THE BIG O - - Special Review

Topic started by No_name_here on Nov. 26, 2012. Last post by sickVisionz 1 year, 9 months ago.
Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff

Well, full episodes of THE BIG O aren’t actually available for streaming online at the moment, but Sam’s continued excitement for the show has just got me too damn curious about it. Thus, I went for something a little unconventional this time and got a piecemeal impression of the show, cobbled together from the random Season 2 clips that are (legally) available online.

This isn’t a review. It isn’t even that great of a way to get a sense of a show. But what the hell - - we’re not bound by any rules here. And I know you lunatics to be open-minded enough to be up for reading even just some snap impressions of some promotional material what seems to be a modern classic.

Anyway, my most salient observation about the BIG O is that there’s a truly palpable sense of mood just oozing out of every frame in all these clips. I’m well aware that this was Sunrise’s sort-of spiritual follow-up to (or improvisational jazz-like spin on) BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, but these snippets honestly strike me more as some animated David Lynch pastiche. Indeed, Paradigm City seems to have more in common with ERASERHEAD’s vision of Philly (or perhaps DARK CITY) than Gotham.

Really, it might be the least anime-like anime series I’ve seen, just in the tone and texture of the animation. The rendering style is just so full, and yet still so free of any of the shortcuts and other lackings we so often recognize in anime and American toons alike. I watch these clips and wonder why more shows don’t look like this.

Actually, how about this…

Since we don’t have a proper review here, why don’t we flip the switch entirely. Why don’t you give me your reviews of this show? Am I being fooled by a handful of flashy promos? Or is the BIG O really something I should pull out all the stops to get a hold of, right away?

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Post by GokaiRed (159 posts) See mini bio Level 7

I'm probably not the best to describe this since i'm already a big fan and probably rave about it but yeah i think you should watch it at all costs! I'll just give it an Overview.

It's a Super Robo Mystery Noire, It has more in common with super sentai in some respect when it comes to the Mechs:P But where Gundam goes for speed and grace and almost acrobatic style fights the Big O is more slower being about power attacks to express how epic they appear. expressed with overly dramatic music. (It shares a small aspect with Gundam Wing I liked too but I won't spoil it)

It is a little moody but not in a bad way it's more like a backdrop for the harsh reality of the situation, The story is really good finding clues as to basically how the world ended with people having no memory, Androids and robots are almost treated the same as any human through the story (in fact there's a big WTF moment too). It has religion, social politics and quite a bit of whimsy. It's a bit less pretentious than other Anime with Androids or Cyborgs (except maybe the end but that's the big climax) with the "it's not what you are it's how you are" thing as well, and that's okay.

Don't pass it up.

Post by Fat_Magnum (2,493 posts) See mini bio Level 16
There is a distinct lack of Os in this article, big or otherwise. But this does, finally, give me a reason to think about considering the possibilty that I might watch a show again.
Post by sickVisionz (4,263 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

It's like Batman x Dr. Who with a robomaid cyber lady and mech fights. It also had one of the most lyrically poignant theme songs ever. There's also a lovely anime ending made with the usual belief that any show that's grounded in it's own fiction and doesn't completely jump the shark near the end is a bad show by default.

Post by YotaruVegeta (569 posts) See mini bio Level 12

Mecha Batman? What else do you need in an anime? It was so awesome (at least to American eyes) that it got a second season!

There are anime which I wont argue about too hard about concerning their quality, and ones I will defend to the death. Big O is in the later category. It's an anime that I cannot understand negative criticism for.

I wonder if they'll put it in rotation on Toonami.

Post by Username_Undefined (89 posts) See mini bio Level 12

@YotaruVegeta said:

I wonder if they'll put it in rotation on Toonami.

I really hope that happens.

Post by tristenkw5 (35 posts) See mini bio Level 6

Watching it as a kid...it seemed very dry. I was old enough to appreciate anime that weren't all action and stuff, but even for a mech show it was extremely...stuffy feeling. I probably shouldn't move the scale either way as a result, but I know I have no interest in going back to try to give it another shot at an older age. The pay off doesn't seem worth it.

I agree it had a striking style though.

Post by YotaruVegeta (569 posts) See mini bio Level 12

@tristenkw5: I don't know if I found it to be dry. More serious than a lot of anime, but there's a giant robot and these weird villains.

Post by zaldar (1,255 posts) See mini bio Level 15

mecha batman with an ending that doesn't do enough to explain what is going on and what the world is. I had no problem understanding eva and I enjoyed thinking about lain but this show was rather incomprehensible. It tried to do a good bit of meta material but it didn't pull it off well to my mind.

Post by RoninAutomaton (12 posts) See mini bio Level 11

The strength of the show is in its noir mood/style, some of the music, and the mechs. The end of the series, though not entirely out of left-field, goes for a profound resolution that falls short. I am on the fence about the Big O theme song's similarity to the main theme of the Flash Gordon movie (composed by Queen), even if it was meant as an homage.

Post by tristenkw5 (35 posts) See mini bio Level 6

@YotaruVegeta: I think the majority of the series is probably alright, but the back third is the dry part. And the fact that there are giant robots involved and I can still say that is my point. I remember the robot fights being ok to middling, and it had some memorable villains from time to time but most of them were one offs I think. All that gets thrown out the window for the whole "missing memories" thing though and it just loses any kind of pacing and excitement at that point.

But if asked, I wouldn't immediately tell people to avoid the anime, I would tell what I got from it while saying they might like it. I don't think it's fundamentally bad, it just wasn't enough for me personally.

Post by EamonBDoc (11 posts) See mini bio Level 6

The Big O, at least to me, is all about mood, settings and characters. It still follows the Monster/Robot of the week formula...every episode has a big robot or monster appear at the end, Roger has to summon Big O, and he generally wins at the end of each episode...but the monsters and robots are pretty interesting. I think Big O is a pretty unique giant robot in how Roger controls it and how it fights.The story doesn't really make any sense, and characters constantly allude to secrets and events that are never explained. Basically for the first series there isn't really an over arching plot to speak of, aside from a two-parter mostly each episode can stand on it's own. The animation is excellent, some episodes are OVA quality. All of the voice actors on the dub are pretty great. Roger Smith has a cool job, and cool gadgets. The soundtrack is outstanding. The show sets it's own pace. Like the main character, Roger Smith, it's stylish cool and collected. All of the designs are excellent, and the backgrounds are beautifully painted. The series is full of understated humor as well, it isn't super harrowing/depressing like Evangelion can be, although it does have some intense moments. I think the first 13 episodes are near perfect...the 2nd thirteen go deeper into nonsense territory, and I think the animation takes a dip in quality. The ending is pretty lackluster...but really they painted themselves into a corner. I watch anime more for the characters, animation/art and mood that for 'story' so I count Big O among my all time favorites.

Post by Om1kron (141 posts) See mini bio Level 7

@Username_Undefined said:

@YotaruVegeta said:

I wonder if they'll put it in rotation on Toonami.

I really hope that happens.

I thought it used to be in rotation on toonami, or maybe adult swim before they started coming up with their own shows. That's how I ended up watching it years ago.

Post by No_name_here (856 posts) See mini bio Level 11
Staff

@sickVisionz said:

It also had one of the most lyrically poignant theme songs ever.

What - - the one where they just keep repeating "BIG O" over and over?

@RoninAutomaton said:

I am on the fence about the Big O theme song's similarity to the main theme of the Flash Gordon movie (composed by Queen), even if it was meant as an homage.

HOLY SHIT! You're totally right! It sounds exactly like it!@EamonBDoc said:

The Big O, at least to me, is all about mood, settings and characters.

That seems about right.

@GokaiRed said:

I'm probably not the best to describe this since i'm already a big fan and probably rave about it but yeah i think you should watch it at all costs!

Don't pass it up.

Maybe I should shake Sam around and see if a BIG O DVD set falls out of his pocket.

@Fat_Magnum said:

There is a distinct lack of Os in this article, big or otherwise. But this does, finally, give me a reason to think about considering the possibilty that I might watch a show again.

That's what we aim for....!

Post by sickVisionz (4,263 posts) See mini bio Level 24
Moderator

@No_name_here: I like to think that the chanting O's represent Roger Smith's struggle to find out who he is and what his role is in the world. Every repeating O is a window into the psyche of a battered man trying to find himself in a battered world, wrapped in an enigma, surrounded by chaos, and echoed with the hope of humanity pulling through.

O. Big O, Big.. O... big O, O o. O, O, O o o.

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