Tokyo Babylon



Tokyo Babylon is a shōjo manga series created by Clamp. In 1991, it was made into a two-part anime OVA series. The OVA series was directed by the then up-and-coming Kōichi Chigira, and the character designs and animation direction were handled by veteran animator Kumiko Takahashi. There was also a live action movie entitled Tokyo Babylon 1999 made in 1993, which has never been released in the United States. The English manga has been licenced by TOKYOPOP. The OVAs are now available in the United States in both DVD and VHS.

The plot is told in a series of substories, 2-3 per volume. While it begins with a monster of the week approach, with somewhat independent running chapters, the plot gradually becomes continuous and backstory is introduced. The focus throughout the manga is on the development of the characters and the relationships between them.

The main characters are the onmyouji (lit. "yin-yang master", also translated as spirit medium or shaman) Subaru Sumeragi, his twin sister Hokuto Sumeragi, and the veterinarian Seishirou Sakurazuka. The plot involves Subaru and Hokuto protecting Tokyo from spirits by exorcising them, aided by Seishirou's somewhat subtle interference. It also involves Seishirou's love for Subaru and the development of Subaru's reaction to it; from rejection through acceptance to a growing romantic attachment; until the tragic twist in the final two volumes.

The OVAs are similar in content to independent stories taking place in the middle of the manga series. The second OVA gives hints toward the overall plot line.

In terms of plot timeline, the live action movie takes place after the ending of the manga and before the beginning of X.

Even though the story has an ending, it is still a rather open-ended conclusion that allowed for the possibility of more story to be told. Based on early artwork found in the Tokyo Babylon Photographs artbook, which showed older and more mature versions of Subaru and Seishirou with the text Tokyo Babylon 1999 behind them, speculation has long existed in the fan community that the plotline that would eventually become X had its routes in a direct sequel for Tokyo Babylon. Ultimately, X became a separate story which incorporated ties to several past CLAMP manga rather than being a direct sequel, and neither Subaru or Seishirou appeared for a significant length of time in the manga. However, in the fifth tankōbon of X, a direct reference to Subaru was finally made, at last establishing the link. From this point in the manga on, the story and characters "crossed-over" into X, which is set 9 years after the events of Tokyo Babylon. Thus, the unfinished business between Seishiro and Subaru continues as they cross paths again and it is suggested that even the events in Tokyo Babylon are something long foreordained by destiny.

The mystery that was left by Hokuto concerning her special "power" was also explained in X in volume 16. Considering that the last volume of Tokyo Babylon was published in 1993 and X volume 16 was published in 2001, CLAMP has managed to keep the mystery a secret for nearly 8 years before revealing the answer.



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