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Manga / Coppelion

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In 2016, a catastrophe occurs after a nuclear meltdown from the nearby Odaiba nuclear power plant contaminates Tokyo, forcing the government to order its citizens to evacuate. 20 years later, Tokyo has become a ghost town due to the high levels of radiation which the government has banned entry for anyone. When a distress signal is received from Tokyo, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force dispatches 3 teenage girls from the Dispatch 3 Special Force Coppelion. Due to genetic engineering, the Coppelions are immune to radiation while also possessing special skills. Thus the Coppelions journey to the ruined capital to find survivors.

Coppelion is a seinen manga by Tomonori Inoue, which was serialized from 2008 to 2016 (starting out in Weekly Young Magazine, but it moved to Monthly Young Magazine in 2012). An anime adaptation by Go Hands aired in Fall 2013 and is simulcasted in English subtitles by Animax in Asia, Viz Media in North America, and Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.

Not to be confused with the ballet Coppelia. Though the name was inspired by the ballet.


  • After the End: A localized version. The story focuses on the main characters traveling through the irradiated ruins of Tokyo.
  • Amusing Injuries: Shion, courtesy of Kanon. Good Thing You Can Heal indeed.
  • Artificial Human/Designer Babies: The eponymous characters. They have certain traits programmed into their DNA, principal of which is complete immunity to radiation.
  • As You Know: The TV program the girls watch in the first episode, explaining (somewhat vaguely) the nature of the disaster area they're exploring.
  • Atomic Superpower: Mana's body constantly leaks radiation, making her an "Instant Death" Radius for non-Coppelion living beings.
  • The Atoner: Shiba Denjiro. The reactor he made suffered a malfunction and turned Tokyo into radioactive zone. He atones for this by creating super-Barrier Suits and life support system for the survivors.
  • Axe-Crazy: The Ozu siblings. As of episode 12, they are showing signs of being Death Seekers too.
  • Big Eater: Aoi. Coppelion don't need to eat like humans do, but Aoi takes an entire picnic basket to Tokyo.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Coppelions managed to stop the Sarcophagus from blowing up and causing a second nuclear incident. But Ibara is dying from her own Coppelion nature and although they managed to save her, she's now a normal human with no immunity from radiation which means she has to be separated from her friends. She can still visit them in hazmat suit, at least.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
  • Blessed with Suck: Aoi doesn't have unique powers unlike the other Coppelion, but she's easily the most human of them.
    • Actually, it turns out she's the most powerful of them all. Being able to levitate, absorb electricity, create an impenetrable shield around herself, move at incredible speed, etc.
  • Childhood Friend: Ibara and Haruto.
  • Cloning Blues: Inverted. The Coppelions don't particularly mind being artificial, purpose-built clones, but everyone else is weirded out by them.
    • It's downplayed with Haruto, who seems to be a bit bitter about the situation, but not enough to dissuade him from carrying out his job. The Ozu sisters however are so furious about their status that they're helping the 1st Division's plan to destroy Japan.
  • Colonel Badass: Vice Principal Onihei Mishima, commanding officer of the Coppelion. He's a perfectly normal humans, but he goes to the (irradiated) field anyway for survivor extraction. Also, he's a Vice Principal, not a Colonel.
  • Cosy Catastrophe: It's not exactly cosy— the main characters are on a rescue mission to pin-point the location of survivors so the military can extract them. The survivors are often found clinging to dear life, in which case the girls administer Aether (read: RadX) to them to buy them just a little time before extraction. Aside from this rather bleak mission, post-apocalypse Tokyo is a nice place... if you're immune to radiation.
    • The reason why there are survivors in Tokyo is that an atoning genius has been delivering food to them. However, when the story starts, the delivery has not been appearing for a week, driving the survivors to desperation and unraveling their social structure.
  • CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Haruto gives one to Ibara during her Near-Death Experience in Episode 7.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The main characters are immune to radiation, but they are not treated as humans, even by some of the people they save.
  • Death by Irony: Those lowly grunts probably don't really deserve it, but the Yellow Cake operatives get their plane downed by the Coppelion, forcing them to make an emergency landing. The only place viable to do so is a lake... in which the corporation dump their nuclear waste.
  • Death Seeker: Both Ozu sisters due to despair from being clone bio-weapons with a uncertain life expectancy. By the end of the first story arc they just oppose the heroines to end it all. However, both wouldn't want the other to die. Kanon doesn't just leave her sister to die buried in rubble and Shion gets increasingly worried over Kanon's overuse of her powers.
  • Driven to Suicide: After seeing the city he ruined is exploited further through illegal nuclear waste disposal, Shiba decided that the only way to atone is to die. But the persistent efforts of the Coppelion turn it into Bungled Suicide.
  • Facial Horror: The commander from the 1st Division. His face is basically rotted off under his mask.
  • Fantastic Nuke: A nuclear power plant suffers a meltdown, which contaminates Tokyo, forcing the government to evacuate the citizens of Tokyo. Also, Tokyo is perpetually shrouded by sometimes radioactive fog that only occasionally dissipates.
  • Food Pills: Ibara gives herself food injections. It's implied that normal humans can't sustain themselves this way, though.
  • Greed: Yellow Cake corporation use Old Capitol as nuclear waste disposal ground from other nations, which they dump from a B2 bomber. When the entire place is already a lawless poisoned hellhole, there's no one to stop them from adding more to the poisoning. This is sadly Truth in Television (see: Somali waters).
  • Hazmat Suit: These are called Barrier Suits, and non-Coppelion characters have to wear them if they want to survive. The suits have the distinct appearance of old diving suits. Except the people of The Planet, they wear space suits
    • Somehow, people living in Tokyo have better hazmat suits than those trying to save them— the Coppelion are investigating this phenomenon. It turns out that the man known as Shiba Denjiro made them— the same man responsible for the disaster.
  • Healing Factor: The Coppelions all heal several times faster than normal humans. Ibara has a particularly strong one. Then it was revealed that Haruto's Healing Factor is stronger than Ibara. It is one of his special abilities.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The leader of the 1st Division helps the survivors before he dies. Later the rest of 1st Division surrenders as well.
  • Heroic BSoD: Aoi does not handle being shot at or attacked by wolves very well.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The 1st Division's Leader and Haruto did this so the train could pass through.
  • A House Divided: Episode 2. The father and the mother of the family are both (ex-)convicts, and being evacuated means they will have to continue their time in jail (maybe). The survivor support system has broken down, and evacuation is the only way to go. The father is resigned to his fate, but the mother is not willing to tear apart the family and leaving their daughter to an orphaned life.
  • Humans Are Special: Ibara is a firm believer in this, which is why she is so dedicating to helping Tokyo survivors. However, some of her fellow Coppelion believe Humans Are Bastards and not worth saving.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Many antagonists are armed with fully automatic weapons, and they often fire at short range. Whether who they aim for is moving or not doesn't really matter, as they still miss all the time.
  • Insistent Terminology: Colonel Onihei Mishima prefers to be addressed as 'vice-principal', even by people who don't attend his school. He sees himself as a teacher, not a commander, of the girls.
  • Instant Sedation: Ibara administers one to a wolf that attacks her and Aoi.
  • Just Plane Wrong: B2 Bombers don't work that way! To begin with, they need a runway that is at least 2 km long!
    • Not to mention that they cost approximately one BILLION dollars apiece, and every unit is owned by the American military. There's no way Yellow Cake is making a profit with this deal.
  • Mama Bear and Papa Wolf: The survivors in episode 2.
  • Magic Antidote: Aether is made of Coppelion cells. It doesn't give people the same Nuclear No-Sell as the Coppelion, but it staves off the effect of radiation for a while.
  • Magic Brakes: In chapter 20 of the Manga after Ibara accidentally busts a tire on the jeep the girls were in.
  • Magic Skirt: Considering some of the action-y things Ibara does (jump off a few-metre-high bridge, do a diveroll while shooting some people), it's surprising she doesn't seem to wear Modesty Shorts.
    • In full effect during her fights with Shion.
  • Meaningful Name: Coppelion was named after the ballet Coppélia. Lampshaded by Aoi, who said just like Coppélia, a beautiful life size doll created by Dr. Coppelius, Coppelions were living dolls created by genetic engineering.
  • No-Sell: The Coppelion are completely unaffected by anything radioactive. Other people have to wear protective gear that will eventually fail, but they walk into ground zero in school uniform.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The Prime Minister is an absolute Jerkass who refuses to spare even one helicopter to extract Tokyo survivors due to an upcoming national conference where he wants to gather all of the JSDF forces at his disposal to show off Japan's military might.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: Everyone wears them (except the protagonists) when going into the Tokyo because of the nuclear meltdown.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: The eponymous Coppelions are genetically engineered to be immune to radiation, allowing them to enter post-nuclear-meltdown Tokyo without a Hazmat Suit or gasmask.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Averted, plant life and wildlife flourish around Tokyo and are slowly decaying the once-populated Tokyo 20 years after people are forced to abandoned the city.note .
    • Played straight when the girls find an intact and perfectly working anti-aircraft missile launcher in an abandoned JSDF base.
  • Real Is Brown: The anime has this distinctive palette of faded-out photo from the era of analog cameras.
  • Savage Wolves: The stray dogs of Tokyo have (somehow) reverted back into wolves. They are a danger. The girls take a while to pick up on this. Inverted. It turns out the ominous trail of blood was left by a wolf that got injured trying to protect Taeko.
  • Scenery Porn
  • Send in the Search Team: The mission of the Coppelion is simple: Distress Call are detected from radioactive Tokyo, they must go in and search for survivors. Things get complicated...
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Episode 2. The Coppelion are unable to save the (ex-)convicts' family, except for their daughter. Poor little girl is now alone again, having lost her mom, her dad, and her other mom.
  • Spider Tank: Shows up at the end of Episode 10. Taken down by the middle of Episode 11 though. Semi-resurrected by Shion by the end of Episode 12, but taken down again, this time for good by the middle of Episode 13.
  • Superhuman Transfusion: The injected medicine Aether is derived from the Coppelions' blood that grants temporary radiation immunity and enhanced healing. Direct transfusions may not have the same effect, since the Medical Team called a helicopter carrying more Aether instead of attempting a transfusion when short on time.
  • Super-Senses: In addition to animal affinity, Taeko also has super sight.
    • Kanon can sense the minute electrical output of biological processes, similar to sharks and eels.
  • Super-Soldier: Not quite, but Ibara's physical abilities are several times that of normal humans. She can easily dispatch heavily-armed soldiers, with only a pistol.
    • Ibara doesn't seem to think of herself as a soldier, but she's strong enough to pick up a telephone pole and use it like a club, and is able to completely recover from being shot by a freaking tank in less than a day. The Cleanup Crew are completely straight examples though; Shion is even stronger than Ibara, and Kanon can dodge bullets and can control electricity. Haruto's still the only one of the group who actually acts like a real soldier though.
  • Thirteen Episode Anime
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Coppelion are different from humans. They know it, and they each have a different approach in dealing with this issue. Aoi does her best to live like a human, while Ibara doesn't even bother eating, preferring to simply inject nutrients into herself. Kanon Ozu outright asks who the JSDF thinks she is, adding electric eel DNA to her genome. Nosense the robot Has his head punched in by Shion, and one of his arms busted by the same.