Babel II (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Thursday, December 31, 1998
Release Date: Thursday, December 31, 1998
What They Say
Hidden psychic powers are unleashed in a reluctant hero who is transformed from a mild-mannered student into Babel II, a supernatural warrior who must battle an army of zombies led by a ruthless Magus. Based on the classic science fiction graphic novel, "Babel II" is a spell-binding journey into the heart of darkness.
A young man discovers that he has immense psychic powers, and begins his journey to learn of his place in the world. During the first episode, all I could think of was that this is just a variant on the X-Men theme. After that, it takes some not too unusual turns, but bears plenty of predictability, similar to the 8 Man After collection.
Created in 1994, and licensed in the U.S. in 1995 by Streamline, Babel II uses a slightly retro style (based from a manga maybe?) in terms of character design and especially hair and eyebrows. This isn't a bad thing, and is quite reflective of several periods of 90's anime. With a lot of those other anime though, they tend to try to tilt the preconceptions on its head and do something different. Babel II, unfortunately does not. It's predictable and fairly mediocre. While watching it, I kept wanting to get up and do other things. That's just a bad sign all around.
The audio on the disc contains both the Japanese and English (NO English Subtitles though - go get those scripts) and is pretty clean and clear. Not too much use of the full front soundstage, but there were some occasional throws to the rear speakers.
The video is nice and clean, not a hint of pixellation or grain that I could see. On the plus side, like Crimson Wolf, there were several brightly colored sequences and scenes that show off the transfer; not Tenchi show off, but still nice and solid nonetheless.
Packaged in the tradition snapper, the artwork is rather dull. From some of the end credits scenes, there looks as if there might have been some nice graphics that could have been used, but licensing issues probably precluded that, or since it's "just anime", the effort may not have been there. To me, it's not terribly eye-catching.
The menu is, in a word, functional. Play, scene access and language selection with a static background. Eh.
Overall, it's not a bad disc, but it's not a great disc. It's your run of the mill anime, that may have been better if it was true dual language. With the number of titles coming out in the next couple of months, it may be worth it to save your pennies for those instead of this.
Japanese Language,English Language
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Image Entertainment
Running time: 111
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Babel II