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19 December 2010 @ 11:53 pm
Tokyo Babylon re-watching: Tokyo Babylon - A Save For A Tokyo City Story OAV  
Amazingly late, I know, I'm so sorry...
I had to deal with extra work, snow, finishing an APH one shot and Christmas shopping so I didn't have much time... sorry again...

Okay, as of now in my country Friday came and went so you can start the re-watching and, once you're done, comment about it here.
Remember to put a spoiler warning if you're going to discuss anything that's about other manga or that happens post this two stories and try to be as talktive as you can!
It won't be that much fun if we all comment with a 'CLAMP did a nice work on this...' ^_-
(Rules and info about where to find the TB material are here)

Quick summary of what we're going to re-watch if you want to spoil yourself

Tokyo Babylon - A Save For A Tokyo City Story OAV

Subaru has to deal with mysterious deaths which might have been caused by a man with special powers...
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 22nd, 2010 06:07 am (UTC)
First, I will have to say that I'm not that crazy about the ovas. They don't do the manga much justice, but they do have their moments.

I thought the beginning was pretty cool when Subaru was exorcising the spirit from the bike. I also liked that we get to see Subaru being his usual air-headed self and not even watch where he's walking when he runs into the Kazami.
There are similarites in this ova to the manga like the curse that was copied wrong and the dog being killed to bring forth an inugami. I kinda wish they went with something original or maybe animated one of the stories like Call A and B.
What I wished would've been shown more is the relationship between Subaru, Seishirou and Hokuto. It's them that made Tokyo Babylon and I really wanted to see more interaction with them, especially between Subaru and Seishirou.

I will post some more thoughts later!
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC)
Same here!

The good thing about the OAV is they keep most of the original interaction. The bad thing is since they don't really offer a new plot they could have animated one of the manga stories.

Yes, it would have been much better if te OAV had given us a more in deep look instead than many random moments with original characters we could care less... -_-
rose_erato: stalkerseisubrose_erato on December 27th, 2010 04:40 am (UTC)
Agreed. I wanted to see more with Subaru and Seishirou rather than all those moments with the new characters.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:41 am (UTC)
Exactly... -_-
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 23rd, 2010 06:17 am (UTC)
I think that the ova did very well with showing Subaru's personality and his kindness. I liked that he mentions liking dogs and the fact that he can be quite air-headed. The scene where Subaru, Hokuto and Seishirou are having lunch is one of my favorites scenes because we get see them interact, especially when Hokuto lectures Subaru for bowing like a salaryman. What bothered me though was Hokuto's voice. I found it grating on my ear drums when she laughs. It's rather annoying. Another than that, I thought the va did well portraying Hokuto.
Another favorite moment of mine is when Seishirou and Hokuto appear at Subaru's apartment with groceries to make dinner. When Subaru and Seishirou stood there looking at each other and Subaru looked so happy to see him just melted my heart. It really is my favorite moment. With that one look I could tell how much Seishirou meant to Subaru.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
Yes, the team's characterization was very well done. Hokuto's voice had been picked up for the first drama and they kept it in the OAV... my feeling is that they wanted it to be grating and annoying... Hokuto's laught it's not very ladylike...

Yes, that scene is wonderful! If only they had given them more cute moments like that one!
rose_erato: subseiloverose_erato on December 27th, 2010 04:37 am (UTC)
I agree,I wish they did have more moments like that one :)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
Those OAV could have been done much better, really! -_-
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
Part 1
Warning: Spoilers for TB and X...
Okay, the basic first. I like the character design. In my opinion is much better of the one used for X and much more faithful to CLAMP style despite being simple. I found a bit weird how Seishiro ended up having blue hair. I think the music background failed in some points (I especially didn’t like the random adding of ‘Strawberry Kiss Kiss’ in the middle of the OAV) and I miss the fact the OAV didn’t have an opening and that the ending was made just playing ‘Kiss Kiss’ and the credit titles. It would have been better if they had added pictures to it. I know at the time OP & AD for OAV weren’t that great but…
Colors aren’t that bright but they’re bright enough to look nice (definitely more nice than in X), with a preponderance of white and green. Funny enough while Subaru wears is red Jacket Seishiro is in green which makes them dressed in complementary colours. Hokuto instead is dressed in white, which is complementary to Subaru’s black pants and shirt.
Tokyo Babylon – A Safe for A Tokyo City Story
Let’s talk about the plot now.
We start in a manner similar to TB vol. 1, with Subaru making a random exorcism, only here the whole thing is studied to give us an immediate impression of Subaru’s kindness, without Seishiro having to explain us how Subaru is kind.
Title plus random shot at the MMC project we could have done without.
Let’s move back to Subaru and Hokuto and observe how they are faithful in their characterization and interaction to how they are in the manga. They get to Seishiro’s hospital where Subaru ends up against a girl. While this is perfectly in character for him it’s too bad it seems rather obvious there’s something more in that girl than it can look at the moment.
Moving on. We add Seishiro to the mix and he too is spot on with the manga (also notice how even in the OAV there’s people failing to get Subaru’s surname. I wonder if it’s uncommon or just difficult for Japanese people). Really, they have wonderful interaction, although Seishiro’s not teasing Subaru.
Now we move to some original characters’ interaction.
We get pretty quickly Nagumo is a jerk. He would stay as such. We will never get to sympathize with him. On the contrary the more the story goes on the more unlikable he is. He’s worse than Nagi or the girls of the party line. And he’s not developed beyond the ‘I want to be on the top and I’ll do everything to get there’ and ‘I’ve the chosen one, everyone can bow at me’. In the end it looks like he will turn insane before dying.
The policeman, Yamakawa, is nice but nothing over the top. He’s just an honest guy wishing to do is job.
Anyway Subaru had been fired. You would think the case is close but Subaru involves himself in it anyway (and I wonder where he found the spare time since in the manga he was often so busy he had a hard time going to school) Oh well…
Now… I adore the scene in which Seishiro and Hokuto shows up at Subaru’s home and Subaru and Seishiro stare at each other. Subaru has that expression kind of like ‘dear God I’m so glad you’re here I might cry’. I wonder if Seishiro got to understand the meaning of Subaru’s expression. We are told why Hokuto cooks at Subaru’s… I think it was also said in a strip on CLAMP news but I might be wrong (an additional reason might be Hokuto’s kitchen has no windows… -_-)
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 27th, 2010 04:49 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1
I do like that they stay true to the character design more than X. The way Subaru was portrayed was beautifully done and I'm glad that we get to see his kindness, innocence and his airheadedness all through the ova.

I do wish they would've had Seishirou teasing Subaru and proclaiming his love. It's apart of Seishirou's interaction with Subaru.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1
yes, the TB OAV chara design is beautiful while the one of the X anime... -_-
Also the X anime failed at characterizing them. Kotori is completely different, Fuma became the epitome of evil, Seishiro doesn't have a character development and Subaru lost nearly all the moments in which he was cool. -_-
At least the TB OAV let them be in character.
True, that a thing the OAV misses! They put it in the second OAV though... and might it be the subs cut it from the first OAV? (LOL in the Spanish dub they had Seishiro pining for Hokuto!)
rose_eratorose_erato on December 28th, 2010 04:54 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1
Yeah, the X anime did miss out on developing Seishirou more and I was disappointed that we didn't get his and Subaru's first interaction with each other after 8 years. I wanted to see Seishirou wiping blood on Subaru and teasing him.

I had no idea that the Spanish dub had Seishirou pining for Hokuto! Talk about completely changing the story and character.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 1
I guess the anime wanted Seishiro merely be a bad guy. Differently from all the other chara they didn't bother really devoting an episode to him or dwell into his motivation. His sidestory is cut as sort as possible while all the other characters got to keep it whole or even expanded (okay, apart from Fuma and Kamui but, back then, their own sidestory hadn't been released yet).
Sadly all the angels (apart Kusanagi) were depicted as more evil then they were in the manga. Yuto in the anime is a jerk to Karen (although they let him be nice with Satsuki), Nataku didn't have his heroic death but he's just used as 'recharge' by Kamui, Satsuki is the one who murdered her father, Fuma is purely evil and not anymore someone who blindly fulfil wishes and Seishiro... well he's just a killer without heart or motivations. They didn't even dwell that much on Subaru, after all. Let's be honest, shouldn't they have developed more Subaru's past instead than messing up the sidestory in such a way it was hard to get if Subaru was hallucinating or Seishiro was there for real?
And why did they had to cut all the moments in whch Subaru is COOL like the one in which in Vol 8 he managed to trap Seishiro (okay, after Seishiro freed himself but still) or his fight with Nataku? Why do they have to repeat, ab nauseam, the scene in which he throw his Shiki at Seishiro and he destroys them? Why to have him go within after he had explained to Kamui it was a stupid things to do?

Well, he's not really pining but... let's say the OAV is Seishiro/Hokuto oriented.

For example, Hokuto, instead than asking Seishiro if he's the Sakurazukmori, tells him he's sexy and asks him if he wants to marry HER. He doesn't say yes... but I can't quite understand the rest of their talk so I might be missing something (I don't really know Spanish that well). I think he still pointed out she was getting fat because she complained that he told her something mean despite her asking him to marry her.

Later, when Seishiro will show up against Nagumo he'll say he's there to put an end to Nagumo's evil ways (I fear Seishiro looks like an hero here... what with the OAV not mentioning the Sakurazukamori and having him to kill Nagumo merely because Nagumo is evil? His only dark side might be he says differently from Subaru he's much stronger and merciless).

At the end Seishiro says: 'if you were to die Hokuto would be really unhappy and I don't want this to happen. I want Hokuto to be always very, VERY happy.'

As you can see they cut any possible Seishiro/Subaru reference (as well as references to Seishiro being the Sakurazukamori) and tried to imply an interest between Seishiro and Hokuto.

The 2 OAV let the seishiro/Subaru moments... but funny enough in the flashback about the bet had Subaru calling Seishiro by name... as if he already knew with whom he was talking...
CherriRinicherririni_chan on January 4th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
Re: Part 1
.... Seishirou/Hokuto?!

Ohmygod. I'm a bit disturbed by that.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on January 5th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 1
Evidently the Spanish dubbers messed up the translations... but I can't really complain, here, the ones that printed the X dvd, tried to describe SeiSu backstory, without having an idea of what was going on in it (unless the Japanese dvd too gave false information) so they mostly made it up... -_-
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Part 2
Anyway later we switch to Nagumo and Yamakawa doing nothing too meaningful to move to Subaru meeting Kazami and her dog, 2 other new original characters for this OAV.
Now… Kazami. I understand her tragedy but… I felt more sympathy for Mai’s mother. Mai’s mother knows her child had been murdered, knows it hadn’t been an incident, knows for SURE who’s the culprit and had lost her baby, the person to whom was based her happiness.
Kazami doesn’t know for sure, she’s just assuming without the slightest proof. More than sad she seems bitter. She doesn’t seem mad with grief as Mai’s mother was (notice how Mai’s mother is always alone while Kazami is always with Coney), which is why it felt so wrong she will later kill Coney to get her revenge. She looked still rational, which is why to kill Coney to get her goal feels so wrong. Had she been in the state Mai’s mother was I would have understood her but, like this… well, it feels like she’s stubbornly clinging to the idea of having revenge, more than to find a way to cope with her grief (some think that, if they avenge themselves, their pain will be less strong).
We get another cute bit of Seishiro, Subaru and Hokuto’s interaction before moving to… listen ‘Strawberry Kiss Kiss’. No, I don’t find it the best background for what’s going on and the scene in itself was vary boring.
More interactions with secondary characters. First Subaru with Yamakawa then Yamakawa with Nagumo. Maybe it’s useful for the plot but since I’m not fond of the original characters I find it mostly boring.
Kazami kills Coney and then she’s spotted by Yamakawa as she faints. For unknown reason Subaru, Hokuto and Seishiro are called when she gets at the hospital (they’re not relative and Kazami didn’t look to have gotten close to Subaru to the point she would carry his phone number around). Meanwhile the doctor informs Seishiro about Kazami’s conditions. I wonder how a patient’s right for privacy work in Japan (of course it could be Seishiro spelled/threatened him).
Nagumo decides to stay in the palace they’re building out of his working hours and conveniently, turns the lights off. Yamakawa in a fit of curiosity ends up bugging the Inugami (but shouldn’t have it buried in a place over which many people walked?).
Glimpse of Subaru climbing on Seishiro’s van (oh my God how cute is the cat picture on it!) and on Seishiro’s driving style… (who’s Gunma Akagi, the mad Formula 1 Pilot of ‘F’, compared to him?). Subaru entrust Kazami to Hokuto, when maybe it would have been better if he had also put protections on her. The manga is so set on saying us Hokuto only knows 1 or 2 spells… it’s not fair to leave her alone against such a thing. But well, Hokuto will handle it wonderfully (had she resumed training because she was already planning to use ‘that spell’ in case Seishiro had misbehaved with Subaru?)
Nagumo looses an arm and a lot of blood but doesn’t die. Yamakawa tries to play hero (and again he doesn’t turn out the lights) and the Inugami decides he’s bugging him a time too much and attack him while Nagumo is likely going mad.
By the way it’s like Nagumo’s blood and the Inugami fused… which I guess is why the Inugami was given a convenient red colour. More charming Seishiro’s driving style… it looks like he’s having fun. I wonder why Subaru isn’t throwing up but maybe he has a stomach stronger than many would give him credit for.
Subaru’s turn to play hero but now Nagumo and the Inugami have fused. Also Nagumo’s completely mad.
Meanwhile Hokuto decides/senses the Sakanagi is coming close and prepare a protective spell. Just in time because as soon as she has finished sakanagi strikes. Was it waiting for her to end?
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 27th, 2010 05:00 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2
I think Seishirou somehow "convinced" the doctor to tell him of Kazami's condition because I don't think they would've been told anything about her since they are not relatives.
I love Seishirou's van as well! And his driving skills, lol. I'm surprised he still has a licence!
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2
LOL Seishiro and his method of persuasion! I wish they let us see the scene!
I think he never had a licence to begin with... or threatened the driving school into giving him one...
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 28th, 2010 04:48 am (UTC)
Re: Part 2
I wouldn't be surprised! He probably even has special methods of persusations if he gets pulled over :)
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Part 2
Ah! I wanna see him using them!
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Part 3
Meanwhile Subaru’s tossed out by a window up at what? 20th floor? Higher? Do not worry for him, he’ll conveniently manages to grab something to stop his fall without breaking his fingers due to the blow. Then he’ll climb up (Okay, so in ‘X’ we’ll see he can jump from a building to another but in TB he hadn’t shown us he could yet). Nagumo will kindly open up for him an escape route.
Random shoots of Evil Nagumo and Subaru trying to reach him again. Hum, no, it’s actually Nagumo that reaches him (I don’t really get this one, first Subaru ended up many floors under him then he decides to climb up many floors over him? What was he thinking to do? Attach him from above?)
Nagumo attacks, Subaru says the words of a spell we can’t hear and the Inugami disappear (saying them earlier would have been a better idea). It doesn’t end here. Nagumo manages to call back the Inugami, hit Subaru and cause him to fall unconscious. Seishiro joins the party with his standard declaration we’ve heard in Vol 3 (‘hands off, no touching, Subaru-kun is mine’). He removes his glasses (he had already gotten rid of his jacket for unknown reasons) and of course, since Seishiro must look super cool nothing Nagumo can do touches him. He finishes Nagumo off with a single blow and he’s free to go molesting Subaru.
And okay this whole action part suck as far as I’m involved. Yamakawa’s participation was pointless (Subaru would have ended up noticing the blob anyway), the lights turned off were stupid and a forced effort to make this a horror story, the whole Nagumo/Subaru fight was a waste of time and Seishiro ended off the guy too early.
You want a bad guy to scare me? Make his attacks more effective. You want the hero/heroes to look cool. Have them to make more of an effort to off the bad guy. I really don’t get why Subaru had waited so much to try and dispel the Shiki and when Seishiro gets rid of him so easily I really feel like all the drama was wasted.
Oh, and I don’t know if it’s due to a wrong translation but Seishiro does his work to protect Japan so Tokyo’s wishes should be of some relevance to him, at least due to his job.
Also Tokyo looks rather bad for choosing Nagumo of all the people.
And I don’t get why Nagumo went to look at Subaru.
Anyway, it’s morning, Kazami’s room is a wretch and no one in the hospital has noticed or went to check what was happening in it. Meanwhile Kazami’s wake up and Hokuto tells her to let go her revenge and move on and she’s evidently more persuasive of Subaru (or maybe Kazami noticed we’re at the end of the OAV) because Kazami agrees.
Okay, we end with a Sei & Su moment. Although I love the two of them like this the dialogue isn’t that cool. We get Seishiro saying Subaru should have let Nagumo on the loose which is a pretty cold thing to say at Subaru. Subaru doesn’t ask him what he’s doing around or that he couldn’t do that. Actually he looks unconscious but feels the need to ask about Yamakawa so we’re told he’s fine (Why did Seishiro wasted time checking on the policeman?) and then uses again the ‘you’ll make Hokuto cry’ line.
Personally I wished for something more.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 26th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Part 4
Final thoughts on all this? I hated the new characters. The whole of them. Yamakawa is probably the best but he’s not very noticeable, Nagumo is a jerk, Kazami is revenge set and that’s all (and changed her mind too easily at the end). The OAV devoted too much time to them when I would have preferred it game more space to Seishiro, Subaru and Hokuto. The plot itself isn’t particularly intriguing, the scenes are mostly variations of things we’ve already seen in the manga. The social element is very vague.
The guys’ interaction is nice and faithful to the original but it’s also nothing new and there’s too little Sei/Su (a glance and Seishiro picking up Subaru are a little too little for me).
It would have been a cool OAV if many more would have followed, as if it was the opening of a series, but only another one will follow. Considering the OAV was printed when the series was nearly finished (CLAMP had just posted on magazines all the stories that make up Vol 5), CLAMP knew TB was about to end. They could have used it to add additional background or to deepen some points of the plot, instead the story seems to be placed very early in TB, when Sei/Su interaction was still at the beginning.
It’s not a bad OAV but it could have been MUCH MORE BETTER.
rose_erato: seishiroxsubarurose_erato on December 27th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Re: Part 4
Sadly, the ova don't match up to the standards of the manga. Why spend so much time on the new characters when the original three have a fascinating enough story to explore? I wanted to see more Seishirou and Subaru interactions and Seishirou dropping hints about the bet.

Still, I agree with you that it isn't a bad ova, but yes, so much more could've been done with it.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on December 28th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: Part 4
Definitely and the second one made an even worst mess (although it has some RELLY good moments). Oh it would have been fine if they planned to make many more OAV, kind of like a series but like this it feels rather pointless... -_-

Yes, exactly. And it's so sad this and the other OAV are all we have (and they did an even worse job with the live movie...)
CherriRinicherririni_chan on January 4th, 2011 03:22 am (UTC)
Well, the OVA's aren't the best. At all. They need way more of Seishirou and Hokuto... but despite their flaws I'm still rather fond of randomly showing them to people I know. (Yes, I know that that's a strange thing to do XD)

I can't watch the first one without thinking. "I need more Sei/Su... I need more Sei/Su."

I won't go into it into too much depth, but I will bring up my favourite moments.

I kind of found it sweet how we got to see Seishirou, Subaru and Hokuto sitting around and just kind of being normal.(well, as normal as they can be anyway.) I have to admit that I also kind of like the main plot of this OVA, but I don't like it in this context. And the part with Nagumo trying to kill/hurt/whatever Subaru was a bit of a mess. And I also kind of wish that they hadn't re-used a bit of the manga plot in it. (the dog thing) I mean, either stick to the manga or do something completely new. make up your minds XD

Seishirou has awesome driving skills, doesn't he? I find it funny how Subaru doesn't seem to be at all startled by his crazy driving XD

The end was really the only remotely Seishirou/Subaru part it , and it was kind of sweet. I also love seeing Sei-chan go all Sakurazukamori mode animated

Sorry for the lateness of this. Busy time of year for me.
J.J. Blue: SxSjjblue1 on January 5th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
Sadly yes. I think they needed a plot focused on the main cast. Even Subaru gets too few screentime.
They can still be watched and more or less enjoyed but really, I was hoping for much more from them. This OAV merely shows us the group dynamics we saw in the manga animated (though it barely touches the SeiSu part) while the other has a couple of more explicid SeiSu moments and shows us Sei&Su first meeting. End of the story.
If they were to cut all the extra footage we won't really watch much...

Yes, the OAV failed completely in handling what we can call 'the battle scenes' and handling the bad guys. -_-
I agree but it coul be we've CLAMP to also blame for this. The Live Action was purposely based on Call due to their own choices so it's possible they also decided to base the OAV on other episodes (which I find stupid but...)

Seishiro's an amazing driver! LOL Subaru likely is used to it! Though I would have liked to see Subaru's face the first time Seishiro drove like that!

Don't worry, I'm also often late!