|Overall||Art||Animation||Character Design||Music||Series Story||Episode Story||Reviewer|
Babylon explores a prosecutor dabbling into an investigation concerning the manipulation of the Japanese population as a politician wishes to pass a suicide bill, with the timing of this suspect as a series of suicide cases begin to spring up throughout the country that are seemingly connected to a mysterious woman named Ai Magase. The first half of the series is actually pretty solid as it dabbles into debate on the morality of legalized suicide that it makes some solid arguments on and some hints are dropped of the shady political activity taking place to try pushing the law for consideration. |
But the second half takes a big hit in quality when it becomes a muddled mess in what specifically it wishes to cover with its scope. It's suggested Ai might be some sort of supernatural being, though her true nature is left ambiguous and this actually goes against the series being a realistic political drama/ thriller. For whatever reason, word about Japan's suicide law spreads internationally with many countries considering passing it and there's a political summit by several countries in a later episode wasted on pretentiousness by dabbling into philosophical ideas on how to define good and evil that lead nowhere. The ending to the whole series comes off as anticlimactic as it leaves too much unanswered over what is happening with elements to the show such as the suicide law and the mystery of Ai Magase.
In short, Babylon proved to be a rather frustrating series to watch. While starting off okay, it gradually degraded in quality by its second half due to a lack of clear direction with its themes and premise by that point. If you want a realistic thriller/ drama that better dabbles into the blurred lines of man's morality, Monster would be more worth your time to track down over this tripe.
Last updated Monday, January 27 2020. Created Monday, January 27 2020.
(Seven episodes watched):|
Well, this seemed fairly intriguing. An investigation of false advertising by a pharmaceutical company turns up all sorts of leads to important politicians and powerful organizations, and soon becomes something much bigger than anyone had expected. It would have been easy to have oversimplified the case, and made it seem as if getting to the roots of this conspiracy was easy by making the protagonist a super brilliant infallible detective, but fortunately this show doesn't make that mistake. Instead it manages to be interesting without being overcomplicated and confusing. There's clearly something big going on, but what it is isn't clear and veteran prosecutor Seizaki and his inexperienced aide Fumio struggle to make sense of it. Seizaki seems largely unemotional and fanatically devoted to his job, but we get a hint that he has a family which is enduring some stress as a result. What should have been a routine case takes a bizarre twist when a man is found dead--it is labeled a suicide, but nobody has ever killed themself in this manner before. And then a major character, who we have gotten a good introduction to, is likewise found dead. Either a murder is being disguised as a suicide, or someone has found a way to drive mentally healthy people to kill themselves. Since we have gotten to know this person, the death seems shocking and we want justice. So far, so good; nobody is being portrayed as evil for evil's sake, which, again, would be an easy mistake to make. As of the end of episode one we have little idea who is behind all this; but we want to know more.
Seizaki presses on with his investigation, which seems to be handled in a pretty realistic and believable manner, rather than just having shoot-outs or something like that. But it's unclear how deep the corruption he is uncovering may extend into the police department itself. He finds himself ambushed when one of his suspects is invited to listen to his own report on the case. It turns out that things are not quite as we had been led to expect: the person who had seemed certain to be the villain isn't, or at least isn't the main villain. A fantastic drug, which sometimes backfires and kills the recipient, is at the center of the matter. The story is more complex and unpredictable (in a good way) than it had seemed early on. The main suspect becomes the newly elected mayor of the Shiniki zone, who is either deluded about a certain issue or knows something which Seizaki does not. You get the feeling that it is the latter. It was unclear where things were going, but I was confident that they were going somewhere.
Things get weirder in episode five, as it becomes clear that this Ai Magase person has some sort of inexplicable psychic power to influence people's minds. Seizaki was once in her presence, so might he not be at risk as well? At a debate the newly elected mayor of the Shiniki zone gives a skillful defense of his seemingly nonsensical pro-suicide law. It turns out that he needs it for a personal reason, which ultimately made some sense. Less understandable is his link to Magase; they are working together to achieve some goal, aren't they? And even less understandable is her ability to force people to do what she wishes, which she uses to deadly effect in episode seven. The violence gets kind of disturbing. It becomes clear that she is being built up as a despicable, pathologically evil person who will be Seizaki's opponent in this story. But I found I was having a hard time hating her; perhaps because her 'weapon' is so bizarre and makes little sense, perhaps because just what she is trying to accomplish remains unknown, and perhaps because she seems more crazy than evil. What exactly was going on here remained unclear to me, and I became less confident that it would make sense eventually. And then the fansubs stopped coming. Maybe the fansubbers have taken offense at the sort of misogynistic tone of the show (at least in regards to Magase) and have given up on it. At any rate, after a month I was not all that eager to binge watch numerous episodes if they eventually showed up.
Last updated Tuesday, December 24 2019. Created Sunday, October 13 2019.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||https://babylon-anime.com/|