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Title (English) Big O, The
Title (Japanese) The Big O

book cover

Fantasy Novel

Classification -
Synopsis The two main characters are Roger Smith, a so-called "Negotiator" (might as well just call him a trouble consultant and be done with it) and Dorothy, his android companion. The two of them aren't what you would call compatible, so they share a cordial but strained relationship.
Review One of the important keys of this interesting series was the relationship between Roger and Dorothy. It might be considered as a budding love between human and android. The interests toward humanity and android has been the eternal theme for Japanese.
I hope to keep watching it and enjoy the 'cool' stylish art of the world of The Big O. I love it!

The Big-O is still in the character development phase, but I was very moved by the episode 6. Immediately it reminded me of Astro Boy. The tragedy of man-maid exsistance, a robot. I have noticed that I have started loving Dorothy, a bitter critcizing beautiful android girl... Yajima Akiko is doing a great act! (CALCI)

Today I received the final three DVD volumes of the Sunrise/Wowow series from last year, "The Big O" :
Volume 5 - Bandai Emotion BCBA-0392, 48 min.
Volume 6 - Bandai Emotion BCBA-0393, 48 min.
Volume 7 - Bandai Emotion BCBA-0394, 48 min.
Fortunately, I was able to arrange my evening to get three hours straight on the Hi-Def TV, turned down the lights and enjoyed the remaining half dozen episodes of this remarkable and entertaining series.
I never cease to be amazed at the Japanese preoccupation with the issue of "human versus machine" in the sense of what distinguishes a human from a sentient humanoid machine. Most of the anime series based on this theme that I've seen have either been farces ( "Banno Bunka Nekomusume" and "Handmaid May" for example ), maudlin looks at "innocent love" ( for example, "Steel Angel Kurumi" ) or both ( for example, "Saber Marionettes" ). The fembots in those shows may be super strong or have other powers, but they are usually na´ve to the point of idiocy.
"Big O" is a refreshing change from that approach to the formula, with R. Dorothy being intelligent, complex and enigmatic. Dorothy is very clearly robotic under her beautiful features, but at the same time so achingly human. On the contrary, Roger is na´ve, foolish and often pompous. This lends itself to the subtle and poignant relationship between the two main characters, with Dorothy being a lot more aware of the connection than Roger is, which leads to the true dramatic tension in the series. ( Also I'm a sucker for a well done story of unrequited love. )
Add to the captivating characters a "wheels within wheels" underlying plot behind the story lines, the stylishly retro look and the great sound track and this is a series that I can't rave enough about. "Big O" is an intelligent, adult adventure/mystery/sci-fi series of the sort that you find too rarely in anime or elsewhere. I will definitely be joining the legions of fans who are imploring Sunrise and Wowow to continue or at least finish this series.
(Dave Baranyi)

Last night I watched the first seven episodes of "The Big O", which was originally shown on the Wowow Japanese pay satellite channel last Fall. I didn't follow the series at the time it was broadcast because it was being shown at the same time as "One Piece" and I didn't really care for the advertisements for the series. The ads seemed to imply that the "Big O" was simply another "Giant Robo" show. But I kept on seeing raves from fans who did see the series, so a couple of weeks ago I decided to take the chance and order the first 4 DVD's for the series from CD Japan. At first glance, "Big O" does seem to be simply a compilation of a number of standard anime themes: - Giant Robots fighting - A mysterious post-apocalyptic civilization - Fembots But the show is much more than the sum of its parts and captured my attention and imagination from the first moments. First of all, the show is done in a very stylish "retro" manner, and looks and feels like a cross between "Arsene Lupin" and "Batman", with sizable doses of 1940's-style film noire thrown in. Then there is a well done jazz-based background score. Next you have an almost familiar but fundamentally strange setting. Finally you have some marvelously subtle characterizations. And it's the characterizations that really make this series, particularly the interplay between Roger, the "Negotiator" and Dorothy, the mysterious android girl who takes up with Roger. Dorothy is the central thread holding the series together - unlike other "fembots" in so many recent series, Dorothy is neither na´ve , dumb nor depressed. Instead she is bright, observant, confident, talented and so much more human than Roger imagines at all. One of the many great scenes showing this occurs at the end of the third episode where Roger comes in and sees to his great surprise Dorothy very skillfully playing a lively blues piece on the piano. Dorothy is getting right into the song and is swinging her body in time with her hand movements until she notices Roger, at which point she sits her body straight and turns her head to speak with Roger, all the while still playing on without missing a note. Roger is the "dull one" in most of his scenes with Dorothy because he constantly underestimates her. This scene is no different and Roger asks in a rather condescending tone why Dorothy is "playing the blues". Dorothy plays on while replying with a deadpan face that "she feels like it". Roger is taken aback and doesn't know how to react to this very human response from what he considers just another robot. The scene ends with a shot of a trashcan containing the torn up card of "Angel", the mysterious blond who occasionally asks Roger to do some work for her. It is obvious from the set-up of that scene that Dorothy is the one who tore up that card and threw it away. The producers of the DVD's also obviously realize the mysterious attraction of Dorothy - each disk has a special "Dorothy Menu" which leads to a screen which allows the viewer to go directly to the beginning of each scene in the episode that contains Dorothy. The details on the first four DVD's are as follows:
The Big O - Volume 1 - Bandai Emotion Video - BCBA-0388 - 25 min. - 3,800 Yen
The Big O - Volume 2 - Bandai Emotion Video - BCBA-0389 - 48 min. - 5,000 Yen
The Big O - Volume 3 - Bandai Emotion Video - BCBA-0390 - 48 min. - 5,000 Yen
BTW - each DVD contains a really detailed 16 page booklet with illustrations, explanations and other details that fill in the background to the show and it's strange world.
Right after watching episode 7 I logged into the CD Japan site and ordered the final DVD's for the series as well as the soundtrack CD. This is definitely a series that I will have to finish and watch more than once. (Dave Baranyi)

The opening of the Big-O was only valid for Japanese audience. It was a homage for Ultraseven, a legendary Japanese SpFX series, and any Japanese can notice it immediately, but nonsense to US audience. (CALCI )

Episodes 13
Release US:DVD
TV Showing See the whole series for free? This series may be syndicated to regional cable, satellite or terrestial TV stations. For Europe click here.
Date 1999
Production Sunrise, WOWOW
References & Help Look up the latest data on this title at:
Richard Llewellyn's Animated Divots, or, or
Anime News Network (see Encyclopedia section) ,
or in "The Anime Encyclopedia" (Clements & McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press, 2001).
Help & further information.



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