Babel II Vol. #2 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: B+
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Media Blasters
  • MSRP: 29.95
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Babel II

Babel II Vol. #2

By Chris Beveridge     January 05, 2003
Release Date: November 19, 2002


Babel II Vol. #2
© Media Blasters


What They Say
As the mysterious organization, Hades, steps up its attack, Koichi taps into a new area of his own unconscious and summons the war machine, Poseidon. Made with the same otherworldly technology that was used to create the tower of Babel, Poseidon's unbelievable strength turns the tide in Koichi's favor. Hades switches strategies and attacks Reika with a strange vampric virus. Will Koichi be able to stop the virus without releasing too much of the power and losing his own personality?

The Review!
When a series starts out bad, you hope and pray for it to get better. At best, they often maintain the same level of awfulness. Babel II manages to barely do that.

Audio:
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Though the show only just ended airing in 2002, the show features a pretty basic stereo mix that doesn?t really take advantage of forward directionality all that much, though the music does a good job of giving things a nice full sound during the opening and ending. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and there aren?t any noticeable distortions or dropouts.

Video:
Originally airing in late 2001, Babel II seems to have gotten a pretty small budget as the shows animation feels very awkward and almost unfinished right from the first episode. The transfer is quite good here, showing through the nice color palette of the show and dealing with things such as sandstorms without any breakups. But the material itself just isn?t all that involving.

Packaging:
The front cover provides a solid looking image of a powered-up Koichi in the wind while you have the ominous look of the Poseidon behind him, helping to keep the cover very dark overall. The packaging makes out better than most by having the volume numbering not only on the spine but on the front cover. The back cover provides a number of animation shots and a good summary of what to expect. The discs episode numbers and production information is also clearly listed and the technical aspects are wonderfully listed in a great little grid at the bottom. The insert provides a listing of the chapter stops on one side while the reverse is just adverts.

Menu:
The main menu is a nice piece of mixed static animation and some flowing colored clouds moving through the background while Koichi is standing centered in front of the citadel as he glows blue and green. Music from the show plays during this as well. Access times to the submenus is nice and fast and moving around is quick and easy with a simple but effective layout.

Extras:
A couple of good extras sneak into this release, with the first being a nice textless version of the ending. The other extra is about two minutes of dub outtakes with a few of them being mildly funny.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a completely unengaging first volume, we had kept hope alive that we?d somehow get interested in the second volume and that things would pick up. Unfortunately, the status quo is maintained, barely, and we struggled to stay awake through the three episodes here. And thank god there were only three.

With all the main revelations about Koichi being Babel the Second and his coming to understand that behind us, things move further into the global view of the struggle between him and Yomi to achieve the big power that will allow them to rule the world. Yomi?s plans have gone forward nicely now with the Kraken machines he?s got that are disrupting the shipping industry all over oceans. But as luck would have it, Koichi?s strength is growing even more and he?s ready to truly awaken his third servant, the Poseidon under the sea. This leads to the usual awakening and mass amount of destruction sequences.

In an effort to bring things down to a more personal level, the next two episodes are more formally tied together. We get to spend more time with Reika as she?s now taken on the disguise of a coroner in some US city. This particular city is badly off, especially when the cop in charge of the body that was just discovered insists that it?s best to serve the devil since you know he?s listening. The body that was found, a young woman who wanted to be a star, is completely barren of any fluid, having been drained.

Reika works on the analysis in the lab when she realizes Koichi is there watching her. As she had expected, and him as well, that body was destroyed due to the D Virus that Yomi is working on as well, with his complete lack of interest in humanity in general. Both of them are fairly well impressed that the villain has more than one method to his plan of killing of people, but that?s neither here nor there since Reika has a date.

The date helps to actually flesh out her character a bit, as we get to see her some time ago in her military days and some of the painful incidents that have helped to define her character, if you can call any of these characters really defined. That past situation finds itself being related to the present, as the copy she?s dealing with reminds her of a lost love, and she finds herself not being quite as on-guard she should be when the bad stuff goes down, causing her to rely on Koichi again.

This all leads into having Koichi and Reika heading back to the Tower later on to recover, which allows Yomi and his minions follow them there in fighter jets, set to bring things tumbling down. There?s a lot of action in the final episode, though much like the rest of the series, it?s so awkwardly animated that at times you even question whether it really is animated or not.

Babel II is really just playing out by the book here, and lacks any of the real snap that a remake/continuation of a 70?s series should be like. For all intents and purposes, it?s like they?re making a show that would fit in the 70?s with its simple writing and simple animation. I haven?t heard of anyone enjoying this show yet, but if you are, then the disc itself is plenty solid and worth buying. But if you?re enjoying, be forewarned, there?s lots more of the same here.

Features
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Textless Ending,Outtakes

Review Equipment
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
begunia 11/27/2011 5:14:13 PM

Babel is great series!

1 

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