[[caption-width-right:350: ''Where else on earth do so many people enjoy their descent into destruction?'']]

->''"Do you love Tokyo? "''

''Tokyo Babylon'' is a seven-volume manga series by Creator/{{CLAMP}}. It had two {{OVA}} movie adaptations, both independent of the manga, and one LiveActionAdaptation which takes place some years after the manga. It's also a {{prequel}} of sorts to ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'', where the characters of Subaru, Seishirou, and Hokuto act the rest of their adventure and reveal their last secrets.

The year is 1990. The city is Tokyo, a busy megalopolis where people are caught in dreams, anonymity, loneliness, sadness and crushed hopes underneath the fevered rush for success and wealth.

Sometimes the high-pitched emotions and acute despair manifest themselves into ghosts and curses. Enter Sumeragi Subaru, 13th head of the Sumeragi clan and a 16-year-old ''[[UsefulNotes/{{Onmyodo}} onmyouji]]''. He uses his spiritual power and genuine compassion to help people, exorcise trapped spirits and undo maledictions. In this modern world, where nothing is truly black and white, this is hardly easy, especially because of Subaru's tendency to care too much for people.

His twin sister Hokuto is there to help him, to cheer him up, and to make him wear eccentrically fashionable clothing. Sakurazuka Seishirou is a (male) 25-year-old gentle veterinarian friend of the twins, who professes to love Subaru. Hokuto thinks that making them a couple would be a marvelous idea, even though - or maybe because - she believes that Seishirou is the mysterious Sakurazukamori, an assassin ''onmyouji'' said to protect Japan from the shadows.

The series mixes a mood of upbeat cheerfulness with dark social commentary and a deceptively naive tone.

!!Provides examples of:

* ActOfTrueLove: [[spoiler: In a platonic example, Hokuto does this towards and for both Subaru and Seishirou. Even while knowing Seishirou is dangerous, Hokuto knew from the start that Subaru would fall in love with him so she pushed the two of them together. When Seishirou's true nature is revealed and he shatters Subaru's heart, Hokuto [[HeroicSacrifice does this again]] when she takes Subaru's place so Seishirou will murder her instead of her brother. In ''Manga/{{X1999}} it is revealed that she also gave Seishirou both a LastSecondChance and a warning telling him that everyone deserves love and that if he ever tried to kill Subaru the same way he killed her, the death will be reversed and Seishirou would die by his own hand.]]
* AdaptationalWimp: The OVA series turns Subaru much weaker than his manga counterpart, not only making him less energetic, but also removing his hand-to-hand skills and most of his combat magic. His best cards in a fight are apparently just shikigami that ''peck'' at his enemy, which predictably almost get him murdered by a {{Muggle}} in the second episode.
* AmbiguouslyEvil: The Sakurazukamori clan receives this treatment to the reader's eyes. On one hand, the Sumeragi grandmother describes them as basically assassins for hire, and indeed, the only member shown is an apparent psycopath who claims to have clients behind his killings. On the other hand, Hokuto talks of them very highly, describing them as a group who protects Japan from the shadows just like the Sumeragi clan does openly. While this duality is not irreconcilable, it is never explained or even directly addressed in the series.
* AnAesop: The main theme of the series is that no one knows what's in people's heart, and no one has the right to judge others' pain and suffering.
* ArtifactOfDoom: In the pilot chapter, one of Subaru's jobs involves a Chanel suit possessed by the hatred of people (it came from a war zone) and the longing of the women that wanted it but couldn't buy it. It counts as a ClingyCostume since it couldn't be taken off until Subaru knocked the host down.
* BreakTheCutie: Poor [[spoiler: Subaru]] is easily the cutest character in the manga, and gets broken so bad he's still hurt several years later.
* CanonForeigner: The now more or less de-canonized movie gave Subaru a helper and driver named Shuhei Amano.
* CanonWelding: Like most of CLAMP's works, it's been tied to other works. It has a continuation in ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'' and a mention and possible connection to ''Manga/XxxHolic''.
* CherryBlossoms: Subverted in that they're mostly used for creepy effect.
* TheCity: For once, Tokyo isn't particularly the center of the universe.
* TheClan: Two of them, the Sumeragi and The Sakurazukamori. They have been around, serving the emperor and protecting Japan since the Heian period. [[spoiler:The Sakurazukamori is an interesting case, as it's actually a clan of one person.]]
* ComingOfAgeStory: A rather cruel example. Subaru (despite being 16 and mighty powerful) is still a child mentally, and with a black-and-white worldview in many aspects of human nature. During the series, he learns that he can't save everybody just by being nice and appealing to their better nature in many cruel circumstances to then [[spoiler:being betrayed by the man he learned to trust and love and losing his dearest sister,]] forcing himself to face the cruel reality and abandon his idealism.
* ContemplateOurNavels: One of the first Clamp series to do this. ''Manga/XxxHolic'' is in many ways its SpiritualSequel.
* CreepyCoolCrosses: Most notably on Subaru's clothes.
* CrossOver: With ''Manga/{{X 1999}}''.
* CrypticBackgroundReference: Various references to the "Bet", which is eventually explained in the end.
* {{Cult}}: A sect is featured in one of the "Save" case.
* DeadPersonConversation: Used several times. Of course, it is part of Subaru's job to have these, and he usually recognizes them for what they are.
* DestructiveRomance: One of the greatest examples ever.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler:Hokuto dies at Seishirou's hands, and it's not until ''X/1999'' that we truly learn the full implications of what she did]]
* TheEighties: Although set in the early nineties, the atmosphere is more reminiscent of the Eighties flavour - especially the official soundtrack.
* ElephantInTheLivingRoom: For the first volumes, the Sumeragi twins are living and hanging around with a man which is pretty much confirmed both out and in-universe to be their lethal enemy. They take no action only because one is in denial with the possibility and the other has really weird ideas about relationships. [[spoiler:Deconstructed at the finale, when even the latter acknowledges it ended in the only way such situation could end.]]
* EvilPhone: Features in one of the cases where girls who abuse magic chat and curse their victims through.
* EyeScream: Well, it's CLAMP. What did you expect?
** First case is in "Save", where a girl who gets bullied tries to stand up but gets stabbed in the eye for her troubles.
** Later, and more importantly, is Seishirou getting his right eye stabbed by [[TakingTheBullet getting in between]] Subaru and a desperate mother trying to get a healthy kidney for her sickly son.
* FlashbackNightmare: Subaru has almost recurrent dreams about meeting a teenager in front of a cherry tree as a child. [[spoiler:It's not a dream, it's a memory.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Book 3. [[Manga/{{X 1999}} Take a guess to what]].
* ForgottenFirstMeeting: Subaru meets Seishirou as he [[spoiler:[[CradlingYourKill cradles his kill]]]], and they end up making a promise. Years later Subaru only remembers this as a vague dream, and has little idea why Seishirou has suddenly appeared in his life as a suitor. Unfortunately the memory isn't a very happy one, once it's revealed.
* FunctionalMagic: Onmyoujitsu, mostly dealing with curses and counter-curses, kekkai (protective barrier), exorcism, maboroshi (illusion worlds), shikigami (spirit familiars) and other traditional spells.
* HalfIdenticalTwins: Despite being PolarOppositeTwins Hokuto and Subaru look almost the same.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: Hokuto]] pulls one at the end.
* IJustWantToBeSpecial: The girls who abuse magic have an unhealthy case of [[MsImagination Chuunibyou]].
* InvisibleParents: Subaru' and Hokuto's parents are explained to be alive and well by CLAMP in an interview; it's just that "they weren't necessary to the plot."
* KickThemWhileTheyAreDown: Done by [[spoiler:Seishiro to Subaru.]]
* KillTheCutie: [[spoiler:Hokuto.]]
* KlingonPromotion: [[spoiler:The Sakurazukamori's succession ritual is killing their predecessor. If [[Manga/{{X 1999}} Subaru's case]] is to be taken, then anyone who gets to kill the Sakurazukamori inherits the name and job, bloodline be damned.]]
* KungFuWizard: All the onmyouji in the series demonstrate martial arts training aside from magic. Subaru knocks a woman out with a karate chop to the neck at one point, and both he and Hokuto (as well as Seishiro) use hammerlocks to restrain people at least once each.
* LampshadeHanging: [[spoiler: Hokuto often inquires as to whether Seishirou is connected to the Sakurazukamori clan, and Seishirou follows up by immediately changing the subject - which Hokuto follows up by telling him he is changing the subject. To make sure we caught that, apparently.]]
* LoveEpiphany: After a chat with a blind man, Subaru discovers that he holds Seishirou in a higher position that even his sister and is he's only person in the world he doesn't want to hate him and was very scared that would be the case since Seishirou just lost his eye (and overtime, his eyesight) for his sake. All this allowed him to realize that he has fallen in love with Seishirou. [[spoiler:And just a few steps into Seishirou's hospital room right after, he suffers one of the biggest BreakTheCutie in the history of CLAMP.]]
* MildlyMilitary: The Sumeragi clan seems to enforce some military imagery, as Subaru is shown dressed in military garments when visiting his grandmother and she refers to non-magical people as "civilians" at one point.
* MonsterOfTheAesop: When people misuse magic, there's an underlayer of personal issues that often transmit some wisdom over people's troubles and how they deal with them.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Seishiro burns a ghost by summoning a fire spell from his regular lighter's flame.
* NoAntagonist: Despite [[spoiler:Seishirou's]] horrible actions towards Subaru at the final volume, it's clear that the real evil is Tokyo itself, as its bad influence on people was hurting Subaru way before that one man did. ''Manga/{{X 1999}}'', however, changes the picture a bit.
* OddlySmallOrganization: The Sakurazukamori clan is actually composed by a single member, who is even tasked with killing his predecessor after assuming his role. [[spoiler:Seishirou]] gives the explanation that the Sakurazukamori clan is symbolically formed by both the current clansman and his collaborators and clients.
* OminousLatinChanting: In this case it's ominous Sanskrit chanting.
* TheOnlyOneAllowedToDefeatYou: [[spoiler:Seishirou goes beyond the lines to keep Subaru alive, since he's waiting for the end of the "bet" to see if Subaru is to be killed or not by Seishirou himself.]]
* ParentalAbandonment - The only 'parent' is the grandmother, who lives in Kyoto. Subaru and Hokuto live on their own in Tokyo.
* RapeAsDrama: Midori, a schoolgirl who's so horrendously traumatized after being raped that [[AngstComa she falls into a coma]]. Subaru has to [[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind dive into her consciousness]] to rescue her.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines - Several cases were obviously inspired from recent or common society issues.
* ShoutOut: The series draws heavily from ''Literature/TeitoMonogatari'' and ''Manga/PeacockKing'', the first aesthetically and the second in characters (Subaru, Hokuto and Seishiro are softened down expies of Kujaku, Asura and Onimaru). In the very first chapter, Hokuto makes references to both series, and a ghostly SuperDeformed version of Yasunori Kato appears. Subaru's red military uniform is also similar to Kato's.
* SquishyWizard: The OVA version of Subaru. His manga self, on the other hand, is able to do some impressive CombatParkour.
* StarCrossedLovers: [[spoiler: Subaru and Seishirou.]]
* SympathyForTheDevil: A little [[spoiler:ghost]] girl's last message to Subaru before her departure:
-->''"Maybe people who do bad things...are just really lonely."''
* ThanatosGambit: As revealed in ''X/1999'', [[spoiler:Hokuto was pulling one of these when she left Seishirou kill her.]]
* ThemeNaming: All the main characters are named for stars and constellations.
* TokyoTower: Subaru's case in Chapter One involves the ghost of a woman who committed suicide, but liked the Tokyo Tower so much that her spirit stayed there.
* TwistEnding: Somewhere between TheUntwist and the WhamEpisode, [[spoiler: Sure, ''everyone'' was expecting for Seishirou to be the Sakurazukamori, but few would expect his reasons for sticking around and the amount of cruelty he displays.]]
* UnfinishedBusiness - Usually only requires a visit from Subaru the traveling psychologist.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue - One of the Annex chapters.
* WillTheyOrWontThey - Will Subaru succumbs to Seishirou's advances as Hokuto urges him?
* WindsOfDestinyChange - Horribly played with and possibly [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructed]] in the first OAV, where [[SmugSnake Shinji Nagumo]] uses his supernatural luck to cause several accidents... of which he comes out unscathed, but his co-workers and superiors come out ''dead''.
* TheWorldTree - A rather ominous cherry tree where [[spoiler:the Sakurazukamori buries his kills.]]
* YamatoNadeshiko - Grandmother Sumeragi is an older, harsher version.
** Mirei from the OAV is another, with PsychicPowers to boot. [[spoiler: So was her mom. Who pulled an HeroicSacrifice to save her daughter's life and help her and Subaru catch a SerialKiller.]] Also, [[spoiler: her love interest and local male HotLibrarian Miyazaki is a RareMaleExample, to the degree that he's [[WildMassGuessing speculated to be]] the one that would inspire characters like [[Manga/CardcaptorSakura Fujitaka]] and [[Manga/{{X 1999}} Aoki]].]]
* YouAreTooLate: [[spoiler:Subaru realizes his true feelings for Seishirou just the day Seishirou declares that the time is up and Subaru lost the bet.]]