The art deco-influenced backgrounds and simplified character designs give this series a look that's closer to Warner Bros.' Batman than to anime series like Gundam Wing. The Big O begins with a premise similar to A Wind Ca... more »lled Amnesia: the inhabitants of Paradigm City somehow lost their memories 40 years ago. Since then, they've struggled to survive in the half-ruined metropolis. Dashing Roger Smith, who looks a bit like Pierce Bronson, is officially a negotiator who handles difficult situations, but he's really a covert superhero. Like Batman, he's fabulously wealthy, and his car and wristwatch are loaded with deadly gadgets. But when the going gets tough, Smith summons the Big O, his giant "Megadeus" mecha to slug it out with other robots. His butler, Norman, and Dorothy, an automaton girl, assist him in these endeavors. At times the cool palette, saxophone music, and suave-but-tough-guy dialogue suggest the filmmakers are trying to capture the noir tone of Cowboy Bebop. But the rather superficial Smith lacks Spike Spiegel's underplayed intensity, and director Kazuyoshi Katayama can't match Shinichiro Watanabe's visual panache. The Big O will appeal primarily to kids who are fans of the Batman and Superman television series. The Cartoon Network started playing the series in 2001 in an edited format. This edition (featuring the first four episodes) is rated 13 and up for minor profanity, occasional suggestive humor, and mild violence. --Charles Solomon« less
Andrew Tatnall | Plaistow, NH United States | 04/20/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Big O recently started showing on Cartoon Network's Toonami afternoon block of action cartoons and is already a hit. If its art and animation style remind you of Batman: The Animated Series, that's because the same animation team is responsible for both series. There are also plot similarities, especially in the main character--freelance negotiator Roger Smith in a rich playboy/hero role reminiscent of Bruce Wayne--and his helping butler Norman. Adding flavor is Dorothy, an android modeled after a deceased young girl. Her dour expression and monotone voice never change, yet she still conveys some very human qualities in her growing affection for Roger, who takes her on in the pilot episode as his partner.The show's snicker-inducing title comes from Big O, a giant robot Roger calls to aid him in his battles. The story takes place in Paradigm City, the last city left on Earth after some unknown cataclysm. All of the city's inhabitants mysteriously lost their memories 40 years ago, and the episodes are set against a theme of the citizens having come to terms with their lack of a history.The mood is dark and depressing with a lot of wah-wah bluesy music, but the show is gripping and has interesting characters and plots. I highly recommend giving it a try."
Ilse von Hoffmanstahl | California | 09/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just adding my two cents to the great reviews already here!I saw this series when it was broadcast on Cartoon Network a few years ago, and I was hooked on it from the first episode! I'm not usually a fan of big robots that duke it out in the streets, but the characters and the visual style of this anime really drew me in. I'm a big fan of Art Deco (same reason I liked Batman: The Animated Series, which shares some of the same production staff), and this series is loaded with it, from the buildings, to the vehicles, to the film noir feeling that pervades the entire series.Roger Smith is probably one of the smoothest cats in anime, yet even he gets blindsided every now and then by questions from his unflappable robot maid/ward/royal pain in the keister, R. Dorothy Wayneright. Case in point: Roger and Dorothy are investigating the kidnapping of the son of a prominent Paradigm industrialist (in the episode, "Beck Comes Back"). Discussing the son's parents, who met after losing their memories in the Event, Dorothy says she has two questions for Roger. The first one is, "Does losing your memory really make you that lonely?" Roger says it's a tough question to answer, but makes a go of it, then asks Dorothy what the 2nd question is. "Forget it," she says. "If you thought the last one was tough, this one is worse." Dorothy is damaged in the battle to retrieve the industrialist's son, and Roger asks Norman, his capable butler, to take care in repairing her so she can ask the question...and what is the question? "If you and I lost our memories, and we met, would we fall in love?" That one renders Roger speechless...There are many such moments, as well as ones that speak a little too close to home, such as the dangers of genetic manipulation, nuclear holocaust, and evil that disguises itself as benevolence. Luckily there is a second set of 13 episodes to help answer some of the questions raised by the first season! The voice acting is well done (you'll hear familiar voices if you're a fan of Cowboy Bebop) and the music is very cool. Enjoy!"
Most intelleigent, deep minded cartoon ever!
Tom Baker | Traverse City MI USA | 05/29/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This show will appeal to kids because of the excellent animation and robot battles, but it is of far more value to more mature minds, who can appreciate the religious allusions, symbolism, deep characterization, subtle yet epic plot line, and genuinely witty dialogue that this series displays. The voice acting is top notch and very well implemented. Roger Smith's wry nature plays incredibly well off the characters he is always around such as (though not limited to): 1. Dorothy: a girlish female android who is genuinely hurt by Roger's scathing comments regarding her "unfeeling" robotic nature. There is a certain ammount of romantic tension between these two, and Roger's uncertainty makes their relationship awkward. 2. Norman: a butler who pretends to agree with everything he says, with a genuinely sarcastic nature 3. Angel: a completely mysterious free lance agent, who is always crossing Roger's path. 4. Schwarzwald: an insane, suicidal maniac, who knows many secrets. I love how he and Roger interract, because it is only around this bandaged, ranting mad-scientist that Roger acts dead-pan and cold. Since they are rivals, its very interesting and realistic for Roger to hide his true emotions. It also makes a very stark contrast. The plot is too complex to explain here, so I will simply say that it has the best themes I've ever seen in a cartoon."
Nice touch with the mellow piano ballads
Ed | 12/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Can someone find out what is the name of the piano ballad used in the background as Roger Smith comments to Instro the robot on how well the piano has been well cared for ("not a speck of dust on it"). Instro said that his father left it to him. Instro also comments on how he loved to play for his father back in the day. It's also played from time to time by the sax, but I like the piano version better. "
Let the negotiations begin...
Erik E. Byberg | millbrae, california United States | 03/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This isn't Gothem. This is Paradigm City... A City of Amnesia, where forty years ago everyone lost their memories. Enter Roger Smith, a sauve yet straightforward individual. He is a Negotiator, a middleman hired to negotiate terms for two different parties. Once he takes a job he doesn't quit until it's finished. He's a man with his own set of morals. His "rules" he calls them, and he's one for sticking to the rules. An ex-cop with the Military Police, He lothes the "Job" and despises the coperation that spawned it. The MP's "Parent Company" and Paradigm City are one in the same. This corprate Megaopolus stinks of an old forgotten past, and The Negotiator is stuck right in the middle of it. With the help of his trusty butler Norman, a android girl named R.(Robot)Dorthy Wainright, and the "Megadues" a giant robot called "Big O" perhapes Roger might just be able to figure it all out.This isn't just an animated Noir film. And Smith isn't Bruce Wayne. The similarities end at their reserved cloths and fast cars. This series has got teeth. With plot twists that will leave you asking what's next. Great recuring charaters like the lovely Angle who is defintly much more than she seems. Great gagetry, Smith's sleek black sedan, the "Griffon" is a stylish rolling arsenal at Roger's command via remote wristwatch control. Great accompaning musical score. From the "Big O" theme to the soleful sax music used for incidental and panoramic scenes. Great dialoge and voice actors to boot. The scenes with Roger and Dorthy are some of the great ones. Dorthy is constantly exploring what is to be human, all the while pointing out Roger's shortcomings. Many in comic deadpan that will leave you laughing. Their relationship growing through the series. Finally I will say this. This series is definatly for people looking for something more than you average Saterday moring cartoon. This isn't kiddy stuff. This is thought provoking and mesmerising at the same time. -we have come to terms-"