Babylon and the Coldness of Numbers

As of writing this post, I haven’t completed Babylon yet. But there is something intriguing about how it’s written and presenting its ideas. See, Babylon is a suspense story that continually gets more and more outlandish all the time. Our main character is Zen Seizaki, a public prosecutor. A guy that first starts out with investigating a new drug. Something which changes focuses a bit more than slightly to the politics forming from a new autonomous sort of country that wants to be experimental. All in a bid to see how those rules would change society itself.

So there are a lot of unique sorts of ideas and topics. Also, a very fascinating sort of what if scenario that Mado Nozaki, the mangaka, is interested in. At least that is what I have noticed from Babylon and Kado: The Right Answer. Both scenarios that put an alien element or object around normal human civilizations and see how it reacts. Something which I generally like in my fiction. What if scenarios are a lot of fun and are great thinking exercises for the author and us to watch happen and come up with our scenarios. Babylon is like that while going insane in a controlled manner.

Here is the thing that makes me question some of my thoughts on Babylon. Suicide. I am not sure how well Babylon is able to handle this idea at all. Does Babylon treat suicide seriously? Yes, it absolutely does. At the same time, the new suicide law of people being able to just committ without it being illegal is on front center stage. The implications of this law are being explored at the forefront of the election for the new city/country/whatever. Suicide is pushed to the point where it no longer has the same value that it does.

I say this because the word Suicide doesn’t feel like a concept known to people anymore. Ok, that isn’t true at first because Seizaki loses people to suicide in the first episode and further at that point. So on that level, suicide means so many things to him. But when you move away from Seizaki, suicide becomes a statistic. The suicide laws increases the already high suicide in Japan by 2.8 times. There is the initial shock of suicide with that human value and then it loses all of that dimension to it by just having news reporters quoting these statistics on screen. 

The whole show is very cold and clinical on a lot of its ideas. Something which I generally like, but I don’t think it should be approached in that same way towards such an important and heavy topic like suicide on the forefront. There is something I learned from my technical writing class about how numbers are presented when it comes to human lives for us to people looking at the media to see that cost. It’s very clunky if it tried to do all of that here. In general, I still enjoy Babylon though and I am interested to see what happens as it concludes all of its ideas there too.


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