The Big O II – Acts 21 to 26

January 31, 2005 on 9:07 pm | In The Big O | Comments Off on The Big O II – Acts 21 to 26

My excuse for the lousiness of this entry is my inability to process the events it concerns. Also, after a while, I just want to kick writing out of my computer so I can do something good.

For years, I have watched “difficult” anime – serial experiments lain, Evangelion, FLCL – and understood them, or at least came to my own understanding of them. The Big O II, however, is confusing. This is practically unprecedented.

The Big O II is very different to the first series in that every episode is pertinent to the collective pasts of the main characters, which means that the days of negotiations are at an end. Roger Smith now negotiates not for the people of Paradigm City, but for his life!
The interesting thing that must be noted is that Big O II, being the second half of a series, has no time for any introductory guff. That’s why, when you watch this, you get thirteen episodes of heaviness. It’s hard enough watching this series three months after watching the last, so it must have been even worse to wait three years between series.

There are many excellent episodes on offer here, which add up to a confusing whole. The first confusion comes in the form of English that we probably weren’t meant to understand: the film that shapes Dan Dastun’s life shows up again, but this time there is a movie poster for it. The movie is promoted as “starring Dan Dastun”, which makes no sense. It’s possible that this was deliberately designed to confuse, to emphasise Dastun’s crisis of identity. That was in itself a good story line, with Dastun fighting his conflicting emotions about the Big O doing all of his work and about the impotence of a police force under the thumb of Paradigm.

Dorothy is, sadly, thrown pretty much to the side as this second series is about Angel. Angel is the latest in a long line of tragic characters, and the largest source of confusion in the entire program. What is her origin? What is anyone’s origin? What is Paradigm City? So many questions! People can make up their own answers, because there are very few here.
Angel’s character, although not really in anyway explained, is shown as having a great deal of pain. Perhaps her past isn’t that important, as her confusion adds to her drive to discover … absolutely nothing.

The action sequences are excellent, and the fight between Roger and Alan Gabriel has an outstanding conclusion. The rest of it is well done, but it’s hard to go into much more detail than has been already. It feels like these final six episodes are about obfuscation, so not a lot can be said. Roger – what is Roger? Why should we have to ask what Roger is? Argh!

The Big O, overall, is an entertaining series. There is a distinct difference between the two series: the first is largely about entertainment, and the second is about trying to solve a mystery of forty years. This would almost have happened were it not for the ultimately confusing finale. The Big O II is still recommended for its parts, but it does not have the same flawless lustre as its predecessor: what we’re left with is a bigger mystery than that with which we began. Despite that, the note that it ends on is not conducive to a sequel. There are no plans, and nor do I think there should be, for The Big O III.

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