Knowledge and death both gather at the same place.
Babylon is a Japanese novel series written by Mado Nozaki. The anime adaptation released in 2019 under the same title.
We can find a lot of biblical references in the anime. Starting right off the title, Christian scriptures portray Babylon as a wicked city. As a result of its biblical imagery, Babylon transcends to be synonymous with sin and lust. Similarly in this anime, we could take suicide as a sin, sex symbol (Ai Magase) as lust and Shiniki City as the Babylon city itself.
It could be a coincidence but the Anime Babylon short-lived just like the city Babylonia itself.
Sex, Suicide and Shiniki
Shiniki is a special administrative zone for testing out new laws. In other words, a testing ground for nations. Just like Babylon in the Bible has been known for defying God. In the Anime, Shiniki commits blasphemy by initiating a new law. Right to choose death.
While humans tend to run away from death, the Shiniki City welcomes death. We always consider suicide as wrong and hopelessness. We by birth tend to have a love of life and fear of death as any animal does. Yet what differences us from the animals is that we have the knowledge to choose death. We try to stop suicide as much as possible but the anime makes us question if we actually have the right to choose for someone?
With such law, the question arises, now that suicide which is considered a sin is moral/good. What is evil anymore?
Twisted world’s love
But just because the right to die is accepted humans wouldn’t jump to death so what provokes the death in the anime is the existence of love, Ai. The love overpowers the fear of death.
Ai Nagase is the antagonist of the anime Babylon. Her name simply means, twisted world’s love. She’s ruthless and merciless. Magase as a sex symbol represents the Whore of Babylon. (The Whore of Babylon is a symbolic female figure and also a place of evil mentioned in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.)
Since sex is often used as a political tool, Magase controls or plays a vital role in the way politics shapes in Shinichi.
Magase with her lusty voice and sexual appeal makes people commit suicide, convincing them that ending their lives is “good”.
Ironically enough Ai, the love is shown as evil for provoking humans to die. She also has many disguises as the humans desire.
Kaika Itsuki wants to commit suicide so that he could give his heart to his son suffering from heart disease while little girl suicides to be reunite with her recently dead mother.
If the pure and beautiful love itself is evil, what is good anymore?
Good and evil of Babylon.
The whole anime revolves around the paradoxical debate about good and evil. What is the right justice? Could suicide be good? Could love be evil? What is good and evil anyway?
By the end of the anime, we come to know that universally good may mean “to continue” while evil “to end“. Why is love good? Because we want it to continue and why is suicide evil? Because we want it to end. So, could suicide be good and love be evil?
Yes, it could be. At the end of the anime we come in face to face to the scene from another great psychological anime “Monster” as the good of the anime, Zen Seizaki gets to shoot the evil, Ai Magase.
In the process of continuing to be good Seizaki ends up being evil. Since he ends someone’s existence. To end is to do evil yet he continues to let Magase live. To continue is to do good. He ends the good and lets the evil continue. He portrays the dualism of good and evil. To put simply, Yin and yang of justice.
With the well-written characters, good pacing, realism and intriguing plot undoubtedly Babylon is the hidden gem of the 2019. A thought-provoking anime which makes you question your own moral values.