Episode 02 – “Future”
Not even two episodes into the series and we’re already experiencing some heavy, emotional plot points. This episode, the girls run into a man who’s searching for his runaway daughter. Like everyone else, he’s shocked to see these girls walking around without special suits. Given that this is their first official mission, that’s to be expected. They’re also trained to help and rescue anyone within this danger zone, so this is the first time their training will be put to the test.
The girls meet the man’s wife, Yukiko, and Aoi has a nice chat with her about the nature of their creation. We learn that “Coppelion” actually refers to themselves and is a reference to the French ballet, Coppélia . In this play, there’s a doctor named Dr. Coppelius who creates a human-like doll that then lives with him.
Dolls and storytelling have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time, pretty much. Whether it’s a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale or a famous ballet like Coppélia or The Nutcracker, dolls have often been used in these types of settings. In this way, Coppelion isn’t all that much different from one of these whimsical, yet often dark fairy tales. Like its more traditional predecessors, Coppelion explores aspects of human nature, as they’re adopted by these “dolls.”
If you were to ask me if I thought these dolls were human or not, then I’d have to answer with a resounding “yes!” As if my attachments to the clones from Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S weren’t enough evidence, I think the range of emotions that Ibara, Aoi, and Taeko exhibit should be. In these first episodes, we see Taeko show compassion for the wounded dog, Aoi is as lively as they come, and Ibara struggles to accept that her own purpose in life might be comprised because her targets don’t want to be saved.
While I like the emotion that the series tried to bring this episode, I can tell that more time or better management of it would have helped to make the delivery a little more dramatic. It was a little difficult to feel sympathy for family in such a short time. Still, that scene where Yukiko lets go, and all sound cuts off, hits you like a ton of bricks. That part was pretty well done. She and her husband knew that they wouldn’t be able to live normal lives, being criminals, and so sacrificed themselves to give their daughter a shot at a better life.
I enjoy this episodic approach to storytelling, and I think it suits the nature of the series. It reminds me a lot of Kino no Tabi, but I think we can expect that the setting won’t be changing very episode. However, the different scenarios that the girls are put in will, and I’m interested to see how the series will mix things up. Surely, it’ll provide different outlooks on life in a place that is, in and of itself, quite lifeless.
“We are Coppelion – moving dolls.” ~ Aoi Fukasaku