This collection, called XS, therefore aims to finally discover sometimes cult series, but so special or so long that their success in France was not guaranteed. And to do so, the publisher was able to negotiate with Japanese rights holders (in this case the Kôdansha publishing house for all the first 9 series affected in this year 2022) in order to design a collection at a price low: each volume costs like this. only € 3.95, no time limit! For this, Noeve offers a production without jacket, but whose covers have flaps, and with a remaining paper sufficiently qualitative. The publisher also promises the presence of the color pages of Japanese editions when there are any (in this case, there is one at the beginning), spot varnish effects on the covers and double-sided printing of the cover so as not to lose any of the images from the Japanese edition. Finally, the usual Noeve Grafx cards (trademark of the publisher) will be available for the XS collection series, by exchanging points on its future website. And let’s be clear: the quality is largely there for only € 3.95! With a clean design, eye-catching selective varnish, excellent handling for opaque paper flexibility, and very good print quality, Noeve knew how to cut out the less essential stuff (the overcoat). in the head) to have fun and make us happy.
For the first round of three titles released this spring, the publisher invites us to discover the renowned comedy Hôzuki the Stoic (also known as Hôzuki no Reitetsu, a name well known to fans of animation), the fantastic piece of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (which also got an anime), and finally the series that interests us today: the fresh SF Coppelion, rich in 26 volumes, which was initially published in Japan from 2008 to early 2016, first in Young Magazine before being transferred in May 2012 to Young Monthly Magazine. Coppelion was the first series of Tomonori Inoue, a mangaka who is not unknown in France since, since 2019, he delights us in the Casterman editions with his action manga pulp Candy & Cigarettes, the second series of his career , which also found its conclusion in Japan late last year. This sci-fi series was especially expected in France a few years ago, after the small success of its animated adaptation in 2013, an adaptation that premiered in France on the DNA platform and in physical versions of DVD and Blu-ray. ray a Kaze.
In the Coppelion universe, a large-scale drama fell on Tokyo on October 2, 2016: following a violent earthquake, the Odaiba nuclear power plant cracked and radioactivity spread, devastating the 1990s. % of the population of Tokyo. Over time, Tokyo has become a veritable ghost town, made uninhabitable by persistent radioactivity. And lifeguards may have tried to send enough to survive the early years, the megalopolis seems to have lost all form of human life. However, 20 years later, in 2036, three young girls land in the great ghost town, and they have a clear mission: to find the survivors and help save them by pulling them out of hell. Sure, for a month now, the SOS signals have multiplied in Tokyo … but how the hell could three girls in high school dresses (don’t wonder why they go that way) save these people? Well, Ibara Naruse, Aoi Fukasaku and Taeko Nomura, as they are called, are not teenagers like the others: together they form the Coppelion, that is, a special brigade of the 3rd Division of Ground Self-Defense Forces, formed by these three teenagers who were born genetically modified with antibodies that immunize them against radioactivity.
Tomonori Inoue thus takes advantage of the nuclear threat that sometimes hangs in our face (the author mentions Chernobyl in this volume 1, and certainly would have also mentioned Fukushima if this tragedy had already occurred at the time from the beginning of the series), not without briefly emphasizing a small green observation about the horror of nuclear power (a Pandora’s box opened by humans, without anyone really knowing how to close it), all to interfere in a city of Tokyo that has become unrecognizable, ghostly, post. -apocalyptic, with a visual representation that can immediately be described as very immersive: not only the scenery is ubiquitous, but also the mangaka really strives to represent the Japanese capital with realism (number of buildings really exist) while take care of the post. -Apocalyptic rendering between dilapidated buildings, deserted streets and a nature that seems to have regained its rights.
It is in this context that our three heroines will evolve, which we discover with pleasure in broad strokes throughout the volume, between the fighter Ibara who poses a bit like the leader, Taeko and her special relationship with animals ( is closely linked). to them, he also wants to take care of them, he knows how to attract his sympathy), and an Aoi for the moment a little more withdrawn but who seduces with his slightly more “feminine” sides and his few brief misfortunes a little funny Don’t say rats or bats are your forte). They form a small team that promises to be both complementary and lively, and that we should surely follow with pleasure throughout the series.
But in the immediate future, this first volume serves mainly as a montage, but a montage that is already quite intriguing in different respects. Sure, the three misses carry out the first missions from the start, but these are not really independent and already suggest in the background a more significant global framework (why there have been many SOS signals since just one month when there are no had nothing for 20 years). years? What do the survivors hide?), In addition to installing different data on the state of the city (nature recovers its rights, different animals adapt and even some species have mutated, some buildings have found a new use, such as the racecourse transformed into an improvised cemetery …), but also to distill different themes. On this last point, let’s think about what we’ve said before about nuclear power, of course, but also about the few questions our heroines ask themselves about themselves (those who have no parents and were born in vitro with a purpose, can they be considered? really human or are they just good puppets to serve the government?), and different more humane criteria around the people to save. for example, in this first volume, do the survivors who have been found all necessarily want to be taken out of this city where they have lived so many things? And can people described as criminals and murderers find a new path, a new life, a redemption?
“These kids can walk freely through the middle of the world’s largest ghost town.”
In short, Inoue immediately installs a universe, themes, possibilities that have much to enrich over time. And to carry it all, you can rely on a hard-working pencil stroke. If we have already mentioned its excellent scenery, we can also emphasize the effectiveness of its staging full of dynamism, with often relevant viewing angles and even many great little ideas (for example, the views from inside the mask of some survivors). ).
In addition, led by a lively and very clear translation of the experienced Frédéric Malet, Coppelion begins, therefore, under the best auspices. We may wonder how the play will evolve and be renewed in 26 volumes, but the mangaka has all our confidence!