Alternative title: The Big O
Director: Kazuyoshi Katayama
Original Creator: Hajime Yatate
Storyboard: Kazuyoshi Katayama, Akihiko Yamashita
Character Design: Keiichi Satou
First Aired: Season I: March 2 2001 Season II: August 3 2003
Genre: Mecha, Science Fiction
Age: All (But best enjoyed at a mature age)
Since Cartoon Network played such a major a role in the production of this series it’s only respectable that I mention them
English Director: Lia Sargent
Executive Producer: Ken Iyadomi
Production Company: Cartoon Network
Paradigm City, the city of amnesia, a city with no memories of its past, a city surrounded in mystery. Yet, the people of Paradigm City find themselves bound to that past, even though they try to move on, the city becomes a prison were they are mere puppets on a stage. What does all of this have to do with giant robots, you ask?
Within the city lives a negotiator, a negotiator by the name of Roger Smith. Roger works as a negotiator for the city, every once in while he gets a call of someone that requires his services. One day he gets the call that a scientist’s daughter has been kidnapped, and that Roger needs to act as the mediator between the parties, to see that everything is carried out successfully.
Becket, master criminal, is holding the ‘daughter’ of industrialist Miguel Soldano hostage, and is demanding ransom. Roger goes in to make the proper transactions and return Soldano’s Daughter to her father. Becket, being the sly fox that he is, uses an android as a decoy that Roger mistakes for the real Soldano’s daughter. Becket and his goons run off with the money and a smile on their faces. It seems the great negotiator isn’t that great after all. Roger returns home only to find R. Dorothy (the android) at his house, after much dialog Roger and Dorothy work a system where Dorothy will stay with Roger and he will be her bodyguard—it’s a rough world out there for girls, even if they are made out of steal. Roger and Dorothy decide to go to Soldano’s factory. When they arrive they meet not only a dying Soldano but Becket and his goons. Soldano’s daughter isn’t a human, but rather a megadeus (a really big robot) by the name of Dorothy One; which Becket has stolen and is sending on a rampage in the city. Well Roger isn’t without surprises either, for he too is the proud owner of a Megadeus, Big O. Roger climbs into his seat, and the battle over the city begins. Naturally, Big O kicks Dorothy One’s metallic arse. The city is safe to sleep another night.
Well if you think that this series is just another giant robot-smash city-hero kind of anime, you are so wrong. This series only gets better…
You can discredit the first three episodes as junk really; it’s during episode four when Roger meets Schwarzwald, that things really starts to get interesting.
Roger was hired by the Paradigm Corporation—the agency that runs the city—to retrieve information on a certain reporter, a reporter that has an obsession with the time prior to when everyone lost their memories. The Paradigm Corporation has a vested interest in keeping the secrets of the past theirs and theirs a lone. However, when Roger reaches the apartment of Michael Seebach, he realizes that Seebach is no longer there; however, all of his material and notes are.
Roger isn’t given enough time to go through everything, before the room is caught on fire. Roger jumps out the window, and thanks to his handy dandy watch, he saves himself from a messy doom—yes, his watch does have a grappling hook. On the building adjacent to Seebach’s is Schwarzwald standing there, he gives Roger a message for the Paradigm Corporation, something Hallmark might want to make a card out of. This confrontation with Schwarzwald sparks something that grabs you the viewer, and it posed some questions that you wanted answered like, what happened forty years ago? Why did everyone forget? Is Paradigm the only city left, the last stand post of human civilization left? Who is Roger’s tailor? o_O
Unfortunately, this was originally a 13 episode series, so those answers were left to the imagination of the viewers in a cliff-hanger….Blah
Luckily [Adult Swim] picks up this series again 2 years later.
Season two is even more addictive than the first. This time around the entire city is being threatened by outsides known as the Union. Agents for the Union have infiltrated Paradigm city and are all over the place.
Roger is now probably doing things he didn’t sign up for. The truth behind Paradigm City is unveiling. What happened forty years ago is on the verge of happening again, and Roger Smith is right in the middle of all of it.
The word “memories” comes up a lot in Season II, because it was believed that everyone forgot their memories; however, it turns out that some people still have remnants of the past. These memories are considered more worthy than gold as it’s the only thing, those who want to know about the past, can gain access to the past from.
While more and more cases of memories are popping, the union is making advances on the city. It seems that they want to take over Paradigm, because it’s the only place with where memories and the past in general, seem to appear. Those in the Union want the memories to be their own, not just the people that run the Paradigm Corporation. The Union is using other megadeuses to basically destroy Paradigm City, especially the domes.
Where’s Roger in all of this, you say?
He’s doesn’t do much negotiating any more, instead Roger is saving Paradigm city from utter destruction. With megadeuses attacking the city, Big O seems to be the only one fit to take them out. All the while Roger is finding out more about Paradigm past, and realizes the role he played in it.
Roger’s life as a simple negotiator won’t ever be the same, as the mystery behind Paradigm City will finally be revealed.
Roger is going to have to push himself to the limits; not only to protect the city from other megadeuses, but also to be able to accept the truth about his own existence.
His entire life changed when he met R. Dorothy, and he finds himself falling in love with her, even though she’s a robot.
Roger’s past, like everyone in Paradigm City, is a mystery; throughout the series he uncovers more and more about his role in Paradigm City forty years ago, which surprises even him.
He is very calm and sophisticated, but even he loses his cool sometimes–especially when R. Dorothy plays depressing piano music first thing in the morning. He was a cop, but left the force after running into trouble with Dustan years back.
Roger suffers some flashbacks from the past right before the incident happened, what these flash back mean are still a mystery to Roger. Roger Smith thinks he’s just a regular guy with a giant robot, but he will soon find out that his role in what is Paradigm today is beyond his own imagination.
R. Dorothy Weinwright
Created by the brilliant Dr. Weinwright, R. Dorothy is the android that fell in love with a human. R. Dorothy, being a robot, as a hard time showing emotions. Meant to only be a decoy, she comes much more to Roger, and in fact to Paradigm City. *I smell I secret* Dorothy becomes Roger’s unofficial partner, saving him several times. Roger and Dorothy begin a relationship, although Dorothy upon several times confessed her love for Roger, she’s still waiting for him to respond.
Roger’s butler, sort of like Alfred from Batman, Norman does much more than dust furniture. He’s also the main repairman for Big O, and with Roger’s tendency to smash into buildings he’s going to his hands full. Norman cares for his employer although with the stone cold face of his you can’t tell.
Major Dan Dustan
This guy is stressed out, especially with Roger popping in with Big O making a mess of the place when leaving him to clean up the mess. Roger and the Major use to work together, but Roger decided to go his separate ways. Major Dustan only concern is making sure that the city is still there in the morning. The only memory he has of his past was a movie he saw when he was kid.
Master criminal, he gets sent to jail by Roger several times, but still manages to get back out. He considers himself Roger’s rival—although he’s the only that thinks so, he always after Roger somehow. Despite Beck’s low success rate he isn’t to be underestimated he’s quite intelligent and handiness with machines. Beck knows that R. Dorothy is important to Roger and is also Roger’s weak spot.
Angel goes by many names, and her real intentions are never quite fully known. Angel real objective is to gather information from the Paradigm Corporation. Yes, Angel does work for the Union.
She does develop strong feelings for Roger Smith, but feels unnoticed because Roger shows strong feelings towards R. Dorothy as well, although Roger does have some feelings for her too. Angel is a tortured soul, her memories and her love both seem to be out of her reach. When Angel does find out who she really is the world won’t ever be same to her.
It’s my personal belief that Schwarzwald is Michael Seeback; I can’t prove it, but let’s just say I have a pretty good hunch. Anyway, Schwarzwald, like so many of the characters in this series, his intensions aren’t fully known. Believed to have died when Roger first destroyed Big Duo, Schwarzwald continues to haunt Paradigm City. He becomes a prophet, in a sense; he continuously speaks about the destruction and down fall of the city. No body knows where he came from, what he looks like, or why he’s doing the things that he does. Schwarzwald knows more about the city of Paradigm than he lets on, and mostly knows more than anyone else.
An agent in the union, Vera is obsessed with bringing Paradigm City down to its knees. Like Schwarzwald, Vera seems to know a lot about Paradigm City and the memories that lie hidden with in the city.
Another Union spy that has infiltrated the Paradigm Corporation. Alan Gabriel is Alex Rosewater personal assistant. Although Alan has upon several times has tried to assonate Alex Rosewater, Alex keeps him around due to the fact that Alan is part machine and human. Alan is a cold blooded killer and isn’t really on friendly terms with Roger Smith. Not much is known about Alan or what his real objectives are.
C.E.O to the Paradigm Corporation, Alex Rosewater holds Paradigm City in his hands. He considers himself above everyone else, and thinks they are nothing more than tomatoes. He considers Paradigm to his and his alone; the notation of outsiders coming in and taking over is absolutely ludicrous in his mind. He decided to resurrect Big Fuo to wipe out the megadeuses the Union sent to destroy the city; however, Big Fuo has determined that he is not the meant to pilot it.
He believes he is the only son of Gordon Rose Water, the man who single handily built Paradigm City; however, Alex true past is one he can’t accept.
Suspense. Suspense. Suspense. That’s all this show fills you with. Big O was definitely an interesting series to watch. While the cover of the story looks like another giant mecha anime Big O is so much more than that. Big O transcends from one genre into another. Season I and Season II were so different from each other, while season one tends to be more about Roger and Dorothy the second season is on a much bigger scale, and is more focused on Paradigm City as a whole.
Throughout the series the incident that happened forty years ago is always being brought over and over again; the show doesn’t give any answers to any of the questions you have, instead it gives you images and dialog and it let’s you come up with your own incident.
The characters are very in-dept in this anime, and the fact that they don’t have a past makes them even more interesting. The story behind Big O isn’t just Roger’s and Dorothy’s story, but Paradigm’s story. Towards the end of the series you get the feeling that every character in the show is merely playing a part of something much bigger and beyond what normal anime are about.
The fact that Cartoon Network, to be more specific [Adult Swim], decided to pick up this series again even though it didn’t do so well in Japan, worried me at first. I was Big O in the first season and I didn’t want to see them ruin it, but to many people’s surprise they didn’t mess it up in fact they made it better. All the elements from Big O Season I was just transferred into Season II; the addition of the Union was great as it helped push idea that the anime wasn’t so much about the character, but the world the characters lived in, how they are being haunted by the incident, and the whole notion of memories being important to us and individuals. Big O has all the necessary elements it needs to be a good anime. Although many are quick to compare Big O to Batman, while I’m not saying it isn’t, I think Big O has the ability to stand on it’s own two feet without it seeming to be a mere copy.
There’s a great story going on here, but it requires you to look beyond the fights between the megadeuses. The characters are amazing and they were full of surprises, towards the end of the series when you really start to see what happened forty years ago and what Paradigm City really is, well you couldn’t have guessed that was what it was. The animation was really interesting, the city had a very 1940’s gothic metropolitan feel to it; even though it was in the future, which mixed perfectly well the whole mystery tone that anime wants to present to you. Alright for the stuff you’ve been waiting for. Although Big O is a mecha style Anime, if that is you’re genre you might not like this series so much. Instead I would say this series is more aimed towards those that like suspense, mystery, with more focus on story and characters than battle scenes.
Alright guys, sorry for making you have to read all of that.