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EP. REVIEW: Babylon




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Nom De Plume De Fanboy
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:50 pm Reply with quote
Fourth episode is up. Be prepared, I thought it was quite a slog, though interesting enough, eventually. I think we are going to have work a fair bit to get this show.

One thing: I thought-spoiler[ the mayor had suicided, but the plot says he didn't.] I am not 100% sure, but the powers that be in the show are going on that belief. So they cast him as the chief object for finding and arresting.

I can't remember the last time a show put up this much text during a show.

I put up an ep re-cap in the Series Discussion forum. I apologize if it is quite long winded and still piecemeal.

I need to go rest my head now. Confused
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Sven Viking



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:27 pm Reply with quote
If you check the end of the third episode again, not only did the mayor not spoiler[jump], he wasn’t even present spoiler[on the roof]. I misremembered it as well for some reason — I’d thought he was present but didn’t participate.

About the review: I agree that the F for Female thing seemed like an inexplicable leap of logic, but like you say it may be just another red herring. I’m not even so sure the supernatural aspect will turn out to be genuine — it depends on whether we take Ai’s appearances at the end of the third episode literally, or whether it’s just Zen’s unreliable perspective on a distant figure in the crowd while in a state of shock.

Ep4: (spoilers)

Unimportant, but it should be “pore” through (or over) the law books.

Quote:
because there haven't been any explicit laws put in place that make suicide – or the promotion of suicidal ideation – illegal.

Suicide itself is still illegal, since they say they can charge him with aiding or abetting the suicides as long as they can find sufficient evidence, and the child on YouTube is saying his father is only planning to commit suicide if the suicide legalisation law is passed. It’s just that they don’t have more than (admittedly overwhelming) circumstantial evidence to prove the mayor-elect specifically encouraged or directed those individuals to commit suicide — technically he’s only advocating for a law change in the video, which is legal in the same way advocating for something like cannabis legalisation is legal.

The part I didn’t get is that the new mayor can’t currently pass the suicide bill without a new parliament sworn in to support it, but apparently he can set the terms for the method of election of the new parliament? I could easily be misunderstanding something.
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:30 am Reply with quote
Giving children the vote (largely proxied by their parents) is an interesting mechanism to combat Japan's low birth rate. Having more kids gives you more influence in public decisions. Wonder if that was a policy target when the voting scheme was proposed.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:33 am Reply with quote
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Is it weird how easily Zen and Shinobu are able to laugh off Fumio's death and joke about how worthless he was compared to Hiasa, or is that just me?

It's not just you. I did a double take at that dialog, wondering what point the writers were trying to make with their callousness.

I too am not entirely convinced that Hiasa isn't Ai. And I had kinda thought Ai might be the common factor in the jumpers' blissful dive last episode, but I don't think even she could get around as much as this episode would've required. Smile So I'm thinking the clandestine drug is the key.

I have a feeling old school politician guy is going to get his ass handed to him by Itsuki outmaneuvering him, or else he'll become another jumper.

Though it's really beautiful, I think this series may have the shortest OP ever.

(edited to correct Hiasa's name, which last week's review led me to believe was Miasa)


Last edited by Gina Szanboti on Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:35 pm Reply with quote
So Ai wasspoiler[ adopted at 7.] And in middle school, just by talking tospoiler[ 7 boys], and notspoiler[ touching them in any way,] she got them so upset that they all reportedspoiler[ being sexually molested- the show uses the word raped]. To the point that they all suffered spoiler[anxiety attacks] bad enough to make them report this to a doctor. And her adoptive father reports her as causing an incident.

And when she sees the doctor, who is her adopted fathers brother, she does it to him. The visual he creates in his memory to show the impact of it is himself spoiler[naked in a chair, sweating, with several copies of her standing or sitting near him.] He uses the phrase "she was spoiler[extremely, overwhelmingly enchanting] when she was 15." We don't find out what happened to the boys.

The doc says it wasn'tspoiler[ intentional]. And not just herspoiler[ body by itself, but her body language, voice, eyes. The impact was like she was using a 'megaphone'. The doc was mentally, well, overwhelmed. He even called it rape.]

So he asks her, quite properly, to go into therapy, and she accepts, because she thinks she's not good at talking to people. And when she quits after 6 monthsspoiler[, he closes his practice and moves to the boondocks, because even though he never touched her, he is overwhelmed by guilt. He is a doctor, after all.]

People have suggested she is now a 'mentalist'; well, a smart kid could learn a lot from a therapist in six months, watching the watcher, so to speak.

Hmmm. Look, even in my little rural junior high, back in the early 1970s, we had girls who were developed by that age, and one or two who were distinctly into experimenting with being manipulative in being "on the make" so to speak, but this is pushing things a bit. Without the aid of drugs or psychic powers or something supernatural or some mechanical widget, I have a very hard time with this. It could be still be interesting, but this show started out as a very grounded set-up. The dissonance is difficult.

We still don't have an explanation of how, seemingly, one person could alter their appearance. I hope that gets explained.

And that's the first half of the show. Quite a backstory.

That is one very trippy eye-catch.

Then we get a nice discussion of what justice is, and how to worry about it.

And they're still chasing the mayor, who is up to something - he wantsspoiler[ a public debate about suicide laws.]

And towards the end, Ai calls up the MC, and we get quite the conversation.spoiler[ She says she wants to be like a hero in an RPG game and save the world from a devil, and make the people happy, even if the people won't help her fight the devil.] Then we get a violent incident that makes me question her methods.

We know the assistant spoiler[isn't Ai herself, because she listened to the call.]

This is an interesting show, still. But, to borrow from science, I think the hypothesis needs more support, especially in the mechanism department. I want some things spelled out.

edit: ( sorry, gotta add some more. ) I think I'm overdoing the "howdunnit" angle. The "why and who", especially after Ai's phone call, makes me wonder if Ai and mayor Itsuki are not on the same side, and may be opponents. I'm even wondering if Itsukispoiler[ has some of the abilities Ai's described as having.]

As for killing the cops, if Ai's persuasion ability has limits - if she can't make people forget, if she can't make them obey for more then short times - if a cop catches up to her, killing may be her only way to get away for sure. A seduced politician trading his vote is mostly doing what he wanted to do anyway, but maybe she can't make a dedicated cop be a permanent total slave. It would be an awful choice, but if she is working on her own against the system, she might choose killing as the reliable solution. This doesn't fit with spoiler[the death of cop number 2, the guy taking notes at her interview. ] So I'm speculating some here.

I don't know, I tend to look for ethical angles because I like that kind of conflict. That angle may not be here. This show has a hook in me for that, I hope it says interesting. Have to wait and see.
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7777ale7777



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:43 am Reply with quote
The effect that Ai produces on men reminds me of Junji Ito's Tomie.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:12 pm Reply with quote
7777ale7777 wrote:
The effect that Ai produces on men reminds me of Junji Ito's Tomie.


Ai absolutely has the power to control a person right next to her, to whatever end. Hopefully Ai is less of a horror story character and has some depth to her.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 5:00 pm Reply with quote
Wow, teenage Ai really had the zap or hoodoo or whatever on her uncle the doctor, and those kids. And without meaning to. I do cringe a bit at the shows choice of the word rape. Mind rape is a thing in anime, and I wish the show had used that instead. Maybe it would have sounded clumsy coming out of a doctor's mouth, I don't know. Ai's presence, as a teenager, is forcing an extreme state of mind on people, but there has got to be a better way to describe it. The effect on the doc was extreme. I love that scene where the doctor is remembering her, and the image of her as a spoiler[floating, um, phantasm, drifting down towards him sitting with his face upturned and their faces connecting. He says 'She forced herself inside me. She came inside me.' ] But when he says 'It was indeed... rape!', that may create a powerful moment, dramatically, but I find it troubling. Maybe as a doctor, seriously, he never would have heard of the term 'mind rape' and the show creators didn't think it would work. I dunno.

But it is still a good show and I can live with it, I guess.

I guess I have to accept this as some kind of 'magical realism' show, with the setting being very grounded but Ai's influence being way beyond what's normal.

Anyway, excellent review. This is a show that has some real depth to it, and takes effort to 'get', and I think the review discusses it very well.

I just hope it doesn't crash and burn. Crying or Very sad

An aside: I see that Amazon has the Japanese original listed as a - sigh - 'Comic Book', but not as a manga or visual novel. Does anybody know what category it properly fits?
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Sherris



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:15 am Reply with quote
Episode 5

This warning was totally misleading:
1) There was no rape. It's explained in the episode. Next time put trigger warning when characters DISCUSS murder, domestic violence etc. too.
2) Not blood-related, therefore no incest.

If anything the episode was more tactful than anything you get out of live-action crime shows with similar themes.
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Gina Szanboti



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:18 am Reply with quote
Ok, so I no longer think Hiasa can be Ai, but I still found it chilling when Hiasa asked Zen what justice meant to him, which is the last question Ai asked him.

During the whole interview with the doctor, I kept getting flashbacks to Monster. Ai strikes me as a female Johan: adopted, precocious, strikingly beautiful, manipulative to a degree that appears supernatural, causing people's deaths without laying a finger on them. She even has that same serene, half-drugged look in her eyes that Johan usually had. Her effect on the boys and adults is like the effect that Bonaparta's picture books (and Johan himself) had on the minds of children exposed to them, often resulting in either violence or suicides...or both. Itsuki could be part of the same theoretical program that created her - he's only 7 years older (another Biblical 7). Smile

And why has Zen been relatively immune to her so far? She was able to invade his personal space nose-to-nose when she was interrogating him, but only in his imagination, so he's not entirely safe.
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Kirki



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 7:59 am Reply with quote
The antagonist's name is literally "Warped Love" (Magase Ai). I don't think the series has ever been subtle about its intentions. Ai's existence seems to be a metaphor about intense sexual desire and how it relates (or not) to the concept of love, and also about how it alters you and make you kill yourself and your identity for the sake of someone else. I don't think there will be a drug of any kind involved. Even if it will be for the sake of appearances and explanations, it won't matter much.

Babylon seems exactly the type of novel written by a studious japanese man that tries to make a statement about the reality around him while burdened with the misconceptions and prejudices of his society to the very bone. I have seen this other times, like in Joker Game and Legend of the Galactic Heroes*. Misogynism is so deeply engraved in them they have reached the point of not even blaming women for it anymore; Sexual desire and deviances are seen as a form of natural evil that simply exists in people. Since Zen has a buddhist name, I assume that the point will have a religious hue, as to how you can defeat the "evil" carnal desires that taint your soul through modesty and moral principles. Hiasa is probably in the picture in order to act as a foil to Magase, by being the "good woman" instead.

*to give LotGH some credit, Tanaka had indeed tried to break through the barriers of misogyny. The entire character of Hilda is based on the principles of feminism. How much he actually succeds at that I admit that it's up to debate.
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vonPeterhof
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:03 am Reply with quote
Kirki wrote:
Since Zen has a buddhist name
Wrong zen. The one in his name isn't really tied to a specific religious or philosophical doctrine, but a more general concept of Good as opposed to Evil.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:35 am Reply with quote
My two bits on the ending of episode 6: Nope.

I think I see why they put in the any age person can vote BS. It was to set up the twist at the end of the debate. spoiler[ The old politician has decided to be even more extreme than Itsuki, by technically dropping out of the race in favor of the kid that made the viral video. Any age can vote also means any age can run, so the kid can be mayor and the old politician will give him "guidance." Aha! But wait! The kid turns out to be Itsuki's son! Double Aha!] Well, the creators of this may have thought, "Nobody will see that coming." I sure didn't, that's true. But it jumps the shark for me.

My small joke: They have a way to arrest Itsuki now. spoiler[They can get him for child abuse, because he let his kid become a politician.]

I will keep reading the reviews and following here, because I want to see what's up with Ai, but this is dropped until something catches my interest.

Dang, 'cause this was looking to be my interesting watch of this season. Rolling Eyes
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