Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Tokyo Babylon

Genre: Action
Parental Guidance Recommended
1994. CLAMP. Chigira Koichi. (director).

Tokyo Babylon DVDs
Tokyo Babylon Manga
Everything Tokyo Babylon

Cover Description:
Psychic investigator Subaru Sumeragi is hot on the tail of a serial killer who seems to have some supernatural powers of his own. When Subaru encounters a young girl placing a curse on his suspect, the mystery deepens. The body count continues to rise, and Subaru must solve the case quickly, or he may become the killer's next target!

(2 volume movie)

What you should watch before X/1999 and X TV. >>> by firesenshi

If you watched X/1999 movie and/or the X TV series first (like I did), you would probably be disappointed on two things: 1) why this movie is not as good as its supposed 'predecessors' and 2) why you have not seen this movie before seeing X.

This was released a couple of years before CLAMP's apocalyptic X phenomenon. If you wonder why the artwork isn't as intricately detailed or as eerily beautiful as CLAMP's signature style, take note that this was released in the early 1990s. For anime still recovering from rounded styles in the '80s, you have to admit that the artwork still looks good. The battle scenes where Subaru meets Seishirou under the sakura (cherry) tree as in the third screenshot above, Subaru chanting in the second screenshot above and Seishirou's signature sakura blossoms falling will remind you of how glorious CLAMP artwork could be.

What's not up to par as the X series however may be the story. I'm saying 'may be' simply because others have considered Tokyo Babylon as a prequel. I actually do not consider this as a complete prequel since Episode Zero comes with the DVD you ordered when you buy X TV Series and you can draw something from the main character of X, Kamui, in there.

Tokyo Babylon is centered around two characters from X: Subaru Sumeragi and Seishirou Sakarazuka. While the X/1999 movie did not include them at all because they have their own adventure in Tokyo Babylon, X TV series gave both of them enough screen exposure as to give flashbacks to their past. In that flashback, you will know that Subaru actually has a close relationship to Seishirou and his sister, Hokuto. How close that relationship was is limited in the X TV series flashbacks but you can clearly see that here in Tokyo Babylon.

However, while X TV series seemed like a linear storyline with an intense plot, Tokyo Babylon is brief and doesn't have a consistent plot. First off, it starts with Subaru going off to solve a mysterious case because he is an omyouji (a yin-yang master). His perky little sister, Hokuto, is worried about him, and the serious doctor Seishirou actually has omyouji magic on his own. Two volumes with two monster-of-the-day themes. It actually seems like this one is just "A Day in the Life of Subaru, Hokuto and Seishirou." And that's exactly what it just gives you. NO references to the Dragon of Heaven or Earth, the end of the world, Kamui or anything related to X. Nothing. Seishirou does say something about "destiny," a keyword frequently heard of in any X movie or TV episode, but so does every other anime. And no yaoi scenes as in the manga.

If you're expecting something really deep as you expected from X/1999 or X TV Series, DO NOT BOTHER. You won't find it. You'll even wonder why CLAMP made this aside from showing some draft artwork which led to a stunning succes in X TV series. But if you wish to find out who Subaru, Seishirou and Hokuto were BEFORE the events in the X, you should definitely get this. You'll see how these great characters matured in X and provide you a good deal of background than anything else. (Suppose you don't want to read the manga.)

Dub notes: AVOID THE DUB AT ALL COSTS. I repeat. AVOID THE DUB AT ALL COSTS. The translations are extremely different from what was said. Plus Subaru sounds like Michael Jackson without his hormone shots. (It doesn't help since Subaru kinda dresses like him too.)

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 7; Characters 8; Sounds 7

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