The Big O

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ISBN 4-575-29579-5) was published by Futabasha in 2003. The book contains full-color artwork, character bios and concept art, mecha sketches, video/LD/DVD jacket illustrations, history on the making of The Big O, staff interviews, "Roger's Monologues" comic strip and the original script for the final episode of the series.

Audio drama

"Walking Together On The Yellow Brick Road" was released by Victor Entertainment on 21 September 2000. [40] The drama CD was written by series head writer Chiaki J. Konaka and featured the series' voice cast. An English translation, written by English dub translator David Fleming, was posted on Konaka's website. [41]

Video games

The first season of Big O is featured in Super Robot Wars D for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The series, including its second season, is also featured in Super Robot Wars Z , released in 2008. The Big O became a mainstay of the "Z" games, appearing in each entry of the subseries.

Toys and model kits

Bandai released a non-scale model kit of Big O in 2000. Though it was an easy snap-together kit, it required painting, as all of the parts (except the clear orange crown and canopy) were molded in dark gray. The kit included springs that enabled the slide-action Side Piles on the forearms to simulate Big O's Sudden Impact maneuver. Also included was an unpainted Roger Smith figure.

PVC figures of Big O and Big Duo (Schwarzwald's Megadeus) were sold by Bandai America. Each came with non-poseable figures of Roger, Dorothy and Angel. Mini-figure sets were sold in Japan and America during the run of the second season. The characters included Big O (standard and attack modes), Roger, Dorothy & Norman, Griffon (Roger's car), Dorothy-1 (Big O's first opponent), Schwarzwald and Big Duo.

In 2009, Bandai released a plastic/diecast figure of the Big O under their Soul of Chogokin line. The figure has the same features as the model kit, but with added detail and accessories. Its design was closely supervised by original designer Keiichi Sato. [42]

In 2011, Max Factory released action figures of Roger and Dorothy through their Figma toyline. Like most Figmas, they are very detailed, articulated and come with accessories and interchangeable faces. In the same year, Max Factory also released a 12-inch, diecast figure of Big O under their Max Gokin line. The figure contained most of the accessories as the Soul of Chogokin figure but also included some others that could be bought separately from the SOC figure, such as the Mobydick (hip) Anchors and Roger Smith's car: the Griffon. Like the Soul of Chogokin figure, its design was also supervised by Keiichi Sato. As well, in that same year, Max Factory released soft vinyl figures of Big Duo and Big Fau, in-scale with the Max Gokin Big O. These figures are high in detail but limited in articulation, such as the arms and legs being the only things to move. To date, this is the only action figure of Big Fau.

Reception

The Big O premiered on 13 October 1999. The show was not a hit in its native Japan, rather it was reduced from an outlined 26 episodes to 13 episodes. Western audiences were more receptive and the series achieved the success its creators were looking for. [8] [43] In an interview with AnimePlay, Keiichi Sato said "This is exactly as we had planned", referring to the success overseas. [18]

Several words appear constantly in the English-language reviews; adjectives like "hip", [27] "sleek," [44] "stylish", [45] "classy", [32] and, above all, "cool" [43] [45] [46] serve to describe the artwork, the concept, and the series itself. Reviewers have pointed out references and homages to various works of fiction, namely Batman , [25] [47] Giant Robo, [24] [32] the works of Isaac Asimov, [26] [27] Fritz Lang's Metropolis , [24] James Bond, [48] and Cowboy Bebop . [49] [50] But "while saying that may cause one to think the show is completely derivative", reads an article at Anime on DVD, "The Big O still manages to stand out as something original amongst the other numerous cookie-cutter anime shows." One reviewer cites the extensive homages as one of the series problems and calls to unoriginality on the creators' part. [51]

The first season's reception was positive. Anime on DVD recommends it as an essential series. [48] Chris Beveridge of the aforementioned site gave an A− to Vols. 1 and 2, and a B+ to Vols. 3 and 4. [26] [52] [53] [54] Mike Toole of Anime Jump gave it 4.5 (out of a possible 5) stars, [24] while the review at the Anime Academy gave it a grade of 83, listing the series' high points as being "unique", the characters "interesting," and the action "nice." [55] Reviewers, [24] [48] [54] and fans alike, [8] [10] agree the season's downfall was the ending, or its lack thereof. The dangling plot threads frustrated the viewers and prompted Cartoon Network's involvement in the production of further episodes. [10]

The look and feel of the show received a big enhancement in the second season. [56] This time around, the animation is "near OVA quality" [57] and the artwork "far more lush and detailed." [43] Also enhanced are the troubles of the first season. The giant robot battles still seem out of place to some, [51] [58] while others praise the "over-the-top-ness" of their execution. [46] [55]

For some reviewers, the second season "doesn't quite match the first" [59] addressing to "something" missing in these episodes. [51] Andy Patrizio of IGN points out changes in Roger Smith's character, who "lost some of his cool and his very funny side in the second season." Like a repeat of season one, this season's ending is considered its downfall. [60] [61] Chris Beveridge of Anime on DVD wonders if this was head writer "Konaka's attempt to throw his hat into the ring for creating one of the most confusing and oblique endings of any series." Patrizio states "the creators watched The Truman Show and The Matrix a few times too many."

The series continues to have a strong cult following into the 2010s. In 2014 BuzzFeed writer Ryan Broderick ranked The Big O as one of the best anime series to binge-watch. [62] Dan Casey host of The Nerdist's Dan Cave stated The Big O was the anime series he was most eager to see rebooted or remade, along with Trigun and Soul Eater . [63] In 2017, Ollie Barder of Forbes wrote, "From the classic and retro styled mecha design of Keiichi Sato to the overall film noir visual tone of the series, The Big O was a fascinating and visually very different kind of show. It also had a fantastic voice cast, with probably the most notable of these being Akiko Yajima as the voice of Roger's disapproving android Dorothy." [64] In 2019, Crunchyroll writer Thomas Zoth ranked The Big O as his top 10 anime since the 1990s. [65]

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References

Notes
  1. パラダイム・シティ, Paradaimu Shiti
  2. 記憶喪失の街, Kioku soushitsu no Machi
  3. 何か, Nani ka, lit. "Something"
  4. ロストメモリー, Rosuto Memorī
  5. パラダイム・ノイズ, Paradaimu Noizu
Citations
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The Big O
Big o.jpg
Cover art for The Big O Complete Collection North American DVD release by Bandai Entertainment
THE ビッグオー
(Za Biggu Ō)
Genre
Created by Hajime Yatate
Kazuyoshi Katayama