It’s been a while since I dropped a manga, and much as when I reviewed Night Head 2041 after having dropped it, it feels appropriate to discuss Copellion for the same reason – particularly since I made it over halfway through the series (with under 100 chapters to go before finishing it) before I had enough.
Copellion has an interesting concept – the characters are genetically augmented teenage girls from a research facility that has given them special resistances to radiation, who are sent into a Tokyo that was irradiated after a nuclear disaster to help rescue survivors, and while inside the city they have to contend with survivors who don’t want to leave, and various factions that are up to no good inside the perimeter. Plus, some other Copellion teams, now without any form of real oversight, decide to go rogue, since they now are in a position where they answer to no-one but themselves.
For the first half of the series, it says like that, and is relatively grounded – there are organizations dumping radioactive waste under the cover of the existing disaster to avoid having to pay for cleaning up their crap. The survivors who don’t want to go have very grounded reasons, and then, on top of all of that, we have wonderfully realized, lavishly drawn art of a ruined overgrown Tokyo, pulling from all the concepts of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and creating an environment that is gorgeous on the page.
And then, at the halfway point, it gets stupid. The scientist behind the project turns out to be planning some sort of horrific plot to conquer the world (OF COURSE!) because humanity can’t be trusted with the limited-duration radiation nullification serum that’s used as part of the evacuation effort, because it will cause nuclear war, since it will limit the consequences of nuclear bombs. That’s not how radiation works.
Additionally, when actual global leaders who aren’t Japanese are depicted in the manga, they are exclusively depicted as two-dimensional stereotypes (and sometimes ethnic stereotypes), while only Japanese political leaders are depicted with any complexity. It’s a frustrating decision that really undermines the series and everything that has been laid out so far.
Ultimately, it hit a point where I was no longer having fun reading the manga. I may come back to it later – much later, but for now I’m just done. I’ve got much more manga on my to-read list, that it’s not worth the time to slog through this.
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