Babel II (Babiru Ni-sei) 1992
This is a fast-paced action OVA based on the 1971 manga.
It’s also the second of three adaptations of the source material, with a longer series in 1973 and a thirteen episode release in 2001. Here however, the OVA compresses the storyline pretty hard, rushing through events across four episodes.
Like a lot of early J.C Staff productions the budgets weren’t high compared to the current climate, and so you’ll see lot of repeated shots (especially in the final episode), pans across stills and other cost cutting techniques but it is interesting to see a show hold on to the 1970s aesthetic. It was also nice to see the really hard lines used for some of the freeze frames.
I also found it fun that a range of psychic abilities were the main aspect to the hero and villains’ powers and the action sequences, as it’s an area of speculative fiction that’s fallen well out of fashion I think. Again, due to the focus on battles and at first, some intrigue, Babel II isn’t one to watch if you’re seeking a lot of character development – though Juju does get a chance to evolve.
Elsewhere, I’d have loved some more variety when it came to the sound design because woah, the electricity/psychic-force sounds quickly grew abrasive for me. I think if you’re a fan of 1990s OVAs or more so Mitsuteru Yokoyama (Tetsujin 28-go, Giant Robo) then maybe take a look if you’re curious. If you’re after a more measured adaptation then I think the 1973 series would be the way to go.