Babel II Anime Review
Babel The Second
US Release By
4 30-minute episodes
1992-03-21 - 1992-10-21
What's In It
- Psychic Fighting
- Mass Combat Against One Guy
- Village Getting Sucked Into A Black Hole
- Lots of Psychic Powers
- Big Robots That Pop Out of the Ground
- Violence: 3 (significant)
- Nudity: 0 (none)
- Sex: 0 (none)
- Language: 2 (moderate)
After a mysterious accident, a young schoolkid follows two psychics to their high-tech hideout, where, after they try to kill him, he discovers that he possesses incredible psychic powers. After confronting a group of psychics bent on world domination, the boy escapes with the help of three guardians who appear out of nowhere--a robot the size of a building, a huge dragon, and a black panther who can turn into a puddle.
After his escape, the boy learns that he is actually Babel II--the successor of an alien who crashed on Earth centuries ago and attempted to construct a communications tower. This tower still stands, and contains technology capable of conquering the world. Now the world-dominating psychics and their leader have a major grudge against Babel II, and they have an army of kidnapped people brainwashed and given psychic powers to try and destroy him with.
Based on a '70s manga series by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, Babel II (as in "Babel the Second") is old-style anime with the classic "ordinary kid develops super powers and saves the world" plot.
One might expect a little inner conflict when this kid finds out he's the successor of an alien who's been dead for several thousand years, but he doesn't seem to have any problem with leaving home to go live in a tower in the desert and protect the world from marauding psychics.
Babel II's minions are the most fun, hearkening back to that wacky, innocent era: a huge dragon, a giant robot (that looks a lot like Gigantor and has a penchant for popping out of the ground or a nearby body of water at dramatically appropriate moments), and a normal-sized black panther-thing, that for no apparent reason can transform itself into liquid form. These critters repeatedly burn, crush, and cut up hordes of cannon-fodder brainwashed psychics. Of course, Babel II's incredible psychic powers seem pretty sad since every time he starts to have problems his giant buddies show up and wipe out armies of baddies to save his butt.
There also doesn't seem to be an issue with killing hundreds of people who, as far as we've been told, are just poor schmucks off the street who were fixed up with brain implants to give them psychic powers and a desire to kill the hero. After watching him kill umpteen hundred bad guys, I even started to feel sorry for world-dominating villains whose only plan is to keep throwing expendables at Babel II, hoping that he just might get tired enough that they can overrun him. Besides getting boring after a while, it doesn't seem very heroic (or fair).
The art in Babel II is old style, and not particularly good, and the generic character designs aren't any better. The animation is consistent, but not noteworthy, although there's certainly a lot of action.
Basically the only interesting things in Babel II are yet another weird explanation for Bible stories and an ambiguous relationship between Babel II and a misguided psychic on the opposing side. It's mediocre, but lots of psychic action and a handful of interesting plot twists keep it from being a complete bust.
The Perfect Collection is the four OAVs stuck together without credits. It's a bit jumpy as a result--in one cut, for example, we go from a desert battlefield to an encounter in an apartment several thousand miles away with no transition at all. This shouldn't be confused with the newer TV series "Beyond Infinity" (or the much older TV series, for that matter).
Notes and Trivia
The story started life as a manga series by Mitsuteru Yokoyama, which was adapted into a three-season TV series in the early '70s. The OAVs are a very compressed retelling of it. There is also a much newer TV series, Babel II: Beyond Infinity.
The Babel II: Perfect Collection is just the four Babel II OAVs stuck together without the in-between credits.
Available in North America from Image Entertainment on dubbed (only) DVD as a "perfect collection". This DVD is identical to the earlier dubbed "Perfect Collection" VHS release from Streamline, who also released the series on four individual dubbed VHS volumes. Streamline is now out of business and of course the tapes are out of print.