This volume brings Tokyo Babylon to it’s conclusion. Not so much Subaru’s story (that continues in X/1999), but it does bring this series to a conclusion. So how well does it bring it to that conclusion?
Title: Tokyo Babylon Vol. 5
Written & Illustrated by CLAMP
Translated by Ray Yoshimoto
Retouch and Lettering by Junemoon Studio
Originally Serialized in Shinahokan’s Wing Magazine
Available from Amazon.com
Well, it all comes down to this. The time has come for Seishiro to collect on his “bet” with Subaru. A bet that Subaru doesn’t remember making, and one in which Subaru’s life lies in the balance.
The High Points
This has a hell of an ending. I certainly got the impression from earlier on that Seishiro was a bad person. However, I can’t say that I really saw how much of a sociopath he really was until this volume (particularly the first of the Annex chapters). To be honest, it’s the kind of ending that got me into anime and manga in the first place.
The Low Points
While a lot of the loose ends get tied up, there’s still one giant loose end left hanging related to the one spell that only Hokuto can cast. I’ve heard that it gets tied up in X/1999. However, it’d be nice to get a little information about that before the series wrapped up.
There are a lot of animals here which died messily (Seishiro uses his veterinary clinic to shunt any negative effects he’d experience from the spells he casts onto the animals he should be treating[/spoiler), plus some bloody death, particularly with Hokuto.
Originality: I haven’t really seen a manga have a conclusion like this before, where the final confrontation is spiritual in almost every way, with little to no visible physical payoff – even less visible physical feedback than in, say, The Exorcist. 5 out of 6.
Artwork: This volume has the best artwork of the entire series in every respect. The backgrounds are better. The layout is fantastic, the artwork for the characters is excellent. 5 out of 6.
Story: The conclusion isn’t totally satisfying, but coming in knowing that we do get some continuation (and hopefully some closure), does give me some satisfaction. 5 out of 6.
Characterization: Finding out Seishiro’s true nature is a heck of an chunk of character development. Also, the character development we get for Subaru in the Annex chapters after the time skip is fairly impressive – we learn a lot about the character and how he’s changed over the years in one chapter. 5 out of 6.
Emotional Response: This wasn’t quite a gut punch, but it was pretty darn close. 5 out of 6.
Flow: 6 out of 6.
Overall: The conclusion for the series was definitely satisfying, and possibly one of the most satisfying conclusions to a manga I’ve read in quite some time (better than Akira‘s and probably on par with the original Ghost in the Shell.) 6 out of 6.
In total, Tokyo Babylon Vol. 7 gets 37 out of 42.