From the director of Serial Experiments Lain, we are presented with The Big O, possibly the strangest giant robot show ever to exist. And use the term "giant robot show" very loosely, because though that is what it is advertised as, most of the episodes have little to do with the robots themselves, instead focusing on protagonist Roger Smith's work as a "negotiator". Negotiating is exactly what it sounds like: he is a neutral who goes between one party and another to exchange information or money, but in actuality, nothing is ever as it seems, and often Roger's sleuth skills are necessary. As such, the robot fights can and do feel shoehorned in at times, but I prefer to think of them as the thrilling climax to the hunt for a perpetrator. The art and animation is excellent. I hear it is done by the same person who did Batman The Animated Series, and if it isn't, his influence certainly shows. It looks much more like a Western cartoon than the anime it is. The soundtrack is absolutely glorious. I was hooked from the first time I heard the slow jazz of Brick Ballades in the opening scenes, and the theme song is hilariously reminscent of the theme to Flash Gordon. Everything fits the mood perfectly, especially the epic fanfare that plays during Big O's appearances. The voice acting and script are superlative as well, especially for a dub that aired on CN. The series uses an Omega Cast: there are only 8 major recurring characters: Roger, his Battle Butler Norman, his android partner Dorothy, his old friend from the force Dastun, Big Bad Alex Rosewater, mysterious Femme Fatale Angel, and Alex's father Gordon. There are other recurring villains, but few make a difference, though their appearances are entertaining. There are two seasons, the first being mostly Roger solving various cases, and the second adopting a Myth Arc that evolves into such a Mind Screw that Anno would be jealous. All throughout, the series manages to be witty, action-packed, and full of style, making this a show I would highly recommend to those who want a more sophisticated Super Robot Genre experience. All 3 of you.
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