Tokyo Babylon Vol. #02 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: TOKYOPOP
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 172
  • ISBN: 1591828724
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Tokyo Babylon Vol. #02

By Mike Dungan     November 19, 2004
Release Date: July 01, 2004

Tokyo Babylon Vol.#02

Creative Talent
Translated by:Ray Yoshimoto/Alexis Kirsch
Adapted by:

What They Say
In his quest to protect Tokyo from the spirits, Subaru drifts off to the dream world where he encounters Mitsuki, a mysterious childhood friend with a painful secret. Meanwhile, Subaru's twin sister, Hokuto, tries to help a girl who is in need of something very important - a friend. This volume of Tokyo Babylon is a search for truth from the surface of sleep to the depths of our strange, beautiful world.

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Subaru Sumeragi, 16 year old master of the Sumeragi clan of Onmyouji or mystics, is summoned to his grandmother's home where he is warned to be wary of the Sakurazukamori clan of Onmyouji, who are assassins who work behind the scenes. He decides it's better not to mention that Seishiro Sakurazuka is constantly hanging around and occassionally hitting on him. These sorts of complications he just doesn't need. Once home, he gets a new assignment. A 16 year old girl has fallen asleep and hasn't awoken in 4 months. When he arrives, he recognizes her as a childhood friend who hurt him when he was younger. He enters her dream world, only to discover she dreams about them as children, and she has no intention of waking. She has suffered a terrible, traumatic experience, and now lives in her dreams to escape the pain. With a little surreptitious help from Seishiro, he's able to break through to her and help her begin to heal.

Meanwhile, Subaru's twin sister Hokuto is spending an evening walking around Shinjuku when she sees a young woman being harrassed by a couple of men. She jumps to the girl's defense and they escape. It turns out the girl is a gaijin, or foreigner, and the men are police. She's in illegal immigrant working in a club, and the place was just busted. She ran, and just as the cops were about to arrest her, Hokuto jumped in. They spend the rest of the evening alternately running from the police, and getting to know each other.

CLAMP's early masterpiece, Tokyo Babylon, continues with the twins each getting a chance to show more of their personality. Both are great stories, but it was Hokuto's story I found the most interesting. It's rare for the Japanese to speak about how they view foreigners, so this particular story was very intriquing. Hokuto's highly unique look on life was also very refreshing.

Mokona Apapa's art is stunning. It was created early in CLAMP's professional career, and as such will be rather surprising to those who may only know them from much later stories. But it's beautiful in it's own right. The use of contrast and screentones to bring out the dreamlike quality of the stories works to great effect. The style is simple and straight-forward, with an enormous amount of black.

There a few pages of color at the beginning, including a fold-out. All honorifics and Japanese naming conventions are retained, which is another very nice touch. No sound effects are translated, but a page by page sound effects index is included in the back of the book, as well as a glossry of Japanese terms. The art reproduction is very good, especially for Tokyopop. The screentones in particular look very good with not moiring that I could detect. The cover is an image of Subaru in yet anohter of his paramilitary uniforms, holding a flag. It's all in yellow and black and is very arresting. It's clear Tokyopop is trying to do right by this book which should make CLAMP fans very happy.

Tokyo Babylon is one of CLAMP's most beloved titles, and this volume goes a long way to explaining why. The art and story are beautiful, with important issues being dealt with frankly. It's strongly recommended.


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