38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Thoroughly enjoyable, haunting and thought provoking!
Nov 09, 2007 reviewed by Iolantha
First off, in order not to mis-lead readers and fans, I must point out an error in another review: this series DOES NOT feature KAMUI from 'X'. The main protagonist is SUMERAGI SUBARU.
Tokyo Babylon, a sort of prequel to 'X' or 'X/1999' as it is known in the U.S., details the relationships between Subaru and his friend Seishiro, and Subaru's sister, Hokuto. Subaru is the 13th heir to the Sumeragi clan, a family of Onmyo (spirit mediums) who have long been providing their services to the rich and powerful, besides anyone else needing them, in the country. Subaru deals with the troubled - ghosts and the living alike - with kindness, compassion and heartbreaking patience.
The stories start off with an almost light-hearted flavor. Hokuto charms me with her whacky sense of fashion, free spirit and her devotion to both her brother and their friend, veterinarian Sakurazuka Seishiro. Through the cases Subaru takes on, our attention is subtly brought to such issues as bullying in school, child abuse, the lure of cults, pollution, and various other social problems of the modern era.
Being a Yaoi fan, I was at once supporting Hokuto's cause and rooting for Subaru and Seishiro to get together, at least when he gets older, or to be morally correct, when he turns eighteen - he's fifteen or sixteen (sorry, I could not be exact - someone borrowed my set) at the start of the series. As the story develops, we are thrown some tasty baits to ponder about: Hokuto suspects and hints about the possibility of Seishiro himself being an heir to a powerful clan of assassins. For me, this animal-loving, considerate, amiable, helpful, caring man, practically flawless (his perfection might possibly be his flaw) man (quite the looker too!), positively was THE No.1 draw to the series and the reason I gave this five stars.
I bought the series for the sole reason of learning more about Subaru's and Seishiro's shared past after watching 'X' - Seishiro is my favorite character in that series as well as in Tokyo Babylon.
Adding to the intrigue is Subaru's hazy, recurring dream of a childhood memory of a mysterious encounter with someone beneath a cherry tree. The seemingly carefree, day-to-day interactions between the pair of siblings and their good friend camouflage the sometimes darkly disturbing events that ensnare Subaru during his assignments. Clamp's stories invariably center around fate and its inevitable tendency to twist, thereby playing havoc with people's lives and emotions.
If you're terribly soft-hearted and empathic like me, along with the laughs at Hokuto's and Seishiro's antics, and Subaru's endearing clueless charm, be prepared to cry a little. A helpful warning: if you're looking for happy endings, don't pick this series unless you're certain you can handle tragic endings.
All in all, I found this series to be truly captivating. It left me reflecting and pondering about a lot of things. The vignettes detailed by the intrepid Subaru's cases, as well as the unexpected developments and changes in the friendship of the protagonists, haunted me and drove the following point home to me: we can never assume or know for certain what really goes on beneath the surface and within the secret recesses of people's minds.
Iolantha also recommended: Hokuto and Seishiro, X,
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