“Are you not fond of Tokyo?”
Subaru Sumeragi is the thirteenth leader of his clan and a skilled onmyouji in Tokyo, a lively and dazzling city with a chilly atmosphere. Alongside his stunning twin sister, Hokuto, and his supposed love interest, veterinarian Seishirou Sakurazuka, Subaru uses his powers to resolve the supernatural issues affecting the people of Tokyo, both living and dead. (Yen Press)
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The premium collection edition of “Tokyo Babylon” is a highly coveted item for fans of manga, especially those who were first exposed to it through the talented female group called CLAMP. This version offers a chance for collectors to obtain content they may have previously missed out on or upgrade their existing collection with a newer, more refined edition. It’s important to approach this book with a sense of nostalgia, as the work of CLAMP may not have aged as gracefully as other beloved classics from the same time period.
CLAMP’s work, specifically “Tokyo Babylon,” seems out of place with its approach. The use of comedy, which mostly revolves around uncomfortable flirtations and references to sexuality, is not effective and feels immature. It is clear that the humor in this series is outdated and does not hold up well in comparison to other comedies from the 1990s. This serves as an example of how humor has changed over time.
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The writing in “Tokyo Babylon” cleverly taps into the emotions of teenage angst right from the start, with the question “Do you hate Tokyo?” However, beyond surface-level complaints that are common among city-dwelling youth, the content of the story lacks depth. This may have been fitting for the time it was written, but with the current focus on technology and global issues, the feelings of discontent portrayed in the story seem more self-centered than reflective. As a result, the overall tone of the story may come across as catering to goth teenagers in the 90s, which may not be appealing to most readers.
The book’s appearance appears to be influenced by the Visual Kei music genre, which although still exists, has decreased in popularity. This contributes to the feeling that the book may be outdated. However, for those who appreciate the era, particularly goth and glam styles, the fashion and visuals in the book will be highly enjoyable. The artwork is particularly striking in several full-page spreads, showcasing dark and romantic imagery. The design of the ghosts that haunt Tokyo also adds to the book’s gothic aesthetic with its eerie and unsettling vibe.
Admittedly, CLAMP’s work in the modern era feels out of place, and “Tokyo Babylon” is a prime example of this. Its humor is flat, the story seems honed on validating teenage awkwardness, and its artistic approach will only appeal to a specific fandom. Still, those with a soft spot for all those things will find the sleek premium collection release of CLAMP’s “Tokyo Babylon” more than agreeable. Essentially, to the right reader, this release and subsequent volumes will serve as a cherished addition to the collection.