Babylon (Anime Review)– Killing Yourself is Basically Like Having an Orgasm

in anime •  6 months ago 

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That title isn't the set up to a punchline. This is one of the only things I managed to get out of this absolute mess of a show. It's hard to even describe the show's plot and themes, because I have no idea what the show was even going for, but I'm going to give it my all to try. At one point early on I will have to talk spoilers, so if you want the 'Too Long didn't read' version of the review, it's a pretentious mess that fails to get across any kind of actual message.

The story starts in a newly found precinct in Japan, Shiniki. Established essentially as a testing ground for new laws, it operates partially apart from the rest of Japan. Investigating potential election interference, Zen becomes the center of something much bigger. People begin committing suicide who are connected to the case, as well as people close to him. The show begins to hint something supernatural may be going on, but isn't confirming it. Things in the early episodes get interesting really quickly.

And then things go off the rails entirely. The show's main villain, who is the biblical Whore of Babylon from revelations, can manipulate people with just a few words. She is responsible for the suicides, and the establishment and spreading of the 'Suicide Law' which would legalize suicide. The idea is the spread it across the entire world. You may be asking yourself why this woman is manipulating people to spread a suicide law across the world, one that isn't ever fully explained to the watcher of the show, or why it is she seems to want to involve Zen in all this. Well, according to here, Zen and here are alike in almost every way, except for one. And that one simple way they are different? She is evil. These are her words. She goes on about wanting to be the hero of the world, even if no one follows her, but also states she is evil.

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When we finally get to talk to someone who is alive and under her spell, before he kills himself he says what he is feeling is exactly like sex. The longer you can hold on before orgasm the better, but eventually, you have to have that release, in this case, the release is killing yourself. And then he does it. This kind of establishes that there is something supernatural going on.

I am going explain to you the best I can the villain's plot from beginning to end, referring to some texts I was sending to a friend as it all happened just so I can express to you the best I can how I felt as I was watching this show. The Whore of Babylon, Magase, manipulates politicians in Shiniki to plant the seeds to spread the Suicide Law World Wide, as well as pushing individuals to kill themselves with this weird hypnotic power of hers. While doing so, she kills Zen's Partner to get him involved in the case.

Telling Zen that she wants him to understand her and that she is indeed evil while he is good, she kills all his team with her suicide powers but forces him to watch her kill his second in command brutally with an ax. All Zen's plans have failed, and the suicide law is adopted into Shiniki. It begins spreading to other cities across the globe, forcing a summit of many world leaders to discuss the ethics of this suicide law. Episode nine enters the President of the United States, who spends the whole episode pondering, and it isn't until episode eleven the summit commences. Now we have the President, and four other world leaders, discussing the ethical core of the show without the main character present at all (Mind you, he is currently working with the FBI to catch Magase and stop her plan). The core argument is no longer about if suicide is right or wrong, but what is the nature of good and evil.

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After an entire episode of pseudo-intellectual conversation, their summit is interrupted by the current mayor of Shiniki, asking the president of the united states to talk to a girl who is unsure if she wants to die, and may throw herself from a building, Presumably, this is Magase in disguise, but the president talks to her anyway and convinces her to wait until he finds an answer himself saying 'If I determine suicide is moral, I'll kill myself too' and the girl laughs and agrees to wait. Mind you, this is all happening on national television.

Just after this, he finally realizes 'Good means to continue' and 'Evil means to end', and immediately gets back online to tell her. It's Magase, and her words convince the president to kill himself. Now, Zen was only just given a Gun as an FBI agent after convincing the president to make an exception and allow him to officially join, this is important.

Zen chases the president to the roof, realizing the president is about to kill himself as reporters watch from the sky, if he does this the suicide law will be justified by the president's own statements earlier, and likely go into effect worldwide. Knowing this is the case, rather than allow the president to kill himself, he makes it look like assassination and Zen shoots the president on national TV, presumably ending the spread of the Suicide Law.

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After this, he faces Magase, who is behind him out of the eye of the cameras, and points the gun at Magase. He too came to the conclusion the president did about good and evil and still points the gun at Magase and she tells him he is now bad. See, ending things is evil, and if he fires the gun to end Magase, who is evil, that also makes him evil. So to end evil is evil. She points her fingers at him like a gun and goes 'Bang' while you here an actual gunfire, though the result is never shown (Even if after the credits you see Magase still alive).

She orchestrated all these events only to stop her suicide law, and to prove some kind of a point. But here is the thing, Zen is the only guy alive who knows about Magase at this point, at least assuming he's still alive, and he's now going to be locked away or executed for assassinating the president on live television. This was all according to the plan of Magase, meaning she wasn't trying to prove something to the world, she was just trying to prove something to either Magase or the viewer of the show. Meaning in the context of the anime, all of this happened just to fuck with this one guy, because the world is right back to how it was before with no suicide law, only now there are a lot more dead people.

So many things had to happen, so many people who didn't have direct contact with Magase had to act in such specific ways to have arrived at this point. I gave Bleach shit back in the day for Aizen's plans being incredibly convoluted to the point that there was no way it was ever going to happen, but this is an entirely new level of bullshit. And worse yet, I still don't know what the point Magase was trying to prove all along even was, or what the whole bit about her wanting to be a hero (Despite admitting to being evil) even was.

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There is a part of me that is wondering if I am just missing something crucial to the story if I am missing something fundamental to putting all of this together. Because if I'm not, this may be the absolute stupidest anime I've ever seen in my life. It is constantly trying to be deep while saying nothing of any real substance, the idea it's a dialogue on suicide falls flat when all the suicide that happens is entirely unnatural and forced on people by the Whore of Babylon. There are times it even feels like we've hid David Cage levels of not understanding how people would act in certain situations.

All that said, I kind of love this show. It's almost like this an unintentional Dark Comedy, and the joke doesn't set in until you reach the eleventh episode. I don't think any of this was supposed to be funny, but by that point of this show I was laughing my ass off. If this is all a misunderstanding on my part, I kind of don't want to know if I'm wrong because of how much I enjoyed this train wreck of a show.

If you've ever seen Babylon, or watch it, please explain to me if I'm missing something, because I still am not sure if it's me or this show that is completely out of their mind. As it stands, I think I”m going the Bill Hicks on Basic Instinct route for this one.

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