Producers say they have lost faith in Tokyo Babylon 2021’s animation studio.

A lot of media releases have gotten delayed during the pandemic, so Tokyo Babylon 2021, a reboot of creative team Clamp’s Tokyo Babylon franchise, getting pushed back from its original April 2021 release wouldn’t have been such a shocker if the cause had been teleworking logistics hiccups or a key staff member needing to take time off to quarantine. The actual reason, though, turned out to be something much more unexpected: the discovery that two of the anime’s costumes were copied from preexisting fashion and doll accessory designs, as were the poses in the associated key artwork.

Tokyo Babylon 2021 character design comparison

The similarities were first spotted back in November, and involve protagonist Subaru, wearing white robes and purple hakama pants seemingly copied from a Volks-brand doll outfit, and Subaru’s twin sister Hokuto, dressed in attire obviously modeled on an ensemble worn in a promotional photo by a member of Korean idol unit Red Velvet.

Tokyo Babylon 2021’s production committee responded to the discovery by postponing the anime’s premiere while they looked into the matter, and now they’ve gone one step further by canceling the series outright, posting a message on its official website that says:

“After the recent discovery of incidences of plagiarism by the animation production company, the Tokyo Babylon 2021 production committee comprehensively reevaluated the project. As a result, we were disappointed to discover other instances of plagiarism beyond the two character costumes that had been initially pointed out.

We deeply apologize for this oversight.

Following repeated discussions, the production committee no longer has trust in the current production company and does not believe production can continue, so we will be halting production of the Tokyo Babylon 2021 project.”

The production committee has not specified what the newly discovered instances of plagiarism were, but assuming that they also involved character costumes, rectifying the problems could have been an expensive, time-consuming process. While individual anime characters tend to have more extensive wardrobes than their Western TV cartoon counterparts, most still have a few key outfits that are used for the bulk of the series, and with hand-drawn animation, redesigning a costume can sometimes be akin to redesigning a character. More importantly, though, the producers have lost faith in the “animation production company,” a veiled reference to Osaka anime studio GoHands, which was taking point on the project.

Tokyo Babylon 2021’s official website has been reduced to simply a top page with the project logo and cancellation statement, and even the previously posted preview video has been taken down.

However, even if faith in GoHands has been lost, the same isn’t necessarily true for hope that Tokyo Babylon will eventually get a TV series reboot with a different studio, as the cancellation statement goes on to say:

“We wish to offer our deepest apologies to Clamp, everyone who loved the reginal Tokyo Babylon, who had been looking forward to Tokyo Babylon 2021, who had been rooting for its success, the voice cast that was scheduled to be involved, and all other partners who were contributing to the project.

The production company will make sincere efforts to deliver a newly produced version of Clamp’s wonderful work Tokyo Babylon as soon as possible, and we ask for your continued support.”

Starting over from scratch means that there’s likely little chance of the series debuting this year, so if and when it does debut, Tokyo Babylon 2021 might need a numerical adjustment to its title. On the plus side, though, a clean slate means that maybe whoever the next designer is will keep those crazily dynamic wide shoulder pads from the original series.

Source: Tokyo Babylon official website via Jin, Anime News Network/Lynzee Loveridge
Top image: Tokyo Babylon official website
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where his favorite Clamp character is still Umi.