Based on the novel series by Mado Nozaki, Babylon is a political thriller as it portrays what could happen if the outskirts of Tokyo (consisting of Machida, Sagamihara, Tama, and Hachioji) became something akin to a nation that is almost independent of Japan. One of the city’s top prosecutors is Zen Seizaki, who is motivated by his passion for justice as he must unravel a mystery that could shape the future! In relation to Babylon, what are some other anime out there that share some of its qualities for critiquing modern Japanese politics, unraveling conspiracies, and pursuing justice? Read our top 6 to find out!
Similar Anime to Babylon
1. Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 7, 2019 - Ongoing
Making its debut along with Babylon, viewers can also check out Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth. Based on the hit mobile otome game, Rei Izumi, a disgraced detective, is given a chance at redemption as she is assigned to become an evaluator for a newly formed narcotics unit known as STAND. STAND is seeking members from law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, and high society in order to fight drug-related crimes and it is up to Rei to determine if a potential recruit is worthy for the unit. What makes Rei unique beyond her motivation to redeem herself as a detective is that she is immune to a majority of drugs so if you try to knock her out with ammonia, expect to get your foot stomped (or your nuts kicked) instead.
Just like Babylon, Stand My Heroes largely deals with law enforcement and politics, but with an otome spin. Just like Zen, Rei is driven by a selfless sense of justice but can be blinded by it when it comes to looking at the bigger picture. Unlike Zen who has very little support, Rei has a solid cast of handsome men who encourage (or discourage) her from doing what she thinks is right. Though most of the supporting male cast members are repeated tropes of the genre, the anime does a great job of making them fit within the world and how they interact with Rei as they can either complement or conflict with her views in order to contribute to her development.
Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth PV
- Episodes: 22
- Aired: October 12, 2012 – March 22, 2013
In the not too distant future, Tokyo’s law enforcement can stop a crime before it happens thanks to the Sibyl System, which can determine an individual’s threat level by examining their psychological state. The department’s latest recruit is Akane Tsunemori, who joins for the right reasons. Upon learning the truth about the Sibyl System, it forever changes her views and she has to make a choice regarding whether to get with the program, or find a new job. However, with Shougo Makishima, one of Japan’s most wanted terrorists on the loose (who can also slip by the Sibyl System by exploiting a simple flaw), she has to make that choice soon.
While Psycho-Pass obviously takes a lot of influence from the works of Philip K. Dick (who wrote the novels that would pave way for the film adaptations of Blade Runner, Total Recall, and The Minority Report), it shares a lot of common qualities with Babylon. They both take place in a futuristic alternate version of Japan and both main characters not only have to enforce the law but confront internal corruption which could lead to possible career suicide. In terms of visuals, both anime apply a lot of dark hues since a majority of their scenes take place at night, which says a lot about the nature of not just the world, but the work of Akane and Zen in which they must confront injustice in the dark. Though Babylon isn’t as presentably dystopian as Psycho-Pass, its political environment does provide a dystopian vibe.
3. Higashi no Eden (Eden of the East)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: April 10, 2009 – June 19, 2009
On November 22, 2010, Japan managed to survive multiple nuclear strikes with no casualties. Since nobody claimed responsibility, the Japanese more or less let it go. A few months later, Saki Morimi goes on a graduation trip to the US, notably NYC and DC. During her visit to the White House, she meets a naked amnesiac who also happens to be a fellow Japanese national. Shortly after, they go to an apartment that conveniently happens to have fake passports and the man assumes the name Akira Takizawa. They return to Japan together and another missile has struck Japan. To make matters stranger, Akira’s cell phone has 8.2 billion yen in digital currency and as part of a “game,” he has to use that money to save Japan. If he uses that money for personal purposes, then he has to forfeit the money.
If you’re looking for something with mystery and political intrigue, then Higashi no Eden is another must-see. While its story may take things up a notch compared to Babylon, its mystery qualities are likely to captive audiences until the end. Babylon is a unique commentary on Japan’s present political state with how elected officials abuse their power, but Higashi no Eden is distinctively political with how it addresses the domestic issue of NEETs (meaning Not in Education, Employment or Training), which has plagued Japan for nearly the last two decades.
Eden of the East Trailer
Any Anime Like Babylon ?
4. B: The Beginning
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: March 2, 2018
In this Netflix exclusive, B: The Beginning masterfully combines sci-fi, the supernatural, and a crime thriller to make one of the streaming network’s most unique anime series. In the country of Cremona, a serial killer known as Killer B is on the loose and local authorities have no choice but to call unassuming detective Keith Flick out of reclusiveness in order to catch him. He is partnered up with Koku, another investigator who is a mystery himself and together, they must get to the bottom of the case!
While Babylon may not be supernatural like B: The Beginning, they do share many similarities for viewers of both anime to enjoy. Like in Babylon, B: The Beginning takes place in a fictional city-state but still takes influence from locations of the real world. Babylon uses Tokyo’s Western districts as the foundation of its setting while Cremona takes influence from Western Europe with its landscape and architecture. In addition to using city-states as their settings, the anime is entirely built around mystery. In both respective series, it’s not simply solving the mystery, but getting justice for victims which is the ultimate reason why we recommend this anime for Babylon fans.
B: The Beginning Trailer
5. Zankyou no Terror (Terror in Resonance)
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: July 11, 2014 – September 26, 2014
Brought to you by Shinichiro Watanabe (the creator of Cowboy Bebop, Space Dandy, and Carole & Tuesday), Zankyou no Terror tells the story of Tokyo being destroyed by a terrorist attack. So, who devastated Tokyo and why? The masterminds happen to be two high school boys who go by the names Nine and Twelve in order to “wake up the world.”
Compared to Babylon and most of the anime listed here, viewers pretty much know who did the deed and why. The audience is given both points of view from Nine and Twelve and the authorities who are pursuing them. However, what makes Babylon and Zankyou no Terror similar is how they’re contemporarily political, but in different ways. In the case of Babylon, it’s obviously a critique of the modern structure of how those in power can easily abuse it as opposed to serving the people. As for Zankyou no Terror, it’s an analysis on post-World War II Japan but also deals with government corruption but in a different manner than Babylon (which we won’t get into due to spoilers)
Terror in Resonance Trailer
- Episodes: 74
- Aired: April 7, 2004 – September 28, 2005
Based on the hit manga by Naoki Urasawa, Monster presents the tale of how a successful brain surgeon’s good intentions led to the worst of unintended consequences. What is this choice that we’re talking about? At the beginning of Monster, Dr. Kenzou Tenma is presented with two patients who require immediate surgery and he’s the only one with the skills to save them. One patient is a poor little boy who has a bullet in his head, and the other is the mayor who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Going against the pleas of his superiors, he chooses to operate on the boy who manages to survive. As for the mayor, he unfortunately dies. As a result, Dr. Tenma loses his pending promotion and his fiancee. As the series progresses nine years into the future, that little boy becomes a psychopathic killer and Dr. Tenma pursues the killer in order to stop him.
It is undeniable that both Monster and Babylon deal with different settings, but they do deal with similar themes with very different approaches. Monster is a political thriller but takes a more external approach to it in comparison to Babylon’s internal viewpoint. Johan, the boy who becomes the killer, is the product of some Cold War Eastern European experimentations and as a result, Monster also explores themes of responsibility when it comes to things such as killing people. Is the individual to blame? Or should society be more sympathetic because they may have been a product of their upbringing? Babylon does explore responsibility but with its own unique approach. When it comes to Zen, the responsibility comes from being a prosecutor who wishes to seek justice for not just his friend, but for the benefit of society. As for Monster, it comes from a different sense of personal morality since it all goes back to when Dr. Tenma originally saves Johan’s life at the cost of the mayor’s.
When it comes to the six anime we recommended for Babylon viewers, they all deal with political intrigue and mystery but in their own different ways. A lot of the political themes involved with Babylon and a portion of the anime we shared tend to be domestic in nature as it relates to Japan, but should be relatable to all viewers. For others such as Monster and Zankyou no Terror, they both address post-World War II themes that apply to Japan and the world as a whole. When it comes to the law enforcement side of things, every character in addition to Zen wants to do the right thing, but when they try, their superiors get in the way knowing that their pursuits will get in the way of their hidden agendas. In the end, their passions for justice prevail and these common qualities are why we recommend these six titles.