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The Big O, Vol. 1

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Editorial Reviews


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 Called 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

Special Features

  • Contains the first four episodes: Roger the Negotiator, Dorothy Dorothy, Electric City, and Underground City
  • Textless Opening
  • Interview with designer Keichi Satou and director Kazuyoshi Katayama

Product Details

  • Actors: Mitsuru Miyamoto, Steve Blum, Akiko Yajima, Motomu Kiyokawa, Tesshô Genda
  • Writers: Chiaki Konaka, Hajime Yatate, Kei'ichi Hasegawa, Masanao Akahoshi, Shin Yoshida
  • Producers: Charles McCarter, Chieo Ôhashi, Eiji Sashida
  • Format: Animated, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Bandai
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005BCJO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,874 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Big O, Vol. 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Darth Nat on September 16, 2003
Format: DVD
When The Big O first premiered on Cartoon Network's Toonami, I dismissed it as being "just another mecha show". It wasn't until it aired on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim that I actually sat down and watched the entire series, realizing how great the series truly is.
At first glance, Big O seems like just another giant robot show. However, if you dismiss it, like I did, you will be missing out on one of the greatest animes I have seen in a long time. In fact, it is very different from many mecha series in that each episode plays out as a sort of mystery, making it popular to compare this series to the animated Batman series.
The story of the series is very dark, telling of Paradigm City, a metropolis much like a run-down New York, where every inhabitant lost their memories 40 years prior to the events of the series. "Memories" have become precious commodities in the "city of amnesia". Fragments of these memories are the Megadeus's, giant robots that seem to have minds of their own. Roger Smith, the show's protagonist, pilots one such Megadeus, the powerful Big O.
The story may be dark, but the characters are certainly colorful. Roger Smith is a negotiator (think private investigator) who pilots the Big O. R. Dorothy is a female android who becomes Roger's sidekick and maid. Beck is a small-time criminal who seeks vengeance for Roger humiliating him. Many more characters appear and play important roles in the series.
The animation, voice acting, and musical score are supurb. The animation is very fluid, but the colors are often drab but help to convey the mood of the series. The voice actors all do an excellent job, and they may be familiar to the avid anime viewer. The music is epic and helps to draw you into the show.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By deadzepplin on November 7, 2003
Format: DVD
Charles in the above review was completely wrong. Big O is much more deep than he make it out to be. At times it can be so complex that its confusing and begs to be watched again to understand it.(thats not a bad thing) As the members of the Adult Swim show blok on Cartoon Network will attest to on their message board. But Charles says "the stories lack plot depth and characterization" but then later says the plot is complex. He nneds to take a side and stick with it. The reason that most of the characters are not imediatly understandable is because You see more of them as the show goes on and additional information is revealed. In a city shrouded in mystery, it only makes sense for the characters to have the same qualitites and not just be readily apparent. It is a show that is worth watching and now that season 2 is out, more is explained and the show is pretty much resolved.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By osirus824 on August 4, 2003
Format: DVD
If you were at all familiar with Cartoon Network's Toonami block or its late night Adult Swim in the past few years, it's likely that you have at least heard of The Big O. This Japanese anime series flopped in Japan but was quite well recieved stateside. So after its first 13 episode edited run on Toonami a few years back, fans were left hungry for more, and the cliffhanger ending didn't help either. Enter Cartoon Network Japan. U.S. fan response was so great that the cable network entered into a co-production deal with Sunrise Inc and Bandai visual. So now Big O has returned for a second uncut run on Adult Swim, in addition, the new season is airing Sundays at 11 pm starting August 3rd.
This DVD set is a compilatiion of all 13 first-season episodes, which was brought fourth due the show's new beginning. Big O tells the story of Roger Smith, also known as "The Negotiator." He lives in a large mansion accompanied by his butler Norman, who aids not only in housekeeping, but also in keeping Roger prepared for action. He resides in the mysterious Paradigm City, a city where all of its citizens lost their memories 40 years ago. In addition to being Paradigm's best negotiator, he is the owner of the Big O, a gigantic robot, which he uses the protect the city from various threats. However, through his adventures, Roger is digging ever deeper into Paradigm's dark history.
The Big O is a stylish show which mixes noir style and mecha action, with a Batman-like hero all while presenting a mystery into human existance that resembles the Matrix in some ways. The Big O has a visual style that is more American in nature, but is well animated. The voice acting is excellent, coming from the people who dubbed Cowboy Bebop. The music is good, accompanying the noir slyle and action scenes well.
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55 of 66 people found the following review helpful By J. Profrock on January 26, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
the anime itself is excellent. Big O will always be one of my favorites but my one complaint with this is the packaging when i bought it i assumed with the name The Big O: Anime Legends Complete Collection that it would well be...the complete collection all the episodes just not the first season. If it had been named The Big O: Anime Legends Complete Collection vol 1 then i could have assumed there would be a second vol but with out that i just assumed that it would be the entire series and ended up buying vol 2 a week later after sadly realizing i was wrong
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Imagine a crumbling domed Gotham City where everyone has amnesia, and Batman fights evildoers using a giant black mecha.

That's a fairly basic description of "The Big O," a strange and action-packed anime with an art deco style, a noir atmosphere and lots of giant robots and strange conspiracies. This is no simplistic action show -- there's a deep central mystery that each episode revolves around, and some deeper meditations on the nature of memory.

Negotiator Roger Smith is hired to get the kidnapped daughter of a client back... only to discover that "Dorothy" is an android, who asks him to protect her. When he starts investigating, Roger learns of her "sister" -- vast mecha "Dorothy 1" -- who can only be stopped by his own mecha, the Megadeus called "Big O." But when Dorothy vanishes during the attack, Roger must find her before a gang of thieves do.

With the help of Dorothy and his faithful butler Norman (and occasionally hardened cop Dastun), Roger uses Big O to deal with a series of increasingly bizarre mysteries. Among his problems: a giant electric eel, a skeletal mecha controlled by the psycho ex-reporter "Schwarzwald," a billionaire's missing son, a piano-playing android, a "sea titan" in a flooded city, a mysterious cat with horrifying origins, a Heaven's Day attack, and a mysterious woman haunting Dastun's dreams.

Things take a darker turn in the last few episodes, especially since Paradigm City's strange past becomes the most important part. Roger is hired to give a severance check to Schwarzwald, but becomes enmeshed in his plans for Paradigm City -- and witnesses the unveiling of another Megadeus, Big Duo.
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