I was (still am, but I hope not for too long) a NEET (not in education, employment, or training), i left the school about 3 years ago, i rarely go out (even by myself), i have no friends, i suffer from Dyslexia and i also suffer from Depression/Anxiety. It's been like this for a long time, never told my parents about this (don't know if i'm going to do so) and I thought of committing suicide several times, for a long time in fact but never did. I can't say if I was afraid of death or I didn't want to see anyone cry
for me. You see, my parents love me. They really do. Even despite me leaving the school, they weren't mad, they weren't happy either but they said to me: Listen, don't worry about that, one day GOD will help you, in some way.
Watching this anime made me fully realise, how precious life really is. It made me realize that killing yourself, despite how difficult it is to live in this world, is not the best option that one can aim. While i'm not god, i think everyone should live their lives until the very end and try to enjoy as much as one really can. Nobody's perfect. Everyone's gonna suffer at some point of life. You just can't do anything to avoid such things. You just cannot. But what you can do is try to improve it. To make it better and better. Or at the very least, try making them better. You can't tell if you don't give it a try.
The show on itself is really thought-provoking and because of that it's really hard to choose a side to be with. What's bad and what's good? What's justice? Why the good has to be the justice? Why not the bad? Is suicide that bad? Is it good? Because of all this, the entire seris is based on this "Suicide Law" that Itsuki is trying to add to the system. I say save, but since we don't know anything about anything, we can't really do that much. Everything arrives in masses. If the majority of the population (of each country) wants the law, the law will be approved. However, this is wrong.
But, can we know she was in the wrong side? Technically, we can't. However, we have to say yes (as assumption). The reason is because in episode 10, the US president realised something that I think is the right answer, for everything. He said "We don't need to think whether the suicide is right or not". They'll think about it instead" referring to the one who created us. We don't know anything. We know everything because it was we who created it. We created everything we see on this planet and invented everything. Whoever created us tho, knew it was gonna go to this point. He or she or whatever that thing ever was knew we (with force or not) are gonna move forward, no matter what. This is an endless argument as upon this the are tangents and tangents that will take an infinity amount of time to figure it out even the minor thing ever.
Speaking of Ai, she's a horrible person. Her character design is cute but she's someone I hate with all my passion. I wanted her dead from episode one but when episode 7 came to life, I really wanted to get into that fucking anime, take something with me and torture her in the most horrible way possible imaginable. I really think, she could be the female I hate most in my whole life. It must be so, otherwise I cannot explain my pure hatred and anger against her. Godfuckingdammit i hate her.
More importantly, what exactly is Ai's power? How did she get it? You'd think if it's something gifted by god or whatever and it's not created by humans it would have been way too easy to add a sentence like - Oh yeah, she got this power because she saved a kid 15 years ago and someone from above felt the need to give that "specific" power to her - It is still contrived, but at least we would have an idea of its origin. I'm not asking too much. Everything that's been said by the surrendering cast regarding her "powers" has always been vague. Nothing concrete. They all say "she only needs to whisper to you and make you commit suicide" and that's about it. They don't even tend to find its origin and a way to fight back against that monstrous power. Now yes, it's really difficult but it must have been a way, right?
The ending was just a bit underwhelming. But was it really though? The whole show is pretty much based on Ai and her power to manipulate one's will and make them kill themselves in different ways. Apparently, everyone else seems like a secondary cast. She's definitely evil as for the final answer we get from Zen about "Good" and "Evil" towards her. We also know about that but we have to get the answers from him at the very least. Wood found them too, slightly after Zen. She was definitely testing him as once she saw Zen for the first time saw something in him. But what i don't get is why Zen felt the need to shoot the US president? He was probably going to die soon considering he was about to fall from a very high building. So the shooting on him was very unnecessary to the plot itself.
Did Zen actually Die?
Most likely yes. Seeing the cover, he was probably shot once in the pectoral and was cut in the foot with a knife. It'd make sense as in the cover everyone "was" supposed to die. It even tells how one will die and i doubt he's still alive considering what we've seen in the last seconds of the 12th episode. What was Ai doing there? Are you saying she escaped from there, presumably after killing Zen, after a while she found when Zen's son and wife were and went there for what reason exactly? Kill them? Manipulate them? Live with them? Are you saying she suddenly became the good gal?
No, i don't believe that. That wasn't supposed to happen. I'm okay with Zen's death but she, 1: Should have died too, 2: She should remain the evil gal for the rest of her life. Wait, what if she went there to tell his kid about something his father had for him? And after that she would have gone at whatever the fuck, far far away from them? If this the ruote it got, i'm kinda fine. As long Zen's wife and son don't get brutally killed, i'm actually fine with any outcome.
The sound department was actually okay. Not too many OSTs during the show tho. I would have actually preferred more of that. The opening was really short, i think 18 seconds which is something you don't see everyday in anime. It was alright. The ending was alright. Both OP/ED had nice visuals, though.
The character design was really good. At first glance it's not that special but later one you start realising how distinguishable it really is. I can identify pretty much everybody in this anime just by looking at them.
This anime on the whole was awesome despite the fact that its writing does not land sometimes. I don't really care too much, what really mattered to me is suicide topic and I was pleased with what I got. With that said, this anime gets a 100/100.
Remember "It is the journey that counts, not the destination" - Me refereeing to the Babylon's finale.
This review is best consumed pretending you hadn’t just seen the score its headed with.
This one’s going to be real prosaic, because Babylon is a very dense, logically tight show for adults in a way you don’t often see in media, especially anime, and is certainly not for people even among older audiences who cannot keep up with sociopolitical factions and legal jargon, as it is a premiere example of a political thriller, a genre both elusive in the medium and almost never laudably delivered on therein or out. Every facet of the show is oozing with a thick sense of seriousness and—on paper—really boils
down to a lot of very grave talk among crotchety middle aged politicians and civil servants trying to solve real crime, all of which is presented without a lick of fun or funniness. Its exciting simply because it operates on the very generous assumption you, the viewer, are mature and worldly enough to recognize the implications of what’s happening in the story are really serious in a hyper-realistic fashion, and the fact the world is established such that that sense of realism is actually believable, the events play out like urgent breaking news as opposed to the writings of an inherently fictitious narrative. Where Babylon becomes something of a masterwork, though, is in it’s functionality as a mystery. Like any good political thriller, Babylon is rife with juicy machinations behind the scenes and moving parts to obfuscate them, but unlike most so called mystery box style narratives which string you along offering nothing but minuscule and minute information only at times convenient for the writers—which you could’ve very well gotten at any moment—until its all over and the contents of the box turn out to be ultimately unsatisfying, Babylon continually gives you specific and totally gratifying answers to questions you have, thusly reassuring you of the show’s ability to deliver on it’s promises, and packaged within those answers lie details of an even large mystery to come to light, so—at the same time—you’re fulfilled momentarily and continually intrigued with what the hell else is going on. And while Babylon opens itself with the heavy task of untangling this mess of clues and conclusions, the reason the situation is so complicated is every player is operating of their own accord, so whilst the narrative is never dizzyingly convoluted, it is very complex, even though it soon reveals itself to be one of the shows which has you slowly realize less of it is actually a conspiracy than you may’ve first thought.
Babylon takes place in the city of Shiniki, the self-proclaimed testing ground for nations, a special administrative zone just north of Tokyo whose foundation was on behalf of the mission statement to decentralizing the Japanese economic center away from the overburdened Tokyo metroplex whilst also instating a new city with little regulation where laws are both easy to pass and easy to terminate, hence the tagline. Our main character, Seizaki Zen, is a public prosecutor who finds himself investigating a string of apparently related incidents of political sex trafficking being used to influence elections in the city, and it doesn’t take long for him and the viewer to come to the cold realization these cases are merely the tip of the iceberg of a thoroughly deep rooted case, which is to say—spoilers from here on—the police are in cahoots with the corrupt politicians. As Seizaki is lured into the conspirators camp by the fact they’re work rigging elections is actually—no matter how rigorously illegal their actions are—for the greater good of stabilizing Shiniki’s still shaky political sphere and finally giving the city an identity of it’s own as the aforementioned legal envelope pusher, the puppet candidate they’re working to instate in office suddenly cuts ties with his fellow conspirators the second he’s elected and announces—unbeknownst to them and in complete and utter surprise to all their plans—his first new law to define the courageous new world which this city is to build is going to be the Suicide Law, the right to death, and what follows is the single most cinematically genius use of mass media spectacle I’ve seen in anime. The already blood pumping, philosophically stimulating narrative of Babylon proceeds by stacking plot twists in such a way you’re constantly shocked, with every episode having some element which radically changes your perception of the events so far, all while the scale of said narrative keeps widening and widening alongside of which every conversation adds some kind of information and the scripting continuously parcels out information in such a way which is integral to the storytelling’s engrossing identity, keeping us viewers intoxicatingly entertained.
Itsuki Kaika, the upstart mayor heading the Suicide Law, was chosen by the conspiring faction to be the puppet leader because of his young and refreshing image first and foremost, but also because he personally brought in the women they used to influence policy with sex and set their entire initiative into motion in the first place. As the conspirators in the challenging political parties and police headquarters, now including Seizaki, have to deal with their rouge masterless puppet, Seizaki is let in on some of the secrets they’d been keeping from him from when he was in the dark, one of which being the sinister fact all the women they’d been trafficking—including one sugar baby he himself had interrogated when previously working the case—was actually one person, one person named Magase Ai. As the show continues on and the narrative undergoes paradigm shift after paradigm shift, it quickly becomes apparent Magase Ai is much more urgent a threat than Itsuki ever was and is also hinted to even have some enigmatic occult afflictions. And before you turn away thinking a supernatural twist would ruin a straight-faced and thickly realistic narrative, remember plot devices as genius as The Voice of the City from Texhnolyze or The Black Blob from Paranoia Agent and remind yourself magical realism can be instated smartly into serious and mature stories. I’ll stop spoiling things now hoping my hinting at this character is motivation enough to go watch the show yourself, because she is a case study on presence and easily among the most electric personalities ever put to animation and says some thematically profound things about the nature of femininity and the allure and logical extreme of sexual release. And speaking of animation, her character design is iconic, her theme is enchanting, and again, her presence is simply immense. With that said, while I’m at it, the show as a whole is quite something from a production standpoint itself. The aesthetics are not particularly appealing, and the animation isn’t consistently beautiful or anything, but if it was trying to look like a hyper-realistic human narrative taking place in the real world, it succeeded wholeheartedly. It boasts god tier music which was absolutely nail biting at times, and it staffed talented character animators like Kouki Fujimoto who delivered on the most thrilling breaking points of the story with all due flair and terror. And all this isn’t even going into the excellent and outright applause worthily ambitious directing fit with more bracingly memorable imagery and exquisitely shot visual metaphors than you could ask for. Honestly, any way you slice it, Babylon is something of a modern masterpiece.
… … …
In Spring of 2017, an original anime by the name of Seikaisuru Kado went to air. It was a modest little thing, at least on production, made by Toei Animation, the premiere home for long running Saturday Morning Cartoon shlock and pandering game adaptations. My derision aside though, Seikaisuru Kado not only looks and feels nothing like a project out of Toei, but it also looks and feels quite like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Be it the quasi-CG character animation production, the irreplaceably unique concepts to accompany an alien invasion, or the hundred-ton dialogue scripting swamped in international relations of all things, Seikaisuru Kado was certainly a diamond in the rough, even if a thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly unpolished one. While it fashioned far more comedic relief and character emotions than necessary for a work of it’s type—unlike Babylon wherein the characters are mature adults who are taking the story very seriously at all times—Seikaisuru Kado was first and foremost a fairly smart, talkative narrative of political intrigue. To avoid alienating what little of you are still reading by further narrating a show you’re not here to learn about, I’ll sum up the experience by saying it was brilliant…for six episodes…then annoying for two more…and then a carcass by episode nine. It was intelligently structured and adherent to reality—even among all it’s inane sci-fi concepts—and kept building itself until by even halfway though I was ready to tout it as a downright intellectual giant. Soon after, though, it began devolving under the surface, and sooner later snapped like a twig in the most bracing twist of quality in anime history. A more-than-average mature show about the advancement of humanity and international geopolitical negotiations behind such progress was put to death by the draw of a giant energy sworn swinging the story into a downwards spiral of over the top mindless action, aliens VS humans battle to the death, fucking daughter from the future, batshit anime insanity, and the entire merit of the work up until that point was squandered instantaneously. And it’s author…wrote Babylon.
At first, Babylon’s only real weakness was in the fact it attracts losers like myself. When you reach the stage of consumerism wherein your priorities become tone-deaf and your intentions become incorrigibly cynical, media—no matter how innocent in it’s attempts to entertain you—will find themselves endlessly, hopelessly, relentlessly attacked by your unconscious will to break something down, as you’ve conditioned your mind to be little more than a machine for critique which can only even begin to allow yourself an inch of entertainment from media which is totally infallible on every level—as you now know what it means to be so. And Babylon is not totally infallible. Babylon, much like Seikaisuru Kado, even before that heinous death blow the series dealt to itself which I just described, suffers from authorial projecting. That’s a nothing piece of terminology I just made up on the spot, but I mean it to imply exactly what it sounds like. Nozaki Mado, the creator of both works, quite frankly, seems to fancy himself more of a preacher than a writer. His works so far have been bursting at the seems with unforgivingly unsubtle theming to the point of characters sitting down and spelling them out to the audience just to make sure his oh-so-precious point got across. Honestly, as paradoxical as it sounds given the (periodic) maturity of his works, Nozaki seems to me to be thoroughly childish. Whereas the episodes wherein they do so and the degree to which they do so differ per show, both works reach a point around halfway through where the show takes all it’s ambivalent ideation and starts facing the audience directly and asserting these inherently subjective questions actually have objectively correct answers, because morals and God and shit. The works reach another turning point later on though, towards the end, where the show completely shatters itself, and while, no, there is no giant energy sword in Babylon, the series does get to a point by the penultimate episode where anyone thinking at all critically simply has to put it down. That’s right. This masterpiece died young.
How anime which seem to so thoroughly understand the ways of the world lead themselves on with such delusions as evolutionary providence in Seikaisuru Kado and now a moral death in Babylon, I honestly will never know. I don’t get it, and now that we’re two for two with this guy, I frankly don’t even want to. Nozaki isn’t a writer the likes of Tow Ubukata, who presents promising concepts fronting on behalf of a thematic core which ends up ultimately vapid if not totally nonsensical, nor is he like Shou Aikawa, who presents transparently meaningless codifications on behalf of promising concepts which also end up being ultimately style over substance all the same. He presents concepts which do, indeed, payoff, and he continues to do so expertly, only for the process to devolve somewhere along the line and have the ideas stop churning out intellectual content and begin churning out holier than thou horse shit attempting to convince you of pretentiously figured objective answers to subjective moral questions. Its like the latter ends of his works are written by an entirely different person with an entirely different set of priorities and personal values. On it’s way down from a thematically enormous masterpiece of a political thriller to a boilerplate pseudo-psychological vapid character study, Babylon doesn’t break any one character, nor does it defile the established ideas, and it only really disrupts the tangible plot in the final episode and—I suppose—the cliffhanger leaded into it. It only wastes itself in a general sense, so unlike Seikaisuru Kado who’s devolution wholly invalidates all merit it had accumulated up until the point the energy blade came out, Babylon is actually worth watching in a sense. In fact, you could probably just watch the first seven episodes as a complete story like all the brilliant legends who dropped Death Note after episode twenty five. But do so knowing it continues. Know the following three and a half episodes slam on the breaks and attempt to convince you of the objectivist take on the seven episode masterpiece you just saw. And know, as well, the following episode and a half remaining after that turn out a finale which you’d never guess, not even in your wildest dreams, could ever have been derivative of the expert craft with which you began your viewing.
Babylon is quietly becoming (one of) the best anime of the fall 2019 season. That’s because it’s taking itself seriously, in a way that is not pretentious or quirky. Two common traits that are recycled time and time again in psychological/thriller based anime.
One of the key themes in Babylon is the dichotomy between what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong.’ This concept is fleshed out in episode 2, when Seizaki is interrogating Ai Magase, and he agrees to answer her questions in exchange for her confession. Seizaki — a good intentioned, self-sacrificing prosecutor — discovers that his ‘firm’ beliefs, are quite
fragile upon Ai’s philosophical probings. It’s a crucial reminder to the viewer that ingrained social norms (i.e. Seizaki’s core beliefs, as he upholds the laws/ideals of a ‘good’ society) are not essential in any regard. Sure. They help to create a safe environment in which the majority can prosper, but we must also recognize the flaws of such systems, and how they disenfranchise certain individuals.
Thus, we have the introduction of the Shiniki initiative, which hopes to ameliorate the defects of the current political system. Shockingly, though, we find out that Kaika, the new mayor of Shiniki, embraces the idea of death, and with his first declaration, permits the citizens to kill themselves. Now, the resulting mass suicide where the group of people leap off the roof to their deaths, was a bit heavy handed to emphasize the ‘craziness’ of such a law; however, the concept is intriguing, nonetheless.
That being said, if Babylon elects to demonize Ai and Kaika for their ‘flawed’ reasoning, then much — if not all — of the appeal will evaporate. Morality is not black-and-white, nor should we expect it to be in a fictional work. Therefore, if Babylon can continue to challenge the resolve of Seizaki (by flipping his ideals on their head), then Babylon will be a huge success.
As a side note, the plot of Babylon is intricate, with numerous moving ‘parts.’ While it may seem daunting to keep track of all the plot threads, it gives the viewer the experience of being a member of the investigation, and the frustration that Seizaki is experiencing as he plods along. Also, the promotional poster for Babylon is a nice piece of symbolic imagery, that gives insights on future events. All in all, a nice start in what I hope will be a memorable series.
This is going to be a short review/rant about Babylon.
I remember when the first 3 episodes came out everyone was impressed since this show had amazing cinematography and direction, a dark and thrilling atmosphere and the story was executed very well. It continued to be very good until the 7th episode, then it had a long break and everything went to shit.
Babylon would have been great if if was just a political thriller with mystery elements. But the suicide law going worldwide and the law in general ruined the show. It is just very unrealistic that people would react to this law
in such a way (similar laws already exist), the politicians are portrayed very poorly and every decision made in the 2nd half of the show just makes no sense. The discussion that occured in the summit was portrayed as "deep" although it really wasn't, politicians should leave philosophy for actual famous and talented philosophers. Magase is obviously the actual danger, that can bring doom to humanity, but she became just a subplot for most of the 2nd half.
The main aspect of this show - the suicide law just fails as a plot point, since it really doesn't matter because Magase Ai can just persuade literally anyone to kill themselves.
My and many people's expectations were shattered by this show, but I'd still recommend watching the first 7 episodes. A few eps were pretty exceptional, therefore I'm giving Babylon the rating of 5/10 - overall it's not a good show, but has a few remarkable moments.
Since this show seems like is treating itself as a serious show with important message to convey, so I will compare it with the greats, not just an anime show. Also, this is just some thoughts 5 episodes in.
Why I think it is sub par at best (includes heavy BIAS and SPOILER of course):
-Commercialsed TV Violence
Borrowed the term from David Lynch, meaning the effects of violence in this TV show is completely shallow, just a means to an end. Let me elaborate, there are 60+ normal people and 1 very close colleague to MC died,
but they left almost no impact to the other characters.
The 1 very close colleague's death gets covered up as quickly as ice melts in a hot summer day and the MC barely thinks about him afterwards (and move on with his new hot female colleague). Also, 64 people suicide at once as a political message. Not only MC and his team never shows any strong emotion towards that, it barely has any impact on the public as well. The effects of their death are quickly skipped over and only serve as a plot device.
Here is where this show is getting weird and immature, the main villain is a lady who is good at manipulating people and can AROUSE men just by men seeing her and make them feel so guilty they want to kill themselves. This is just so dumb, are we in a superhero show all of a sudden? People can just starting to have supernatural abilities now? That aside, the part of the show that is supposed to show her manipulation skill is when MC interrogates her, but that scene is more about MC is terrible at his job than anything else. He just keep feeding her information and excuses at every opportunity he can and allowing her to derail the conversation as she like.
The art and sound are both alright. The reason why I would follow this show for a bit longer is that I want to see if this show is going a different direction than it currently is. That could be interesting.
This show was written by the guy who made "Kado: The right answer". Although these are totally different shows, both have the same structure... A very interesting premise, gradually becoming a disaster of story telling and destroy everything it stood for.
Please read my view on the show and it's structure:
It is not as clever as you think it is. It's really not. It just gives if the illusion that it's a good show. Nothing more.
The only character which undergoes an character change is the main character, but it shatters all it's development... For what? For a catastrophic anticlimactic ending.
To give the positives, the morality it
explores is really unique. Something which is not explored in traditional shows. But it overcomplicates itself, thus concluding nothing of substance.
It's not above having bad ends. There are plenty of shows which features a person's loss of sanity in a much more better manner. Like Death Note, Psycho Pass etc. But the difference in this is Babylon didn't even give closure to most basic stuff. What happened to Major decisions? Like the suicide law? The summit? Leaving everything to viewer's interpretation is poor writing.
That being said, Babylon is not a totally bad show. It doesn't bring anything to the table. It hides it's mediocrity by creating an illusion of moral debate, which ultimately comes to nothing.
You will wonder what was the point of it all, but sadly there is none. But it is very intriguing.
You will find your heart beat racing sometimes. Which will cause you to get frustrated even more.
Every now and then a show comes along and has an absolutely amazing start, dazzles with great narrative, action, characters, etc and then it throws it all away at the end. Unfortunately, this is one of those. Babylon offers one of the most interesting examinations of the classic philosophical debate of Good vs Evil I have ever seen. While on paper, it’s easy for us to say what’s right and what’s wrong, in reality, it’s often much more difficult. Life is more often in shades of grey than black and white. Babylon does a really good job of making you question everything you thought you
knew in terms of morality. Unfortunately, the show's premise goes by the wayside in one of the worst endings I have ever seen in anything.
The show deals with a recently passed legislation in a newly built city adjacent to Tokyo which legalises suicide. Unfortunately, not all of the people choosing to take advantage of this new law are doing so under their own will. Tokyo Prosecutor Zen Seizaki is tasked with investigating the cause of this movement and of several suspicious deaths and eventually finds himself involved in a philosophical and moral battle that’s bigger than he could have ever imagined.
Babylon doesn’t have much in the way of physical action in terms of fights, explosions, etc, so if you’re looking for that, this is not the show for you. What it makes up for it with is a mature story, absolutely masterful writing(first half), tension and direction that will consistently leave you on the edge of your seat, in my opinion, the greatest anime villain of all time (Magase) and challenging you to examine your own definition of morality.
The art is really well done and is quite unique in my opinion, the score is brilliant and adds a lot to the tension in scenes, the Voice acting is also top notch, particularly the work done by Yukino Satsuki(Magase). I will warn you that the tone of the show shifts quite dramatically after episode 7, there was a 6 WEEK break between episodes 7 and 8 which really killed a lot of the momentum of the show, and once the show resumed, the tone shifted from a fast paced detective thriller to a much more philosophical and narrative driven experience akin to End of Eva, which some people didn’t like, I personally enjoyed the shift initially, but things began to go south real soon.
Overall, Babylon started as one of my favourite shows of the year, and ended as one of the most disappointing I've ever seen. This was purely self inflicted damage. The author was on the cusp of greatness and let it slip, completely with an ending that is as nonsensical as they come.
I still would recommend giving this a watch, as I believe Magase is one of the best anime villains ever in terms of pure evil and being an unstoppable force. I also believe the first 7 episodes are some of the best you will see, just have tempered expectations for the finale.
Throughout my high school years, I struggled with an illness in my mind I couldn't put into words. The way I thought of it was a roller coaster that I could never get off. My whole life has been a series of peaks and valleys.
For weeks, the roller coaster would be at a peak. I would have an endless supply of energy. I was able to make friends and enjoy every day to the fullest. Then everything would crash down and suddenly the roller coaster was stuck in a valley. For weeks, I would be exhausted and depressed. Making friends was the easy part, but
keeping them was hard. During a valley, trying to talk to anyone was as painful as getting a tooth ripped of your mouth. I had to avoid my friends altogether so I wouldn’t have an angry outburst and ruin our friendship. Growing up, I didn’t have many people in my life because I learned all of this the hard way. Even my family tried subtly avoiding me because they were afraid of sudden mood swings. There were points when the roller coaster was so low I couldn't tell if it'd ever go back up.
Babylon is like that roller coaster. It entices you with an interesting premise, it begins at the bottom of the coaster, and gradually rises. It has bursts of greatness, then it suddenly shoots downwards leaving you frustrated and trapped in the headspace of the demonic antagonist. She beckons everyone in the series, including you, to consider suicide as the answer to life-long suffering. Along the way, it touches upon—or rather, beats with a baseball bat—themes of suicide, depression, and morality. It puts a unique spin on the conventional cat & mouse murder mystery, while also tackling politics and the central theme of whether or not suicide should be legalized. Much of the screen time is dedicated to intellectual politicians debating the show’s themes. To the untrained eye, these arguments may seem intelligent, enlightening, and enthralling. Anyone who has ever taken an intro-level philosophy course can tell this entire show is pseudo-philosophical bullshit laden with logical fallacies.
It asks questions such as: Is suicide wrong? Should suicide be legal? What if someone could coerce you into killing yourself within seconds? What is it she can say to change your mind? And if you figure it out would you be convinced to join her victims? It begs you to understand these questions. If you don’t get IT, you’re the minority, if you don’t get IT you are not intelligent enough. Politicians, citizens of Japan, and entire countries vote to support the suicide law. But you simply don’t understand why because you are a normal human being. You know what's right from wrong, and you can tell that everything that occurs within the world of Babylon is illogical. Rather than asking questions rooted in modern-day society (such as the legality of euthanasia), the writer discusses the suicide law, an argument no one in the real world would benefit from pondering. No one acts like a real human being in this show. They are all cardboard cutouts existing to preach philosophy from the insidious mind of an uninformed writer.
There is no reality in which suicide will be legalized as a law. If someone is determined to take their own life, they will not stop to consider what the government has to say about it. People still have morals and know right from wrong, no decent human being would stand aside and watch a person commit suicide when they have the power to save their life. Meanwhile in the ass-backward world of Babylon... Hundreds of people commit mass suicide and the police do not investigate anything because they “want to avoid a scandal.” What the fuck. This is Japan not fucking North Korea. I find it impossible to believe the police wouldn’t care about a string of violent deaths at the same time in the same place. Babylon imagines a nightmarish perversion of reality where suicide is morally acceptable, encouraged, and the solution to depression. The sun emits a hellish hue of orange, water is colored blood-red, and the many deaths are shown in gruesome detail for shallow shock factor. The deaths also exist to get under your skin, desensitizing you to suicide in record-breaking speed. If had to I live in a world where suicide is legal, enforced, and considered unimportant to the justice system, I wouldn’t want to live in it either.
Suicide is glorified in a way that only someone who has felt suicidal can contextualize. Like an angel of death, the Whore of Babylon whispers sweet nothings into someone’s ear and they commit suicide. Victims become crazed, there’s nothing that can stop them from the uncontrollable urge to die. This is what it is like to struggle against the overwhelming need to release yourself from the pain of life. One victim compares suicide to sex, and the end of his life is the orgasm. At the end of his monologue, he puts a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, blood squirting, but for a brief moment, it appears completely white to finish the sex metaphor. This sort of disgusting self-masturbatory directing is used throughout the show. I cannot fathom how people find this kind of unsubtle imagery remotely good. Babylon targets a large subset of the anime community who seek out mature seinen and psychological-thrillers, I consider myself part of this audience. If an anime has dark themes, dramatic music, and adult characters speaking very seriously, this subset of the community will flock to the anime. Babylon has it all, everything except the execution. I have no ill will towards anyone who likes this anime, after all, it coerces you into believing you are watching a revolutionary work of art. For me, this is one of, if not the worst, anime I have ever watched. None of the philosophical anime I have seen come close to being as pretentious as this one.
This show may have redeeming qualities: the music adds suspense, the animation is mostly acceptable, and it has an intriguing premise, but every positive aspect is doused in an impenetrable layer of poison. Babylon is an abyss with nothing at the bottom but despair and hopelessness. It gaslit me into believing its ponderings on suicide were of substance and worth reading into. Perhaps it is because I am in a valley as I write this, but analyzing Babylon made me contemplate suicide as a valid cure to a life of struggling against that roller coaster. I’m sorry this is not like my other reviews, but someone needed to warn people about this vile sack of shit. It’s about time I put this out of my mind for good. I think I’ll go outside today and enjoy the wonderful and beautiful things the world has to offer. Maybe later I will watch a comedy or a relaxing slice-of-life.
NOTE: If you have Depression, Bipolar Disorder, experienced suicidal thoughts, or a history of self-harm, please do not watch Babylon. If you are currently feeling suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Babylon is one of the oddest series of early 2020. That's impressive considering the fact it's competing against Ishuzoku Reviewers! Babylon is odd because it's tonally all over the place. An adult discussion about the ethics of suicide and euthanasia becomes a poorly written, Shonen cat and mouse game between Japanese Batman and an evil psychic who uses mind control powers to kill people. Did I mention her mind control powers work by being so incredibly sexy? Trust me, it's as dumb as it sounds.
The story begins with Japanese prosecutor named Zen, investigating wrongdoing by a pharmaceutical giant. This leads to him discovering a murder
and eventually this leads him to a shady politician named Itsuki. It turns out that Itsuki is bribing and killing politicians and other powerful figures in an elaborate scheme to create a new libertarian district of Tokyo. This will be a place where suicide is not only allowed, but often encouraged. To kick off the ceremony, he gets his psychic minion to kill 50 people by forcing them to jump off a building. The anime tries to write Itsuki as a well intentioned extremist. His motive is ultimately to donate his heart to his ailing son. Apparently, Japan currently has a law that suicide victims can't donate their organs. If that's his MO, why not just use his psychic minion to get a law through the Diet that says suicide victims CAN donate organs? Why create a new district, kill all these people, and go through all this shit? Well, it's so we can have a show!
Sadly, Itsuki doesn't get the bulk of the screen time. The main antagonist is the psychotic psychic, Ai Magase. Ai is basically the poor man's version of Legato Bluesummers from Trigun. She works the main villain and devotes her entire existence to make a pure, incorruptible soul suffer. She wishes to defeat Zen's idealism and force him to kill. Sadly, Ai never has Legato's intimidating presence. She's extremely over the top and her powers work in such a STUPID way. We have to believe that she's so sexy that it breaks people's minds. However, the show can't possibly draw her that sexy, so we're just left scratching our heads. Really? She's supposed to be THAT sexy? I'd give her a 6 being generous.
This is a series that wants to be adult and wants to be smart, but often it ends up just getting silly. When Zen chases Magase to America, we get to meet the greatest President ever! Alexander Wood was once the top ranked Diablo 2 player in the United States and an internet celebrity. After helping another player get good, she asked him out on a real life date and it turns out she was a super model! This gave Wood the confidence and popularity to become the President. We have a real estate mogul turned game show host as the President and that's still WAY more believable than this shit! Wood exists in the series to ask moral questions from a religious perspective. Wood is a devout Christian and doesn't know if suicide is wrong because the Bible doesn't explicitly forbid it. However, the writer of Babylon decided to make Wood a devout Catholic. The Catholic Church has clearly forbidden suicide for over 1,000 years! It makes little sense that Wood would struggle so much with this problem. Then again, this is the series where we're told Mark Twain was born in Connecticut and was a moral relativist who didn't believe in good or evil.
It seems like every time Babylon tries to be smart, it makes a blatantly wrong statement that the writer could have double checked on Wikipedia!
The art and animation by the brand new Studio Revoroot is quite good. It's a shame that Babylon's story doesn't hold up after the first 5-6 episodes. The music is done by the same guy that did the Vinland Saga OST. A lot of talent was involved in the making of Babylon. Unfortunately, I feel it mostly goes to waste.
If I could sum up Babylon with one word, it would be "disappointment". This looked like it would be a mature, intelligent anime that would ask difficult moral questions and challenge the way viewers see the world. Instead, it's a rather mediocre experience and far too messy for me to personally recommend.
This is my first time watching something new of this genre as it's been airing, and I'm so glad it's this.
The characters and setting are really great, and the plot points just leave me wondering what else is going to happen. I honestly get the same vibes as I did while watching Death Note. Not that I'm saying it's the same. But the type of shows in general. I also get the same vibe as a recent movie, but won't mention it for spoiler reasons. I'd say if you're into crime, drama, and mystery, then you should give this one a shot!
The main character
I feel personally is a great character too. Which bodes well for the anime in general. Having a great lead to progress the story forward. With his strong sense of justice, and getting to the bottom of what is going on. A strong headed character that I do enjoy.
So I'd say give it a watch! It's a great anime, and I cannot wait to see what else happens next through out the show itself.
Approaching this show is a difficult task. This isn’t because the show tackles harsh subject matter involving the likes of suicide as one of its fundamental talking points. It’s not because the show isn’t exactly good at doing so, either. It’s because I’m still coming to terms with what an absolute shitshow this series has become. There’s this immense swirl of emotions that come about from watching a show crumble before your very eyes, keenly aware that there were signs of trouble from the beginning. Babylon showed promise of being a fascinating police procedural with some of the most noteworthy directing of 2019...or at least
that was the case for the first 7 episodes. Unfortunately, the last arc happened. Not only was I unable to accept any of the more idiotic decisions the show had been making as its presentation became blander and more obtuse, but the finale is one of the most devastating trainwrecks of recent years, invalidating almost everything the show had built up to that point.
*Part 1: The Rise*
Back when the show was about Zen Seizaki and his colleagues being wrapped up in a murder turned mass suicide mystery, the show had some of the best pacing of any recent seasonal. Its ability to generate tremendous cliffhangers was borderline unrivaled, even in the same year that Beastars and Promised Neverland came out. It never spent too much time dawdling on what the audience already knew or on presenting a character’s entire backstory since finding how the cause of a murder and eventually putting a stop to two people related to a string of suicides was at the forefront. Some of the characters that Zen interacted with, such as the morbidly nonchalant Shinobu Kujin and Zen’s first subordinate, Atsuhiko Fumino. Their banter often added a sense of levity to the tense first two arcs, and they’re involved in some of the more shocking scenes of the show.
The music was done by composer Yukata Yamada, the composer for the music of Vinland Saga. He creates several moody piano melodies that add to the show’s sense of gravitas. On top of that, there are some more electronic tracks that morph in ways that accentuate some of the show’s craziest moments and cliffhangers. The track “A Given” which plays during several key moments, is the perfect example of this. Unfortunately, as good as the soundtrack is, it often feels overplayed. Vinland Saga suffered a similar problem with its piano tracks, where the same few tracks are used in almost every episode. Regardless, there are several quality pieces here. The show’s 3 EDs are also fine songs in their own right, particularly 1 and 3. The first song “Live or Let Die” by Q-MHz feat. uloco, is a more chaotic piece while the last ED, adds a sense of finality to an arc that otherwise has none.
As for the visuals, this is Studio REVOROOT’s first full-length project and their second solo outing. The production values are rickety, with awkward CG environments and people scattered all over the place, and very few sequences that have much in the way of good animation. The show often feels jank, and the rough art style with white outlines does not help matters. Despite all of this, director Kiyotaka Suzuki was able to finally let loose after the horrible Psycho-Pass 2 and the decent yet already forgotten FLCL Alternative. The camera angles are often dynamic, there’s the usage of sepia tones and several interesting techniques. Episodes 2 and 7, in particular, have some of the most fascinatingly presented scenes of 2019. The former accentuates the sense of dread and confusion the former is meant to evoke, while the latter further conveys the sense of sheer agony that the main character feels in the final scene of episode 7. It’s a 5-minute torture sequence where the main character, Zen Siezeki, is forced to watch someone get cut to pieces as his ideology crumbles to the helplessly crumbles to the ground after everything he has been through. This is where the show peaks and you should stop, before the direction largely begins falling flat, and the show takes a tremendous nosedive.
*Part 2: The Fall*
**spoilers beyond this point**
Where do I begin? Just know that I'm not even gonna go over everything that was particularly off about the show's writing.
The first sign of trouble came at the end of the first arc, when it turned out that the new mayor of Shiniki had proposed a suicide law, making it do that you can commit die of your own free will without penalty since apparently that's actually illegal. He insisted this by having dozens of people gleefully jump off a building. Needless to say, this required a bit of suspension of disbelief.
It turns out that this was made possible by Ai Magase whispering in their ears. There are several, several problems with Ai and her powers in general.
A. She has offscreen shapeshifting powers. This isn't like with Fujiko Mine and other femme fatales that put on disguises. With those, they generally wear feasible wigs and can be identified by their face if you know what they normally look like. With Ai, despite having long hair, she can easily pull off all hair sizes, and her face can become unrecognizable with how different it is. It's as if between disguises which sometimes get deployed within mere minutes of one another, Ai goes through plastic surgery. It goes beyond having convincing disguises and into the realm of having supernatural abilities.
B. Mere moments before ending his own life, Shinobu tells our main protagonist that Ai can convince someone to uncontrollably want to kill themselves. Even the most steadfast and iron-willed individuals have a hard time resisting, so whatever she says, you do. It's how she was able to get out of interrogation in episode 2, and how all of those people in episode 3 ended up jumping off. As of the finale, it turns out that her saying...anything is grounds for suicide, rather than her seductively whispering a suggestion for you to kill yourself.
What's wrong with this picture? In this seemingly grounded police procedural with no confirmed supernatural elements, it seems a bit asinine for her to be able to pull this off with just her voice. What's stupider is that she doesn't even need to even specify that you have to die. In the finale, she whispers the phrase "good job" into the earpiece President Alexander Wood had on with his translators after speaking to a Japanese girl who was considering taking her own life. This was enough to get him to attempt suicide. Ridiculous, isn't it? Even more ridiculous than the idea that her whispering can trigger suicidal urges while her talking does nothing. Sure, whispering can be more seductive, but this is absurd. On top of that, there's a contradiction in the previous sentence. How come the horde of building jumpers in episode 3 kept themselves together and jumped off only on someone else's cue rather than their own accord while everyone else was unable to control their urges? This isn't the biggest issue, but it is still another knock against her whisper powers from a writing perspective
C. Episode 5. In middle school, she was somehow able to walk and talk in such a way that every male she encountered found themselves feeling so unbearably lustful that they genuinely felt raped. Even in the 7 episode grace period, I had a hard time swallowing this pill. Walking seductively is admittedly a thing but this is just tasteless and asinine. Luckily the idea of rape never comes up again, but this was definitely where I started to realize that maybe Babylon might be full of shit sometimes.
D. Ai herself is a rather disappointing character. She’s flash without the fire. She’ll get inside Zen’s head with borderline inane monologues about good and evil, but thanks to the director going ham during those sequences, they’re some of the most entertaining in the show. They obfuscate how dumb and insubstantial her dialogue is, like when in episode 7, she is trying to make Zen think about what evil really is (despite him doing so but I guess his answers don’t align with hers, which we’ll get to) all hile butchering one of his subordinates right in front of him. All she amounts to is just a person who loves being evil and wants to spread an asinine notion of good and evil around. One of her interactions with Zen reveals that in spite of and because of the villainous acts she is knowingly doing, she believes she’s some hero spreading an important message, doing a service to humanity so they’ll understand what good and evil really are. It would have been interesting if part of Ai’s motivation was for people to be able to understand her, and what it must have felt like to feel almost alien to everyone around her as everyone always thinks of her as a twisted, enigmatic female figure. That sure went nowhere despite the show delving into how she received therapies that ended up being worthless to her and how she finds this plight to get people to understand her version of good and evil to be a just cause.
The other major antagonist, Itsuki, isn’t that great either. While he does get an interesting debate in episodes 6 and 7 where he reveals that he wants to die so his kid can have his heart during a necessary heart transplant surgery that may happen in the future, afterwards he has almost no presence in the show. Nothing regarding his suicide law even gets resolved by the end. Speaking of characters that get shafted in the final arc, the last 5 episodes had the potential to really show how bad Zen’s mental state is after every single one of his colleagues in his field got killed. While episode 8 has him hallucinating here and there, that’s the last time the show does anything particularly captivating. Afterwards, he states his desire vengeance, gets aggy at a recording of her voice, and then fades into the background until the finale. Everyone else who survived the first two arcs gets thrown to the wayside as well, including Zen’s family that have death flags all around them despite nothing happening to them.
Before we get...there, one character relevant to the finale has to be mentioned, as no one else is that interesting or important enough to bring up. Alexander Wood gets introduced via a scene where he monologues his life story to the audience, about how he got a girlfriend, how he became god tier at this MMORPG, how he now has a wealthy family and a kid that’s healthier than he could ever be, and everything. Not only is that a terrible way to introduce a character, but it becomes the first sign that the wonderful pacing of the show would go downhill. Then you learn he’s also the president. I’ll let that one sit on the part of your brain that’s forced to process it. He thinks a lot and is a decent guy. That’s really all there is to him.
*Part 3: THE ENDING*
You ever think of a worst case scenario for how a promising show you're not entirely sure about will play out, and then wish you got that instead of whatever the fuck you just saw? That's Babylon's finale. It might be one of the worst endings I have ever seen.
Throughout the entirety of the show, there have been two main ideological conflicts at play: the nature of good and evil, and the ethics/logistics of suicide/the suicide law. Episodes 6 had an engaging debate where several government heads oppose the suicide law through the socio-economic, moral/ethical, the extreme scenario and accusations, and and “people naturally avoid death” perspectives. While they may have felt surface level due to them getting one minute to make one point, it was at least able to offer up several perspectives that would logically be used to approach controversial laws.
Episode 11 has world leaders make strawman viewpoints about how “people gain their sense of morality through us leaders so we much teach them that suicide is wrong” while completely forgetting that most people still consider suicide wrong and that no one gets their sense of morality through world, country, or state leaders. The other viewpoints expressed are no better and just result in mindless bickering before President Wood decides that we need to examine the nature of good and evil in order to determine a unanimous position on the suicide law. What follows is the most tiresome deliberation I have ever heard, as everyone just spins their wheels examining the two most common and basic moral quandaries without actually pressing the issue further than the most surface-level ideas barely getting much exploration. My logistics class went further into moral dilemmas and that is a class where we learn about jobs, warehouse jobs, and forklift-driving. This is the epitome of the show’s incessant wheel-spinning on its topics, as even before this point it has already become a cyclical game of “what is good, what is bad, what is justice?” getting shallow, simplistic exploration despite the show constantly acknowledging how complex these issues are.
That whole idea means nothing anyway and is an excuse to wax about concepts the show barely has a grasp on before Pres Alex Wood is called to convince a girl not to jump off a building. Itsuki, who initiated the summit, sets this up. In the last episode, Alex gets a translator and gets to work. The day is saved until it turns out that after this, all of the translators (since apparently there is more than one despite there being only one volunteer) are dead and Ai Magase, who is disguised as someone that was not in the building and was never shown prior, whispers “good job” in good ol Woody’s ear. After this, we never hear about Itsuki or the suicide law ever again. During the convo, SudoWOODo finally comes up with the answers to what good and bad are.
Good = continue
Bad = end
Let’s talk about how mind-shatteringly stupid this is. If continuing is inherently a good thing, does it remain that way when applied to the act of continuing to murder innocent people? What about continuing to bully people? What about continuing to swindle people, kill animals for the hell of it, gamble all your money away, suffer, etc? Can continuing be used in a positive context in those situations? No. Is continue just the show’s silly and obnoxious way of saying life? No, but that’s the only context being applied to the term in the show. You can apply it positively to say, continuing to prosper, continuing to help people, etc. but the show isn’t smart enough to do so. The idea of ending being a bad thing is just as stupid. Should “end world hunger, end your addiction, end someone’s torture, end the show on a high note, end your career with one great game, etc.” be used negatively? No. Is “end” the show’s shorthand for “end your life”? Probably. Can you apply end in a negative light with ideas such as “end someone’s life, end someone’s career, end your relationship (that one can be positive or negative), etc.”? Yes, but the show doesn’t think of that because it’s too busy thinking it has all the answers to a broad concept.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what Ai Magasee, that fucking idiot, wanted to spread to the world. This is what Zen ends up answering with once he and the president figure it out after a standoff where Zen has to shoot Wood in order to prevent him from committing suicide. As laughable as that sequence is, the idea that he has to stop Wood from killing himself after the man had just talked a girl out of ending her own life on international television, is the smartest thing the finale could come up with. After this, it is implied that through this last standoff, despite Zen pointing a gun at Ai and her just pointing a finger gun gesture at him, he dies and she gets to walk off and meet his kids. That is how the show ends, with the most anticlimactic and nonsensical ambiguous ending I have ever seen.
Also, in episode 11, Morning Wood decides that perhaps the key to answering the suicide law debate and the fundamental nature of good and evil is to decipher the meaning of life. This never gets brought up again. The suicide law gets no resolution as we never find out what the decision was regarding the law or anything about what would happen to it either. Itsuki and his new country, Shiniki, just disappear halfway into the finale. Ai does not even get challenged by Zen despite him pointing a gun at her after everything she had done to him and to hundreds of people. The three main conceits of the show, all rendered moot in the span of 10 minutes. None of this meant a damn thing, and all it would amount to is negative answers and Zen potentially being dead without feeling like his rivalry with Magase ever really came to a head. The entire show was just one big waste of time. You could honestly just stop at the first scene of episode 8 and act like Ai drove Zen irreparably insane while she wreaks havoc on the world. It’s about as conclusive as what we actually got, and a lot less stupid to boot.
There is one last thing to mention before we wrap things up. There’s an easy fix to the suicide law debacle, one that is based on what Itsuki wished would happen. The answer is simply to treat it on a case by case basis, making sure to educate people on the ramifications their actions would have on their families and those around them before they decide to off themselves. The more knowledgeable they are of the severe effects taking your own life would have, the less likely they are of committing suicide and the more open and knowledgeable they would be regarding the subject. Not once is this idea brought up in the final arc of the show by any of the world leaders, when at least one politician in the second arc weaponizes this idea.
To all the people hesitant about this show and its writer after the hellfire that was Kado’s finale: you were right to steer clear. Truly this is a case where the ending will overshadow the show as a whole after eliminating any goodwill many had with the show’s first 7 episodes. Honestly, the cover is the most clever and thought-provoking aspect of this pretentious mess, and the “p-word” is a condemnation I don’t use lightly. Spare yourself the disappointment, aggravation, and sense of betrayal. There are a lot of silly moments and twists I did not even go over, and as I was writing this review, it became genuinely difficult to remember the more positive aspects of the show’s writing. The more I think about it, the worse the show gets. For something meant to be more intellectual, filled with more gravitas than your average anime, this is perhaps the most succinctly damning thing I can say about it. Let this be a lesson that if an anime looks like it can go either way, it's probably going south.
Babylon is yet the latest in a series of blunders courtesy of the seinen demographic that in many ways sum up exactly why the majority of people shun it in favor of its younger brother in the shonen demographic. It's not that I personally think seinen can't be fantastic; plenty of series have done a marvelous job living up to what the demographic, well, implies and providing interesting characters, a level of maturity not normally found in their younger contemporaries and fantastic storylines. After all, one only needs to look at the likes of Berserk, Vinland Saga, Boogiepop and Others as well as Ghost in
the Shell to know that there are many fantastic titles to find.
What Babylon is, however, is a travesty of the highest order, thoroughly incapable of telling any sort of coherent narrative and being thoroughly unsatisfying to watch. On paper, a story covering euthanasia, nihilism and morality sounds like a fantastic narrative that should intrigue even the most uninterested viewers. In practice, however, what is found here is complete and utter drivel.
Babylon is essentially a story about a man who's lost several acquaintances to suicide, but the suicide were in some shape or form them being convinced by a lady that life is meaningless and they should off themselves. It'd take an exceptional amount of careful writing to make this work, but thankfully, Babylon proceeds to butcher it through how exactly it treats the subjects it's discussing like a complete joke.
Scenes where characters literally jump off rooftops in complete synchronicity. Debates about why people should commit suicide in public. Strawmen being committed ad nauseum about how religions don't condone suicide and how if you're not religious there's no point to life. Entire discussions by various politicians about how euthanasia works which ironically ignore the little misstep where in several countries where it's legalized if you're healthy should visit several mental health clinics and provide evidence of that, and it's not as simple as just going there and killing yourself.
This kind of bad writing plagues the entire show from start to finish, and it's clear that the writer has no idea how police works, no idea how the euthanasia debate works and an extremely shallow understanding of contemporary nihilism. And the worst part is, it makes entire segments of the show where characters proceed to end their lives - which you'd expect to be a gutwrenching or painful moment to watch - instead be a complete joke and unintentionally comedic instead.
The dialogue is also noteworthy in how dry, bland and soulless it is. There's no personality to the dialogue, merely poorly researched strawman fallacies everywhere when there are discussions, and the characters' personalities never shine through the dialogue either. You could swap characters and have them speak entirely different conversations under this script and yet I promise you wouldn't notice a thing, because the series isn't interested in making its cast shine or the dialogue matter except to infodump about the poorly written setting.
The plot is a complete and utter laughable mess as a result of all this, and making things even worse is how uneven the pacing is. And while uneven pacing isn't necessarily something that'd doom the show, there's nothing worse than a show that feels like it's going too fast and too slowly at the same time, and this becomes especially noteworthy when the soulless excuse for a cast get involved.
I genuinely have nothing to say about the cast, they can literally be defined in one liners and minus the main villain, none of them had any strength of screen presence or personality worth remembering. They don't drive the plot forward, they exist in service of it; countless times are characters introduced, speak a few lines and then killed either later in the episode or the next episode, as if the audience's sympathy will be won over by just watching some random mook get slaughtered. And the worst thing is that this caused a massive disconnect between me, who didn't care about these dull, soulless one note characters, and the main character who clearly did.
A particular mention needs to go for the main villain of this show for being hilariously ridiculous every time she showed up on screen, asking about whether the main character had sex or what his kinks were and always constantly messing with all the characters on screen. She was the sole character that stood out in a sea of dull, boring, empty robots and I'm genuinely glad she was there. Special mention goes for her actions in the last episode and the epilogue to the show, which actually made me lose it laughing my head off.
On a technical level, the show is competent; while not much animation or movement exists in the show, special mention needs to go to the direction of the show, which consistently looked good and made a fair few otherwise dull scenes more tolerable. That being said, the direction also made the show hilariously bad at times due to how completely over the top the portrayal of the main villain was, which I'll admit I appreciate and made me look forward to at least seeing her on screen.
I never thought the sound design was particularly bad, and while nothing was memorable from the soundtrack I never thought anything was unfitting. It's clear there were some talented staff members behind this project and it's a real shame that this is what they were relegated to work on.
The core problem with this show is that by the time I finished, I had no idea what the point of the show was. Many people would proudly mention that this show was this sophisticated commentary on euthanasia and suicide, but truthfully I never felt it was competent in what it was tackling, only that it was mildly entertaining when it starts and slowly but surely fizzled out, like a pretentious old man whose advice no one is interested in hearing because everyone knows it's false. And this, ultimately, makes this show just a complete waste of everyone's time.
At best, the show is unintentionally comedic with bland, soulless characters who I never cared for. At worst, this show is a painful slog that I only finished because it was airing and for no other reason other than to see what some people were overhyping all over the internet. And like many a forgotten, boring seinen, it too will be remembered only for having all the same flaws that most other entries in the demographic do, and for similarly having its fanbase in the first few episodes exhibit everything wrong with the kind of people who rally behind these kinds of shows.
Your time is better spent watching something else, be it watching a properly done crime thriller, reading some book about euthanasia or nihilism, or doing anything else you find enjoyable. It certainly isn't well spent on this show, and I recommend that if you haven't seen it, to not waste your time doing so.
And yes, while I can make this review longer and flesh out my points more, I don't consider this show worth putting in that much effort, because if the writers didn't care about putting any level of effort into what they've done here, why should I?
*Minimum Spoiler Review*
TL;DR: Psycho Pass meets Mirai Nikki before they have a child so horrible they decide to leave it at the philosophy class for freshman's to decide what religion the child will have.
[Story: 6/10 , Characters: 5/10, Art: 5/10, Sound: 4/10, Enjoyment: 3/10]
“a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written
a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” (Revelation 17:3–6 ESV)
Thriller anime's make it or break it point is how well it can balance the dynamic between the protagonist, the antagonist and the philosophical dilemma they both deal with to justify the decision they have made by the end. From the director that brought us, FLCL Alternative & Psycho Pass 2 (not one) comes a new thriller called Babylon where our major philosophical debate is whether people should be allowed to commit suicide, thus making it an universal law. The topic of suicide, assisted suicide, and the whole idea of the justice surrounding it is any philosophy 101's students' wet dream. We think we know what is good and what is evil but as we slowly group and become poisoned by society's corruption we learn in order to continue living we must tread on a moral grey line. Although this show had a fine premise and a mystery element surrounding this core theme of suicide with a good protagonist and a very vibrant antagonist, by the end it expanded too much to quickly for it to become the next great Psycho Pass of a show. Fortunately, it did generate ton of controversy, and where there is controversy, there is popularity. So let's discuss why this dark horse of a show had the potential but just like Icarus, it flew too close to the sun of philosophy and burned down to the ashes. Let the fun begin.
With a clever title like Babylon, you immediately start thinking of two things, the great kingdom of Babylon or the whore of Babylon (if you know about the Biblical story). For those who don't know, the Whore of Babylon is the spirit of seductive culture, actively engaged in the deception and destruction of God’s people. Now without getting into the religious fundamentals, the story's central theme is basically justifying what is good and what is evil. Should people be allowed to commit suicide or is it a crime to in general. How do we judge what is good and how do we judge what is evil. Various philosophical issues come to play and this theme is portrayed through the conflict between Zen Seizaki (Prosecutor aka Batman) and Ai Magase (Whore of Babylon aka Joker). If you understand the reference of Batman & Joker dynamic akin to the Dark Knight movie, you'll understand better of how the plot is played out without spoiling too much. Essentially the issue arises in a small town of Shiniki, where this young Mayoral candidate Itsuki, proposes that suicide becomes legal. He explains his reasonings and he has Ai Magase carry out the "suicides" of the people in the city. For the first arc the show becomes this cat and mouse game of capturing Ai Magase and finding more about her before she "kills off" Zen's team via the method of suicide. It's brutal, thrilling and a nail biter to see who can out wit the other. They even introduced a drug early on, Nyux drug, that people can take to die in peace instead of the usual jumping off or cutting oneself or hanging method. In a nutshell, they were humanizing the process to be more ethical to today's standards. Sadly, in the second arc of the story, the suicide law went from a city policy to a universal policy, expanding to countries like Canada, France, Germany, Italy, UK to even USA. We get to see now political leaders of the country getting in on the debate. Oddly this also coincides with when the show went on a long hiatus before returning and it seemed people smoked too much because the whole tone of the show changed. It became too philosophical for its own good and less chaotic battle of wits where the characters were playing 4D chess to outwit one another. It definitely lost its charm and the show ended on an open ending for viewers to decide and talk about to learn more.
With a philosophical show as such, it's not actions or "plot" that attracts the audience, it’s the characters that offer the charm, particularly the villain. In Ai Magase, we see a diluted villain akin to Shogo Makashima of the past. She has this mystical aura with the whole Whore of Babylon biblical allusion as well as the Nine Tails folklore in Japan. She has the power to verbally mindfuck someone to submission to the point of them wanting to commit suicide without actually physically murdering them. On the other hand we have Zen Seizaki, this super moral good guy to the level of Superman and as the show progress we see how he slowly loses his sanity to maintain his core fundamentals so he doesn't become the very evil person he puts behind in jail. This Batman vs Joker dynamic is the central conflict in this entire show. Now to foil these characters and flesh out the good vs evil character grid, we have side characters like Detective Kujin, Prosecutor Sekuro, Mayor Itsuki, even the president of the US all the Americans hope to have, Alexander Wood, and many more. As the show progress, we see these characters give their output on where they stand on the issue and what we need to do as society. Once again, very open ended and lacking the mangaka's clear feeling towards this situation.
Looking at the technical aspects, this is one of those shows that doesn't need Studio Ufotable level animation, nor does it Studio Bones level music to make the show pop. It's a thought provoking anime and key people were the seiyuus voicing the characters. The seiyuu of Ai Magase and Zen Seizaki does a phenomenal job conveying the raw emotions and the quirks they have plus more. The OST is alright, nothing too crazy and animation is passable. A few freeze panes here and there but they cleaned it up near the end. Not too shabby overall. The OP and ED songs or rather medleys are alright. Nothing too great. Nothing too memorable.
Nevertheless, Babylon is an okay anime at the end of the day. It definitely had a great premise as a mystery thriller where we had to catch the "Whore of Babylon" before she corrupted God's people and led them to their deaths but it deviated in the second arc to this philosophy 101 bullshit about what is good, what is evil, what is justice and what it means to commit suicide. Not once did they just grow a pair and address the major issue of there is a cult leader, let's arrest the cult leader before they convert more to commit a mass murder. Nope, they were too good to do such a thing and as a result only our naïve boy, Seizaki suffers. It sort of mirrors the political climate of Japan in today's society where due to their naivety is currently suffering and in a population decline due to their ignorance of core issues early on when the problems were surfacing. So I guess kudos to the mangaka to mirror that. If the anime was stretched to a two cour anime, maybe it would've been far better since people would actually have a proper debate and not one or two lines to debate a serious matter as such. Regardless, viewers who like anime like Psycho Pass or Monster or Parasyte, should give this anime a watch. It's not going to be as good as those anime but atleast it will tickle your philosophical bone for a few hours. I'd never rewatch this anime and I hope there is an OVA to wrap up the loose ends. Anyways, thank you for reading this review & feel free to share with me your favourite quote from the anime. Ciao.
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
P.P.S. If you got through it all, do answer me this on my profile the following questions:
1) What makes suicide a crime but euthanasia not a crime?
2) Will letting suicide being a universal law solve the issue for organ donation?
3) If suicide becomes an universal law, how can one punish someone to prevent from population committing mass suicide?
I have never written a review, and I do not know the lingo or really have much to say. However, I felt compelled to write this review based on the ending of episode 7.
This anime is the first good psychological thriller I have seen in a while. It does a good job creating characters and inter-character relationships, and the story is very intense.
I have watched a good amount of anime, and in that anime is a lot of gore and other concepts that are not for the faint of heart. What I really came here to say though is: 𝚍̲𝚘̲ ̲𝚗̲𝚘̲𝚝̲ ̲𝚠̲𝚊̲𝚝̲𝚌̲𝚑̲ ̲𝚝̲𝚑̲𝚒̲𝚜̲ ̲𝚊̲𝚗̲𝚒̲𝚖̲𝚎̲
̲𝚒̲𝚏̲ ̲𝚢̲𝚘̲𝚞̲ ̲𝚌̲𝚊̲𝚗̲ ̲𝚗̲𝚘̲𝚝̲ ̲𝚑̲𝚊̲𝚗̲𝚍̲𝚕̲𝚎̲ ̲𝚒̲𝚗̲𝚝̲𝚎̲𝚗̲𝚜̲𝚒̲𝚝̲𝚢̲. Despite my experience in anime, western media, and in real life, I have almost thrown up several times so far.
Babylon is a cliche show that pretends not to be. The issue boils down to broken characters.
Babylon starts out as a true crime show, then quickly turns into a pseudo-supernatural crime show that supposedly talks about the morals around suicide and whether or not we should allow it.
That's if you're giving it the benefit of the doubt, what it actually is is a dumpster fire.
Simply put, to make a fleshed out story, the good characters need to be part bad, and the bad characters need to be part good. Otherwise the characters next actions are always predictable, and the viewer can anticipate the entire story
after watching one episode. This show can't even do that right - it just has two dimensional characters that are only bad and only good - then proceeds to comment on it like it's talking about a profound idea to try and trick the audience into thinking it's talking about something deeper.
Now after messing up the characters so badly, it's tough to make a great story, so instead it leans on a moral dilemma and straw-manning the audience into a lulled submission.
What does the show do right? The animation and music behind it are both at least average, if not above average. This show is fully brought down by its story.
I've never felt like I've wasted my time watching an anime or *any* work of fiction THIS much in my entire life. If I could go back in time and stop myself from starting, I would 200% do it with absolutely no regret.
There have been many shows that started out great and then ended on a badly-written ending, but it’s not even that for Babylon. Yes, the show was spectacular all the way to episode 7 and excellent still even half way through episode 12. Yes, then the ending FAILED completely. But what’s different about Babylon is that it wasn’t a disappoint because the
writer was incompetent – it was a fail because the writer comes across as deliberately trying to appear clever by presenting the most superficial answer to the philosophical question that it spent weeks building up. Weeks that it invited the audience to spend with it, weeks of promising that there would be something substantial, something WORTH all that time poured into this show. And there was none of that. Zero. Nothing except for a pretentious, airy catchphrase that tries to hide intellectual laziness.
I’ve seen plenty of shows that threw away its ending because the subject was too big / there’s simply not enough room or budget. Never have I seen a show throwing it all away ON PURPOSE.
KADO was better (and I couldn’t stand KADO). SAO was better. Anything else, better. Because anything else would at least have had an ounce of respect for its audience’s intelligence and time. For anything else, I could’ve said that it was “a nice journey at least” but for Babylon, I can only say “wtf did I just watch”, and not in the “the show was so weird it was good” way, but the “it was utterly pointless to have started this thing in the first place" way. Please give the life I wasted back. Thx.
After just finishing Babylon I am honestly at a lost for words, this show is actually amazing and still love it after it's ending. It leaves you with many questions which are open to different interpretations depending on how you look at things. That is generally what a good mystery does, granted the first half was more intense and the second half went into a different approach focusing on another character but It was still as good.
After thinking about the series for a bit I can't really find and complaints I had, it was interesting, raised themes which left me thinking and hearing the
other character talking about it left me wondering to myself what I think about it. Talking about themes with other people is fun hearing their thoughts on these questions, the show just left me intrigued and thinking throughout it's entire run time, I do also think the answer to the final question was actually amazing and I didn't even think about that answer, nor people I talked to, usually when I watch mystery type series like this the answer or conclusion is usually not to my satisfaction or I don't care for it, but I generally love the answer they gave.
---Will have spoilers for the ending past this---
Now with the ending I was very confused and wondering, "WTF IS THIS", and I still do but there is only a few things that can happen to Zen after he killed the president on live Television. One: He goes to jail, Two: He dies (Either from Magase finally getting to him so he commits suicide or someone else shoots him), Three: This is not very realistic but the presidents agents who he was with during talking to the girl on TV helped Zen knowing some of the situation and he was able to go free under certain circumstances.
Obviously after the credits we see that nothing happened to Magase maybe Zen didn't shoot her because he didn't want to fall to evil and stick with his ideas of good, but either way she is still free in this world to end more people. I really like this ending cause usually it's the good guys winning but this time we have the villain win and in a very insane way. The ending leaves you in awe, with many questions, dumbfounded, and also disappointed if you didn't like the ending.
---End of spoilers---
Now overall I love this series, I think it has amazing themes, interesting and a wide range of characters, and for me an amazing ending I will be thinking about for awhile.
This is NOT a proper mystery show. [Minor spoilers from 1st episode]
The story sets itself up fairly well. The main character is presented with a simple case, that leads to them discovering a murder that is related to an even bigger case. The first episode has some detective work and has a sense of mystery around it, but this minor mystery aspect is pretty much over within 3 episodes, as one of the antagonists already reveals his identity and plans through an over the top plot development. Now the whole show is all about trying to stop him and his supporters.
One of the biggest
slap in the face of the show is how predictable and dull the plot is, while being labeled a "mystery detective show". Within the first episode you are presented with a paper that has hair, finger nails and the letter F all over it. Hair and fingernails lead to the victim. What does the F mean? Well, F = female. That is the revelation, and I am not joking at all. You aren't even told why someone would write "FFFFFFFFFFFFF" all over a piece of paper and then hide it. Although this is the only story aspect up until now that reaches this level of stupidity, it would be wise not to expect the plot to do anything clever or mind blowing, as... it doesn't. This show relies more on shock than being clever.
A big aspect of the show seems to be around suicide, and the concepts of right and wrong. I for one am glad that it tries to discuss these matters, but also disappointed at how little thought is put into arguing both for suicide and against it. Some arguments seem valid, but some seem ridiculous and would require further arguments to support them. (The arguments push the plot forward, which makes the less thought out arguments a huge negative in my books) Even less thought seems to be put into the concept of right and wrong.
Character design overall is fairly dull, and the show never delves too deeply into their personalities, past or beliefs. The characters are all as shallow as "I protect justice", "I am happy and I want to help", "I am crazy and manipulative". The only character development I have seen up until 7th episode is the main character slowly getting more insane due to the circumstances of the case, and him starting to slightly philosophize about what is right or wrong.
It's pretty fun to watch things unfold.
Since the proper way to write a review is to explain why i liked or disliked this show I will only explain why i disliked it.
This show seems like it is trying to do many things at once which in the end comes off distracting and frustrating. If you are a fan of the genre this series pretends to be you will likely dislike this show. However, if you are generally a fan of supernatural harem, ecchi, and mystery fantasy with action scenes that only exist for sexy angles then this show is right up your alley.
I am struggling to write this
because I have attempted to review this show and I keep getting my review removed...but again, anything I am writing here can be easily read in the shows summary!!!
Our characters in this show are bland and basic. There's a specific character who apparently is manipulative but the philosophy is dumb. This isn't a mystery, it isn't an intelligent thriller, it is a basic show with basic troupes with a lot of sexual frustration and really bad philosophy.
The sound is okay but the general style is frustrating. I guess i just really hated how our main character always acts like his mind is being blown or like things are way out of his control. It is obnoxious, but this is just my opinion. Perhaps I am the one missing something, and thats okay too!
This is just an opinion. Like everyone says it starts out like a mystery/thriller but then speedballs into something else.
This is the best review I can give without talking about the show!!!
Its been a long time since I've seen a good psychological show so I didn't expect that much from this show, but after the first 3 episodes I knew it had potential to be the best this season, and so far at 7th episode, it is still that good. as it is on amazon prime not many people are watching it and its not as famous as it should be, but its actually better than most of the anime this season
its psychological detective mystery and our main character is Seizaki-san, he's in some kind of special investigation force and is investigating the case we are
seeing in the anime, his character and the villain's (magase in my opinion) character are polar opposites in my opinion, seizaki is a type of person who stands beside justice and works for it and thinks about what rightful justice is, and whenever someone meets him they get encouraged by his rightful character and starts to become rightful themselves(his teammates), on the other hand AI-magase , the villain, is true evil , she is a type of enchantress that forces anyone she met into suicide. the first encounter between the two was really interesting , both trying to force each other's philosophy on other, and the best thing happening in the show could be the change in seizaki due to Magase, well something has to change when true evil meets true justice.