her father is named Gojiro. Through them, they learn that while the 1st Division appeared in the Old Capital from time to time, they had never done any harm prior to this point. When Ibara calls the vice principal with this information, he’s shocked to hear about the 1st Division. Through him, the audience learns that the 1st Division was the division that was sent to rescue survivors after the accident, but the division suffered many casualties. After that, the government didn’t send any other divisions because it didn’t want to lose more troops; also, the Old Capital was sealed inside a high lead wall.

Unfortunately, Ibara and the others are discovered by the 1st Division, and they are shot at; Taeko is shot and injured while trying to protect Ibuki. A tank from the nearby JASA Headquarters comes and rescues the group; it turns out the JASA Headquarters is where Ibuki and her father have been staying with some other people.

As they head to the JASA Headquarters, Ibara calls the vice principal to tell him what just happened; unfortunately, he is in the middle of a meeting with the Prime Minister when she calls. When the Prime Minister hears about the 1st Division, he freaks out. When Ibara asks for a helicopter to rescue Ibuki and an injured Taeko, the Prime Minister orders them to become an attack force instead of a rescue force. After Ibara argues with the Prime Minister, he declares that no helicopters will be sent to rescue them until they defeat the enemy. Later, the vice principal takes it upon himself to contact the Cleanup Crew to rendezvous with Ibara and the others to provide backup. We get a brief glimpse of one of the members of the Cleanup Crew near the end of the episode, and I believe this is a character that we see in the opening credits. No name has been given for him yet, but I suspect we will meet him and start to get to know him in episode six.

This episode is very pivotal to showing the viewer what the political climate is truly like in the wake of the accident. The previous four episodes focused a lot more on the three Coppelion, the people that they rescue, and the situations going on inside of the Old Capital. Episode five delves a lot more into the political aspects taking place outside of the Old Capital, and how the government views the Coppelion as “dolls” and as weapons. The Prime Minister also showed his true colors when he wasn’t moved to send a rescue helicopter after hearing that there is a pregnant woman in the Old Capital; he doesn’t seem to care about the people who decided to stay behind in the Old Capital. He also showed some lack of common sense when he ordered a rescue force to turn into an attack force, but didn’t bother to send any weapons or supplies to help them become an attack force; it was established in the first episode that the Coppelion don’t truly have weapons on them, that all they have is a gun that can shoot Aether into someone.

A thought I had after watching this episode: what happened to the wolf that had been traveling with the three Coppelion? Did I miss something during episode four, or did the wolf really disappear without any explanation at the beginning of episode five?

Coppelion continues to be an intriguing series through the themes that it explores and the story elements that it has to work with. So far, I’m finding this to be a believable postapocalyptic story, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this story arc will progress in episode six.

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