The Big O – Episodes 7 to 13

October 31, 2004 on 10:48 pm | In The Big O | 1 Comment

Amongst the many anime that I have watched this year, The Big O turned out to be one of the most compelling, if not the most compulsive. It brags what is possibly the best/most infuriating ending ever, and it would be unforgivable were it not for the sequel funded by Cartoon Network.

The second half of The Big O is pretty much the same as the first, but in some undefinable way better. This is quite possibly because Roger and Dorothy become much deeper as characters, and their ambiguous relationship grows still more ambiguous. Roger even gets to take part in practical negotiations, rather than random jobs that bear little meaning to his vocation.

The theme of memory continues to be very important and quite interesting beyond the usual pale of base anime philosophy. There are many touching scenes in regards to this featuring Roger and Dorothy, chief among them the “someone can make their own memories. These are yours, and yours alone.” Roger knows exactly what to say to Dorothy, and to him she really is a person. Some may see it as insensitive, but there comes a time when he forgets that she isn’t human.
Dorothy is an amazingly well drawn character. Her meditations on loneliness are interesting, but the way that she is animated is perhaps more so. You can tell that she’s happy or enjoying herself, even when there is no smile on her face. In some small way, it’s incredible. She’s one of the more sympathetic androids I have seen in my time.

The most excellent episode of the series deals not with Roger or Dorothy, but rather Dan Dastun, head of the military police. The way that Satou used cinematic techniques to frame the story and embraced the clichéd made for an emotional hit of an episode. This was not an original piece, but it was a very nice take on the whole idea of pretty traitors and doing the right thing. If you do the right thing, is that not what really matters? This episode was simply beautiful, and capable of promoting a slight physical response. This episode alone would be enough to recommend the series, were it not for all of the other things that make it rock out.

The question of Christianity is also brought into focus; without memory, man has created religion using the old rituals and places. This seems a naturally human thing to do, a good source of comfort. Paradigm City has recreated Christmas as “Heaven’s Day”, which is seen by Roger as a manufactured exercise in cynicism. The head of Paradigm, Alex Rosewater, is well aware of the meaning of the day, so it seems that he pays some respects.
The other thing is that the staff might be suggesting, in their own way, that Holy War may well have been the cause of amnesia – and of course, the idea of “man harnessing the power of God” is also trotted out. You just have to love anime when it gets like this.

There’s also the rich and decadent. In a society that can’t remember how it obtained its wealth, would this not create a greater rift between the rich and the poor? There is an upper class area, called the East Dome, which everyone hates based simply on the fact that it’s full of the rich and criminally rich. There’s corruption at the highest level in Paradigm, and this leads to some purely horrific scenes with burning people jumping out of buildings. It’s not something one would expect and it’s purely shocking.

The action scenes between hideous, hideous robots are actually some of the most entertaining and thrilling there are. They’re designed to fight, and so fight they do. Roger brings a passion to his battles, now that he has something to fight for, that make them a joy to watch. There’s something so very practical and yet unwieldly about them that makes it difficult to resist.
Incredible war footage is included, and Roger being hunted in the final episode is sure to get adrenaline running.
On the character design front, one of Beck’s henchmen has the makeup and hair of The Joker, which is a little confusing. Also confusing is the way it rains inside a domed building. It probably makes sense if you look hard enough.

The Big O ends on a huge cliffhanger, and I pity the poor sods who had to wait three years for its continuation (something that almost didn’t happen). This is one instance where American fandom proved good: another thirteen episodes of this outstanding, stylish series featuring really personable characters (even if one is a robot).

1 Comment

  1. Ah, I remember that scene in episode 12…when they all burned. I almost screamed watching it, I was 13 at the time and had never seen something so shocking in a cartoon. That being said it was an amazingly chilling scene. The second series was a bit of a disapointment though.

    Comment by maromi — November 1, 2004 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress with Pool theme design by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^