Babel II Vol. #3 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C-

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  • 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: 29.98
  • Running time: 75
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Babel II

Babel II Vol. #3

By Chris Beveridge     March 03, 2003
Release Date: February 25, 2003

Babel II Vol. #3
© Media Blasters

What They Say
Deep in the desert, Babel the Second has finally confronted and defeated the evil Yomi. Without their master, Yomi?s troops scatter throughout the world. Leon, once right hand to an empire of evil, ends up wounded and lost in the jungle.

Rescued by Aira, a simple village girl, Leon begins his quest to find the Golden City. His first challenge is the Guardian Predator, a massive android that can shrug off his psychic attacks. In order to succeed, Leon puts his loyalties to the side and teams up with Babel the Second.

The Review!
Moving fast into the second half, things actually pick up slightly here and my mind doesn?t feel quite as numb afterwards.

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.

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.

The front cover here is a bit more action oriented with a leaping Koichi being the primary focus set against a blurred image of Loplass? head. 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.

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.

A few extras make it into this volume, with some production sketches showcasing some decent black and white conceptual artwork as well as two minutes worth of mostly accidental dub outtakes.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the first half of the series left us fairly underwhelmed, I was admittedly curious to see what they?d try to do to top themselves. Not surprisingly, they?re continuing to play this show by the book.

The disc picks up where things left off, which means the big battle at the Tower with Yomi?s forces going at Koichi and those around him. Koichi?s continuing to get his butt handed to him as the numbers in general are taking down his support, such as Loplass and Rhodem. Poseiden, now in the game as well, takes the brunt of the damage as the fighting goes on here, causing Koichi?s link with his ?help? to leave him close to death.

This is when Yomi himself decides to strike, but with Koichi being the strong Babel incarnate that he is, he manages to face Yomi one on one. Since there?s such a long standing issue with Yomi, we learn through Koichi via the original Babel that lives within his spirit that both Yomi and Koichi are two sides of the power, Yomi the darkness and Koichi the light. And as always, while there may be overwhelming darkness, the light always wins.

Right by the numbers, you can see how their final battle plays out. Yomi, the original big bad villain here, is merely the early foil. The true big bad villain turns out to be Leon, which isn?t much of a surprise considering that most shows have the villains be similar in many respects. While Yomi is off battling Koichi, Leon ends up deep within the Tower and ends up making some powerful discoveries. When he finally gets out of the Tower and finds the battle over, he quickly assumes control over everything.

His goals then become the focus of things, as he starts searching for something that Yomi?s fellow cohort Enki had worked on some years earlier, a device that will allow him to destroy the world entirely. Through flashbacks to Leon?s youth we continue to see the abuse he suffered as a young child, giving him the necessary motivation to want to destroy everyone and everything. With him on this new venture, which takes him to South America, Koichi finds himself getting wrapped up in it again and takes off after him, along with the assistance of the UN chick whose sole purpose is to provide some sort of good female character here, as well as potential love interest.

The animation in the show does fair better here than earlier episodes and looks less, well, crappy, than it did back in the beginning. It?s a little closer to more traditional material, but still has a very digital feel with its layering and color scheme. The plot on the other hand continues to be telegraphed so far in advance that you could almost figure it all out from the first episode, never mind this far in. It?s not horrible, but it?s just so painstakingly simple and obvious that you keep checking your watch to see if you?re closer to being done, since you know where it?s going.

With a line like that, it?s obvious this isn?t a recommendation unless you?re a complete Babel junkie or just haven?t seen a lot of anime in general.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Production Sketches,Dub 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.


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