Babylon – Episode 4 & Episode 5
When I started watching this episode, I suddenly felt under the impression that it looked very different from before! As if the animation and overall production quality of the show had dropped by a lot, but I didn’t let this turn me off, since what’s going on in Babylon right now is one of the most interesting and intriguing plots I’ve seen lately! I want to go where it’s going!!
So last week, the investigation continues. Itsuki still hasn’t come out of hiding and now the police are trying to find a way to charge him with murder. Seizaki is convinced that Itsuki has somehow convinced these 60 people to commit suicide and they’re trying to find how. There have been many incidents of suicides since the law was passed, but so far there’s little support from the overall population.
Most of episode 4 focuses on something quite interesting which is the legalities of the whole situation. It isn’t illegal for Itsuki to have passed that law and just passing it doesn’t make him responsible for the people’s deaths. How this suicide law compares to the laws of other countries regarding euthanasia is also quite interesting, because it might knock down the moral barrier against the law, even the characters themselves start questioning wether suicide is such a bad thing or not.
Starting this episode Seizaki also gets a partner and sort of assistant. She used to be a court assistant, so she’s very knowledgeable about law. Sekuro Hiasa is related to one of the vice-ministers and Seizaki is quick to mention this. I must admit that since Magase Ai’s talent was mentioned, I’m completely untrusting of any female character and Hiasa is not exception. She looks dependable and serious, but she could be Magase in disguise!
Itsuki also decides to make a second move, which is to create a poll in order for people to evaluate whether this law should continue to exist or not while people also vote for the parliament, but later as Seizaki and company review the clauses for the election, they find a few problematic sentences. Anyone would be able to register as a citizen of Shiniki in order to vote, there are no age requirements for either voting or running for the election and finally every candidate should establish their stance on the law of suicide, probably in order to determine whether it’s someone they should consider a friend or a foe.
One thing I appreciate about this show is how they show contrast between the ragged and austere lives of investigators versus the lavish lives politicians lead. This is particularly emphasized during the restaurant scene. They also show politics is a game of influence and tradition, even if Itsuki got lucky and won this time around, the politicians who set him up in that position may have the power to bring him down sooner than he expects. I think Itsuki may have his own strategy to counteract this, but time will tell.
One of the touching scenes of the episode is a video that became viral. It’s a video of a boy with a mask explaining that he has been trying to plead with his dad so he won’t commit suicide, but the dad still wants to die. Here I personally wonder whether it’s infringing on the rights of people to force them to keep on living even though they don’t want to, but well, it’s a situation akin to making crime in general illegal, most people wouldn’t do it, but it tries to deter the ones who would that aren’t completelyt evil or beyond help. Both investigators seem affected, even if it’s shown with a subtlety that it’s not common in this medium.
In the end their strategy is to try to find what the victims may have in common or if they may have met beforehand at some place where they were convinced or encouraged. This is with the purpose of creating a case against Itsuki. Tsutsui is tasked with finding where Itsuki may be while Seizaki finds out more information about Magase Ai. The pieces are still a mystery in many ways, but the case becomes more and more intriguing as it takes shape.
This week Seizaki and Hiasa travel to Kyoto to follow up on a lead that he found in the files he was given on Magase Ai. Her character is surrounded by a lot of mystery, but it’s also a situation that makes us wonder what she’s really like and how far her involvement in the campaign goes. They are going to visit her uncle who is a doctor and temporality treater her when she was in middle school.
His story is kind of bone-chilling, honestly. He sees her just as Seizaki does, as someone evil and dangerous. This also points back to the female as the dangerous. The hidden Fs inside Dr. Inaba’s files. Ai’s uncle mentions that although Ai holds his sister-in-law’s name, she was actually adopted and not related to him directly. He also narrates the story of how he began treating her. When she was in middle school, a group of students accused her of raping them, but she had only talked to them. The doctor couldn’t really understand why they were afraid of her or accused her of this when they all knew that there had been n contact between them, but they really felt this way about her. Her uncle explains that when he met with her to inteview her, he understood what they were talking about.
Here I sort of wonder if they’re going for a sort of nymph symbology like in Nabokov’s Lolita. The betwitching female who takes hold of the male and overtakes them completely… well, it seems to me Ai is a bit more intentional in her behavior, but I can’t really say for sure if she had always been that way or if she became that way precisely because she realized the kind of influence she had over male minds and bodies.
Either way, her uncle is very much traumatized by the whole experience. He feels poisoned and like he can’t overcome that moment in his life. He closed down his clinic after he stopped treating her and he even refrained from seeing her again. He admits that he only agreed to treat her because of wanting to see her, which is an ethical misstep and something that affected him terribly when she declared her treatment complete.
It’s still a bit nebulous to me how she can have this effect on some men and not on others, but I’m sure this will be mentioned in due time.
Later on Itsuki decides it’s also important to have a public debate among the candidates who plan to run for the parliament election and he promises he will be there at the debate too, which sends the police into overdrive looking for anything that could get them some charges to take him into custody.
While Seizaki and his team sort of how to divide tasks, he gets a phone call from Magase Ai from the phone of one of the investigators on Itsuki’s trail. As she tells him her dream of becoming a hero, he is utterly confused as to why she feels this way, but the team are more focused on trying to track down her location through the phone’s signal. In the end she ends up hanging up just after the investigator commits suicide by running into a busy road. A truck hits him and the episode finishes with him lying on the street and a lot of questions still unanswered. Let’s see what next week has in store for us!